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The 11 Social Media Mistakes: Are you Guilty?

In a recent issue of Mashable, ClickZ reporter Sundeep Kapur, had a great piece on the 11 mistakes brands continue to make in social media. Surprising as these may be for those of us who’ve been doing social for a while, the list is thoughtful and applies to nonprofits as much as it does to brands.

Nonprofits spend less time and money on their social media, presumably for lack of resources. But as this article attests, you don’t have to have a lot of money, buy a lot of widgets or have a to have an engaging presence.

The trick to success on social media is the same trick for success in friendship: be nice, respond when spoken to and have something interesting to say.  Here’s the list of social media mistakes, pared down for nonprofits:

1. Run specials all the time. In a struggle to keep the consumer engaged, brands tend to keep offering consumers special deals. This all-out effort to discount and lure tends to have a negative impact by devaluing the brand and devaluing the relationship.

2. Wait for people to come. Brands set up shop on social media sites and simply wait for the consumer to come and find them. They do little to engage via dialogue or by trying to market along other channels. They have simply set up shop and expect that it is good enough to drive consumers in.

3. Run contests and games all the time. Gamification is the new buzzword for engagement with many brands investing significantly in games to engage their consumers. Additionally, brands tend to run multiple contests, which results in severely diluting their engagement to conversion metrics.

4. Block negative feedback. Many top brands tend to either block or ignore negative feedback. If you put up a comment on their site they either take it down or have a defined strategy to push the bad comments as far down as possible. This strategy diminishes the value of the positive comments.

5. Launch press releases on social media. Do you pay attention to more than 300 characters or watch long video clips? Brands tend to forget the conversational nature of engagement on social media sites – short, interesting stories are a much better way to engage.

6. Wait 24 hours to respond. Some brands take a long time to respond because they only check “social feedback” twice a week. Other brands take a long time to respond because they have to get approval before they can respond. The problem is that if you take too long, the consumer will probably call your brand for an answer or move over to someone else.

7. Not connecting your channels. Always a classic with the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Just two weeks ago, a major travel company sent two types of incentives – a gas discount card by email that shaved 10 cents off each gallon and a gas discount offer via social media that offered a five cent discount. It took a direct mail piece to fix the issue.

8. Just rolling along. Some brands feel that it’s OK to reach a certain critical mass in social media after which their sites can just “roll along.” The snowball can roll the wrong way and hurt brands.  Focus on “likes.” A blind focus on driving up “likes” has led to the “like” button being devalued and resulted in significantly lower ROI.

9. “Wait” to get started. Believe it or not there are still brands, especially in the financial services area, that are waiting for the social media “fad” to end.

For the complete article go to:  11 Deadly Social Media Sins for Brands by Sundeep Kapur

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Nonprofit Social Media Tips Same After 3 Years

Social Media Expert, Jason Falls

Social Media Expert, Jason Falls

I try to read social media expert Jason Falls whenever I can squeeze in the time. He is a no-nonsense, data driven type who hits the nail on the head when it come to social media strategy. I hate bells and whistles. He hates bells and whistles.

This is why his article, Three Keys to Nonprofit Success in Social Media is still applicable today, despite the fact it was written THREE years ago.

The intro is a bit long, but his thesis is great. The keys are:

Have a compelling story to tell.
Make a specific ask or establish a specific goal to reach.
Make it astonishingly easy to give.

He also speaks about calls to action in content, the need for the emotional connection in your ask, as well as the critical need to have a strong communications plan around your giving goals. (Without this last one, Falls said, it’s like building a McDonald’s in the Sahara Desert. It’s certainly needed but no one will know about it! )

Here it is in its entirety. Happy reading!

Three Keys to Nonprofit Success in Social Media

Are You a Connector? Daniel Poneman Is!

Last week I got the following message:

“You all don’t have to believe me on this, but I just posted a ridiculous score. I knew I would crack the 100’s, and knew I was a connector, but didn’t realize my true social impact until taking this test… i got a 149.”

In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell describes how he gave the test 400 times and only 4 people scored above 100. Daniel also has 4,079 Facebook friends (4,080 if he accepts my request).

What’s he do? “I feel blessed to say that I have never held a “real” job in my life and hopefully I never will have to. My job entails watching basketball, talking to people about basketball, providing basketball content for my website, and helping college programs find the best basketball players for them, and helping young men find colleges to play at. It’s a lot of fun.”

Are You a Connector?

Connectors are people specialists, those with a large circle and network of friends. Malcolm Gladwell writes about Connectors in The Tipping Point, his thought-provoking book on how information spreads.

“Identifying Connectors and getting them talking about your cause, company or candidate is critical,” said SparkLight Communications President Joseph LaMountain. “Since they know everyone, they can begin to spread the word and start to generate word-of-mouth conversations.”

Gladwell developed a simple 5-minute test to determine if someone is a Connector. He’s given the test to more than 400 people and scores have ranged from a low of 16 to a high of 108. I scored a 52.  Where do you fall on that scale?

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