Posts Tagged facebook

Social Media Plan for Mad River Glen

Below, please see the Prezi I developed based on my final project this semester.  I developed a 10 page social media plan for Mad River Glen, recommending four specific platforms to focus efforts on.

Enjoy (and let me know if you’d like to see the full plan)!

It won’t embed– so check it out here: Mad River Glen’s Social Media Plan on Prezi

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President Obama’s Facebook Town Hall

Today, President Obama hosted his first-ever Facebook Town Hall.  Hosted on the White House Facebook page, Obama discussed the economy, recovery funds, and answered questions that people submitted directly to the Facebook wall as well as to Whitehouse.gov.

Over 25,000 people RSVPed for the event.  Today, the Facebook page goes directly to the Townhall tab.  Interestingly, the page has nearly one million fans.  I wonder how many would have RSVPed if the page had invited all of its fans?

Obama recently announced his 2012 election campaign, which is already using YouTube, targeted texts, and a Facebook app called “Are you in?”.

I was quite glad to hear that President Obama would continue to innovate and find ways to communicate with new audiences.  Even though many still think of Facebook as a site for young people, the numbers say that the average age of a Facebook user is age 38, and then the even-older demographic is the fastest growing group.

This is not the first time that Facebook and the White House have joined together to make a splash.   Last month, they promoted a PSA about the importance of fighting cyberbullying on exclusively Facebook in order to raise awareness of the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention.

Now that social media is so clearly essential to campaigning (especially versus Obama), I am quite interested to see how his competitors will use it.  I think that if they don’t integrate digital into each and every piece of their campaign, they will find it difficult to compete with a group who has it ingrained into its strategy.

If you’re especially interested in the topic, I would suggested this Wall Street Journal article: Facebook Seeking Friends in Beltway.

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What I thought of The Networked Nonprofit

I just finished reading The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change by Beth Kanter and Allison H. Fine.  If you haven’t read it, you probably should.

Why?

Because it’s chock full of tangible, realistic changes that organizations can make in order to move towards becoming a Networked Nonprofit.  The book defines Networked Nonprofits as “simple and transparent organizations.”  They are simple in that they stick to what they are good at and they streamline their efforts according to what works and what doesn’t.  They are transparent in that they communicate with their audiences about their intentions, plans, successes, and failures.  Best of all, they engage in two-way dialogue with their audiences– acknowledging the essential role of people in enabling social change.

One of the examples that I found most interesting was from an organization I had never heard of– the Surfrider Foundation.  The Surfrider Foundation is the essential Networked Nonprofit in that it relies on its volunteers not just to spread the word, but to ignite action.  Though I had never heard of it, 10 seconds after visiting the organization’s Twitter feed, I found that members were doing good in my community along the Potomac/Capital Crescent Trail.

Though the book focuses on streamlining nonprofits and making them adept to change in order to succeed, I found much of the contents relevant to my every day life.  At work, I focus on social marketing– helping people become aware and able to make decisions that hopefully lead to a better, healthier life.  As this book attests (page 131), “social media can be used to affect change directly.”  I certainly am a believer that social media can be used to bring messages to wider, hard-to-reach audiences, but this book reminded me that it’s not just for pushing out messages– it’s for engaging in conversation.

For example, I hadn’t given crowdsourcing too much thought, but I loved the idea that engaging people early on, in the planning stages of a project, could actually lead to a much deeper engagement (more likely to lead to actual action).  The book mentions The Humane Society’s video contest launched in response to Michael Vick’s dogfighting scandal.  Check out what it ultimately resulted in– though controversial, it was a huge conversation-starter for the organization.

The focus on microplanning and learning loops, which emphasized  tweaking things along the way based on insights gleaned, related directly to my experiment with Google AdWords, which I made a few changes to along the way to encourage success.

Compared to the other books I’ve read over the past few months (Groundswell, The Long Tail, and Engage!), this came out on top, along with Groundswell, as a favorite.  I liked that it was simple with actionable steps that real organizations could take to facilitate change.  Similarly to all of the books, Networked Nonprofit pushes organizations to interact with audiences in a new way on social networks.  In order to be successful, organizations must not just talk and not just listen, but interact. In order to make the change from a fortress (least transparent) to a transactional (some transparency) and ultimately a transparent organization, humanizing communications is crucial.

Many of the ideas relayed in the book can be applied at any organization.  Imagine using Doodle.com to schedule meetings with partners (whose Outlook calendar availability is unaccessible) rather than lobbying 10 emails over the course of a week.  Imagine engaging in casual dialogue on Twitter and encouraging others to weigh in.  Imagine  editing documents in Google Docs and having access to them 24/7 via the cloud rather than a clunky shared drive.  Sound nice?  Sounds like the future to me.

For Mad River Glen, there are many lessons to be learned in this book.  In my opinion, they’ve done a great job at staying simple and sticking to what they’re good at.  Compared to many of their competitors, they’re more of a ski mountain than a ski resort, despite that a four-season resort might help them bring in money year-round.  Though they’re retweeting actively on Twitter, they could stand to interact more– actually using the platforms to facilitate conversation.  I would love to see them use crowdsourcing to engage their audiences– for example, they could use the new Facebook questions feature to encourage fans to vote for the name of a new trail, or in the social change realm, use Facebook events and Twtvite to mobilize their audiences to take part in a post-season clean up to gather any trail accumulated over the ski season.

PS: While Googling, I came across this MSNBC post on the same topic with some great nonprofit success stories in it. Check it out!

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Social Media + Ethics = Mess

I always enjoy seeing familiar names in the media, so it was interesting to see Andrew Noyes quoted in the New York Times article I was reading with this blog post in mind. Noyes recently spoke at an Ogilvy Exchange held at my work about Gov 2.0.

In Ethical Quandary for Social Sites, Jennifer Preston looks at something that recent events (covered in a few previous blog posts) have called into question: “whether a company should maintain its commitment to remain neutral about content, even when politicized content could offend users or even put people in danger.”  Most sites with social aspects have terms of service that they can turn to in cases of questionable content, but the article points out that Flickr does not always enforce its own rules.

Andrew Noyes of Facebook sums up the view of many sites— “We want Facebook to be a place where people can openly discuss ideas and express their views, while respecting the rights and feelings of others.” In other words, they want to serve as a forum for their uses to communicate much like they would in other parts of their lives— what is said via text, email, and spoken word can also be communicated on Facebook (and on Twitter, on Flickr, and YouTube, to name a few).

Clearly Mark Zuckerburg never thought that by creating the next “hot or not” he would enter into a situation where the Israeli government has big asks— but now that is the case.  While a strict terms of service can help to justify removal of posts that incite violence, or of users who are not using their full names, if it is not always enforced (although realistically, that is not possible), isn’t it stifling to enforce the T.O.S. only in the controversial cases?

I don’t think that this article demonstrates the “end” of this issue in the social media realm— but if a site takes down a page at the request of a government/organization, it becomes a slippery slope— who is to say that the next person to request removal of a page does not deserve their wishes granted, as well?  And what role does a social media site play in these ethical/political/social struggles?

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Social media on a local scale

One of the most important things about social media in the political realm is that it allows people to connect on a local level.  Even when a politician is traveling, they can access social media platforms on their phones and laptops.  Even when time is tight, they can quickly send a tweet or share an article via a blog post on the fly.  On a local level, the low cost/barrier of entry is a great opportunity for politicians.

This opportunity for direct connections is a brand new concept— one that allows politician and constituent communications like never before.

Josh Sternberg’s 2009 Mashable article How Local Politicians Are Using Social Media gives many great examples of this, with the emphasis that “ultimately, the strongest aspect of social media is the human element.”  The power of social media is that it can bring together people who would not otherwise be able to connect, with much less effort and money than other initiatives.

I think that what the Mashable article demonstrates is the importance of being where the people are.  Determining the platforms that your audiences use is essential to reach them.  Only the very dedicated would actually join a social media platform dedicated to a specific politician or political issue, but if a politician is able to join platforms like Twitter and Facebook where their audiences are already active, they can easily communicate with them.

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My Facebook Ads Experience

Tonight, I experimented with Facebook Ads.  I approached it as though I wanted to advertise this blog.

Here’s who I wanted to reach:

On these parameters, Facebook set a bid at $1.56 per click, and here is how my ad came out:

Some observations:

  • Wow- you can target people on their birthdays? Genius!
  • I can think of some interesting ads for Valentine’s Day based on the option to choose people single, married, in relationships, etc.
  • Never knew that you could target people based on their sexual preference.
  • Picture size is tiny! It was hard to limit the detail on the picture.

Those these options only take up a short web page, my mind was spinning at the options.  Now the new Facebook pages make sense to me— linking directly to specific television shows, bands, media outlets, and other interests allows for much more direct targeting and segmentation.

I was very surprised at the ease of use for Facebook ads— it literally took me about ten minutes to do everything except pay for this ad.  Of course, a real ad would require a bit more thinking, but Facebook is smart to have such a low barrier of entry for their ad service.  I’d be interested to see what their metrics dashboard looks like after buying the ad!

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Getting Creative With Online Ads

One thing was loud and clear in this week’s readings.  Money is not the determinant of success when it comes to online ad campaigns.  Creativity is.  The Marsden campaigndedicated just 4% of its budget to an online ad spend, while the Public Sector Blognoted that Bush and Kerry spent just 1% on online ads in 2004, and Scott Brown’s 10% spend was a record high.

Using the “long tail” idea, campaigners are able to take advantage of the Internet’s extremely fractured audiences and tailor messages to specific nanotargets.  For example, a candidate can reach females 65+ in Virginia who are searching for information about their Medicare benefits.  This approach is more labor intensive than traditional advertising methods, yet it makes much more sense the target audience is so specific.  Why bother paying to advertise in the Richmond Times Dispatch when for much less, you could be sure to reach that target audience – AND track the results?

Josh Koster insists that “the trick it to be everywhere, with tightly targeted messages.” This makes sense, but how can a campaign achieve that?  What these examples show is that creativity is key.

Koster points out another benefit – these targeted ads are so inexpensive, quick, and easy to set up (especially if they are simply text ads with no creative), that they can easily be tested out and tweaked accordingly.  This is a benefit that traditional advertising definitely does not offer.  In addition, success is much more measurable when clicks, email opens, and site visits can be quantified.  By contrast, direct mail pieces are essentially untraceable once sent out, and other ads can offer impression numbers, but not much else.

What I found most interesting about this week’s reading was the targeting of the media outlined in Nanotargeted Pressure.  Koster and Davis point out that “using paid media to drive earned media is not new,” but using digital paid media to do so is certainly a newer frontier.  I have a unique interest in using social media to target the media, but had never considered something like Google or Facebook ads to reach media.  Facebook’s “workplace targeting” feature is especially interesting- and I can think of some creative ways for jobseekers to target employers using this feature.  To see such a huge achievement with only $1750 invested truly speaks to the power of targeted digital advertising.

Other examples of creativity were abound in this week’s readings.  Rather than complain about the media’s (lack of) coverage of Iran’s election, Koster actually did something— crashed Iran’s propaganda/news site.  For those people who think that Twitter is about people sharing what they eat for lunch, this is concrete evidence to the contrary.  For those well-versed in digital advertising, perhaps they’d like to trylinking to a website other than their own?  Not only does this disassociate the ad with the campaign that placed the ad, it directs the audience to a source that they (likely) view as credible and non-partisan.

And for the truly innovative, CNN covered Koster’s realization that anyone standing in line on election day Googling for political info is probably determining who to vote for— so why not leverage Google ads on election day to reach those individuals?

While I knew that online advertising allowed further segmentation of audiences, I didn’t realize its true potential until reading this week’s articles. It will be interesting to see how online platforms continue to leverage their assets (in this case, demographic information about their users) in order to gain advertisers on large and small scales.

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