The plenary keynotes set the scene for the day. Questions were posed, barriers identified and strategic approaches suggested that non-for-profits should be aware of when communicating digitally and with social media. This post reviews each keynote and the panel debate that followed.
The networked non-profit
Alison is an internationally acclaimed author and speaker, who's published works includes "The Networked Nonprofit" and "Momentum". Alison shared insights and thoughts for use of social media and digital communications for not for profit organisation.
Examples for using social media for good included victims of the disaster in Haiti who tweeted from where they were trapped with @redcross help [address].
Alison used the analogy of tinker toys to show how the network is interconnected. Nodes (us) connected by relationship ties to other nodes. This is more complex than pre-online networks but basically the same.
The tool set for social change was introduced as email, Youtube, Facebook Twitter and blogs - with delivery via mobile phones. She said that social media is a contact sport, not spectator sport. In other words, you need to get involved.
If you receive no criticism you are not listening. Critics should be welcomed. Critics are vital to your efforts, they say what other people probably agree with, they highlight when something has gone wrong giving you the opportunity to correct it and they can become your best ambassadors. Listen to and engage with them.
On the topic of who should be your front line social networkers, Alison suggested too many organisations are risk adverse - after hiring someone it is ridicules to then not trust them to talk about the organisation. Although organisations can also look for supporters to help, this is not usually directed or aligned to strategic objectives. An example of supporter help was the visualisation of the oil spill in Golf of Mexico by Andy Lintner. His oil spill too kit raised awareness, organised people and raised money with a low tech approach that out-did traditional environmental groups' efforts. http://www.ifitweremyhome.com/
Alison then addressed culture change - "we are all part of solution making - find the best social media tools, experiment and make time to use them. Stop doing things because you always do them, for example, change your traditional newsletters to blogs"
And she summarised by suggesting charities use crowd sourcing (without using the term) "Do what you do best and network the rest".
Putting people at the heart of your social media business strategy
Steve Bridger, Builder of Bridges @stevebridger
Next was a talk from a digital strategist and creative innovator. He explored what the digital age is, how it impacts on every third sector organisation and the culture you need to create to optimise the benefits.
He started by highlighting the traditional problem of the formalised fortress within charities who silo divisions (departments).
He then reviewed the barriers to change, which contrasted how traditional media has grown up within business and how social media has grown up outside of business, divorcing it from organisational understanding.
- Behaviour established inside workplace - phone, email
- Behaviour established outside workplace - social media
The old view is of static web pages - the new view has a web of flow which you cannot dip in and out of, but must be fully immersed and formalised with:
- Content strategy
- Participation strategy
- Commitment strategy
He suggested that the structure of how organisations interact with supports should change.
From charity brand with supporters
To supporters with charity brand
Lessons and insight from Google
Peter Barron, Google
Google's approach to innovation which can be adopted by all organisations was introduced.
- Place big bets - for example Google expected the cost of storage to come down so launched gmail and brought youtube. Now 48 hours of content is uploaded every minute.
- Launch and iterate - get early feedback and improve
- Fail fast - try lots of stuff, spread lots of seeds, quietly drop failures quickly and learn from this.
Peter then introduced the audience to the idea of cultivating communities, and that there was too much discussion on medium and not enough on message.
He then introduced tools that can help visualise content from Google Labs including Google public data, Google fusion tables, Google refine, gapminder and Google earth engine.
These can be used to understand your data and are free (but may be quietly killed if they don't gain traction). You can use the tools available to promote your message and get people to act.
Panel - How do we get on the same page and how far can we go digitally
Chair: Jon Snow
Panel Members: Robert McCarthy, CEO, GOSS Interactive, Megan Griffith Gray, Allison Fine, Dr Peter Kyle, Patrick Nash, Martin Baker, Richard Craig
A panel of high level experts and speakers discussed the opportunities and potential for the sector in using digital communications and social media in every aspect of your work.
This interactive session explored the culture shift needed in the third sector to unleash the full potential this has to offer.
Some quotes from panelists:
"Networks of people already exist - go to them, don't recreate the network on your website."
"Social media vs websites - no control of social media, no ongoing engagement with supporters on social media, you can control your content and user experience on your own website"
"IT is the quality of followers not quantity of followers that is important."
"Would be good to see social media monitoring tools understand what is going on and understand what the sentiment is (particularly negative comments)."
"Use the negative comments - these people often really care about your organisation. Always engage with them."
"Don't ghost tweet - you need to be sincere."
"Semantic analysis needed to turn of "noise" from Facebook and Twitter, currently it is either on or off."
"Social media strategy - charities should be delivering services online for the digitally included so they can focus on the digital excluded."
"Measurement of social media difficult - too many tools to pull together meaningful insight. It is easier to measure onsite traffic so drive traffic to it then measure the saving of digital as it will show your savings and improved ROI."
Win a website review.
Delegates were also invited to win a website review.