In yesterday’s blog post, I shared my recent discovery of Sacramento News Daily and Sacramento Charity Daily, which Sacramento non-profits should consider as they work to engage more people in supporting their missions. To take advantage of Sacramento Charity Daily, non-profits have to tweet and include links to longer articles they post in blogs or on their websites.
Laura Good, a.k.a. @goodlaura, was kind enough to respond to the questions I sent her. If you don’t know Laura, you should. The woman has 6,819 people following her on Twitter and has sent 47,830 tweets – a number that will no doubt increase by the time you read this (no wonder the first line of her Twitter profile is “Twitter Junkie”).
Here’s a key bit of advice worth reading, as well as her full responses to my questions, below (and waaaay at the bottom some links you should check out):
My advice is that charities invest time in establishing a Facebook Page and a Twitter account, if they don’t already have one. And once those are established, that they try to post content at least once a day during “prime time” – about 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (anecdotal—this is my own observation) Monday through Friday. Weekends are the absolute worst time to post content as activity on both Facebook and Twitter drops way off. Posting time is a little less important on Facebook but it is absolutely critical on Twitter.
1) When did you launch Sacramento News Daily and Sacramento Charity Daily to the public?
I don’t remember the exact date, but it was several months ago—maybe October or November.
2) Your Twitter profile says you’re a program director with SARTA.org. SARTA has a very nice website that does a great job of feeding news relevant to the organization’s technology focus. Is that how you became interested in the potential of aggregating and feeding relevant content via the Internet?
I don’t think that what I do for SARTA influenced my decision—I was actually very passionate about the power of social media before I started working for SARTA in September of 2008. I’ve applied my passion to SARTA’s website and social media presence as well as to my volunteer role with the Sacramento Social Media Club. I post much of the social media content for Sacramento Social Media Club and for 2011, I am the volunteer Executive Director. Back to the question… my primary interest area in social media is in connecting the community/building community. I follow/friend people and organizations in the Sacramento region and promote causes and events I think would be of interest to those in the region via Facebook and Twitter. I have a particular heart for philanthropic organizations* and try to use my social media influence to help promote them. This is why I created the sac-charity Twitter list and the Sacramento Charity Daily.
(*Laura later clarified that she loves animals and animal-related causes fall within her definition.)
3) Sacramento News Daily and Sacramento Charity Daily appear to be running on a platform called paper.li developed by SmallRivers. (Nice looking, by the way.) Did you reach out and find SmallRivers or did they reach out to you?
I found out about paper.li through a tweet from someone I follow on Twitter and then did a little research on my own about the application. I started the Sacramento Daily News first, as I had already cultivated a pretty good list of local media on Twitter and then began cultivating the Sacramento Charity list with the idea of promoting them via the paper.li app. A lot of the “papers” created are a bit worthless in my opinion – for example you can create one that aggregates information from everyone you follow on Twitter. I want my papers to have a real focus and be of value to those who take the time to click on the promo tweet and then read them. This is why I’ve only created paper.li papers from my cultivated lists. I also have one called “Sac Family Fun Daily.” The goal for that paper is to promote activities in the Sacramento region that families might enjoy.
4) Why did you decide to create Sacramento Charity Daily as a separate online news channel, vs. making it a component of Sacramento News Daily?
Sacramento News Daily only includes those who are professional journalists and/or news media organizations like News10, The Sacramento Bee, etc. I review the paper from time to time to make sure that those I’ve included on the list really are tweeting news. If they are using their twitter account for more personal reasons, I may decide to take them off the sac-media list. Not that there is anything wrong with personal tweets—most of mine are of that nature. I just want to make sure the “paper” really is news. I created a separate paper for Sacramento Charity Daily because I didn’t want to bury news about Sacramento Charities in the Sacramento News Daily paper. I have 163 accounts on my sac-media list and only 48 (so far!) on my sac-charity list. I think that each of the papers may appeal to a different audience. People who don’t really care to see a summary of Sacramento news from Twitter may care quite a bit about what local charities are doing.
5) Do you find all of the content you post from tweets? Or do you use other sources besides Twitter?
Paper.li allows me to create the twitter list that the ‘paper” will pull content from. There is no way for me to add other content to what is reported each day, other than creating an editorial note (which I have not yet done).
6) And now for advice. Most nonprofits post news on their websites. How do they let you know when they’ve posted something interesting? And, pragmatically, is the link to the organization website good enough, even though there will likely be other stuff on the page?
As you see from my answer to Question 4 there isn’t a way for me to add info from outside of what an organization tweets. If they have a twitter account (and are based in the Sacramento region) they should let me know so I can follow them and add them to my sac-charity list. Then, they should tweet at least daily including links (paper.li only includes tweets with links to web content). I don’t include all regional non-profits on my sac-charity list. I am primarily looking to promote philanthropic organizations that help individuals. Originally, my list was broader than that but I’m working to fine tune it. I have added some national charities that were “nominated” by Sacramentans to be included on the list but as more Sacramento based charities are added, I may remove them. For now, I also have non-profits that support the arts in Sacramento on the list.
Sacramento is Number 4 in the nation for business use of Twitter. It makes sense for charities in this region to have a presence on Twitter because our community is so engaged on Twitter. My advice is that charities invest time in establishing a Facebook Page and a Twitter account, if they don’t already have one. And once those are established, that they try to post content at least once a day during “prime time” – about 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (anecdotal—this is my own observation) Monday through Friday. Weekends are the absolute worst time to post content as activity on both Facebook and Twitter drops way off. Posting time is a little less important on Facebook but it is absolutely critical on Twitter.
7) Are you the editorial decision maker? Or is the process automated?
The process is automatic on paper.li. The only editorial decisions I make is who is on my sac-charity list and what time the paper is produced/broadcast via twitter each day. I don’t even decide which twitter users from within the list will be featured in the daily tweet. The good news about this limitation is that I can spread the word about charities with very little effort on my part, other than cultivating a good Twitter list. I can add an editorial comment to the paper but I’ve never done that. There is also an option to create a paper using different criteria than a twitter list – #tags for instance. And there is a more advanced feature I have yet to try that lets you specify who to include and to filter on key words.
8) What kind of content are you looking for?
It’s my hope that charitable organizations within the region will tweet about their cause and include links to web content that further explains their cause, activities, fund raising campaigns, events, etc.
9) What length should news items be to be most compatible with re-posting on your daily news sites?
I don’t think this matters in what paper.li decides to include. The key is that it is web content and a link to the content is tweeted.
10) What do you wish I’d asked that I didn’t?
A lot of charitable organizations have limited resources – both people and funding. Social media is a low cost way to both share the message and to engage with those who care about your cause. You don’t have to be an expert to create a Facebook page or a Twitter account—nor do you have to pay an expert to do it for you. If you’d like some advice, there are many low cost and even free seminars that provide tips on how to create an effective Facebook Page or Twitter account. The Sacramento Social Media Club has monthly events and quarterly workshops that do just this. There is a lot of great content on the internet on how non-profits can effectively use social media. I also recommend that non-profits look at how other non-profits are successfully using social media and learn from them. And a final tip – if a charitable organization has a Facebook Page or Twitter Account, it should be featured on the home page of their website with a link to “Like” or “Follow.”
My Twitter account:
Sacramento Social Media Club
Links to My Twitter Lists mentioned in this article:
Links to my Paper.li “papers”