The last few days have been crazy! I attended 2 conference on social media and web 2.0. Complete information overload. I heard from amazing speakers, learned about 1,000 new sources, resources, tools, blogs, and met great people. I will tell you about some of the amazing people I met in the next blog post about the social media for non-profits I attended, but first, a review of Blog Potomac a social media marketing event in the format of an "uncoference" (we sat around tables, the speakers spoke very briefly and then took questions/opened the floor to discussion).
Blog Potomac had some amazing speakers, including Dell's Chief Blogger and the "Social Web" guru of AOL, but by far my two favorite sessions were by Maggie Fox, CEO of the Social Media Group and KD Paine, who wrote a book I bought at the conference about measuring relationships, something that is so key to figuring out online "ROI."
Key takeaways from Maggie's talk was to outline steps any organization should take before deciding what, if any, social media tools and platforms it should invest in/spend time building a presence on.
First, figure out who you are talking to. Listen. Find out where the people you want to talk to are, what are they talking about, how are they talking about it to each other, and what are they talking about.
Second, figure out what your objectives. What is it that you want to accomplish? Build reputation? Influence? Drive people to your site? In the case of many of us, get them to donate? Get them to get their friends to donate?
Then, bring the two together. What tools will allow you to engage with your audience in a way that will drive your objectives?
In terms of nonprofit fundraisers, I thought Maggie's most pertinent point was about campaigns. She noted that many people think of online efforts in terms of campaigns and budgets-a campaign ends once a budget for that campaign runs out. But many online efforts are conversations" according to her, and therefore should not be limited my a "campaign" mentality. If you have engaged your donors in a meaningful way, should you stop talking to them at the end of e-campaign?
Online efforts, she told us, should be driven by our ability to harness and measure.
And this is where KD Paine came in. Sure, measuring the "ROI" of a group on Facebook can seem impossible, she told us. And many people can get overwhelmed at trying to measure the impact on an organization's bottom line on say, posting a mission-based video on YouTube. But, she reminded the audience, that PR professionals have been measuring the impact of "relationships" for decades, long before the social web.
The importance of having a benchmark to measure against was my key takeaway. How do you know if the results you are seeing are good or bad if you don't have anything to measure against? Let's say only .5% of donors who visit your site actually follow through with an online donation. This might seem pretty bad until you find out that the average for organizations in your vertical is .01% of donors giving a gift online after visit an organization's site. Suddenly, your .5% seems pretty good.
Miriam's list of "bright, shiny objects" she learned about at Blog Potomac:
Summaize, Triggit, Creative Commons, Socialthing!, FriendFeed, Blip TV, and I am proud to say I have already heard of, and even gotten myself a beta invite to Evernote.
Favorite new term Miriam learned and hopes it never happens to her: "content scrubbing"-which apparently means when someone takes content from a blog post you created and posts it on their own blog, with perhaps tiny script somewhere that this is not in fact that blogger's original content. So they get the traffic, you did the work.