When Kim of 3Fold Communications sent me a nice compliment on my 100th blog post, I told her that I get far more than I give from the professional community that puts their stuff out there in the form of blogs. Beth Kanter proved the point today with a guest post from Kevin Gilnack of the Providers Council, an association of health and human service providers in Massachusetts.
Here are a few excerpts – the answers I’ve most wondered about – but I strongly suggest you read the full post on Beth’s Blog. The italicized portions are direct quotes. (And while I appreciate your checking out what I’ve got to say, if you’re time pressed and you only can read ONE blog, read Beth’s!)
How often can you toot your organization’s horn on Facebook, Twitter, etc?
… (T)ry not to tweet about your own org on an average of more than once every seven or so tweets. You will also find your followers engage you more if you engage them.
If I just tweet/post about fundraising appeals or events, will people potentially lose interest?
Yes, they will lose interest quickly. Look beyond what you need people to do (whether it’s giving money, volunteering, taking action, etc.). Before you can effectively get people to respond to those requests, and to build an audience in an opt-in system like Twitter, you need to show you’re there to add value to your followers as well as advancing your mission. Talk about how your spending their money (e.g. the goings-on and successes of your programs), news relevant to your organization, RT posts from other orgs and individuals, and respond to interesting/relevant tweets your followers are sending.
How do you find people on social media who are interested in your cause?
…Twitter search RSS feeds to a Google Reader can provide some great insights. …(T)hink of all of the names, things, words that would help you find conversations of interest. You can also consider using the localization feature of Twitter searches. Finally, don’t forget that Google Alerts have web and blog search features in the comprehensive mode.
How do you get people to post on your blog or in your forum?
If it is a struggle to get people posting in your forums but are finding Facebook and Twitter conducive to conversations, it may be worth evaluating what the value of those forums are and if it might be more worthwhile to drive traffic there for interaction. However, you might find that posting something like “That’s a great point, we actually have a thread going on this topic here [link to forum]” and/or asking key volunteers to do the same. You may get more comments on your blog by using Twitter and Facebook to drive people there, as well as by promoting posts in your e-newsletter and other outlets. Also, I’m not sure if this is true, but one stat I saw said to expect 1 comment / 100 views (though I assume they pick up significantly after the first comment is left).
Thanks again, Kevin, for putting it out there – and, Beth, for not only the amazing output of your prodigious brain, but your ability to collect and broadcast great thinking from practitioners across the country.