Best Practices For Blogging

 

There are millions of blogs out there on every topic under the sun. What makes some blogs stand out? How do you get people to follow and engage with your blog? How do you make money off of your blog? You can start by following the best practices for blogging. 

Blogs come in a few forms. You could write your blog, post video blogs, or create podcasts. According to the book, Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, “Self-expression used to be either private, or difficult (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p.19)”. With the creation of blogs there are now ample ways to show off your self expression to other people. 

“Nearly one in three online Americans (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p.19)” read blogs. In order to promote your blog you should read and comment on other blogs that share similar interests as you. You can give credit to other blogs by referencing other bloggers content within your own blog. This helps build a relationship between you and the other blogger as well as promote the other blogger’s content. 

I work in the non-profit sector. According to Topnonprofits.com there are hundreds of non-profit blogs. You can view a list of the top 150 blogs here: http://topnonprofits.com/lists/nonprofit-blogs/.

The company that I work for uses a blog and twitter account to promote our advocacy efforts. The blog mixes stories of the company’s past with articles about current political topics that are relevant to the organization. The blog posts are tweets are consistent and there is new content every day to every few days. 

If you are interested in purchasing your own copy of Groundswell you can pick up a copy on Amazon.com

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How Risky is Your Brand?

This week I am going to write about the risk that comes along with putting your brand on social media. I happen to work in an industry where we have to be extremely careful with our social media. I work for a non-profit that many people disagree with. There are opposition groups that are constantly trying to figure out who works for the company and then use this information to send materials opposing the company’s mission and vision. In the past groups have used these tactics to send materials directly to employe’s houses. In addition, they have used social media to find employees and then post their personal information on websites to get more people to go after the employees. 

Personally, I believe everyone has a right to their own beliefs and opinions, but I do not think that gives anyone the right to attack another person for their beliefs in any way shape or form. However we do not live in a perfect world so it is best to be cognizant of putting your brand on social media. 

My company is very active on Twitter and Facebook. Although we have a lot of opposition groups there is even more people out there who fully support our mission and vision and they like to interact with us as much as possible. We are fortunate enough to have the support and attention of many teens and college students. This keeps our brand very active on social media sites. 

In order to keep employees and supporters safe we ask that any incident that seems suspicious be reported back to the organization. That way we can look for trends and gauge the seriousness of the comments. For the most part not much happens that is alarming and people feel safe to engage with us on social media. 

There is an app for that!

In my last post “No Time, No Money, No Idea?” I talked about how Non-Profits need to utilize social media tools to connect with donors and other advocates such as volunteers. Although traditional social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which were originally accessed mainly through a computer, are great tools Non-Profits also have to look into Mobile Technology.

It is clear that many people are using their phones to access the web more often than their computers. For the most part I only use my computer for work and school. Just look at any website you access online – chances are they have a mobile application attached to it.

There are many mobile applications out there that people can use to donate to non-profits or to find out about volunteer opportunities. One of these applications is called “I Can Go Without”. Below is a wonderful video from their website that shows you the concept behind the app:

You exchange your perceived wants for someone else’s real needs. Non-profits can use this kind of mobile technology to raise awareness of their non-profits. Icangowithout.com is a great idea because it is taking what makes social media so popular, engagement, and making it a requirement of the app.

Currently the Non-Profit that I work for does not use mobile technology for development. This is definitely an area that we could invest in. Most of our advocacy work is done by teens and young adults in college. They would be a great vehicle to get technology like this out to the public and help raise awareness and much needed money for the organization.

No Time, No Money, No Idea?

The non-profit industry is a challenging industry to work in. There is a lot of work and few resources. Social media is becoming a great tool for non-profit organizations because most platforms are free or inexpensive. The video above, 19 ways non-profits can use social media to connect with donors, explains how non-profits can use social media to connect with donors. Donors drive most of the funding for the company that I work in as well as for the majority of non-profits. Therefore, it is important to do all that you canto cultivate your relationships with donors.  According to 19 ways non-profits can use social media to connect with donors non-profits cite the following reasons for not utilizing social media tools:

  1. Don’t know how to use the technology

    Screen Shot from 19 ways non-profits can use social media to connect with donors

    Screen Shot from 19 ways non-profits can use social media to connect with donors

  2. Don’t know what kind of content to create
  3. Don’t have the time
  4. Don’t have the money

This is a problem because it is becoming more common for donors and volunteers alike to prefer to be contacted via social media rather than other outlets like telephone and email. Additionally, social media is an inexpensive way to create and grow relationships with donors, volunteers, and other people who want to interact with the organization.

To be more effective non-profits should start to use social media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, etc. to connect with their donors. To solve the “don’t know how” problem many sites have extensive help sections. For instance, YouTube has a help section that helps users learn how to:

  • Create videos
  • Embed private videos
  • Set location
  • Write a description.

Additionally, non-profits can Google, “How to use [insert a social media site here]” to learn how to use sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

Another tool non-profits can use is content. Non-profits can create content like stories and thank you messages to volunteers and donors. Non-profits can post these stories on various sites to get their message across.

If time is an issue non-profits can use tools like Posterous, SocialOomph, AWeber, and Tube Mogul. All of these sites save time for users in various ways. For instance, Posterous is a free tool that helps you post to many sites with one click. Also, SocialOomph will help you schedule posts to auto-generate as needed. In addition, AWeber is a autoresponder service that can be used to mass message followers to create engagement. Lastly, Tube Mogul lets you upload videos and share them with multiple video sites with one click. All of these tools can help a busy non-profit save time.

When you realize the amount of tools out there to help establish a presence on social media your “don’t knows” do not seem as significant!

-Maria Barbagallo

What Tools Are In Your Toolbox?

In business Social Media is only as good as the tools you utilize to help make you more efficient. There are many tools out there that help you cross post, organize and upload pictures, track analytics, shorten URLS, group RSS feeds, and more. When you have a good amount of tools in your Social Media toolbox it can help you manage content across sites and bring important information to your attention.

A good way to help you stay aware of what is being said about you or your company is to use the Social Media tool Mention. “Mention was developed as a user-friendly replacement for Google Alerts. They’re a textbook example of how to build a platform by doing one thing better than anyone else (http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-tools-used-by-pros-today/)”. Mention uses a clean and organized dashboard to help you view the content that is posted about you or your company online. The site is also simple to use and easy to customize. An example of what a Mention page looks like is below:

Another tool any smart small business owner or marketer would have in their toolbox is Compfight. If you blog regularly or wish to update your website you can use Compfight to search Flickr (another wonderful Social Media tool!) for professional images. Why does this matter? Photographers or even camera equipment can be a big investment. For companies or individuals hoping to add quality content to their site they can use Compfight for free! All you have to do is give credit to the photographer who posted the image.

The list of worthwhile Social Media tools is pretty long. However, the tool I will leave you with is Hootsuite. In the past Hootsuite was a tool used to manage posts across multiple platforms. They had basic analytics tools which were just enhanced with the purchase of UberVU. Although I do not personally believe you should schedule out all of your posts – it takes away from the social aspect of Social Media – however, it is smart to have some sort of tool to help you manage content.