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Social Media

What We Learned in 2015

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What We Learned in 2015

What We Learned in 2016 -- WhyWhisper Collective

2015 was an exciting year! We worked to expand access to integrative healthcare for communities in need, designed programs to support new mothers, expanded awareness of clean energy initiatives in New York, and so much more. We connected with inspiring individuals who are working to change the world every day. We made big internal changes (that we’re excited to share with you in 2016!). And, perhaps most importantly, we learned a lot.

Along the way, we’ve been sure to share many of our takeaways with you via our blog. As 2015 comes to a close and you’re kicking of 2016, be sure to check out the posts below to find insights on the subjects (both personal and professional) that are most relevant to you!

Start with Yourself

This year, we learned a lot about the importance of taking time for self-care and self-improvement. The positive effects of taking care of yourself extend to all areas of your life -- from mental health to workplace effectiveness. Self-improvement looks different for each individual, and can encompass anything from taking time off, to making more responsible purchasing decisions, to educating yourself about things that matter to you. To help you get started, here’s some of what we’ve learned:

 

Learn from the Experts

We believe one of the best ways to learn about social impact is by example. This year, we’ve been lucky enough to connect with and learn from innovative and effective leaders from nonprofits, social enterprises, and corporations. Here’s a bit of what we’ve learned:

 

Share Your Message

One of our focus areas at WhyWhisper is helping nonprofits and socially conscious businesses spread the word about their work. From developing voice and messaging guidelines to implementing an effective social media strategy and beyond, there are so many ways you can ensure that people know about the impact you’re making. If you’re looking for tips, start here:

 

Think About Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

The concept of building social impact into existing business models is on the rise, and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Businesses and corporations can make significant headway in addressing social issues, and we look forward to seeing (and helping) more of you follow suit next year. If you’re interested in learning more about CSR, here’s some of what we’ve shared this past year:

 

Increase Your Impact

We’re constantly exploring ways that organizations and businesses can make internal changes that have a positive effect on their workplaces and on the world. Here’s some of what we’ve learned:

 

Take Action

We’re also always looking for ways to help our community bridge the gap between caring about a particular issue and actually taking action. When you’re short on resources, or don’t really know where to get started, it can be tough to make moves. We’ve put together a number of posts about how you can take action around different issues – and some are as easy as talking about the issues online! Check them out:

 

Words of Wisdom for Freelancers

At WhyWhisper, we set out to build a different kind of work structure. As such, our team is comprised of consultants who work remotely and independently, taking on projects that are personally meaningful with teammates who support and inspire. But freelancing has its own challenges, and we’ve learned a lot along the way:

What’s your biggest learning from 2015? We’d love to hear about it, and share with our community. Here’s how to get in touch:

Happy New Year to our incredible community! We’re so lucky to learn from you every day, and can’t wait for all that we’ll do together this year. Feel free to connect with us anytime – we love to hear from you.

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The Art of Efficient Social Media Management

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The Art of Efficient Social Media Management

by Kate Vandeveld

Maintaining your brand’s social media presence can feel daunting. So much so that often, businesses and organizations set up their social media platforms, post a bunch for the first couple of weeks, and then get too overwhelmed and stop altogether. As you may have guessed, this is not a good plan. Social media creates incredible opportunities to maximize awareness of your brand, drive leads, and activate influencers… but not if you’re not active.

The Art of Efficient Social Media Management -- via WhyWhisper Collective

Thankfully, we have good news! Social media management doesn’t have to be as hard or as time consuming as you might think. In fact, you can do what you need to do in just a few hours each week. 

That said, we do have one caveat: There are some steps you should take in advance to make this easy maintenance possible. Here they are…

Strategize

First and foremost, if you want to ensure that your social media efforts are an effective and strong representation of your brand, you’ll want to take the time to develop a social media strategy. In doing so, you’ll have a solid understanding of your audience, competitors, key channels, and content strategy, which will put you in a perfect position  to confidently and efficiently develop and share content. If you’re still not sold, here are our thoughts on why social strategy is so crucial.

Do Your Research

Once you’ve developed your social strategy, you’ll have a good idea of who your audience is and how you want to talk to them. But a little bit of additional research will make management even easier. First, take the time to develop a list of commonly used Twitter hashtags in your industry. Knowing what these are in advance will help you as you develop content and look for relevant posts to share with your audience.

Then, do some research around influencers and thought leaders in your field. Create Twitter lists that break these individuals and organizations out into different audience segments or content types. For example, if your target audience is moms, you might have lists for mom bloggers, parenting experts, and influential pediatricians. These lists will save you a ton of time when you’re looking for content to share each day.

Invest in a Scheduling Tool

There are many different social media scheduling tools out there. Sprout Social is our current favorite, but all will save you a ton of time when you start to publish your content. Do some research on what each tool has to offer, and then set it up for each of your channels. This will allow you to schedule a lot of your social content in advance, as well as engage with your community in a more efficient manner.

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Once you’ve completed these initial steps, you’re ready to start pushing out content. Here are the simple steps we recommend that you take to maintain your social media presence:

Schedule Posts in Advance

There are certain aspects of your content strategy that you’ll be able to prepare and schedule in advance. For example, you can promote elements of your brand that won’t change, such as newsletter sign-up or details about an upcoming event. Your content strategy will inform you about the frequency and timing with you should be scheduling. This way, if you don’t have a ton of time to post live throughout the week, your feeds will still remain active. That said, we have one important note to share: Take the time to make sure everything looks good throughout the day every day – sometimes, a post will look great when you schedule it, and get messed up when it goes live. You never know!

Share Live Updates

Odds are, part of your content strategy includes sharing news or information that you can’t schedule in advance. In order to keep your voice authentic, get on your social accounts just once or twice a day and share something original that you’ve found. If you don’t have time to share anything original, it’s okay – just skip ahead to the next step this time.

Engage & Share

Choose two or three times each day on your calendar to take five to ten minutes to do the following:

  • Respond to all comments and mentions that have come in
  • Review RTs and new followers and thank as appropriate
  • Check your Twitter lists and the list you created of commonly used hashtags, and share a few pieces of content that are relevant to your brand (Note: Now, you can re-tweet with comments – do so if you have an extra moment!)

That’s it! Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of social media management best practices. But if you follow these simple steps, you’ll be able to maintain a solid social presence for your brand, in a manageable amount of time.

What are your favorite social media management tips? Share with us! Here’s how:

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How to Implement an Effective Content Strategy

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How to Implement an Effective Content Strategy

by Kate Vandeveld

As marketers, we’re all about developing and implementing effective content strategies. While we agree with Bill Gates that “content is king,” we also know that great content is nothing without a great strategy to promote it.

How to Implement an Effective Content Strategy -- WhyWhisper Collective

Effective content strategies vary based on a number of elements – a business or organization’s mission, audience, and goals, to name a few. Critical components typically include, but are not limited to: a website, social media, a newsletter, and a blog.

But no matter what your content strategy looks like, there are certain things you can and should do to ensure its effectiveness. Here are our tips: 

Know Your Audience

When you’re developing your brand’s content strategy, it’s crucial to know your audience. And we’re not just talking basic demographics – take the time to look into their interests, the types of media they most frequently engage with, and their purchasing habits. The more you know about your target audience, the better you can tailor your content to their interests and needs.

Establish Goals

Before you get started, think about what you’re trying to accomplish.  Do you want to grow your following? Are you hoping to increase engagement? Looking to boost sales? When you take the time to establish your goals from the start, you can build your content strategy around them.

Develop a Voice

We’ve talked about the importance of honing in on your brand’s voice before developing and sharing social media content, but this advice really applies across the board. If you want to create a brand personality that your target audience can relate to, take the time to think through how you want to speak to them. Is your brand’s voice informal and colloquial? More professional? What kinds of words and phrases do you want to use, and which do you want to avoid? Think it through – it will make a noticeable difference.

Be Consistent

When it comes to content strategy, consistency is key. Come up with a schedule for each element of your strategy, so you can be sure to deliver content at regular intervals. Messaging consistency is equally as important. When you put out a blog post, share it on social media and in your newsletter, if possible. If you update your website to reflect a change in brand positioning, do the same across all platforms.

Monitor & Adjust Accordingly

Once you’ve put the time into getting to know your audience, setting goals, developing a voice, and coming up with a plan for consistency, it’s time to monitor your strategy. Look at metrics and pay attention to engagement across all elements of your strategy. Then comes the most important part: Use what you learn to make adjustments to your strategy. Change messaging or timing, share more or less frequently. Try new tactics and pay attention to the response. Use the first few months after implementing a new strategy as a testing period – your strategy will be stronger for it.


No matter what your brand or organization, if you take the time to do these things when you’re developing and implementing your brand’s content strategy, it will be well worth it.

What are your personal tips and tricks for content strategy? Share with us! Let’s help each other be the best we can be. Here’s how you can share:

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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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5 Ways to Step up Your #Hashtag Game

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5 Ways to Step up Your #Hashtag Game

by Kate Vandeveld

Let’s talk about #hashtags. As many of us know, hashtags allow social media users to group key words and phrases so they are easily searchable. But these days, they are so much more; and coming up with a solid hashtag is a crucial element of most successful social media strategies.

5 Ways to Step up Your #Hashtag Game - via WhyWhisper

Here are some of the ways you can use hashtags take your social media strategy to the next level:

Promote an Event

You can use a hashtag to promote an upcoming event. Share event details using the hashtag, so potential and confirmed attendees can easily see what you’ll have to offer. Ask ticket purchasers to share that they’re attending using the event hashtag, so that their followers will take notice as well. Promote images of past events, when possible, to entice first-time attendees.

Then, use the same hashtag during the event itself so attendees can share their experiences, be it through quotes, anecdotes or photos. This is free (and sometimes even viral) publicity, plus it allows you to review the event from the perspective of your attendees after it’s over.

One great example is goods for goods#GalaforGood campaign. Leading up to their annual Gala for Good fundraiser, the organization uses the hashtag to share event details, encouraging their followers to join in the fun and promote the cause. Then, at the gala, attendees are encouraged to share their favorite parts of the evening using the hashtag, providing a fun overview for anyone interested (and fodder for the next year’s campaign!).

5 Ways to Step up Your #Hashtag Game - via WhyWhisper Collective

 

Launch a Campaign

Whether you’re launching a new product or fundraiser, you can rally people around your campaign with a great hashtag. Often, people first become interested in a product or an organization because they’re committed to the mission behind it. Hashtags give companies and organizations the opportunity to share their mission in one short, shareable statement that will engage their followers.

Standbuy, a crowdfunding platform for those who have been diagnosed with cancer, launched a fundraiser last year using the hashtag #StandbuyEachother. Not only did they encourage contributors to spread the word about the campaign, but they also used the hashtag to collect stories of gratitude for times that their followers received help in a time of need. Using the hashtag in this way built a positive conversation around the campaign, and strengthened and expanded Standbuy’s community of supporters.

5 Ways to Step up Your #Hashtag Game - via WhyWhisper

 

Increase Engagement

Hashtags can also be used to increase engagement with your target audience and expand your following. One tactic is to ask questions of your followers using a specific hashtag, and encourage them to share their answers using it as well. Another is to simply include your hashtag in posts about a relevant topic, and ask your followers to do the same.

For example, nonprofit organizations that are working to end human trafficking often use hashtags like #endhumantrafficking, #endtrafficking, and #endslavery to rally supporters on social media. Through these hashtags, those who are interested in the issue can engage with organizations that are doing work they believe in, that they may not have known about otherwise.  You can learn more about how to get involved in the fight against human trafficking here

5 Ways to Step up Your #Hashtag Game - via WhyWhisper

 

Participate in a Movement

Twitter has emerged as a platform for discussion around major global events and social issues, and those conversations are often centered around hashtags. Hashtags allow people from around the world to easily connect on these topics, sharing their thoughts and opinions.

One incredible example of how a hashtag contributed to such a movement started in summer of 2013, when George Zimmerman was acquitted of shooting Trayvon Martin. In response, hundreds of thousands of individuals participated in the #BlackLivesMatter movement on Twitter, voicing their anger and disappointment in the police force and judicial system. Today, the movement continues, and extends far beyond Twitter.

If you’re interested in using hashtags in this way, here are some other ways that you can spark global discourse through Twitter.

5 Ways to Step up Your #Hashtag Game - via WhyWhisper

 

Start or Join a Trending Topic

You can also use hashtags to attract new followers in your day-to-day strategy. The original purpose of hashtags was to organize certain words and phrases so that they are easily searchable to all users. That purpose is still relevant today, and is the basis for many meaningful connections.

If you’re tweeting about a topic that you think others might be talking about as well, do a little bit of research on the hashtags associated with the topic. If it’s something that is currently in the news, it may be an official trending topic – check the list on the left-hand side of your Twitter feed. If not, you can still include relevant hashtags in your tweets to engage others who might be searching for articles or conversation on the same topic. Some of our favorites are #socialimpact, #socent, and #changemakers. Share with us in the comments if you know of a hashtag you think we should follow!

5 Ways to Step up Your #Hashtag Game - via WhyWhisper

 

While Twitter and Instagram are the most popular platforms for using hashtags, they are also supported on Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, and more. Be sure to consider which platforms you’ll be using and how you can integrate your hashtag into your campaign across all of them.

If you’re developing your own hashtag, make it simple, catchy, and unique to ensure effectiveness. A good hashtag is pure gold when it comes to engagement in the fast-paced world of social media, so take the time to be thoughtful about it.

What’s the best hashtag campaign you’ve seen recently? We want to know about it! Share with us in the comments below, or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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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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Work Hard & Be Nice: How Askinosie Chocolate is Changing the World

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Work Hard & Be Nice: How Askinosie Chocolate is Changing the World

by Kate Vandeveld

As you may have noticed, we’re really into the idea of changing the world for the better. And, similar to almost everyone else in the world, we also LOVE chocolate. So you can imagine how thrilled we were to learn about Askinosie Chocolate – a social enterprise that creates sustainable change through the production and distribution of chocolate.

© Askinosie Chocolate 

© Askinosie Chocolate 

There are many things that make Askinosie Chocolate stand out. To start, their commitment to social responsibility, unique story, friendly and approachable messaging, and beautiful packaging. We had the chance to chat with Lawren Askinosie, the company’s Director of Sales and Marketing (as well as the founder’s daughter), who gave us the inside scoop on the magic behind the brand, as well as their impact.


Tell us a bit about Askinosie Chocolate and what you do.

My dad started the factory in 2006, after over 20 years as a criminal defense attorney, because he was ready for a change. I was still in high school at the time, but immediately became intimately involved with our new lives as chocolate makers, especially on the marketing side of things.

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For a while, at 15, I was the one handling our social media, writing our press releases, writing website copy, and packaging copy. In fact, those things are still part of my job, except at the time I had no idea what I was doing. I learned so much as I went along though, and it was fun. Even now, we're still such a small team that we're often learning on the fly. With each new opportunity or project, we learn a plethora of new skills because, well, there's often no one else around to do it and somebody has to!

I started college a bit early and graduated a bit early, because I was honestly so passionate about what we were creating that I couldn't wait to jump in full-time at the factory (which I did immediately). I have been in my role as Director of Sales & Marketing for a little over 4 years, and every day is completely different.

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We have a little saying around the factory: "It's not about the chocolate, it's about the chocolate," which sums up our philosophy of this zen-like balance we strive for between an excellent product and doing as much good as we can. Whether it's our Direct Trade practices and profit sharing with our farmer partners, our Sustainable Lunch ProgramsChocolate University, or our commitment to traveling the globe in search of the best beans and developing relationships with the amazing farmers who harvest them, it all makes our chocolate better.


As you’ve noted, Askinosie Chocolates has developed a number of incredible programs that provide food, education, and agency to members of the communities you work with. Why did you choose to incorporate social responsibility into your business model in such a major way?

We incorporate social responsibility into our business because, well, our business is founded on it. The very foundation of what we do is based on Direct Trade; without it, we wouldn't be able to make great chocolate, plain and simple. The direct relationships with farmers ensures that we have the highest quality beans possible, and the profit sharing encourages the farmers to continue to produce great beans, because it produces better chocolate, which people love and want to purchase!

Askinosie-Chocolate-WhyWhisper

As for the other work we do, it just makes sense. It made sense for us to start Chocolate University, which is funded mainly by our weekly tours, because we wanted to serve our community, particularly our neighborhood. And it also made sense for us to get involved in our origin communities. We've worked so hard to develop meaningful relationships with our farmer partners; it seemed like a direct extension to then work with their local schools and their children and help them meet this need for nutrition, which is why we began the Sustainable Lunch Programs.

Perhaps the most exciting development of the Sustainable Lunch Programs is that within 5 years, our aim is for us to be out of the picture. Right now, Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) at local schools in the communities we work with make and harvest various local products, such as rice and cocoa rounds. We then ship these products back to the United States with our cocoa beans and sell them across the country. 100% of the profits from these products are returned to the PTA to fund lunches for each student every day. Through this process, we're basically providing them access to the market. We're also teaching them to do it themselves, so within 5 years (or less), they won't need us anymore. We see that as true sustainability. In fact, both communities in which we have the Sustainable Lunch Programs (Tanzania the Philippines) are already working toward this, and are well on their way to taking their products to the next level on their own. Of course, we’ll still be involved in their communities in other ways, because being deeply involved in the communities we work with is at the core of what we do.

Askinosie WhyWhisper.jpg

In a nutshell, we believe the social purpose of Askinosie Chocolate is to not only compensate our farmers fairly and treat them like the business partners they are, but to connect those farmers with our customers – to build relationships based on mutual understanding and appreciation, which makes both our chocolate and our business better. We believe transparency, social responsibility, and sustainability aren't just a part of great chocolate, they create great chocolate. It all goes hand-in-hand. 



How has your role at the company evolved over the years, and what is your favorite part of what you do now?

My role has evolved as the company evolved. I work alongside my Dad and our COO to run the company, and even though we manage different small teams with various responsibilities, we all work extremely closely with one another (there are only 15 of us full-time!). It's very hands-on.

Many of my responsibilities are the same as they were in high school; and in some ways they're just more challenging. Ari Weinzweig, co-founder of Zingerman's and a mentor to our factory says, "Success means you get better problems--but there will always be problems." I'd say we're lucky enough now that we encounter some pretty major problems! When I'm feeling optimistic (ha!), I like to think of them as opportunities; opportunities for me to learn something, to do better. And in many ways that's how my role has evolved the most: I've become a pretty solid problem solver and I get a chance to improve that skill on a weekly, if not daily basis.

My responsibilities are so varied that I really don't have a favorite aspect, although I must say that traveling to origin countries to meet with farmers, inspect cocoa beans, and work on community development projects is not only one of my favorite and most rewarding parts of my job – those trips have also been some of my most treasured life experiences as well. 

Askinosie-Chocolate-WhyWhisper

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting their own social enterprise?

I don't know that I have anything that revelatory to share here that many other experts haven't already shared, but a piece of advice I happen to believe in wholeheartedly is this:

Work hard and be nice to people. In my (albeit limited) experience I've found that pursuing tirelessly what it is that you think is right or good, while also being kind and compassionate tends to yield pretty positive results. 

 

We couldn’t agree more: With passion, kindness, and tenacity, anything is possible. Lawren’s upbeat personality and infectious enthusiasm for change and chocolate are apparent in Askinosie Chocolate’s social media presence – check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  And we highly recommend that you buy some of their chocolate – but that almost goes without saying.

Do you know an individual or organization who is changing the world in a unique way? Tell us about them in the comments below, or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. We would love to help share their stories. 

 



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Join the Fight Against Human Trafficking

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Join the Fight Against Human Trafficking

by Kate Vandeveld

Recently, human trafficking has received increased public focus. Why? Human trafficking is the illegal movement of people for the purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation. It’s a devastating social issue, and it’s happening both internationally and here in the United States. 

Photo by Maranie Rae (http://www.maranierae.com/)

Photo by Maranie Rae (http://www.maranierae.com/)

As a multi-billion dollar industry, the International Labor Organization estimated that in 2014, there were 21 million victims of human trafficking, 5.5 million of whom were children. Recently, Pope Francis called out human trafficking as being the most pressing issue of 2015, saying that each of us “is called to combat modern forms of enslavement,” and that people from all cultures and religions must join forces in the fight against it. In 2012, President Obama committed to increase the U.S.’s efforts to combat human trafficking at the Clinton Global Initiative; and in 2014, the White House released its Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States, a five year plan that lays out the steps that the U.S. will take on the federal level to identify trafficking victims and give them access to the services they need to start over.

This month, in support of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness month, we're providing you with a few key ways you can join this fight.

 

Inform Yourself

The first step to joining the anti-trafficking movement is to inform yourself of the issue. While most are aware of trafficking in a general sense, many do not know that it’s happening right here in the United States, likely even in your own city or town.

In 2014, Polaris Project rated each state’s human trafficking laws based on 10 categories that make up the legal framework for combatting human trafficking, punishing traffickers, and supporting victims. As of July 2014, 39 states were ranked as Tier 1, meaning that they passed significant laws to combat human trafficking. Nine others and Washington, D.C. were ranked as Tier 2, and two others as Tier 3. Find out how your state ranked here.

While these rankings do demonstrate the strides the United States has made in terms of human trafficking litigation, we still have a ways to go, both domestically and abroad.  The U.S. State Department’s anti-trafficking office is currently without leadership after Luis CdeBaca, the Ambassador-At-Large to Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP), stepped down last November. And while there has been some litigation on the international level, much of that was pushed by the United States. If human trafficking takes a back seat here, the movement may lose momentum elsewhere.

The information we’ve included above is just the beginning. If you’re looking for in-depth information and statistics, check out the State Department’s official Trafficking in Person’s Report or UNODC’s Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.

 

Join the Conversation & Stay Involved

After you do your research, the next step is to join the conversation. You can do this in a few ways:

  • Sign petitions and speak with your local and state government representatives: Petitions like this one urge congress to pass legislation to fight human trafficking in 2015. If you’re concerned about human trafficking on the more local level, get in touch with your local or state representatives, or start a petition of your own using a resource like change.org.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local paper: Raise community awareness by writing a letter to the editor of your local paper. Provide information about human trafficking, urge others to be aware of the signs, and give potential victims the information that they need to seek help

When you’re talking about human trafficking, place a significant focus on sensitivity. Victims have often experienced a great deal of trauma, and their experiences are varied and nuanced. Be careful not to sensationalize the issue, or to indicate that all victims have had the same experience. If you aren’t a thoughtful advocate, your words could hurt rather than help.

 

Recognize the Signs & Speak Up

Human trafficking could be happening right in front of you, though victims are often unable to speak up. It’s crucial that we recognize the red flags and indicators and then get victims the help that they need. Polaris Project has developed a list of these potential signs based on their extensive experience in working with victims of human trafficking. The State Department also provides a list of indicators, along with the follow-up questions you should ask potential victims, if or when given the opportunity.

If you think you’ve identified a trafficking victim, the next step is to speak up:

If you think someone may be in immediate danger, call 911. In non-emergency cases, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-3737-888, or text “INFO” or “HELP” to BeFree (233733). The hotline operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As much as it might seem like the right thing to do, do not attempt to rescue a victim yourself – it may be unsafe for you as well as for the victim. It can also be difficult to gauge how the trafficker or the victim will react, and there may be more to the story than you are able to discern. Once you make the call to report what you know, trained professionals will take it from there.

 

Be a Conscientious Consumer

Every time you make a purchase, you can help reduce demand for forced labor, child labor, and exploitative labor practices. According to the ILO, of the 21 million reported trafficking victims worldwide, 14.2 million are victims of labor exploitation. This means that unless you take steps to inform yourself and adjust your purchasing behavior, you may be supporting unfair or forced working conditions by making a simple purchase.

Start with the U.S. Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor. The list covers a range of goods produced by countries all over the world, indicating whether or not they are typically produced using child labor or forced labor. You can also find out your own consumption of goods produced by forced labor with this Slavery Footprint survey. Then, just be conscientious and do your research. Shop locally rather than supporting big corporations, and ask questions about the products you’re purchasing. 

 

Contribute to an Anti-Trafficking Organization

Many of the organizations that work tirelessly to combat trafficking are currently underfunded and understaffed. They need funds to generate awareness around human trafficking, to expand their programs, and to provide hands-on support to victims. Consider making a direct donation or fundraising in support of a anti-trafficking organization. If you're not sure where to start, consult the list above for ideas.

And if you’re committed to combatting human trafficking in the long-term, think about volunteering for an organization in your area. These organizations’ small teams are often largely (or even entirely) comprised of passionate volunteers who could greatly benefit from your skills and your time. Lastly, stay involved – what the anti-trafficking movement needs most is long-term advocates.

 

Right now is a critical time to take action against human trafficking; and if you have other ideas or initiatives, we will help you to spread the word.

Do you know of an anti-trafficking group that’s making a big difference in your area? Let us know by commenting below, or reaching out on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

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5 Tips for Marketing to a Global Audience

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5 Tips for Marketing to a Global Audience

by Kate Vandeveld

These days, it’s not uncommon for organizations and businesses to market their products and services globally, rather than focusing on a specific region. Email and social media allow us to bridge cultural and geographic divides, engaging with people all over the world who might be interested in our products, services, and ideas.

As you expand your global reach, it’s crucial to develop your marketing strategy with local market audiences in mind. Here’s how to best engage your target audience when working on a global scale:

 

1. Conduct Cultural Research

When you’re looking to expand into new geographical regions, it’s important that you get to know your audience. Having a basic understanding of a culture and its norms can make a huge difference in your audience’s perception of you and your brand, while helping you to avoid coming off as being ethnocentric or detached. For example, Procter & Gamble once released a TV commercial in Japan that had been popular in Europe. In the commercial, a man walked into the bathroom when a woman was in the bathtub, and touched her on the shoulder. In Japan, this action was perceived as being extremely chauvinistic and ill-mannered, and the commercial was off-putting to most.  With a little research, P&G could have easily avoided this cultural blunder.

The better you understand cultural norms, the more effective you can be in localizing your brand’s message. You can gather this information by reading about it, or, even better, by conducting market research of your target audience. And of course, the best possible way to ensure that you understand the cultural norms of a geographic region is to recruit a team member from the target region, or place someone from your team on the ground. Working directly with someone who has a deeper understanding of cultural norms is the best way to avoid making generalizations and truly appeal to a particular group of people.

 

2. Build Relationships with Local Influencers

When marketing to a new region, do not underestimate the importance of connecting with local influencers. These individuals can help you foster a sense of trust between you and the local audience, help you engage with those who will be excited about your products and services, and provide you with helpful information for tailoring your message.

Look for people and organizations that are talking about your industry, and that have a relatively large following on various platforms – a blog, Facebook, or Twitter, for example. If you’re able to engage these influencers and get them interested in what you’re doing, they can act as invaluable brand ambassadors to your target audience.

 

3. Tailor Your Content & Pay Attention to Language

When expanding globally, take the time to tailor your messaging to your new target markets. Detached messaging from an irrelevant third party will do nothing to build your credibility in new communities, so it’s essential that your content sounds like it is actually coming from the market you’re targeting. This means finding out what features are most relevant to your new audience, being aware of local and regional events and holidays, and using the knowledge you’ve gained from your cultural research to localize your message.

Once you’ve determined the type of content that you want to include in your marketing strategy, you’ll need to consider the language you use to convey it. If you’re targeting a market that largely speaks a different language, you will of course need to consider translation. If you’re able, opt for professional translation in order to avoid mistakes that will decrease your credibility. If you’re targeting a market that speaks the same language, be careful about idioms and colloquialisms – certain words and phrases are only used in certain areas, and you need to be aware of them when crafting your messaging.  For example, the phrase “pulling someone’s leg” is an American idiom that would likely confuse a British audience.

 

4. Develop a Global-Friendly Website & Consider SEO

Your website can be accessed by almost anyone with an Internet connection almost anywhere in the world, and may act as the first point of contact between you and new members of your audience. To make sure that your website best represents your brand, there are a few key ways that you can optimize your website for the global market. To make your website global-friendly, you’ll want to reduce the use of text in images, as it cannot be translated, and make sure that the rest of your text can be machine-translated. If you’re selling a product, double check that your shopping cart is internationally-friendly. And if you’re designing your website from scratch, you may even want to consider the connotations of different colors. For example, in the United States, green often represents eco-friendliness, whereas elsewhere it signals greed. In China, green can even indicate infidelity!

As you’re adapting your website, don’t forget to consider search engine optimization. Once you’ve figured out which aspects of your product or service appeal to a particular market, you’ll need to optimize your website for specific keywords and phrases. You should also consider preferred search engines, as they may vary according to region. Google isn’t the dominant search engine everywhere; in Russia, for example, it’s Yandex

 

5. Stay Up-to-Date on Global Trends & Events

Once you’ve launched your marketing strategy, don’t forget to stay current when it comes to global trends. Even the most perfectly crafted content can quickly become irrelevant in light of new global developments. Think of your strategy as a work in progress, and be ready to make adjustments as events occur and new trends develop.

There are many aspects of your marketing strategy that you’ll need to consider to most effectively engage global audiences, but taking these steps will be well worth it when you’re able to bridge cultural barriers and connect with people across geographic divides.

Do you have any more tips for global marketing? Tell us in the comments below, or reach out via Facebook or Twitter

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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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How to Spark Global Discourse through Twitter

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How to Spark Global Discourse through Twitter

by Kate Vandeveld

Have you ever wished that you could engage with global thought leaders and experts, but weren’t sure where to start? You’re in luck – Twitter is here to bridge the gap between amateurs and experts and provide a platform for global discourse.

Twitter is often used as a platform for reactive discourse: Individuals and organizations use it to learn about what’s going on in the world, respond to global events, and share information they find to be of interest. But Twitter can also be used as a proactive platform for engaging and galvanizing audiences to take part in movements that are changing the world.

Here are some of the many ways that Twitter can be used to encourage proactive discourse:

Moderate a Twitter Chat

Twitter chats are a fun and engaging way to foster communication between experts and interested individuals. Twitter chats are live Twitter conversations that are usually centered around a particular topic, and promoted and moderated by an individual or organization. The host selects a (generally short) time period and a hashtag that is relevant to the chosen topic, and then promotes the upcoming chat to their followers. Anyone who wants to participate can do so simply by following and using that hashtag within the specified time period.

Givology, a social enterprise that connects individuals to grassroots education projects and student scholarships around the world, hosts and moderates weekly Twitter chats, called #givchats. Each week, Givology invites one of its partner organizations or another non-profit that they admire to participate in a #givchat. The chat is promoted in advance, so that interested Tweeters can mark their calendars to participate in the live sessions. They also encourage interested parties to submit questions beforehand. Givology acts as a moderator during the live chat, selecting questions and posting them on their own feed throughout the hour-long session, and the participating organization answers questions posed by other Tweeters, providing input on the specified issue.

 

Host a Global Twitter Conference

These days, many of us are able to use the Internet to engage with others who share our interests without having to actually be in the same place. The Twitter conference takes this concept to the next level, opening the conversation on a given topic to anyone and everyone who is interested in participating. These digital conferences are not just one single Twitter chat, but a series of chats focused on a particular topic that are led by field experts and leaders.

An incredible example is the MDG500 event that took place on August 18th, the 500-day milestone before the target date to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. For this online-based event, the United Nations Development Programme hosted a day-long Twitter conference using the hashtag #MDGMomentum. The day’s schedule was available to the public, so anyone with an Internet connection and Twitter account could take part in conversations of interest to them by following along with the hashtag. UNDP staff joined the conversation from all over the world, hosting and participating in crucial conversations about global issues like maternal health, poverty, and gender equality.

 

Create a Twitter Party Fundraiser

Twitter allows individuals and organizations to quickly capture the attention of an audience. Because each Tweet is only on a Twitter user’s radar for a limited period of time, each message carries an inherent sense of urgency that is extremely helpful in getting people to take action. It is therefore an ideal platform for promoting fundraisers.

Each year, Campbell's Soup hosts a fundraiser and awareness campaign in conjunction with the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Movement called Address Your Heart with Campbell's. To promote this year's fundraiser, they put together the Address Your Heart Twitter Part, during which time they donated $1 to the AHA for every tweet posted with the hashtag #AYH for an hour on the evening of January 27th. This Twitter party fundraiser both boosted awareness of their brand's affiliation with the AHA and gave people an easy way to contribute to the AHA through Campbell's. For more information about legal considerations in cause marketing, read Kyle-Beth Hilfer's recent post

No matter where you are geographically or what you’re passionate about promoting, you can use Twitter to as a tool for encouraging proactive conversation and engaging other passionate parties.

Have you used Twitter to engage with others in this way? Let us know in the comments below or reach out via Facebook and Twitter.

 

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3 Timesavers for Social Media Management

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3 Timesavers for Social Media Management

When discussing social media strategies with members of the impact community, we often hear how difficult it can be to find the time to regularly post to social channels. Many people are simultaneously managing fundraising campaigns or exploring brand partnerships and e-commerce strategies-- and while they can remember to post the initial traffic drivers, they forget to maintain their momentum.

Here are three tools we highly recommend, both for content curation, as well as overall community management. Hope you find them helpful!

Buffer
Best for: Scheduling Content 
What you should know:

  • By granting Buffer access to all of your social profiles, you can easily schedule the times your posts should go live each day or have Buffer analyze past engagement patterns to choose the right times for you
  • Add team members to share responsibility and allow for collaboration
  • Access analytics about clicks, retweets, mentions, shares, likes and more
  • Use the to Chrome extension to add content to your queue without leaving the article you're reading
  • Check out their extras to ensure you can easily share from your phone, news reader, and more
  • Remember to pause your Buffer during crises or world disasters, so as to avoid insensitive content going out at such times

Hootsuite
Best for: Community Management
What you should know:

  • Schedule posts across multiple social networks
  • View newsfeeds and interactions via your Hootsuite dashboard
  • Keep track of mentions of your brand
  • Create streams to track industry keywords, new followers, and more
  • Filter search results by language
  • Collaborate and assign messages to your team members
  • Access data on post engagements and traffic 

Zite
Best for: Content Discovery
What you should know:

  • App available on iPhone, Android, and tablets
  • After indicating the topics you're interested in, Zite provides a personal newsfeed that's curated just for you
  • Use your Quicklist to take a deeper look at articles falling into one particular category
  • As you like and share posts, Zite's algorithm hones in on your preferences 
  • Block publishers whose content you would prefer not to see

Have other tools you would recommend? We would love for you to note them in the comments below!

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5 Ways Twitter Will Grow Your Social Enterprise

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5 Ways Twitter Will Grow Your Social Enterprise

As a social entrepreneur, you're likely accustomed to wearing many hatsfounder, sales executive, HR director, public speaker, and marketerjust to name a few.

In each of these roles, Twitter can be an incredibly useful toolbut in the midst of doing a million things at once, its easy to lose sight of its value. How can you utilize the platform to further your career, your cause, and your story?

Here are five ideas to get you started: 

  1. Identify and Engage Your Target
    Are you looking for buyers? Users? Early adopters? Whatever your target, you can find them on Twitter. Follow the accounts interacting with your competitors. Search related industry hashtags (e.g. #socent) and join the conversation. Share compelling stories that are relevant to your audience. Once you've established a relationship, ask for email addresses and be sure to reference your Twitter conversations when sending out your pitches. 
     
  2. Differentiate From Your Competitors
    We know how time-consuming  (and important) it is to put together a comprehensive business and marketing plan on a budget. Well, researching the competitive landscape is an essential component of such a plan. Use your social channels to find the companies, organizations, and individuals who are active in your field. Identify what they're doing to support their endeavors, as well as what they could do better. This will give you great insight into how to structure your own marketing initiatives, and how to differentiate your product. 
     
  3. Become a Trusted Resource
    While you and I may know the amazing value of your product or service, others have yet to find out. This means that the majority of the population is not going to come to you out of instant admiration. They will, however, come for the purpose of learning something valuable. Curate content from others, share resources, provide insight, and engage in conversation. When you demonstrate your expertise in a useful and humble manner, the demand for your product will follow.
     
  4. Meet your network
    Looking for experts to advise you? New friends to support you?  Use Twitter bios to identify your prospects. Respond to a relevant article they wrote, congratulate them on a recent accomplishment, or ask them a burning question. Also, don't be afraid to RSVP to events they’re attending via Meetup and Eventbrite or ask them to meet in person. 
     
  5. Strut Your Stuff
    Social networks are one of the best ways to share your current and prior work. Did you write a blog post? Participate on a panel? Receive an award? Post it. All of it. You never know the opportunities that may surface because you were displaying a valuable skill set. 

Have other ideas for Twitter that could be useful to social entrepreneurs? Note them in the comments below! We're working to provide valuable resources to social entrepreneursthe more material, the better!

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A Message From WhyWhisper's Founder

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A Message From WhyWhisper's Founder

It would be impossible to count the number of articles and blog posts I've written throughout my career — and even so, I'm having a hard time writing this one. 

WhyWhisper is an incredibly personal venture for me, and for everyone working alongside me. It combines our professional skills and experience with our personal passions. It provides a source of income to freelancers — while also helping to increase the impact of nonprofit organizations and companies for social change. I have so much pride in what we've built, and excitement for the future, that it's difficult to slow down and draft the proper introduction. Let's give it a try.

WhyWhisper Collective is a network of freelance professionals who have come together to provide digital and social media marketing services to nonprofit organizations and impact-focused brands.

According to comScore, social media accounts for 1 of every 5 minutes spent online. This makes it the number one activity on the internet. Additionally 75% of people use social media to find or share information about brands (Mass Relevance). With social media, companies and organizations are presented with an enormous opportunity to drive awareness and convert leads across social platforms. It's no longer optional to build compelling brand stories, and that's where we come in.

Our team members have backgrounds in strategy, design, content marketing, and analytics. We've worked domestically and abroad  for large corporations and advertising agencies, as well as startups, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations. In leaving the corporate world and venturing out on our own, we've found we are able to work better, more passionately, and to focus in on the clients with whom we would most like to work. 

These clients need access to many skills and services, but not necessarily all at the same time. Our model provides them with flexibility, while never compromising on talent or passion. 

Stories of progress, community, impact... they motivate us. In fact, our name, WhyWhisper, serves as a reminder to speak up for what we believe in, and we believe in our clients' work.

Whether you're interested in our services, would like to join the collective, or just want to chat, we love meeting new people and very much look forward to hearing from you.

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