Wednesday, January 14, 2009

#NGOSM09 Recap

As previously posted, I attended a Council on PR Firms event today titled, "Thriving and Surviving in Uncertain Times: Digital Marketing Techniques for Non-Profits."

Here are my observations, take-a-ways, etc:

- Not many NGOs are using Twitter. Geez guys, talk about missing a MASSIVE opportunity to network with like-minded people, cultivate better relationships and put your organization's message right under their nose...all day long.

- When thinking about utilizing social media, NGOs should determine first if a social media strategy right from them. Secondly, if it is, prioritize your efforts because you can't do it all at once. Thirdly, make sure you have the right resources. Lastly, integrate social media into your existing marketing initiatives.

- Search Engine Optimization should be the best friend of every NGO. When people search for things on Google, they don't search for brands. They are searching for something specific like energy efficient windows vs. Harvey Windows. Getting in-tune with how the web views and delivers your content via search engines is critical. Be sure that your blog posts are titled correctly so that it can be found. Do not use "click here" with your links because your content won't be found. NGOs need to work with their marketing team and their web development team and make sure they are on the same page, using the same terminology, etc. The terms you use in SEO should be driven through the prism of your mission.

- NGOs should be using Twitter as a discovery tool. Use it to connect to people generating content that is aligned with your organizations mission. If your posts are compelling enough, they will follow and in turn, exposing your content to their network...and so on and so the social media ripple effect.

- Should NGOs create a Twitter for the organization or should someone Twitter on behalf of an organization? The group was torn on this. There are reasons to use Twitter under the protection of a brand, i.e. HomeDepot (promoting sales, giving tips, etc.) and there is a reason to Twitter under your name but on behalf of your organization. The key to both is on-message subject matter and transparency.

- Interesting stat of the day: In 1997, total donations accepted via mobile devices was $300k. In 2009, that number is projected to be $5 million. Great mobile giving tools include mGive, Mobile Giving Foundation and MobileActive.

- Before an NGO dives into social media, be sure that your Web 1.0 presence is in tact. If your organization's website is static and hasn't been updated since 2001, how in the world are you going to take advantage of social media?

- If you are creating video, be sure to hit your audience hard with your message within the first 13-15 seconds as that's the average viewing time for videos on YouTube. Wow, talking about the LACK of attention span, huh?

All in all the event was great for newbies, of which there were a ton, to social media, Folks from NGOs walked out thinking that social media is a legit marketing tool and nothing to be scared about. It's effective in reaching audiences in a sniper sort of way versus shotgun. And the best part and probably the most attractive to NGOs is that these technologies are available to them at little to no cost.

The biggest thing I hope NGOs got out of today's session was to try and learn. Develop your strategies. Hone your messaging. Know your audiences. Then utilize any and all social media tools that match up with the content needs of your audience.

Try and learn.


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