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

 

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.

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 4, 2019

Kick off the year with a quick social media audit (free worksheet)

Filed under: Social Media — lidia @ 9:00 am

yearly social media audit worksheet

For last few years, I have started the new year with a social media audit to assess the previous year’s results. It’s a quick and easy process and provides useful insight for your social media strategy.

How to perform a fast and easy social media audit

Before you start, you have to know your social media goals. What are you hoping to accomplish through your social media efforts? For example, it could be brand awareness, increase in sales, increase in followers, or email list growth. Keep your goals SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

Next, review your social media numbers. Review analytics for the past year in all of your social media accounts—including your blog and email marketing—and jot down key data, such as follower growth and top-performing posts. Compare the results to past years’ data, as well as your current goals.

Lastly, revise your social media plan for the new year. Review your results and use the data to refine your social media strategy for the upcoming year. For example, did a particular type of Facebook post or email newsletter subject perform well? Make sure it’s incorporated into this year’s content calendar.

How to find social media data

Not all outlets allow you to download a year’s worth of analytics, so you may have to do some digging. In addition to each outlets’ built-in analytics, here are few other handy resources for reviewing social media analytics:

Doing this short exercise will allow you to see what worked last year, helping to refine your social media goals and strategic plan for the new year.

Make it easy by using a worksheet

I usually track my yearly social media data in Evernote (you can also use a Google or Excel sheet) but this year, I created a handy worksheet where you can input your social media data and see your progress at-a-glance.

Download my Yearly Social Media Audit Worksheet (PDF). If you find it useful or have suggestions, please let me know!

Yearly Social Media Audit worksheet

August 11, 2016

5 resources that make managing social media easier

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

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I manage my business’ social media marketing myself so I know it’s no easy task for a smaller organization or nonprofit who doesn’t have a dedicated social media manager. These 5 resources can make the process much easier for you (#1 is my fave).

This post originally appeared on the Imagine PR ImagineBlog

As a PR and marketing company, and a small business owner, staying up-to-date with the most recent social media news is a necessity. It can be difficult identifying market trends, and knowing how to capitalize on them, but having great news resources really makes the process so much easier.  Unfortunately there is no one-stop-shop site. However,  we’ve put together a list of our top 5 favorite websites for finding social media news. Whether you want to hear about emerging start-up companies, or if you need to collect content to share on social media, we have you covered.

Check out our list below and if you use a site that you don’t see on this list, share it with us in the comment section below. We are always looking for great news resources!

sme_logo_whiteSocial Media Examiner

Social Media Examiner is great for small business who really want to learn the ins and outs of all the social media platforms. With tons of “How to” articles and lists of tips and best practices, you will find all you need to know about starting a social media campaign, and plenty of content to share with your network.

 

smw2015-featSocial Media Week

Social Media Week is a great source for everything social media. They mostly cover social media breaking news and insightful articles and lists, focusing on trends in the market and what they mean for small businesses. Additionally, Social Media Week hosts unique conferences “that explores the intersection of social technology and creativity with a week of panels, presentations, demos, workshops, talks, conversations, and interactive events.” Social Media Week will be hosting their CHICAGO conference November 14 – 18, providing attendees with great educational experiences, and networking opportunities with some of the biggest influencers, from almost every industry. Secure your tickets now.

forbesForbes

Forbes social media section is more business and investor oriented than sites like Social Media week. While Forbes will rarely have lists like “5 ways social media is changing this year”, Forbes highlights top performers, and emerging companies. If monitored properly, Forbes has the potential to help you stay one step ahead of your competitors when it comes to adopting, and utilizing the latest technologies to make your business more efficient.

 

SocialTimes_640x480Social Times

Social Times is like a hybrid of Forbes and Social Media Week. They have a good stream of industry news and highlights of how innovative companies are using social media platforms to grow their businesses. Another awesome feature of Social Times is that they place the topic of the article above the title. For example, if an article is about which casinos are most popular on Instagram, Instagram will appear above the title. This saves you the time of scanning articles to see if they’re what you need.

squarelogo_9Social Media Today

Social Media Today is catered for the more serious and experienced marketers. That’s not to say “newbies” shouldn’t read it, because they should, the content is simply more useful if you already have a very good understanding of what works for you and what doesn’t. They have some great “How to” articles, but half of the content is mostly useful for key decision makers – those who are no longer executing day-to-day marketing campaigns, but are now in charge of finding the best systems for analytics and trends.

February 1, 2016

My day as a judge at the IAPD/IPRA Conference

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion,Social Media — lidia @ 3:38 pm

IMG_6668

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to be a judge in the Agency Showcase Awards at the IAPD/IPRA Conference.

The Agency Showcase Awards feature the best communication and marketing materials at park and recreation agencies. My category was email communications (one of my current design passions) and I judged the entries on four points: overall design, copy and grammar, strategy, and results.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the different approaches each agency took with their email communications and I was pleased to see the useful content they are sharing regularly with their readers and neighbors.

Best of luck to the winners!

Need help with your next email campaign? Send me a note and let’s chat.

 

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