Google+ for Nonprofits and Small Businesses
Although Google+ isn’t open for company profiles yet, it doesn’t hurt to get a head start in planning how to use it. Think of Google+ as a Facebook/Twitter hybrid. It combines the best of both worlds, but with some additional features that make it different.
1. Spend time organizing all of your followers into their respective circles, this is a main feature of Google+ that distinguishes it from other social networks, so take advantage of it.
Google+’s main focus is allowing users to segment their followers into circles. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, the drag and drop interface makes it easy for users to organize their followers into interest groups. When those company profiles come around, you will be able to target your messages to specific audiences. Instead of having a message geared towards the general public, you can have several different messages that each cater to the interests of a defined group.
2. Use Google Hangouts to connect with clients, supporters, funders, and team members.
Hangouts is another distinguishing feature of Google+. With hangouts, users can connect with their circles via a live web chat. Currently, hangouts can have up to ten people in one session. According to Marc Pitman, from The Fundraising Coach, Google hangouts is the present-day equivalent to “fireside chats”. The idea is to have one representative from the company host an open office hangout where supporters and funders can ask questions and have a representative answer them in a web conference. People can join at anytime during the hangout, and it’s a great way to spur conversation amongst your circles. Even after the hangout ends, the conversation often continues in your stream.
3. Add your interests to Google Sparks
By adding your interests to Google Sparks, you can stay up to date with all the latest news surrounding a topic. You can easily share articles with your followers and spark conversations about industry news. Nonprofits can simply sign into their Google+ account to keep track of news regarding fundraising, marketing and industry events.
Google recently closed their beta sign up for business profiles, but they will be releasing a fully developed version later this year. You can read up on updates by adding “google+ business” to your Sparks.
Do You Really Need to Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly?
Whether you’re in the marketing department of a large nonprofit or a DIY-minded entrepreneur, you have to consider the implications of the mobile computing shift on your online presence. Smartphones are becoming more mainstream by the week, and less trendy but still handy “feature” phones, their less chic little cousins, have nearly saturated the rest of the market.
A news story has recently been making the rounds about the speculation that more smartphones than PC’s will be made in 2011. Journalists and bloggers have been heralding it as a shift in the paradigm, claiming that the desktop is dead.
But how does this tech trend translate into real-world marketing numbers? Do you really need to take this into account when developing your organization’s web site?
The answer is, “of course.”*
*But notice the asterisk. Each brand is unique, and there is no one-size fits all approach to the mobile web. You have to ask yourself some questions to find your own strategy.
Interested in tackling this critical topic? Then read more…
11 NTC Recap
Picture 2,008 registered attendees plus attendants (vendors, security, porters, attendees, mechanics, staffers) — think multitudes — all in motion, milling between multiple levels and venues in the cavernous Washington Hilton — think Ronald Reagan was almost assassinated here — bristling with tools, toys, gadgets, more smart devices per square inch than in J&R showroom; and we are here amongst them at our first national conference for WebServes, and we are smiling (like most of the others). Three days of conferencing: chats, buffets, snacks, bad coffee, worse wifi, workshops, intros, outros, cards, notes, swag, onesheets, open bar, closed shops, and then it’s past.
What can I say about the 11NTC conference? When debriefed by colleagues and staff back in FiDi — insider code for the lowest district of Manhattan — I could offer little in coherent and salient takeaways, except a buzz, a pulse of energy that carried through geographical and temporal “space” to signal a connection to a great many passionate and committed people trying to accomplish good with our newest tools, a kind of social technology. I remain abuzz with renewed energy and lashed commitment to pursue our mission — empowering through technology — but it’s changed. What’s changed is the perception of a community of interest that we are amidst and can draw from and to which we contribute. We are no longer alone. We have people to talk to and people who can talk to us.
An additional note, I discovered a new term to define our organization at 11NTC: TSP (Technology Service Provider), an organization that helps nonprofits utilize technology to promote their mission and reach their audience. WebServes is more exceptional than most TSPs in that we are a non-profit that assists other nonprofits, since most TSPs are for-profit entities.
Lastly, here are some key takeaways from the conference that I’d like to share:
- Social media is the gateway to future online supporters and funders.
- Keep your Twitter, Facebook, and blog pages up to date, and don’t forget to respond to comments or retweets.
- Utilize the tools that are offered by Google for Nonprofits.
- Use technology to organize your team (shared calendars, dashboard tools, etc.)
- Remember to take advantage of the many resources available through NTEN itself. They are around every day, not just to produce conferences like this!
En solidaritas digitalis,
Free Marketing From Your Email Signature
Here’s a nonprofit marketing tip from Nancy E. Schwartz at Getting Attention. The results are surprisingly powerful, even though it takes no resources. It’s also very speedy to put into place.
We do everything with email, so let’s use this ubiquitous medium to its full potential. Remember that your email has a built-in signature at the end. Every organization employee ought to create a signature line that includes their name, contact info, position and a URL to the organization’s web site. Here’s the format:
Information Technology Director
http://www.hubertfoundation.orgPhone (555) 456-897
Fax (435) 555-7634
The traditional letter signature includes the street address, but Nancy E. Schwartz recommends we get rid of the street address and include the web address instead. You can also just simplify it to a few lines, and add a personal touch or a tagline that encourages the reader to click on the URL. Be sure that it fits in with the overall style of all of your organization’s external communications, since it is your modern-day calling card. Here’s a simplified example:
Assistant Marketing Director
http://www.savingmoneysavinglives.org“A penny saved is a life improved”
Look in your email program’s help feature with the keyword “signature” to find out how to implement this useful tool. Web-based email accounts and smart phones also have this available in the settings.
Once you do this, you’ll definitely notice more attention coming your way.