May 11

Geo-tagging your nonprofit

David Leavitt

Location-based social network Foursquare recently counted its 40 millionth check-in, according to a tweet from one of their developers.

Facebook is rumored to be ready to jump into the location-based market with its own product. Nobody knows for certain if it will develop its own location check-in product or integrate with existing providers such as Foursqare, Brightkite or Gowalla.

Knowing where your network of friends are at any time can be a powerful tool in increasing your perceived connectivity to your network. With location-based services becoming a large part of the social media landscape, how can nonprofits begin to use geotagging to benefit our community?

I would love to hear your ideas, but here are some initial thoughts:

  • Mobile volunteering – People enjoy showing that they are part of nonprofit campaigns (adding badges, causes to their online profiles). Use this mentality to help people show their friends what nonprofit projects they’re involved in.  “Hey I’m volunteering at a food bank at X location, come join me!”
  • Twitter advocacy –Show a locally elected official a visual map of how many people are talking about a given issue on Twitter. Put together a real-time map for politicians of incoming tweets from his or her district.
  • Geo-location games – Foursqure became popular because of its game features.  Try using the check-in feature in conjunction with events you are holding to gain karma points.
  • Community mapping – This is a popular feature in developing countries, but there is no reason why Americans can’t get involved. Use your phone and location to identify problem areas in your community and force government to fix the problems.

What are some of your geotagging ideas?

Apr 23

The half-life of a tweet

David Leavitt

Social Impact attended the 140 Conference in New York. We'll be sharing some insights from the conference here on this blog.

It’s no secret that the social media age has led to an increasing shorter news cycle. But it turns out that that it’s even shorter than I thought.

According to Betaworks CEO John Borthwick, the half-life of a tweet is four minutes. What that means is that half of the total clicks of a link within a tweet come in the first four minutes of when it is posted on Twitter. Yikes!

In this fast-moving space, here are two things to keep in mind:

  • Be the audience you want to attract. As a nonprofit, you place a special value on people who proactively reach out to people to spread your message. You need to do the same, which means staying active on social media channels rather than pushing out content and walking away.
  • Pay attention to timing. The best open rates for e-mail is midday on weekdays, but there’s evidence that weekends are the best time for Facebook traffic.

With attention spans getting shorter, these steps matter more than ever.



Mar 12

Social Impact Team @ SxSW – Reporting Live


Members of the Weber Shandwick Social Impact team are heading to the SxSW Interactive festival to listen and learn. Follow @p_massey, @cmoffett, @axelhonkrod, @acaruso and @bradleyatwork for useful tidbits and musings that organizations can use to help with their own digital strategies.
We’ll each be posting updates to the blog and covering as many sessions as we can. Right now we’re looking at sessions like:

Let us know if you see other panels that look interesting and we’ll check them out.
And if you’ll be there drop us a note and we’ll connect. You can leave a comment here or @reply us on Twitter.

Mar 4

Making Twitter Work for You

Paul Massey

Today’s New York Times features Getting the Most Out of Twitter, and it echoes a number of the conversations our team is having with nonprofit and foundation leaders on how to make Twitter work for their organizations. 

Many nonprofits have demonstrated that they are a force on Twitter. They are connecting with advocates, sharing updates and providing insights on their work. Above all, they’re participating in the ongoing conversation on Twitter that makes the medium so compelling.

Check out yesterday’s list of Top 25 Nonprofit Tweeters, which features organizations such as Acumen Fund, Ashoka, Global Giving, among others, to get a sense of what nonprofits are doing on Twitter. 

And, if you’re having conversations with your nonprofit executive director or board members about whether Twitter is right for you, take a look at today’s NYT. It offers great suggestions from Claire Cain Miller on how to make Twitter work for you, including:

  • Discovering the value of custom news feeds
  • Making lists to help you key into relevant content
  • Plugging into conferences happening around the world
  • Localizing information about what’s happening in your city
  • Soliciting expert opinions on questions you need answered
Nov 9

It's a Two-Way Street


The author Dale Carnegie once wrote that "you can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people to listen." His point is that people want to hang out with friends who listen to them and engage them. The best conversations are equal amounts give and take. This is the same philosophy you should have for your social media programs. Imagine you are at a cocktail party and having a conversation about your issue or cause. You want people to leave that conversation thinking “Wow, that was a great conversation.” You don't want them leaving thinking “That person never shuts up.”

This is especially the case in the way organizations use Twitter, where retweeting (reposting the tweets of others) and @replies (communicating directly with someone else) are direct measures of how conversational you are. It is incredibly important to make sure that your organization is fully participating in the conversation. Make sure that you are retweeting what peers or followers are saying that you agree with and engage in direct dialogue with people to show that you are listening and willing to engage. The more you engage with people the more likely they are to share what you are saying with their own network of friends. This word-of-mouth messaging via retweets is the equivalent of mainstream media mentions. You can track how you are doing with retweets with tools like Tweetmeme that track the most popular tweets on Twitter. So listen and engage with others and pretty soon you'll be the life of the conversation.


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