Some rules to live by for social media best practices

Every time I prepare for a conference, I revisit my tried and true rules with regard to what works and what doesn’t with Social Media. Tomorrow, I will be presenting at the NNEDV conference Tech Summit in San Jose on best practices and curation and publishing tools for social media.   I found this Nonprofit Quarterly article to be nearly exactly aligned with my social media values. The article encourages creating an authentic voice and finding and encouraging your advocates to share on your behalf.  It also covers creating conversations, versus broadcasting. I think they really get it, and I really like the article. Some other themes I will cover in my talk are ways to Be Enchanting, as Guy Kawasaki says.

For example:
•Create exclusive content only available via social
•Don’t be overly self-promotional
•Provide “backstage” access experience to you
•Engage with your fans/followers
•Make Social Sharing easy so your fans can help you spread the word
•Use integrated tools, for a variety of presences on social graph
•Run campaigns and contests and engage in consistent conversations
•Don’t auto-feed to a tool
•Provide an easy way to subscribe to your work
•Showcase and document your process and inspiration
•Engage in controversy
•Listen to verticals via hashtags & dashboards

Extending the life of your event with Storify: Once the tweet-stream ends, archive the good stuff to tell a visual story

I’ve talked in the past about the benefits of a live back-channel for a live event. Beyond the access benefit, for those who are not able to be present at the live event, and would still like to review the live-tweets, there is an additional benefit of having a backchannel debate that could never occur in real-time in a live event. Imagine how distracting it would be to have audience members chatting about what was happening on stage and debating and sharing relevant links, DURING the event. Hence the live back-channel that happens via Facebook and Twitter is a very helpful use of social media for events. The problem is, most people don’t have the tools, the time nor the organizational skills to look back on those events after the fact and draw their own conclusions based on the tweet-stream that they see.

Enter Storify that allows a user to compile tweets, links, posts and other relevant online media and create a visual story of how a particular event or hashtag is being used as a community tool. Not only used for events, you can see many examples of this with disaster response, such as with Hurricane #sandy and with current events, such as the recent Supreme Court rulings. Here is a Storify on #DOMA

Many nonprofits use Storify to share a selection of their media mentions out to their audience, to amplify the message of their social media outreach.

Here’s an excerpt from a case study about the nonprofit MomsRising implementation of Storify, written by Stephanie Kapera, a contributor to Software Advice – a company that helps nonprofit organizations select CRM technology:

With more than a million members across the country, Moms Rising began using Storify in November 2011 as a curation tool, collecting its Twitter hashtags: #WellnessWed and #FoodFri. Storify is much like other blog platforms like WordPress, but has an added emphasis on curation. Allowing the organization to follow Twitter chats, Facebook conversations, and even Flickr and website mentions then curate them into Storify posts. This also gives the user an opportunity to post out about certain topics twice: once when they happen, and again when they are curated into a Storify, thereby extending the shelf-life of the content. 

 Here are a couple Storify posts we’ve done for Caravan Studios where we covered hackathons and the social mentions within them:

If you want to see who uses Storify very effectively, check out and follow the account of Beth Kanter

Making the web smaller by getting to know your neighbors

Lately I’ve been attracted to local, neighborhood online communities. They seem to be the only venues where people care passionately about drive-by posts and action happens. For example, I recently became acquainted with someone whom I’ve long admired, Steven Clift. He’s all about networking offline communities using online tools. He also happens to have the enviable twitter handle,@democracy, because he claims he was twitter user number 600 or something. So, he launched to help local communities connect and collaborate. There are also a few other tools I’ve been playing with, along similar lines, and  These all serve slightly different pruposes, but they share a goal of helping you get to know your neighbors and your neighbors’ neighbors.

Such is also the case online, and I’ve been playing around with a new network mapping tools like SocialBro Twiangulate and Tagwalk. These tools help you find adjacent tags and common followers which will help you not only map your social graph, but also will help you be more directed in your social media marketing.

For example, you may know three hashtags related to a certain topic, but not know any more and not have a firm grasp on all the most influential tweeters who are strong advocates for that topic. Knowing the neighboring tags and users will help you contact the best people to help you drive your campaign.

Similarly, if you want to find advocates in a specific interest area, go toslideshare and see who has presented on that topic, or go to to see who is curating the best content on the topic, because they’re expert-level candidates with already engaged networks to help you share your message.

So, as is the case with local neighbors, if you can find your virtual neighbors, who reside by you on a social network map, due to their interests, you will have stronger advocates for your cause and more efficient messaging in outbound campaign asks.

Monitor Misspellings and posting aloud

In my preparation for the talk I’m giving today at the Hawaii Social Media Summit, I was thinking about Social Mention, Hootsuite and Netvibes and how I don’t only monitor the correct spellings of names, I also monitor misspellings and names without an @ symbol. For example, I’m certain that the person/team monitoring Facebook’s sentiment does it with a sentiment analysis tool. However, when you set these tools or dashboards up, you need to account for common misspellings, people forgetting to put an @ in front of the twitter account, adding a space btw Face and Book, etc.

Similarly, when you are publishing a post to a social network, remember that you are posting aloud and you have an audience, so when you are tweeting, why not make it easier for the subject whom you are tweeting about to find your comment?

Make sure you @mention them, so they can easily hear and reply to your tweet. Another benefit of this is that those who are reading your posts will also have a clear path to that subject matter expert and potentially follow them.

It seems obvious to some but not applied by many, whether due to laziness or ignorance, but my point is not to chastise whom is tweeting incorrectly, but more to point out the importance of these three important factors:

  1. Monitor various spellings and misspellings
  2. Make sure to search for correct twitter account name or page and @ mention or link to it, if you are mentioning a person or company in twitter.

Of course, in cases like Facebook or Twitter, I’m not so concerned about their ability to hear what I’m saying or to drive traffic their way, which is why I choose to not @ mention them. I’m a rebel that way.


Thoughts around Community Values and the Lifecycle of Online Community and Social Media work

I recently presented on a panel of community managers at the Storify offices last week, and this morning on the Social Media Today webinar on Social Media for Nonprofits.

I’ve been thinking a lot about having community values lately. I’ve been thinking about a set of core attributes for our team to focus on when we do our work. We already have a team mission, which is:

– Connect the nonprofit community to each other while amplifying the messages and missions of this community
– Amplify the message of a variety of TechSoup partners, including global NGO and corporate (donor)
– Amplify the message of TechSoup programs and internal departments to the broader NP Tech Sector

But I’ve also been thinking about the pillars behind making a good and sustainable, thriving community.

I created this infographic to illustrate what I’ve been thinking about.

In a growing and scalable community, you also need to think about speaking the local language of each platform you are engaging in, recapping all of your events and archiving those recaps in a searchable place (like TechSoup Community Wiki and having a live, transparent back-channel with all your events (as in, visible on twitter, projected if it’s a live event via Twitterfall.

Most importantly, and I discovered this by hitting my head against a wall, being constantly shocked at how many social media “experts” don’t do this well, enable all aspects of your work for easy sharing across social networks. Make this sharing configurable by the user, and thank them when they do follow or share.

For example, after you register for a webinar, there should be a page that is an easy landing page for you to share with your community. The webinar I presented on today chose to not have this enabled, so once you registered, you couldn’t share the webinar page easily. Although this was their decision, to prevent confusion, I was confused, as I’m a prolific and compulsive sharer with my social networks. Apparently, I was not the only one confused, as you can see here in this tweet by Karen Sequira

Also, if you have new followers, if people add you to a twitter list, if they ReTweet you, if they favorite or download or share something you’ve posted on Facebook or Slideshare, they are already bough-in as a member of your community of evangelists. Help them share your work. Make it easy for your super fans to help you!

Here is my latest presentation that talks a bit more about this stuff: