As a free online encyclopedia, a primary online tool for information research, and a highly-ranked resource in most Google search results, Wikipedia is both an opportunity and a risk for public relations and other communications professionals.
The opportunity is obvious: comprehensive information about your organization (and its brands and leaders) becomes readily accessible in a single source to all Internet users worldwide – and is therefore a PR must-have.
The key risks to Wikipedia entries are less obvious: 1) that information about your organization in Wikipedia is wrong – and presents a danger to your corporate reputation and 2) that Wikipedia will slap your wrist (often embarrassingly) if the PR department or agency edits information about your organization.
Successful social media marketing resembles a marathon more than a sprint. Winning a marathon requires different tactics than sprints. Marathons don’t require a quick start; they do require strategic preparation, pacing, perseverance and ongoing-assessment of your position throughout the race.
Many businesses and brands successfully used social media networks to increase awareness, research consumer sentiment, respond to consumer inquiries, improve their products, and implement marketing programs.
Nonprofits have been slower to embrace social media. Yet, social media offers multiple opportunities for nonprofits to engage their constituencies, sometimes without investing great amounts of staff time or other resources.
Post the Right Messages
Creating and publishing the right content is essential for nonprofits to achieve social media success.
The best strategy is to create stories – or produce a video – about the people you serve. Stress your constituents and audience over your organization. Describing individual challenges and triumphs of your members will attract more interest and engagement than announcements of how many people your group has served, its wordy mission statement, or the awards it’s won.
The best messages make your contributors, not your organization, the hero of the story and include an explicit or implicit call to action. The most successful messages tap emotions.
The video below from Charity: water demonstrates how to employ emotions while describing the charity’s mission to bring clean water to the impoverished Sahel region of West Africa. Through subtitles, the video allows women to talk about the hardships of drawing water from wells and the lack of clean water. One woman tells how she was injured when she fell into an open well.
“The coming of clean water changed our lives,” a woman says. “Life is very good now. You wake up in the morning and can get clean water easily.”
More impressively, the video concludes with a clear call to action.
Connecting to Donors through Social Media
Many people, especially young people, prefer to communicate through social media. Enabling a variety of social media communications is likely to be well-received by members or constituents of your organization – and will almost certainly increase their engagement with your organization. Caution: Allow them to “opt-in” voluntarily to your social media platforms. Collecting social media profiles when visitors register on your website might only require an extra field in your registration form. You can then connect with people and store their information in your donor database.
Nonprofits can accept donations though social media. For instance, Charitweet offers simple, micro-donations directly through Twitter.
Finding a social-media-savvy volunteer, perhaps someone willing to serve on your board, can aid your marketing efforts.
Many companies provide discounts or free services to nonprofits. For instance, Google for Nonprofits offers free or discounted Google products.
Goals and Strategies
Creating social media goals and strategy is the crucial first step for implementing social media activities. The key questions to ask are: What do we want to achieve and how can we best achieve the goals on social media? A solid strategy combined with social media monitoring can help nonprofits find relationships between a social media post and a donation.
Monitoring and measuring your social media efforts can help ensure your nonprofit is meeting its intended goals. Obsessing over “vanity metrics,” such as number of followers and likes, is a common social media measurement pitfall. While those metrics should not be completely disregarded, the point is to focus on what ultimately matters. For businesses, that’s typically sales and profits. For nonprofits it’s mainly donations and memberships. Measure social media efforts against those organizational goals.
Bottom Line: Social media can help nonprofits increase awareness of their missions and meet their membership and fundraising goals. Emphasizing the people it serves, telling their stories, and tapping into the emotions of potential donors can be powerful social media and content marketing strategies for most any nonprofit organization.
With its updated guidance on endorsements, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has signaled that the agency may be preparing to crack down on social media marketers for posting misleading content and failing to include proper disclosures.
The FCC’s recent updates to its “What People Are Asking” page in its Endorsement Guidelines provide specific guidance on social media issues. That means wayward marketers are more likely to receive a penalty rather than a warning.
The FCC has only occasionally taken action against social media marketers – so far. Now observers warn that the agency is paying closer attention to brands on social media networks.
Press releases that contain multiple images or video are more likely to be published, read, viewed and shared on social media. Including imagery and reference materials in press releases also improves message delivery.
Now there’s a newer technology that transforms digital press releases into an interactive multimedia experience. The technology uses embedded codes to incorporate multiple images or documents within a single image. The interactive images called Picture Capsules by Business Wire can include videos, photos, documents, social media links and other content. By hovering a mouse over the Picture Capsule in the digital news release, readers see icons pop up that provide access to additional content.
MasterCard used a Picture Capsule in a press release celebrating the first anniversary of its worldwide Priceless Surprises program. The Picture Capsule in the news release contains five videos and seven images portraying emotionally-moving priceless surprises. The interactive imagery elevated the press announcement from mundane to captivating. The multiple images also offered editors local story angles on the anniversary celebration, increasing the likelihood that publications would run the story. Continue reading →
Despite the many high-profile court settlements, many companies may not be getting the message that interns must be paid unless they meet specific criteria.
In a recent class-action settlement, Warner Music Group Corp agreed to pay hundreds of former interns who said they were underpaid or not paid at all. The tab was more than $4.2 million, according to Reuters. The settlement covers interns who were paid less than minimum wage or not paid at all in periods dating as far back as June 2007. Continue reading →