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How to Get Social on Social Media

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How to Get Social on Social Media

by Kate Vandeveld

Social media is an incredibly impactful tool, but it can be alarmingly (and ironically) anti-social if it takes the place of developing real-life connections. To ensure you’re using social media to establish meaningful connections (that even translate to real life!), execute in a thoughtful manner.

How to Get Social on Social Media -- via WhyWhisper Collective

Here are some of our tips for connecting and building relationships on social media

Pay Attention & Stay Active

If you want to use social media to find and connect with others in your field, you have to pay attention and stay active. First, follow the individuals and organizations in your space that you’re already connected to or know about. Then, find other people who are talking about your interests by searching for and staying on top of hashtags that those in your space are using. Develop Twitter lists for different types of individuals and organizations that you want to engage with, and check those lists daily. Look for groups on Facebook and LinkedIn that are relevant to your interests, and engage with others in them by posting and responding. When you see something worth sharing, re-tweet it with a comment (great new Twitter feature, in case you don’t know about it yet!).

Be Responsive

If you’re paying attention and staying active on social media, other users will begin to follow you, and share and respond to your posts. Take advantage of the opportunity to connect! Thank new followers and those who share your posts. When someone sends you a direct message or mentions your work, respond to them. Try to be thoughtful with your responses, rather than sending blanket messages that may feel like spam. Responding to those who engage with you in a genuine way will go a long way in building meaningful connections.

Actively Reach Out

While you could just passively interact on social media (waiting for others to reach out to you and responding accordingly), you will be much more effective if you actively reach out to people as well. Before you begin active outreach, make sure your profile is up to par: check out your photos to make sure they’re crisp and representative of you, and take a look at your descriptions to make sure they are accurate and include a link to your website or work. Then, look for thought leaders in your space, as well as less influential individuals who are sharing valuable information. When you see that someone has shared something of interest, respond with a question. If you really want to connect, send a direct message, but be thoughtful about it. Make sure your message is genuine and informative. Who knows? One little tweet or Facebook comment could lead to a strong rapport (our founder has met several clients and team members via Twitter!).

Follow Up

So, you’ve just gone to an event where you made some interesting connections, or met someone in passing with whom you share a common interest. You may not be comfortable sending a formal follow-up email or perhaps you don’t have their information, but you do want to keep the connection alive and/or learn more about their work. Social media is the perfect medium for this kind of follow-up. First, follow or connect with these individuals, and then determine the best way to reach out. Need ideas? Send them a direct message asking for a follow-up meeting. Thank them for a specific bit of insight or just for taking the time to talk. Share something that they’ve posted as a show of support. No matter how you go about it, following up on social media is a great way to sustain what would have otherwise been a fleeting connection.

Join Twitter Storms & Chats

When you’re passionate about a specific topic or issue, you generally want to discuss it with others who share that passion. If you’re having a hard time finding the right audience in real life, turn to Twitter. Beyond using hashtags to find those with common interests, you can also seek out Twitter Storms and Twitter Chats. These are organized Twitter conversations, spanning a short time period and around a specific topic, in which all Twitter users who are interested in the topic are invited to participate. You can use these conversations to gain information, to engage and connect with others who share your passions, and to pose questions that you’d like to discuss openly. Afterwards, use it as an opportunity to take the conversation offline.

Take the Conversation Offline

Social media conversations don’t have to begin and end entirely online. Once you’ve developed a rapport with an individual or organization, you can decide whether or not it’s appropriate to take the conversation offline and connect in person. In fact, many individuals have even used social media to land jobs!  

 

It takes some time and effort to establish meaningful connections on social media, but it can be incredibly worthwhile. Do you have any additional tips, or a story about a time when you developed a relationship on social media that extended to real life? Share with us! Here’s how:

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Why You Need a Social Media Strategy

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Why You Need a Social Media Strategy

by Kate Vandeveld

As social media marketers, we often engage with clients who want to launch a social media presence or campaign quickly. And we get it – when you’re ready to get the word out about your product or services, you really want to hit the ground running. But, if you want to ensure your social media efforts are an effective and strong representation of your brand, it is so important to develop a strategy before you jump in and start posting.

Why You Need a Social Media Strategy via WhyWhisper Collective

When you set aside time to plan out your social media strategy, you can…

Make Sure You’re In the Right Place

Often, those who are new to social media feel like they should be everywhere – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube…you name it. But really, being on too many social media platforms can be detrimental. If you’re on too many platforms without good reason, you could be wasting time trying to maintain a channel that isn’t speaking to the audience you intend. Conversely, if you choose to forego certain platforms without research, you could miss out on promising engagement opportunities.

When selecting your social media platforms, you’ll want to consider who you’re trying to reach, what kind of content they’re interested in, what you can provide that’s of value to them, and how much time you have to stay active. You can find some of this information for a few of the most widely-used social media platforms here.

Then, once you’ve selected your social media platforms, you need to set them up correctly. Start by making sure that your images are crisp and compelling, that your descriptions are optimized for search, comprehension, and tone of voice, and that your branding is aligned across all platforms. First impressions are critical on social media, so think through how to do it right.

 

Decide On Your Destination

Before launching anything, you should be able to answer “why?” Do you need greater awareness of your products or services? Are you hoping to increase revenue or donations? Are your customers looking for a more personal buying experience? Define your objectives carefully, and identify the metrics you will need to track. Make a plan to report these metrics and analyze your data on a regular basis. This will allow you to make adjustments and improvements along the way.

Why You Need a Social Media Strategy via WhyWhisper

 

Develop a Strong Voice

Just like in a conversation, your tone and voice are incredibly important on social media. If you already have a strong sense of the persona you’d like to express, taking the time to write it down in detail will go a long way in making sure you get it right. Putting it in writing also means you’ll be able to share your voice and messaging guidelines with your team, if they should ever need to post on your behalf.

If you’re unsure of the voice you want your brand to convey, look at the brands you admire and write down what you like most. Do you want to be casual and witty? Speak more formally? Come across as a friend, a mom, or an authority figure? There are so many ways you can position your brand, and what you decide will have a big effect on the extent to which an audience will engage with your posts.

 

Make Room for Creative Ideas

Once you know who you’re talking to, where you need to be, what others are doing in your sector, and how to be efficient with your time, you’re in the best possible place to come up with creative ideas. Take CTC International’s #LoveIsProject. Earlier this year, the organization launched a social media campaign in promotion of a new crowdfunding effort, encouraging people to connect with each other by posting their own stories of love with the hashtag #LoveIsProject. With careful planning, they saw enormously high participation rates, and exceeded their crowdfunding goal of $5,000, raising a total of $32,844. 

Or take a look at DoSomething.org, a non-profit that brings young people together to tackle some of the world's most pressing problems by creating and joining social impact campaigns. Through careful strategic planning, they've developed a strong voice that appeals to their target audience: young, motivated individuals who want to make an impact. Their humorous and engaging content has prompted thousands to get involved in their campaigns, which have made an impact a range of issues, from bullying to homelessness to literacy.

Why You Need a Social Media Strategy via WhyWhisper


Ensure Efficient Management

Every platform requires a different posting frequency, and posts are more effective on various platforms at different times of day. Maintaining social media feeds can be time consuming, and sometimes overwhelming; but, it doesn’t have to be. By planning ahead, you can utilize time-saving social media management tools to schedule posts and monitor relevant activity from others automatically. You can develop content calendars that ensure consistent messaging across platforms. And your management strategies will free up your time to focus on authentic engagement with your audience.

 

Review Best Practices & Content

Make sure to look at what others in your space are doing well or poorly, as well as how different types of content are received on different platforms. When you go in blind, you miss the opportunity to learn from the mistakes and successes of others.

 

No matter how well acquainted you are with social media, or how excited you are to launch your social campaign, you will find great value in taking the time to strategize. Developing a focused strategy will make a huge difference in your long-term results.

What are some of your tips for strategizing around social media? Share with us in the comments below, or on our own platforms – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

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Which Social Media Platforms Are Right for You?

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Which Social Media Platforms Are Right for You?

by Kate Vandeveld

At WhyWhisper, we work to make sure that organizations and businesses that are changing the world are able to spread the word about their work as effectively as possible. And as a widely available, generally unrestricted, and low-cost communication channel, social media is an essential part of any marketing and communications strategy.

But in order to engage the right audiences and enhance your brand, it is crucial to choose the right social platforms. Too often, organizations opt to use too many platforms, and then neglect them or use them ineffectively; or choose the wrong platforms and miss important segments of their audience.

Which Social Media Platforms Are Right for You? on WhyWhisper

Here’s what you need to consider in order to ensure that you’re utilizing the social media platforms that are best for you: 

Who are you trying to reach?  

What are the demographics of the people you’re talking to? Think in terms of age, gender, location, education, income level, etc. Also, are you hoping to reach individuals or businesses?  

What kind of content do you have to share?

Do you have a lot of original content to share with your followers? How often does your content feature images that you could share on social media?

How much time do you have to stay active?

Think about this in terms of how much time you’ll have to dedicate to social media on a daily or weekly basis.


Once you’ve identified your target audience, reviewed the amount of original content you have to share, and assessed how much time you have to remain active and engaged, you can start to determine which platforms you should be using. Here’s how it breaks down on some of the most widely used social media platforms:

Which Social Media Platforms Are Right for You? - WhyWhisper
  • Audience: Facebook has the largest audience of all of the social media platforms, with little variance between age and gender, though it skews slightly female. Facebook can be used to reach any demographic.
  • Content: Consider using Facebook if you have access a good deal of original content. Ideally, you’ll want to use images as much as possible on Facebook, as posts that include images perform much more successfully than those without.
  • Time commitment: Facebook requires a lower time commitment, as most posts can be scheduled in advance through the Facebook platform itself, and you won’t need to engage as actively as you would on a more fast-paced platform like Twitter.
    • Recommended frequency: 1-2 posts each day (scheduled through Facebook)

 

Which Social Media Platforms Are Right for You? - WhyWhisper
  • Audience: If you’re trying to reach a younger audience, especially those aged 18-49, consider using Twitter. While Twitter’s audience skews slightly male, you definitely shouldn’t discount it if you are looking to reach a more female audience. Because Twitter’s users are more active than those on other platforms, with 46% logging in on a daily basis, it is ideal for reaching highly engaged individuals who are looking for the latest and greatest information.
  • Content: If you are going to use Twitter, you should have access to a large amount of original content or the time and ability to remain consistently active with your followers on a daily basis. Twitter’s interface is such that new posts are only at the top of the queue momentarily, so you have to introduce new content frequently to stay on your audience’s radar.
  • Time commitment: As noted, Twitter requires more consistent time commitment for growth and engagement. Though the bulk of your posts can be scheduled in advance through a third party management tool, you will want to be engage with your followers live as much as possible as well.
    • Recommended frequency: 4+ posts each day (scheduled through a third party management tool), plus as much live interaction with followers as possible

 

Which Social Media Platforms Are Right for You? - WhyWhisper
  • Audience: If you are trying to reach the 18-29 age bracket, consider using Instagram. The platform’s users skew slightly female (29% of all internet users versus 22% of men). Instagram’s audience has been steadily on the rise, with 26% of adult internet users now on the platform (up from 17% in 2013), so it’s definitely worth considering if you have access to compelling visual content.
  • Content: As Instagram is a primarily visual platform, you should definitely have access to shareable images if you’re considering using Instagram.  
  • Time commitment: Instagram requires frequent sharing and consistent use for growth and engagement, so keep that in mind when you’re deciding whether or not to use it. Posts can be scheduled in advance through a third party management tool, though on this platform it is more difficult to control the visual outcome of a scheduled post than it is to post live. Because of that, we recommend testing out the management tool to make sure that posts look the way that you want them to before scheduling a large number of them.
    • Recommended frequency: Posting 4-7x/week (live or scheduled through a third party management tool), plus as much live interaction with followers as possible

 

Which Social Media Platforms Are Right for You? - WhyWhisper
  • Audience: If you are trying to reach females aged 18-29 and 50+, you should definitely consider Pinterest. Pinterest skews considerably more female, with 42% of women on the internet are using the platform compared with just 13% of men.
  • Content: Pinterest content is focused around images, so definitely consider this platform if your content is image heavy.
  • Time commitment: Pinterest requires active sharing and use in order to grow and maintain a following. Like with Instagram, Pinterest posts can be scheduled in advance through a third party management tool, but be sure to test it out to make sure that your posts look like you intend them to before scheduling a large number.
    • Recommended frequency: Posting 3-5x/week (live or scheduled through a third party management tool), plus as much live interaction with followers as possible

 

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  • Audience: If you are trying to reach employed college graduates aged 30-64, you should consider using LinkedIn. This platform is geared toward professionals, and those who are looking to network on a business level. Because of this, LinkedIn is ideal for B2B companies, and companies with a high level of need for new talent. It's also great for non-profits that are looking to find volunteers and engage with other similar organizations.
  • Content: LinkedIn users are looking for industry insights and news about your business or organization. If you have a good amount of that kind of information to share with a young professional audience, definitely consider using LinkedIn. LinkedIn is also a great place for finding volunteers, building professional connections, and finding new talent for your business.
  • Time commitment: LinkedIn requires less consistent sharing and use, so it is not nearly as time consuming as some of the more fast-paced platforms. As with Instagram and Pinterest, posts can be scheduled in advance through a third party management tool (like Hootsuite or Sprout Social), but we recommend that you test it out with LinkedIn as well.
    • Recommended frequency: Posting 1-2x/week (live or scheduled through a third party management tool), plus some interaction with groups that are relevant to you or your brand

Once you’ve narrowed your options down, we recommend that you get a bit more in-depth with your strategy. Consider the following:

Which platforms are your competitors using, and how are they using them?

Research where your competitors are on social media, and how successful they are on the platforms they’re using. You’ll likely want to be where your competitors are, and you can use their strategies as a starting point to determine what is working to engage similar audiences (as well as what isn’t!).

How do you or your brand stand out from competitors, and how can you use social media to showcase that?

Think about the things that make you or your brand unique from your competitors, and how you can accentuate that value through social media. For example, if your content features beautiful images, whereas your competitors’ does not, which platforms can you use to best showcase them? This way, you can draw in a different segment of your shared audience.


If used effectively, social media can make a huge difference in helping you achieve your goals, whether you want to increase web traffic, boost donations or revenue, or simply grow your following.

What are your favorite social media platforms, and why? Let us know in the comments below, or share with us on our own social platforms – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Using Social Media as a Catalyst for Social Good

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Using Social Media as a Catalyst for Social Good

by Kate Vandeveld

At this past week’s Social Good Summit in New York, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter made an important statement on the subject of social media:

“Today, social media is one of the most powerful tools for mobilizing communities across the oceans and generating collective solutions to challenges in peace and health.” 

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While some may disparage social media as being a hindrance to productivity and a medium for narcissism, the reality is that social media can and should be used as a tool for creating real, substantive change.  Last week, we discussed using Twitter as a catalyst for global discourse, but that is just one of many ways that social media can be used to break down socioeconomic, cultural, and political barriers that hinder conversation and impede progress. As a generally unrestricted, and widely available means of communication, social media provides all of us with feasible ways to contribute to social good.

Here are some of the ways that social media acts as a powerful tool for change:

Spreads Awareness About Preventable Illnesses & Diseases

With social media, we have the opportunity to reach people across geographic and social boundaries and spread the word about pervasive issues to domestic and international audiences.

At the Social Good Summit, President Carter went on to speak about the effects of social media on global health, specifically the Guinea worm disease. Social media has played a significant role in the movement to eradicate Guinea worm disease, raising awareness about the waterborne parasite. The Carter Center even developed an app called “Guinea Worm: Countdown to Zero” that allows users to follow the progress of the Center’s eradication program, and provides information and other resources to those who are affected by the disease, as well as those who are contributing to its eradication on the ground. As a result of this effort, the Carter Center asserts that Guinea worm disease will soon be the second human disease to be eradicated.

Mobilizes Resources in Times of Need

Social media allows for the rapid spread of information, which is a crucial element in times of need. When a natural disaster strikes, natural or man-made, social media has proven to be an effective way to spread the word about how individuals can provide aid to those affected.

For example, when bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon killed three people and injured an estimated 264 others, people in the Boston area remained ready to assist in the recovery efforts, despite their personal fears and the obvious devastation.  Social media platforms became the favored method of disseminating information. As the city watched social media for more information, the American Red Cross used Twitter and Facebook to encourage Bostonians to donate blood. The bombings took place on the afternoon of April 15th, and by that very evening they had enough blood to treat all victims

Calls Upon Communities to Identify Criminals

With 271 million active monthly Twitter users and over 1.2 billion active monthly Facebook users, these platforms act as an effective means of securing information that could have taken months or even years to obtain in years past. Now, when a question is posed on these social media platforms, engaged users are often eager to respond with their knowledge and opinions, much of which is useful from a practical standpoint.

On occasion, social media has even helped authorities identify alleged criminals. On September 11th, a group of Philadelphia residents allegedly attacked a gay couple in what has been widely acknowledged as a hate crime. Authorities were able to capture an image of the attackers from surveillance footage, and shared it on social media in an attempt to identify them. In a matter of days, word spread across Twitter, and the alleged attackers were identified and arrests have now been made

These are just a few of the many ways that social media can act as a catalyst for social good. How do you use social media to further social good? Let us know in the comments below or reach out via Facebook and Twitter.

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Are You Effectively Supporting Your Nonprofit Event via Social Media?

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Are You Effectively Supporting Your Nonprofit Event via Social Media?

Social media has the power to sell tickets, reach new audiences, and generate conversation. That being said, it involves more than just sharing an update. Here are a few ways to effectively use your channels before, during, and after an event: 

Create a Twitter Hashtag
Creating a unique Twitter hashtag is a great way to get fans to recognize and take part in conversation that pertains specifically to your event. It also provides an efficient way to access an organized feed of all relevant visual and written content, alongside the users who posted it.

Provide Branded Activation
Many event planners are now using tech-savvy ID wristbands for general admission and/or VIP access to their events. These wristbands can be customized for admission, ticketing, social sharing, and more -- all through RFID technology that uses radio waves to automatically identify people and/or objects. If you’re not feeling that tech-savvy just yet, you can create your own version of a branded photo booth. By placing signs or logos in photo backdrops and decorations, you establish a way for attendees to inadvertently promote your brand throughout the night. 

Use an Amplifier
An amplifier is a tool that allows fans to tweet all together at the start of an event. Some examples include Thunderclap, JustCoz and Gaggleamp. Thunderclap, for example, creates an impact through "the power of people speaking together”. If enough people in your network sign up, it blasts out a Facebook Post or Tweet from all your supporters at the exact same time, thereby creating a wave of social media attention. 

Create a TwitterWall
A Twitter wall serves as an ongoing visual reminder for attendees to live tweet throughout your event. Twitterfall and Visible Tweets are excellent for this purpose. People feel validation when seeing their tweets projected live. Meanwhile, your nonprofit gains visibility amongst attendees' online audiences. We've even seen people take online conversations offline after recognizing another's avatar! 

After Story
Once your event is over, follow up with digital participants to ensure that you effectively convert them into fans and donors. One way to continue the conversation is to collect photos with the event hashtag and post them to Facebook and flickr. Additionally, you can use an app like storify to curate tweets, photos, videos, and resources to share with attendees and fans.

Have other ways you like to promote your events? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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