August 16, 2019

Why your organization needs a social media mission (and how to write one)

Filed under: Social Media — Tags: , , , , , , — lidia @ 2:34 pm

Most organizations have a mission statement, but do you have a social media mission statement?

According to HubSpot, 67% of nonprofits have no social media strategy, policies or goals documented. (ouch—that’s higher than the 50% of companies without a documented social media strategy reported by Search Engine Journal). That means more than half of the organizations they polled are basically just “throwing it out there to see what sticks”—not a good use of time and money.

Why it’s important to have a social media mission

Considering 74% of people say they use Facebook for professional purposes (HubSpot, 2017) and LinkedIn has over 500 million users. (LinkedIn, 2019), it’s worth making time for social media marketing in your organization—but you must have a mission.

In social media marketing (and branding and marketing, in general), people need to feel a connection before they interact with you. You need to give them a reason to interact with you: a reason to like a post, leave a comment or come back to your page.

As Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why puts it: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy WHY you do it.” It makes sense to have a sense of purpose—or a focus on your WHY—in your social media marketing, just as you do in otehr aspects of your branding and marketing.

How to create a social media mission statement

A social media mission statement helps you discover and express your organization’s social media WHO, WHAT and WHY: who you are speaking to, what you are sharing, and why they should engage with it.

  1. WHO: Who is your audience? Who will be reading what you share? (If you don’t already have an ideal client profile, now is the time to write one)
  2. WHAT: What do they want to learn more about or read about? What can you share that will encourage them to interact? What will inspire them?
  3. WHY: Why should they engage with you? Why are you the perfect person to provide this content to them? What benefits will they receive by engaging with you? How will it make them feel? What actions will they be inspired to take?
  4. WHERE: Where can you find your audience? Which social media outlets do they use and how do they use them? (Doing some competitor research can make this part easier).

According to HubSpot, 48% of nonprofits believe social media is very valuable, with 80% of nonprofits saying Facebook is their primary social network. Most organzitions are already spending a good amount of time promoting their mission on social media. So, instead of being one of the 67% that are just “seeing what will stick,” take some time to think about and create your social media mission and make your interactions are more thoughtful and engaging.

Need help creating your social media mission statement?

Download my free Social Media Mission worksheet which walks you through the steps of creating one. And feel free to reach out to me to chat about it!

Social Media Mission Statement Worksheet

 

August 7, 2019

Is your nonprofit organization ready for #GivingTuesday?

Filed under: Giving Tuesday — lidia @ 10:00 am

Is your nonprofit organization ready for #GivingTuesday? | lsvdesign.com

#GivingTuesday is a global movement that impacts local communities by transforming the way people think about giving and how they participate in the giving season. Their mission is to inspire collective action towards improving local communities through generosity. They stress the importance of each act of kindness—no matter how small. The ultimate goal of this movement is to bring people together to create a more generous world.

#GivingTuesday is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States. It was started in 2012 to reclaim the season for giving and is now celebrated in more than 190 countries all over the world. In 2018, $400 million was raised online. 

How participating in the movement can benefit my organization

Nonprofits raise more during year-end when they participate in #GivingTuesday—the average donation is $105. In 2018, 75% of #GivingTuesday’s financial contributors were repeat donors. The holiday season creates a boost in giving by drawing in more donors and by encouraging current donors to give more.

#GivingTuesday is not just about monetary donations

#GivingTuesday celebrates every giver, no matter their donation. The movement is not about one’s ability to donate—it’s about taking action. Many donors participate in more than one way. For example, 37% of participants donate in non-monetary ways such as food and clothing drives or volunteer work. 

Having trouble thinking of ways people can give back to the community? See #GivingTuesday’s Case Studies. They share success stories from nonprofit organizations that can spark inspiration within your own organization.

4 characteristics of an effective #GivingTuesday campaign

Some campaigns are more effective than others, but why? Well, it’s simple. Those campaigns possess these qualities:

  • Inspired leader – Leaders who are passionate and authentic will inspire your donors.
  • Authenticity – Your brand, message, and approach should be authentic as well as resonate with potential donors.
  • Collaboration – Partnering with local businesses, funders and fellow organizations can amplify your campaign. Search for local movements here. 
  • Clear goal – You should have a goal that reflects your organization’s priorities and is big enough that people notice and are inspired to get involved. Here are some ideas:

Steps to get started on your #GivingTuesday campaign

#GivingTuesday is a mere four months away. Based on the 2019 Campaign Timeline, by now your organization should have:

  • Registered for #GivingTuesday (GT) at www.givingtuesday.org
  • Downloaded the case studies and toolkits relevant to your organization
  • Set clear goals
  • Organized a staff meeting to select team members to work on the campaign
  • Reached out to local businesses, funders, and potential partners for funding and idea exploration
  • Researched local movements to get involved in
  • Talked to donors about providing a match or challenge grant to build extra excitement

If you’re behind in your campaign steps, no worries! There’s still time to get caught up.

This month, your organization should be working on the following:

  • Confirm your campaign plan and goals that reflect your organization’s priorities
  • Map out a timeline and share with key team members
  • Confirm assets and graphics you’ll need for the campaign
  • Start mapping out your content calendar
  • Think about your evaluation strategy

Our next blog post will further explain the steps needed to continue preparing for your campaign.

Additional #GivingTuesday resources

  • Getting Ready for GivingTuesday workbook: gives you step-by-step instructions on building a #GivingTuesday campaign. It’s a great tool for cementing thoughts on paper with plenty of room for notes and ideas. The workbook is backed by previous #GivingTuesday leaders. The workbook aids the organizations on campaign building, recruiting a team, and timeline creation.
  • GivingTuesday Learning Lab: a Facebook Group for nonprofit organizations to ask questions and share ideas with other organizations. I’m the “resident branding expert” in this group, so bring me your questions on branding.
  • 2019 Campaign Timeline :lays out all of the tasks that need to be completed during each month from June to December. It is a great way to help you stay on top of things.

Are you ready to join the #GivingTuesday movement? 

Mark your calendars: in 2019, #GivingTuesday falls on December 3rd and your nonprofit has the opportunity to join thousands of other organizations to spread generosity that positively impacts others. Sharing your story will inspire change, and may start a wave of generosity that lasts longer than just one day.

Stay tuned for the rest of our #GivingTuesday blog series that will lead you through branding and marketing your campaign, along with monthly to-dos to keep you on track. 

July 31, 2019

15+ Low-Cost Social Media, Content & Email Marketing Resources for Nonprofits

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion,Social Media — lidia @ 10:00 am

Free Digital Marketing Resources | lsvdesign.com

As the marketing and communications VP for a nonprofit board of directors, I’m often called on to provide recommendations for digital marketing resources such as email marketing, blogging and social media scheduling. I’ve used many of these resources personally both in my design studio as well as in my client and board work. 

Social Media & Content Marketing 

One of the biggest time-savers for my clients has been using a social media scheduler, rather than scheduling posts manually. These tools are essential for organizations with a small staff or those working with outside vendors, as they keep your social media and content marketing in one place and make it accessible by everyone on the team.

Email Marketing

If you’re not already using an email marketing tool for your organization, now is the time to start. Not only does it make your message appear more professional, but it allows you to segment contacts for more targeted outreach, conduct A/B testing on your messaging, and see exactly who is engaging with your messages. 

Also, just because a nonprofit discount isn’t advertised, doesn’t mean it’s not available. Most tool developers are happy to work with you to meet your organization’s needs and budget, so it’s worth reaching out to them personally. 

Did I miss something? Let me know so I can add it to the list. And be sure to bookmark this page—I will update it as new resources are available.

Read my previous post 25+ free (or low-cost) design resources for nonprofits and stay tuned for the rest of my series, Free (or Low-Cost) Design & Marketing Resources for Nonprofits as it becomes available.

July 11, 2019

How to completely unplug from work while on vacation

Filed under: Time Management — lidia @ 9:00 am

I went on vacation this year and once again, I didn’t check email and social media. I started this practice somewhat spontaneously last year, however now that I’m a pro at disconnecting (ha!), I was more intentional about it this time.

As I always do, I made sure projects were wrapped up, sent my clients ample out of office notices, as well as personal email follow ups if necessary, and turned on my email auto-responder.

Since I had already deleted social media apps from my phone earlier in the year, the social media aspect was taken care of: I had zero digital distractions, notifications or other FOMO reminders for a week.

I HAVE NO REGRETS.

I didn’t miss out on any emergencies or opportunities. I was fully relaxed. I came back feeling recharged and excited to get back to work.

As I mentioned above, you do need to prepare yourself for complete detachment during vacation—both to manage client expectations and give yourself peace of mind.

Alert contacts well ahead of time

For projects that are in progress—especially those that are time sensitive—alert your clients and colleagues as far ahead as possible of your travel plans (and plans to be offline). Set expectations for your availability (or in this case, unavailability) and when you plan to return messages.

Send an out-of-office email

For clients or colleagues who don’t have active projects, a simple out-of-office email should be enough to give them a heads up if something comes up in your absence.

Send a follow up before leaving

Sometimes that out-of-office email gets lost or forgotten by the time you leave, so send a quick reminder before you leave to contacts with active projects.

Hire a VA if necessary

One of my design colleagues recently did a cross-country move and hired a VA to manage her calls and emails while she was on the road. The VA was able to respond to simple requests and she didn’t have to worry about spotty Wifi access.

Clean up your desk

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like coming back to a messy desk. I always tidy up my desk and folders to make the day back to work as calm and peaceful as possible.

So, you’ve wrapped things up at the office. Now it’s time to hit the road—unplugged. I know that disconnecting from work is hard, so I came up with a few strategies to keep digital distractions at bay while on vacation.

Turn on your email auto-responder

Be clear about when you will be back and in office and return messages. And if you’re feeling creative, write a clever message (“I’m out of the office and on the beach getting inspired.”)—it will temporarily distract any emailers who are anxious to reach you.

Turn off notifications on mobile devices

I know this is hard—just turn ‘em all off. And know that you can turn them back on when you return—if you want to. I actually waited several weeks post-vacation before I turned notifications back on my iPad (I had gotten used to the break!)

Don’t check email

Seriously, do not even peek! If you have properly prepared and alerted your clients and colleagues, whatever is there can wait.

Don’t check social media

Trust me, you can live without Facebook and Instagram for a week. Resist the urge to “just post this one pic” and instead enjoy the moments in real life as they are happening.

Don’t take your digital devices with you everywhere

Don’t keep your device on the bedside table. Leave your phone at home when you hit the beach or go sightseeing. Do whatever works to resist the urge to peek.

Turn off your Wi-Fi

Remove your access to the online world. This is my strategy when I want to read an eBook without being tempted to check social media.

Let your phone run out of batteries

If all else fails, force your phone to be unusable and “forget” to bring your charger with you.

And now that you’ve successfully unplugged, here are a few strategies for getting back in tune with analog life:

Read a book or magazine

Remember those? It helps to read something that is not related to work. I brought a marketing magazine with me on vacation and quickly put it away when I realized it was messing up my vacation vibe.

Listen for nature’s rhythms

While we were on vacation, I sat and listened to the rhythm of an automatic sprinkler, the turning on and off of an air conditioner, the chirping of birds and palm leaves blowing in wind. (Would I ever do this at home—nope!)

Observe your environment

I took photos of the same palm trees every day, observing how the different time of day presented a different type of light or color of sky. (Again, good luck finding time to do this at home).

Start a creative challenge

My kids and I started a 100 Day Challenge while on vacation (#100DaysofDrawingTogether). It was a great excuse to sit and draw together each night.

I will admit that there was the occasional pang of “Should I just take a quick peek?” As a long-time small business owner (going on 20 years), it’s hard to completely detach from my business.

But I’m glad I didn’t cave, because upon my return to the working world, what did I miss out on? Exactly nothing. Instead, my clients eagerly welcomed me back and I was refreshed and ready to hit the ground running.

Vacations offer a physical—as well as emotional—break. They offer a chance to slow down and notice things you normally miss due to the everyday rush and distractions. The fact that more than half of American workers don’t use up their vacation days tells me that we need to take a break now more than ever.

So go ahead and take a break—you deserve it. The only downfall of doing a digital detox for a week: it took me 2-1/2 hours to process all my emails—but it was fully worth it

April 12, 2019

A to Z of Social Media Marketing: C is for Content Calendar

Filed under: Social Media — lidia @ 11:03 pm

A to Z of Social Media Marketing: C is for Content Calendar

Every social media marketing strategy should be paired with a content calendar. The content calendar makes it easier to keep posts fresh, organized, on-schedule, and spaced out appropriately. It’s also a good place to store and track links for curated posts.

A content calendar can be simple or more detailed, based on your needs and strategy.

Here is a content calendar template (Google Sheets) to download and customize for your organization.

Content calendar template

TIP: Here’s a detailed post on creating a social media content calendar from Hootsuite.

 

 

April 8, 2019

A to Z of Social Media Marketing: B is for Branding

Filed under: Social Media — Tags: , — lidia @ 8:03 pm

A to Z of Social Media Marketing: B is for Branding

Branding is just as important in social media as it is in your print and online presence. Without consistent branding, your posts can appear scattered and not relay your intended brand messaging.

As I do with my other branding projects, I recommend creating a Social Media Brand Guide (or Social Media Style Guide) for your organization. It can be simple like the sample shown below, outlining brand fonts, colors and types of themes and posts.

Social media brand guide sample

Or you can go into more depth with specific guidelines for writing, grammar and voice, including sample posts. Here’s a social media style guide example that includes writing style from Buffer.

TIP: Creating a social media style guide is especially worth the time and effort if you hire subcontractors to write, design or manage your social media marketing, as it assures they will create content and graphics that are on-brand.

A to Z of Social Media Marketing: A is for Algorithm

Filed under: Social Media — lidia @ 5:03 pm

A to Z SM Mktg_Algorithm

In social media, an algorithm is a set of formulas that determines what you see in your feed. Where feeds were once chronological, now they vary based on “relevance”—which is affected by the user’s usage, interests, interactions, and connections. With the frequent algorithm changes, making authentic connections and encouraging interaction on your pages is more important than ever.

TIP: Here’s some useful and actionable info on navigating Facebook algorithms from Brandwatch (updated January 2019).

February 6, 2019

Why (and How) to Set Healthy Social Media Limits        

Filed under: Social Media — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

In my post about why I didn’t check email on vacation, I talked about the reasons why you should avoid email on vacation (spoiler alert:  you will be more relaxed).

But for many of my colleagues and friends, the thought of taking a “digital detox”: is downright frightening. I totally get it: FOMO has been a part of my life since I was a teenager not wanting to miss a Friday night party. And since much of my social media usage is business-related, there’s the fear of missing out on a business opportunity.

Arianna Huffington—author of the book Thrive, which examines our addiction to productivity—describes our digital addictions perfectly: “We fear that if we don’t cram as much as possible into our day, we might miss out on something fabulous, important, special, or career advancing.”

Set digital limits—and stick to them

So how do we get ourselves out of this downward spiral of feeling like we always have to be connected? We’re not going to leave behind our smartphones anytime soon. The answer is: creating a healthy relationship with technology.

Like myself, journalist and former editor-in-chief of Glamour and Self, Cindi Leive decided to keep the spirit of her “digital detox” going when she came back from vacation. She says: “I’m vowing to stay off email for most of my evenings, to keep my phone in my bag, not my hand, more often this year. Anyone with me?” Sign me up!

Once I became more aware of how often I check my phone—and how most of the time it’s out of habit and not necessity—I knew I needed to set ground rules for my social media usage:

  1. No checking email on weekends.
  2. No phone usage while driving.
  3. No walking and texting.
  4. Minimal phone usage when kids are around.
  5. Minimal social media usage before bed.
  6. Bring magazines or books to appointments.

In general, I’ve gotten myself of the habit of using the phone as “something to do.” As a parent, I know sometimes you desperately need a break, but I try to grab a magazine or book instead. And if I am browsing my phone with the kids around, I will include them in the experience by showing them a picture or telling them about an interesting article I read.

Get a little help from your (app) friends

If the thought of going cold turkey on digital scares you, there are apps that track your digital device usage, such as Moment and QualityTime, which can bring you more awareness of how much time you’re spending on digital devices. (Also useful for iPad-addicted kids!)

If you’re ready to go hardcore, there are apps like Flipd that temporarily lock your phone for a period of time—and restarting doesn’t affect it so you can’t cheat.

And tech companies are jumping on board too: Google and Apple recently announced system-level tools designed to help users monitor their screen time and restrict their use of apps. And Facebook and Instagram debuted similar features that will be integrated within their applications. As this WIRED post says, “The implication of these companies’ actions is clear, if softly stated: People want help unplugging from our products, and they are in a position to help.” (Honestly, I’m a bit skeptical, but I will hope that is their intention.)

Remove—but make a healthy replacement

Instead of just stopping your digital habits cold turkey, it can help to replace it with something healthier. As Huffington suggests in Thrive, “Our primary goal shouldn’t be merely breaking bad habits as much as replacing them with new, healthier habits that help us thrive.”

Along those lines, it’s worthwhile to examine how you feel when you use digital devices. For example, if you feel tired and drained after reading your Facebook feed, perhaps your time would be better served doing something that makes you feel uplifted and inspired.

Personally, my solution during my vacation digital detox was to replace the time I usually spent in the evenings on social media with another activity—in my case, reading books or a magazine. And I found that it actually helps me sleep better, since I don’t have myriad thoughts running through my head before bed (which inevitably happens after browsing social media).

Be more intentional

My word for this year is “essential” so I decided to apply that advice by doing a clean install on my new phone and only adding apps that are essential—which meant no social media apps.

Now, if I want to post on social media, I have to do it from another device which makes it more intentional (and, I will admit, sometimes frustrating—old habits die hard!) Also, since I can only check social media at certain times of the day, it helps avoid the mindless browsing throughout the day.

And since the habit of checking my phone upon awakening is hard to break, at least now I’m seeing an empty screen—instead of a long list of notifications that puts my brain into “MUST—RESPOND—NOW” mode. This makes for a more peaceful morning and less chaotic start to the workday.

Disconnect to reconnect

This leads me to this last piece of advice from Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive: “Disconnecting from the digital world will help you reconnect to your wisdom, intuition, and creativity. When you wake up in the morning, don’t start your day by looking at your smartphone. Take one minute—trust me, you do have one minute—to breathe deeply, or be grateful, or set your intention for the day.”

My 7-year-old has a great habit of saying “Get off your phone and play with me!” which is a great approach to take—whether you have kids or not.

Everyone’s ideal situation is different, but if you bring more awareness to your digital usage, you will be amazed by how much better you feel.

January 30, 2019

7 Blogs to Follow to Improve Your Social Media Marketing

Filed under: Social Media — lidia @ 10:00 am

Social media can seem daunting when you’re working solo, or at a nonprofit organization or small business. Here are the social media blogs that I find most useful for staying up-to-date in the changing world of social media.

Many of these blogs also offer weekly email tips and/or how-to or beginner’s guides to social media topics, so if you are just diving in keep an eye out for those.

7 Useful Social Media Marketing Blogs to Follow

Buffer Blog

Buffer makes my favorite social media scheduler and shares the latest trends in social media marketing, as well as useful case studies from companies that are doing it well.

Digital Marketer

Digital Marketer shares tips, roundups, and lots of  “best-ofs” (i.e. best articles for organic traffic, etc.) as well as many free social media-related worksheets and resources.

HubSpot Blog

HubSpot is one of my favorite overall marketing resources—especially for a small business like myself. They are champions for inbound marketing and share social media advice that is clear and easy to adapt. They also have a free Social Media Certification course through their HubSpot Academy.

Moz Social Media Blog

Moz is an SEO tool, so they approach social media from an SEO perspective (you can’t have one without the other, right?) Check out their Beginner’s Guide to Social Media.

Orbit Media Social Media Blog

Orbit Media is a Chicago-based web design and development agency and they are my go-to for content marketing advice in general because they make it so easy to understand and implement (and it’s like they KNOW what I’m thinking…)

Social Media Examiner

SME was one of my first social media marketing resources, but it continues to be one of of my go-tos. You can pretty much find anything related to social media here, and they also host a yearly conference called Social Media Marketing World. 

Social Media Today

SMT offers a great overview of all social media channels, as well as content marketing. Their home page includes a library of free ebooks and calendar of upcoming events.

Sprout Social Blog

Sprout Social is another great social media scheduling tool and they share quick tips, geared to small businesses. Check out their complete guide to social media for small business. 

 

Did I miss any of your faves?

January 28, 2019

RECAP: IAPD/IPRA Agency Showcase Competition

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — lidia @ 10:00 am

Last week was my fourth time judging the Agency Showcase Competition at the Illinois Park and Recreation Association/IAPD Soaring to New Heights Conference.

The competition features communications and marketing work from local park districts and parks/recreation agencies. Entries are judged on creativity, design, content and organization.

The category I judged was Print Communications (Informational and Promotional). Being the print lover that I am, I enjoyed browsing the brochures, reports, posters, sponsorship booklets and other print collateral. I look forward to hearing if any of my “faves” are winners!

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