Facebook or LinkedIn – Getting Started on Social Media

Start with either Facebook or LinkedIn. My previous post discussed why social media presence should no longer be considered an optional activity for organizations of any size; including solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, professional services, and nonprofits. But for people whose expertise is embedded into their profession and the services that they offer, getting started can seem complicated — and maybe even a bit intimidating.

So, how do you get started?

Ideally, even the smallest business or organization should be active on several social media platforms. And ideally, one day, maybe you will be!. But getting started can be pretty easy if you choose just one platform to begin your social media marketing journey. There are two primary social media platforms that have tremendous reach. Facebook and LinkedIn. Which one is right for you depends not so much on what your business offers, but on who your main customers are.

Facebook

FacebookFacebook has over 2 billion users logging on to it every day. That’s nearly everybody in the developed world, outside of China. But that doesn’t mean that Facebook is the right platform for you. Let’s consider who those users are… And why they are on Facebook…

Typically people use Facebook for personal social connections. They are not typically using it for business purposes. So why use Facebook as business marketing tool? Well, if your business or organization is oriented towards individual consumers, there is literally no better place in the known universe to connect with them.

LinkedIn

LinkedInLinkedIn continues to grow, but will probably never have as many users as Facebook does. LinkedIn currently claims to have over 500 million users, but third party sources but the number of users per month at about 106 million. So why use LinkedIn if it has only around 10% as many daily users as Facebook? Once again the key consideration is who those users are.

Typically LinkedIn users are using it strictly for business purposes. Cat videos and YouTube “fails” are strongly discouraged, and seldom seen there. LinkedIn is the online leader for business to business networking, and for individuals looking to build their personal network connections for business or career building opportunities. If your business or organization is primarily business to business (b2b), there is literally no better place in the known universe to connect with them.

Using Facebook Professionally

You probably already have a Facebook page that you use to stay connected with friends and family. Good, you are going to need that. What you are NOT going to do, is use that personal Facebook page for your business!

Set up a Facebook business page, also called a “fan page” by Facebook. Once you are logged in to Facebook, simply visit this page and follow the instructions to set up your page. We’ll talk again in a few minutes once you’ve done that…

Great! That was easy right?

Now we need to get down to business. Hopefully you had some images available, at least your logo, or a professional looking head shot. It’s no disaster if you don’t yet, but you are definitely going to want some images to take advantage of such a visual medium. You’ve also already gone through the setup wizard and entered plenty of relevant information about you and your organization and what it does. Now what?

Once you have created your Facebook Business Page, there are two things that need to happen in order to be successful.

  1. You need people to see your page
  2. You need something for them to see when they get there.

 

Getting People to See Your Page

The Achilles’ Heel of Facebook is visibility. Business pages only show up regularly in the Facebook feeds of people who have “Liked” the page. This creates a kind of “Catch 22” for new pages. You don’t get seen unless you;re liked, and you don’t get liked until you are seen. Ouch.

So what can you do about this? First, you will be able to ask all of your personal Facebook friends to “Like” your new business page. Click on the link that says “Invite your friends to like this page”. That should get your personal friends  connected to your business.

Of course that’s not why you created a business page, but it helps lend credibility to your page if it already has some “Likes”. Getting “Likes” is almost certainly going to require some paid advertising on Facebook. This is neither as difficult, or expensive as it may sound though.

Facebook offers what is probably the most detailed and granular advertising tools for small organizations available anywhere. You can set your daily budget to be any size you want, even just a few dollars at first to test the waters. You can also set your campaign to run for a day or two, or for as long as you want. Facebook also allows you to target your ad to extremely precise demographics. Want to target only women between the ages of 35 and 49 who have expressed an interest in natural health products? You can do that.

Remember, your goal here is not to “sell, sell, sell”. It’s simply to get the right people to visit and “Like” your Facebook page.

Posting to Facebook

Once people begin visiting your page, there needs to be something there for them to read and see. Once again, a quick reminder that Facebook is communications, and networking tool. If you post nothing but “hard sell” messages, it won’t be long before people start clicking on the “Unlike” button.

The key to all social media posting is to provide something of value to visitors. People are visiting your page because they want to, not because they have to. Whatever you post should give them something of value. What that is will depend on what you offer. Occasionally you can offer something with financial value, like a discount coupon or code, but more often than not, people will appreciate valuable information. For example if you sell hand made handbags, an article about how they are made might be nice, Maybe even a video showing all the steps involved in creating a quality handmade handbag. If your product is high end furniture, articles and picture that show what to look for when shopping for high quality furniture might offer value. Show people how a $3000 dollar coffee table is vastly superior to a $150 coffee table.

Using LinkedIn Professionally

Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn is set up from the get-go to be business oriented. But there are several ways to use it well. The first, easiest, and most important, is to get an account on LinkedIn. Once you have an account (or if you have one already) it is very important to make sure you set it up completely, and keep it up to date. I cannot stress this highly enough. You MUST have a complete profile, relevant titles, headlines and taglines, a decent professional picture, and up to date info. 

You have complete and up to date profile, now what?

LinkedIn is a social networking tool. So the next step is to start networking. Connect with all of your business connections. They will probably all be on LinkedIn already, so find them, and connect with them. LinkedIn can also be connected to your address book on Outlook or Windows or MacOS. If you have a lot of business contacts there, you should consider clicking on “Allow” when asked if you want to link your account.

What About Connecting with People you don’t Know?

Generally speaking, this practice is discouraged, and considered to be “bad form”, or worse – “spammy”. But there are exceptions. If the person is a friend of a friend, you can either ask your friend for an introduction, or send a note with your invitation. There may also be circumstances where you feel that mutual interests are so strong, that a nice introduction note will almost certainly be well received. Hopefully, you have succeeded so far by having good judgement and people skills. Use those skills on LinkedIn just as you would in “real life”.

Other Best Practices on LinkedIn

 

Posting
Just like on Facebook, you are going to want people to find something interesting to read when the visit your profile. Post updates frequently (one or twice a week is plenty). Post articles occasionally, if you enjoy writing. Every time you post an update, a little note will appear in the LinkedIn feed of your contacts. So it’s a nice, easy way to stay connected. Well written, full articles, are occasionally picked up by LinkedIn Pulse. When this happens (if it happens) literally thousands of professionals and business people will see your article, and learn about you.

Endorsements & Recommendations
LinkedIn has a skills section that you should have completed when you set up your profile. All of your contacts also have skills listed. The value of these skills has become somewhat questionable, as there is no verification scheme in place. However, I recommend that you occasionally endorse your contacts for the skills that you know they have, and send them a quick thank you note when they endorse you. It’s just another nice way to stay connected, active, and keep your name in front of your contacts.

Recommendations are a bit more work, but also have significant value. Essentially, a LinkedIn recommendation is a “Testimonial”. Be generous with yours when appropriate. Ask for them when you believe they are deserved AND will be forthcoming.

Groups
Like Facebook, LinkedIn has groups. It’s a very good idea to join a few that are relevant to your business. Posting to a group guarantees that many people with shared interests will see what you have to offer. They can also be a great way to build your personal LinkedIn contact network. Even if you don’t post new articles to your group, an occasional comment or “like” — will keep your name in front of the right people.

LinkedIn Business Pages

Like Facebook, LinkedIn offers business pages. Unlike Facebook, there is not much need for a separate business page unless your organization has many members and employees. Remember, LinkedIn is a business oriented platform already. That means that your “personal” LinkedIn account is already a “business” account. If your organization does merit a separate business page, you can set it up here.

Hopefully, I have provided enough information here for you to get started, and keep using social media for your business or organization. If you’d like some more help, or for someone to go through the process with you, contact me. I’ll be happy to help you.

LinkedIn for Nonprofits

LinkedIn for nonprofits, charities, and NGOs

Is LinkedIn a useful tool for nonprofit organizations? It’s pretty much a “no-brainer” for self-employed professionals, job seekers, employers, and corporations seeking to engage with people who are actively seeking to expand their career growth networks. But what about non-profits and charities? Is there a place for them on LinkedIn too?

ABSOLUTELY!

LinkedIn represents a fabulous networking and engagement opportunity for nonprofit organisations of all kinds!

Whether your organization is interested in promoting and marketing its cause, looking for volunteers, seeking motivated employees, or simply looking to increase its visibility, LinkedIn can help.

It is also pretty easy to get started, and to maintain your organizational presence too. The first step is to create your personal account there. Join LinkedIn if you haven’t already. Before moving forward, you might want to familiarize yourself with the platform. Search out, and connect with some of your friends and colleagues that are also on LinkedIn.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Remember, LinkedIn is NOT Facebook! Unless your nonprofit is an animal rescue organization there is no room there for cat videos and puppy pictures.[/perfectpullquote]

OK. Feeling confident now? Let’s get to work for your organization. The quickest and easiest way to create a presence for your group on LinkedIn, is to actually just go ahead and “create a group“. Give it a name that reflects either the name or purpose of your organization, and invite all of the members of your organization to join the group.

GREAT!

You and your organization are now active on LinkedIn. Congratulations! But now what? Now it’s time to put the platform to work for your non-profit. The most important step is to integrate your new account with your existing Internet presence. Make sure that it becomes part of your entire communications ecosystem – both online and offline. Put a link to your LinkedIn group on your website and blog, and links to your website, blog, and other social media pages in your LinkedIn group.

Finally, like all social media, and like all communications of every type, the success of your LinkedIn group is tied directly to the amount of effort you put into maintaining it. This does not have to be a full time job. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be somebody’s part time job! But it does take a bit of time, and a lot of discipline. Just like Twitter, or Facebook, or your mailing list, your LinkedIn presence is unlikely to serve your organization if nothing ever appears in it. Set a time in your calendar, whether once or twice a day, or just once a week – but make that time as critical to you as you would a doctor’s appointment for your child.

  • Post some news
  • Start a conversation
  • Ask a question
  • Answer questions
  • Share an interesting article
  • Share your blog posts
  • Share someone else’s blog post
  • Post recruitment notices for volunteers and staff

There is ALWAYS something that you can communicate that will be of interest to your stakeholders. All you need to do is find it, and post it. In fact, I’ll be doing that a moment from now. You’ll find a link to this article on my own LinkedIn account – RIGHT HERE.

 

 

Your Mission Statement and Why it Matters

Dilbert comic strip - Wally and his Mission Statement

What is your mission statement?

Why does it matter?

What does it have to do with social media for nonprofit organizations?

Discussion about the mission statements of nonprofit organizations might seem to be a little bit lofty for a guy that helps NGOs with their social media strategy. We don’t see a lot of social media activity around missions, purposes, and causes in the social media marketing world. Well, in a nutshell – that’s a darn shame. Because until everyone in an organization knows, and has internalized the organization.s mission, there is really no way to measure true success.

Social media success is more than click measurements, followers, friends, contacts, or likes. The only true measure of social media success is the increase in organizational success that can be attributed to social media. And, especially with nonprofits, the best measure of organizational success is attainments of organizational objectives.

What is a mission statement?

Let’s start with this definition from Entrepreneur Magazine.

A sentence describing a company’s function, markets and competitive advantages; a short written statement of your business goals and philosophies .

The mission statement reflects every facet of your business: the range and nature of the products you offer, pricing, quality, service, marketplace position, growth potential, use of technology, and your relationships with your customers, employees, suppliers, competitors and the community.

Now let’s examine that a bit, and rework it for nonprofits. Here’s what we come up with.

A sentence describing an organization’s purpose and stakeholders; a short written statement of your organization’s goals and philosophies .

The mission statement reflects every facet of your organization: the range and nature of the services you offer, social impact, social potential, and your relationships with your members, employees, stakeholders and the community.

That’s a little better as far as describing what the statement is. But we can probably do even better when we take into account what we know that is specific to our own organization. In a nutshell, this is how I would describe what a mission statement is:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]In one or two sentences our mission statement summarizes why our organization exists, and what its goals are. [/perfectpullquote]

Here is my mission statement:

To help nonprofit organizations use social media to reach their communication objectives, maximize their social impact, and to be fairly compensated for my efforts.

That’s it. It is short, easy to understand, reasonable, and realistic. It is the measure by which every action I take for my business is measured. Even this blog post that you are reading right now would not have been published if I did not believe it would bring me closer to my goal.

Why Does a Mission Statement Matter?

A mission statement is the “critical infrastructure” that allows everyone in an organization to work smarter, rather than just harder. Hard work is important of course, but hard work is pointlessly exhausting if it isn’t accomplishing anything meaningful to the organization. Eventually, hard work can even be counterproductive if members, volunteers, and employees start feeling like they are just spinning their wheels or wasting their time.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] There is no way to know if we are getting closer to reaching our goals, if we haven’t clearly articulated what are goals are.   [/perfectpullquote]

A mission statement is a road map. It provides direction to everyone involved in the organization.

What Does the Mission Statement Have to do With Social Media?

I can almost hear the skeptics saying, “Big deal! We don’t need a consultant to tell us what we are all about, we just need help getting our Facebook and Twitter accounts working for us.” If you are among the skeptical, let me set your mind at ease. You are right. My role is not, and should not, be to develop a mission statement for your organization. My role indeed (as you can see from my own mission statement) is only to help you reach your communication objectives using social media tools. But, it is going to be really difficult for me to accomplish my mission if you can’t tell me what your own is.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]It is going to be really difficult for me to accomplish my mission if you can’t tell me what your mission is.[/perfectpullquote]

Once you can articulate your organizational mission, and better still your communication goals, we can start building a strategy to put social media to work towards reaching those goals, and fulfilling your mission.

And that’s what it’s all about, Right?

Facebook for Nonprofit Organizations

Facebook Sign - should your nonprofit, ngo, or charitable organization be using Facebook?

Should Your Nonprofit be on Facebook?

The answer to the Facebook question will be either yes, no, or maybe, and it will be determined by the type of organization you have and who your nonprofit servers. To better answer the question, we’ll answer the question in three parts:

  1. Yes. You are a charity or NGO that has a public face and depends on public support in some way.

    Facebook Pages (distinct from personal profiles) are public facing by default. With nearly 2 billion accounts (1.79 active users) it is highly likely that you have an audience on Facebook. That means that there are people there that want to know more about your organization, and that your nonprofit wants to reach. Facebook is a fantastic way to reach out to people to let them know what you do, what you are all about, and who you are trying to help. Equally, a Facebook Page for your NGO or charity, gives people an opportunity to communicate with you, and importantly to find ways to help your organization. People can share news about your good works with their friends, and they can more easily find ways to help your organization financially, if your nonprofit organization depends on public fundraising in some way.

    [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Any organization that is dedicated to “doing good” out in the world, in any way whatsoever, will benefit immensely from a presence on Facebook.[/perfectpullquote]

    Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides medical care where it is needed most in nearly 70 countries. They make excellent use of Facebook, as you can see for yourself.

  2. Maybe: Your Nonprofit organization is membership based, and serves primarily members of the organization

    Membership based nonprofits, such as professional associations, and clubs, may or may not benefit from a Facebook “Fan Page“. Business and organizational Fan Pages are meant to be public, and that is the key consideration.
    [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Keeping in mind that Facebook Pages are public by default, whether your organization will benefit a lot, a little, or not at all, will depend largely on how important public outreach or input is to your organizational goals.[/perfectpullquote]
    For most professional associations a Facebook page should be an organizational priority. Especially if the members are part of a self-regulating profession. Self-regulating professions have obligations to the public, in addition to obligations to members of the profession. Anything that enables better communication, and enables increased transparency, will probably enhance the public perception of the profession.

    The OBA (Ontario Bar Association) uses a Facebook page. You can see immediately that they are reaching out to their members, but are also presenting a professional image to the public.

    Clubs can also benefit greatly from Facebook. However, in the case of private clubs, there is another option that should be considered. As with other organizations, a Facebook Page is a good idea if the club is reaching out to the public. If the club is more focused in serving club members than on public outreach, it should probably create a Facebook Group instead of a Facebook Fan Page. A Facebook group page serves as a home base for club members. It is a place on Facebook where members can share pictures, videos, and stories with each other. A place where members can meet each other online to communicate. Unlike a “page”, a “group” can be completely private so that only group members can participate in conversations or see each others posts.

    [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]A Facebook Page is best for an organization that wants to inform its members, or the public, and seek input or kudos from members and/or the public. A Facebook Group is best for an organization that wants a place for members to meet online and share things with each other.[/perfectpullquote]

  3. No: Your nonprofit organization is private, it serves only a very specific community and purpose.

    There are indeed nonprofit organizations for which Facebook may not be a worthwhile investment of time, energy, and money. The one that springs most immediately to my mind is a Condominium Corporation. Some larger condominiums, or condos with board and committee members that are already very active on social media might want to set up a Facebook Group for owners and residents, but many condo corporations are already faced with overworked volunteers that are struggling to keep up with the day-to-day demands of keeping their particular nonprofit running smoothly. These smaller organizations are likely best off with the philosophy of, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

    Something for organizations in the “no” group to consider though, is that they may one day face demands for more transparency and/or better communications. [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]A group may well be the answer to meeting demands for better communications. Unlike in the dating world, when it comes to social media for nonprofits “no” indeed might mean “maybe”.[/perfectpullquote]

     

When your nonprofit, NGO, or charity wants to talk about how to make Social Media work for it, get in touch. I’d love to help you out.

Nonprofits and Social Media

Should Social Media Play a Part in your Nonprofit?

With the proliferation of social media platforms, and their growing importance as marketing and communication tools for businesses and professionals, this question is being asked by the leadership of most nonprofits today.

So, what is the answer?

Let’s begin with the short answer: [perfectpullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”#049931″ class=”” size=””]Yes! Social media should be part of the working strategy of every nonprofit.[/perfectpullquote]

Now that the question has been answered, let’s talk a bit about why social media is important, and how some of these platforms can help your nonprofit succeed in its mission—whatever that mission might be. Below is a list of Ten Reasons that Social Media marketing platforms might be important to your non-profit. The list is not all-inclusive, and it’s entirely possible that some of the reasons might not align with the goals of your particular organization.

Some Reasons that Apply to Most Nonprofits

  1. Community building
  2. Stakeholder communication
  3. Public outreach
  4. Transparency
  5. Mission marketing
  6. Fundraising campaigns
  7. Membership drives
  8. Member retention
  9. Demonstrate leadership
  10. Distinguish your organization among its peers

Nonprofits are special. Social media strategy for nonprofits is special too.

In coming posts I’ll talk about social media for some specific kinds of nonprofit organizations. For example the most appropriate social media platforms and strategies will be different for a membership driven nonprofit than for a charitable organization. And some specialized organizations, such as condo boards, will have mandates that may preclude public outreach altogether, But even these organizations will find social media platforms that will significantly enhance their effectiveness.

Some nonprofits require the same type of marketing efforts as for-profit entities. Others may view traditional marketing efforts and strategies as anathema to their fundamental philosophy. Buzzyness.com understands that. As a specialist in the not for profit sector, Allan Revich works hard to tailor an appropriate strategy for each client. A strategy that first and foremost aligns perfectly with the mission of their organization.

 

 

Instagram Marketing for Organizations

instagram logo

Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world today. It has hundreds of millions of users, and its acquisition by Facebook, makes it doubly attractive as a marketing platform. But is it the right platform for your nonprofit organization?

Is it the right platform for your organization?

Instagram should be included, or prioritized, in your social media marketing campaign, if the answer to these two questions is “yes”:

  1. Are your members, volunteers, clients, and stakeholders there?
    This is a bit of “trick question”, because the answer is also “yes” if they are on Facebook. More on that later.
  2. Does your organization generate visual appeal?
    This question isn’t as obvious as it first appears, for example, a condominium corporation needs to spend money on gardens, lobby furnishings, and gyms. Common areas may include gorgeous views—very visually appealing!

Instagram is a Mobile Platform Application

A quick visit to the Instagram Website from your desktop computer will be very revealing; mostly because of what you won’t find! Even after logging in with Facebook (or creating an Instagram account) there isn’t a lot to see. Visit from your mobile phone though, and it’s a whole other story. Lots of activity. Lots of opportunity for interaction.

So, if there isn’t a lot to see on my desktop computer, why should a busy organization bother with this? Here’s why!

  1. Instagram is HUGE on mobile. Many your stakeholders have Instagram accounts, and use it to share photos on their mobile devices.
  2. Facebook is even “HUGER”, and most, if not all, of your customers and prospects are on Facebook.

I thought we were talking about Instagram, not Facebook?

Facebook owns Instagram. That fact is important for reasons that go well beyond shareholder value. Instagram is tightly integrated with Facebook. It is very easy to set up so that all of your photographs are also instantly shared on your Facebook business “fan page”. This means that your  marketing reach will not only cover the Instagram universe, with its younger, visually oriented user base, but by using it, you also automatically build your brand presence on Facebook too!

What Kinds of Organizations Should Use Instagram?

Any organization with a bricks and mortar presence, or a visually appealing service should be using Instagram. Whether it’s a bicycle club, , condominium community, or a charity providing housing— you gotta let the world see it. Basically, every organization that wants to showcase its achievements should have an account and post to it regularly.

Is Instagram a necessary time investment for every non-profit?

This is an important question for any organization—and the short answer is “no”.

Generally speaking, non-profit organizations that are primarily associations of providers of professional services, will probably gain very little marketing advantage. This type of organization will generally have answered, “no”, to the first two questions in this blog post. Their service is not especially visual, and many of their members won’t be using Instagram. In fact, those who have checked out the social media presence of Buzzyness.com, have already seen that we ourselves don’t have an account! Our main service is social media and blogging education, so even though we have a blog—you’re reading it now—and substantial investment on Twitter and Facebook, we have opted out of Instagram.

Need help getting your business started on Instagram?

Contact Us Now