10 WAYS TO GENERATE LEADS USING SOCIAL MEDIA

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social-media-leads

Have you ever considered using social media as a way of getting more leads? If you’re already using social media for your business, either to get more engagement, more traffic to your website or to raise awareness of your brand, why not also make an extra effort to also get more leads out of it?

An infographic by Wishpond (at end of post) shows us just how useful social media can be when it comes to generating leads: for example, 77% of “B2C marketers say they have acquired a customer through Facebook”, “34% of marketers have generated leads using Twitter and 20% have closed deals” and “LinkedIn is 277% more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter”, with 77% of B2B marketers saying that they have acquired a customer through LinkedIn.

Social media also leads to more “indirect” leads, as it helps you get more traffic that you can try to convert once they get to your website, and studies have shown that most buyers (77%) are “more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media.”

Generating leads using social media doesn’t happen instantly, like all other social media results. It takes a bit of effort, and the bigger and better your social media profiles are, the better the chances that you will generate more leads.

1. Use social media to share valuable and useful content.

If you have a blog you can share your content on social media – the more valuable and useful this content is for your audience, the better your chances at getting more leads. It’s also important to share other people’s content, and not just yours, but make sure it is content that your audience will truly value and appreciate. By sharing your own useful articles and resources, you will establish yourself as a knowledgeable person, and ultimately one that people will want to hire for their insight. When writing articles, try to think of the type of content that your target audience will truly value and want to read more about.

2. Always be nice on social media and engage with your audience.

By constantly engaging with your audience and always being polite and nice (even when they don’t really deserve it!) you will create a great first impression to all potential leads. But, perhaps even more importantly, this way you will start building long-lasting relationships with your fans and followers that can later lead to more leads and conversions.

3. Add links to your website/s on your social media accounts.

This is a very important aspect if you want more social media leads. Simply write your website address in your profile descriptions or in the designated spaces so that interested people can easily access your website and lead to more conversions.

4. Don’t just wait for the leads to come to you – look for them yourself.

Occasionally, people will use social media to look for a specific business they need. This is especially the case with B2B, where a particular business requires some services and asks around on social media to find the best candidate for the job. Try to check related groups and communities regularly and make keyword searches to find anyone that could be interested in your services, and approach them.

5. Calls to action.

Don’t be afraid to sometimes be a little salesy on social media. Among your regular updates and engagement with other social media users, you can sometimes post updates where you advertise your services or products and their benefits, and encourage people to go to your website to see what you offer. Don’t go overboard however so as to not alienate your followers and so that they think that you are only using social media to sell, as this will have the opposite of the desired effect.

6. Advertising on social media.

Advertising on social media can help you find lots of quality leads. On Facebook, you can use the Promoted Posts feature to advertise your most valuable posts and drive more targeted traffic back to your website which can lead to more conversions. You can also use regular advertising, which usually helps raise traffic, and try to target your ads as much as possible. If you have any special offers running, advertise them on social media to reach your target audience. It’s always preferable to try to link back to landing pages in order to increase your conversion rate.

7. Be helpful.

The more influential and respected you become on social media, the more questions and inquiries you will get. Make sure to take the time to respond to these questions, and also let them know that if they need any more help with anything else, they should contact you for your help. By being helpful this way, you increase your chances of getting quality leads in the future – some of the people you’ve helped may come back to you when they need your help and this time even employ your services or buy your product. It will also help you become more influential on social media, and create a better name for yourself, one that people respect and go to whenever they need the help. It’s important to understand that it is not by any means about short-term gratification – it requires a lot of work, time invested, and patience to get the results you want.

8. Add a contact form to your Facebook Page.

This is easy to do and can lead to great results. Simply get one of the contact form apps for Facebook and install to your Page – try Contact Form and install it in seconds:

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9. Hold a Google Hangout.Untitled6-1

With Google+’s Hangout feature, you can easily set up a webinar that can help you not only get more traffic, but also more quality leads. For example, you can set up a Hangout where you hold a webinar where you teach the viewers something useful that relates to your business, or even present one of your products or services. Your viewers will feel like they are getting something useful out of the Hangout and there will be more chances that they will go to your website and buy something from you! When you set up your Hangout, make sure to advertise across your social media profiles and consider sending an email to your list to help spread the word and get more viewers.

10. LinkedIn.

LinkedIn can be an amazing source of quality leads if used properly. Start by making sure your profile is complete with all the relevant information about your company, links to your websites, images and work history. Then find people you know and have worked with in the past to get Recommendations from them – this way you will be more influential on LinkedIn and your profile will look much better. Once your profile is all set up, start to engage with other users and build relationships with them before approaching them directly. Then start joining different relevant groups or even consider start one yourself. Make sure you engage with people in groups and try to look for question and enquiries that you can help with. There’s much more that you can do to get leads from LinkedIn, so much so that it requires it’s own article – so make sure to keep checking Socialable for a post on this in the very near future.

Are you using social media to generate leads? Have you been successful so far? And if so, what techniques do you use? Please leave your comments below!

bii-using-social-media-for-lead-generation-infographic

The post 10 ways to generate leads using social media appeared first on Socialable.

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HOW FREELANCERS CAN USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO FIND NEW CLIENTS

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HOW FREELANCERS CAN USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO FIND NEW CLIENTS

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Once you take the (big) leap of faith to starting a freelance career, growing your client base and expanding your network can be a real challenge. While there are plenty of job boards and websites designed specifically for freelancers, sometimes these boards can seem downright overwhelming.

Constantly submitting pitches blindly to prospective clients is not always the most effective use of your time, especially on job boards where you may never receive any feedback as to why your pitch didn’t make the cut. Besides marketing yourself through a stellar website and fantastic content, how else can you land your next gig?

While I’m not a freelancer, I am a solopreneur who understands the challenge of reaching new clients and expanding your business profile. One of the best tips I ever received from a fellow solopreneur was to focus on growing my network reach through social media. Sure, nearly all of us have a LinkedIn page that acts as our online resume.

But what about sites like Twitter or Instagram? Is it possible to grow your personal brand here and reach new clients? Absolutely. Here’s how freelancers can leverage the power of social media to connect with potential clients outside of LinkedIn:

BROADCAST YOUR AUTHENTIC VOICE ON TWITTER

As a popular micro-blogging platform, Twitter is still ground zero for cultivating your personal brand and amassing a following – as long as you’re willing to get a bit more personal about your daily life. Twitter is the place to showcase your thoughts, passions and interests that go beyond your business profile.

Start by nailing the basics: upload a professional headshot, build out a keyword-rich bio, add a website link to your profile and select a location. Even if you travel a lot for work, it’s still critical to indicate a home base, otherwise your Twitter profile could fall outside the parameters of a targeted search.

Next, position yourself as an expert resource on a specific subject matter you want to write more about, be that budget travel tips or B2B content marketing. Be genuine, inject a little humor, wit or sarcasm into your posts (in keeping with your personality), and be smart about who you follow or re-tweet.

Follow the publishers and publications for which you wish to write, and be smart about tagging them in posts or retweeting their content. Never pitch an editor directly over Twitter; a lengthy series of messages is unprofessional and can be downright annoying to receive. Instead, once you’ve built a basic relationship, send a direct message or shift the conversation to email.

Your tweets may only be 140 characters, but your profile and the type of content you post (and curate) will say a lot about your brand. Since tweets have a very short lifespan due to Twitter’s real-time newsfeed, remember you’ll need to invest consistent time and energy each day into maintaining an active presence.

SHOWCASE YOUR CREATIVITY ON INSTAGRAM

While Twitter is great for freelance writers, it’s not always the best medium for showing off creative visual work. You may already be posting design work on Instagram as well as Facebook and Pinterest. By bringing more focus to your brand building efforts on Instagram (like these designers do), you can build your own design niche and expand your following.

Developing your brand as a graphic designer is all about leveraging social media sites like Instagram to tell a story through great work. Here’s the problem: most designers promote their work with a simple image post of their latest project and a few relevant hashtags. Get more mileage out of your posts by creating context and telling a story.

You don’t need to go overboard with a full-on case study, but do consider adding a line or two about your client’s problem and how you went about solving it. Showcase your work as it develops through the creative process: perhaps an initial pen-and-paper sketch followed by a rough design, and then the final product. Take your followers along for the creative journey and get them invested in the outcome.

Many freelancers I know wish they could be more creative in their day-to-day work, and have started using Instagram as an outlet for expressing this creativity. For example, let’s say most of your jobs are developing B2B logos. The opportunities for creativity are a bit more limited here than they would be with other clients.

Perhaps you enjoy sketching or typography; use Instagram to showcase these sketches and typeface designs. Doing so not only bolsters your reputation as a creative but also lets potential clients know that you’re open to a wide variety of projects beyond your immediate portfolio.

Bottom line: There’s nothing easy about breaking into a creative field and turning a side hustle into a full-time job. From broadcasting your authentic voice on Twitter to showcasing your creative eye on Instagram, leveraging the power of social media to curate content is key to successfully building out your personal brand.

Focus on one to two channels, post regularly to maintain an active presence, and take your followers along on your creative journey. You may be surprised by just how many folks start following your posts, commenting on your content, and even reaching out for work opportunities.

17 Mistakes You’re Making on Twitter and How To Fix Them

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twitter-mistakes

PETER GUIRGUIS NOVEMBER 15, 2012

Do you want to be a success on Twitter?

There are things that  you’re probably doing right now that are preventing you from getting more followers, causing people to unfollow you, or decreasing the number of clicks that you’re getting on your tweets.1

Or worse yet, people could be so annoyed with you that they’ve blocked you all together on Twitter.

I’ve been on Twitter for a while and I can tell you from experience what works and what doesn’t.

That’s a big part of the reason why I created the free guide to getting hundreds of Twitter followers, the safe and legal way.

In this blog post, I share with you 17 mistakes that you can make on Twitter and how you can fix them.

I’ve made some of the mistakes mentioned in this blog post and other’s I’ve read about on the best social media websites and blogs.

Avoiding these Twitter mistakes has helped me to get the more than 100,000 followers that I currently have (thank You Lord  :-D)

If you need help getting started with using Twitter, check out this blog post.

Mistake 1: You send an auto-DM to everyone that begins following you

The problem:  There’s software or web apps that you can use that will send everyone that begins to follow you a direct message (after you’ve auto-followed them back).

Those who use these apps will setup their Twitter account to send a direct message with a generic message asking their followers to visit their website or to buy their product.

The problem with this is that most people view this as spam.  As a result, the click-through ratio on the links in these DM’s are very low and it prevents people from building a relationship with you.

The solution:  Don’t auto-send a DM to anyone on Twitter.  Build relationships with people first to find out what their needs are.  Then if you think your website or product is going to be helpful, go ahead and share it with others.

The trustworthy person will get a rich reward, but a person who wants quick riches will get into trouble.2

-Proverbs 28:20

Update:  After publishing this post, a few people told me that they experienced some success with sending auto direct messages to their new Twitter followers.

I still think that it would benefit you more in the long run to build a relationship first with others before asking them to do your call to action.

Nevertheless, feel free to experiment and measure your success if you like.

Mistake 2:  You post too much

The problem:  You love Twitter and you’re replying to tons of people and sending out lots of cool tweets that your followers find valuable.

The only problem is that you post too often and your tweets are not spaced out.

When your followers look at their timeline or their lists that you’re a member of, they see a flood of your tweets.

They don’t want to see every single public conversation/reply that you’re having and they’re not seeing enough of your cool tweets with your most valuable content.

I’ve been guilty of this myself and I found that a bunch of people unfollowed me when I reply and send all of my tweets one right after the other.

The Solution: Limit your tweets to no more than 2 per hour.

If you do a lot of public replies on Twitter, try posting one reply followed by one tweet that has valuable content for your followers so that they don’t get bored.

You can also spread out your tweets throughout the day without going to Twitter 5 million times.

All you have to do is use an app that will allow you to schedule your tweets in advanced.  My personal favorite is Hootsuite.

There is a free version and a paid version of Hootsuite.  For me personally, I need some of their premium features so I’ve signed up for their premium account.

Mistake 3:  You post too little

The problem:  Yes, not posting enough on Twitter is a Twitter sin although you might not know it.

If you aren’t posting multiple times a day, then you aren’t interacting with others and you aren’t driving traffic back to your website.

The solution:  You’re probably really busy and you don’t have time to visit Twitter multiple times a day to tweet.  I feel you.

So again, this is where a tool like Hootsuite comes into play.  Visit Hootsuite once a day and schedule multiple tweets for that day (at least 3).

If you know you’re going to be unavailable in advance, then you can schedule for the next day or even week.

Mistake 4:  The things you tweet have nothing to do with your target audience or niche

The problem:  In the guide that I’ll be releasing on how to get thousands of Twitter followers, I tell you in step 5 that in order for you to be a success on Twitter, you need to create a tweeting strategy.

If you’re just tweeting whatever you want whenever you want, people will stop following you and you’ll have a hard time getting new followers.

nowhere

The solution:  Find out what your Twitter goals are.  Is it to drive traffic back to your website?  Connect with professionals in your industry? Sell a product?

Once you’ve done that, decide who your target audience is and create tweets that they’re going to find valuable.

Mistake 5: Your tweets are all about YOU

The problem:  All you ever tweet about is stuff about you, your website, or your products.  The problem with this is that people see it as selfish, self-centered, and boring.

The solution:  Tweet links and videos about other things that your followers are going to find valuable.  Re-tweet other people’s tweets and send other people traffic back to their sites.

The selfish shall be punished but the generous shall be rewarded, especially when it comes to social media. http://platform.twitter.com/widgets/tweet_button.420281f7dd393a35b17552fb11b499a9.en.html#_=1441198089670&count=horizontal&dnt=false&id=twitter-widget-i1441198089648251366&lang=en&original_referer=http%3A%2F%2Fnotashamedofthegospel.com%2Ftwitter%2Ffix-mistakes-on-twitter%2F&size=m&text=The%20selfish%20shall%20be%20punished%20but%20the%20generous%20shall%20be%20rewarded%2C%20especially%20when%20it%20comes%20to%20social%20media&type=share&url=http%3A%2F%2Fnotashamedofthegospel.com%2Ftwitter%2Ffix-mistakes-on-twitter%2F

Mistake 6: You post at the wrong times

The problem:  You send your tweets at times when your followers aren’t online.  As a result, your tweets don’t get clicked on and you don’t get re-tweeted.

The solution:  You need to find out when a majority of your followers are online and schedule your tweets for those times.  Luckily, there are a couple of services that can help.

I’ve used Tweroid and Fruji to help me find out when most of my followers are online.

I recommend trying both because Tweroid will give you detailed information organized by day of the week . On the other hand, Fruji will give you basic time zone information but it will give you other really useful information as well.

Mistake 7: You give bad apps access to your Twitter profile

spam apps

The problem:  Because Twitter is so darn popular, many apps and software that are created today can integrate with your Twitter account.

You have to authorize an app to have access to your Twitter account so that you can tweet from it.

The problem is that not all apps and software are created equally.  Some apps are bad and will post tweets and direct message on your behalf to your followers.

These tweets are considered spam and they can contain links to virus-infested websites.

The solution:  Only authorize reputable apps that want access to your Twitter profile.  How do you find out if an app has a good reputation?

Be familiar with the app’s website and take a look at its user base.  Spammy apps aren’t going to be very popular with people and they tend to have a shady element.

You’re going to need to use your discernment on this one.

If you need to remove an app’s access to your Twitter account, just follow these instructions here.

Mistake 8:  You’re not using any kind of metrics to measure how your tweets are doing

The problem: Yes you’re creating tweets, yes you’re interacting with others on Twitter, but how do you know if you’re tweets are doing well?

How do you know if people are clicking on your links?

You need to be able to measure how your tweets are doing so that you can make necessary adjustments when your tweets aren’t getting clicked on and so that you can keep doing the things that have been working for you.

The solution:  There are a number of free tools that can help you by giving you an inside look at how your tweets are doing.

  1. Hootsuite:  These guys have built-in reporting using their own Ow.ly system that they created.  Their reports are very insightful.
  2. Buffer App:  This is another tool that helps you to schedule your tweets and that gives you analytics that show you how your tweets are doing.
  3. Bit.ly:  This is a url shortening tool that will give you reporting if you use their free service.  You can integrate your Bit.ly account with a majority of third-party Twitter apps.

Mistake 9: Your Twitter handle is too long

The problem:  You have a Twitter handle that looks like this: @JohnSmith123XYZ.  When people want to re-tweet you by adding your Twitter name in their tweet, it causes them to go over their 140 character limit.

Many people get frustrated when they are over their 140 character limit and will just delete the tweet that was going to mention you.

The solution:  You have two choices and I recommend doing both:

  1. Change your Twitter name: you can easily do this by going into the settings and choosing something else with less characters.  Once you’ve done this, tweet out to your followers a few times throughout the week that your Twitter name has changed.
  2. Create Tweets with some padding:  That means that don’t ever create a tweet that takes up all 140 characters.  Give yourself room of at least 12 to 20 characters so that people can easily re-tweet you without them going over the 140 character limit

Mistake 10: You thank everyone & their cousin for following or re-tweeting you

The problem:  Every time you get a new follower, you send them a mention thanking them for the follow.  Every time someone re-tweets you, you thank them for the re-tweet.

The problem with overly doing this is that you fill up other people’s timeline with your thankyou’s and a majority of them don’t find that very valuable.

People will get tired of this very quickly and they can either unfollow you, block you, or just ignore your tweets all together.

thanking everyone on Twitter

The solution:  Thank people for the follows and the re-tweets sparingly.  Also, once you find out when a majority of your followers are online, schedule the thankyou’s in advance to go out during your non-peak times like I shared with you in mistake 6.

Mistake 11: Your tweet’s are timed too close together

The problem:  All of your tweets are sent out in just an hour or two throughout the day.

For example, let’s say that you send out 10 tweets, you send 6 of them at 12 pm during your lunch break and the remaining 4 at 7 pm after you eat dinner.

The problem with this is two-fold:

  1. You followers don’t wants to see a whole bunch of your tweets filling up their timeline at one time.  They’d rather see a variety.  Some people will unfollow you if you continue to do this.
  2. Your tweets don’t get enough exposure if you don’t schedule and space them out in advance to coincide with when your followers are online.

The solution:  Use Tweroid or Fruji to post your most valuable tweets when most of your followers are online.  Space them out as much as possible during that time period.  Also, read the solution to mistake 2.

Mistake 12: Every other word in your tweet is a hashtag

The problem:  If you’re not sure what a hashtag is, you can go to my guide on how to use Twitter where I’ve dedicated a section on hashtags.

The problem when using too many hashtags in your tweets is that they become harder to read.

Also, some people will stuff their tweets with hashtags hoping to get more exposure so they add keywords that aren’t really relevant to the tweet or the link that they’re including.

The solution:  If you want to include hashtags, limit your use to just 1 or 2 per tweet.  Your followers will thank you for it and you’ll get more re-tweets :-).

Mistake 13: Your tweets are filled with mentions (replies) and not enough content

The problem:  You reply to different people’s tweets and send them at the same time (ex. 5 tweets at 5 pm).  Or, you want to reply to someone but you need more than 140 characters so you create 3 or 4 tweets that go out after one another.

The problem with this is that your followers typically find this annoying because again, you’re stuffing their timelines with tweets that they don’t find valuable.

Also if you have a potential new follower who is considering following you and is looking at your tweets to see whether they should follow you or not, they’ll see a whole bunch of replies and many won’t follow you if you do this too often.

The solution:  There are several things you can do:

  1. Schedule your replies in advance using a tool like Hootsuite.
  2. If you have a lot of replies to people, schedule them during non-peak times.
  3. For every reply that you have, follow it up with a Tweet that has valuable content for your followers
  4. Use a service like Twitlonger that will help you to create a tweet without the 140 character limit.

Mistake 14: You tweet people asking them to follow you back

The problem:  You want someone to follow you so you send them a tweet that looks like this:

follow me on Twitter please

This makes you look desperate and it doesn’t put you in the best possible light.  People should follow you because they find your tweets valuable and because you’re a delight in conversation.

You shouldn’t have to tell anyone to follow you.

The solution:  Don’t ask anyone on Twitter to follow you back.  Instead, use my guide to gettingmore Twitter followers.

Mistake 15: You ask people to unfollow you when you don’t like their bio or tweets

The problem:  Someone started following you and you check out their Twitter page.  You don’t like their tweets, or their bio, or you don’t want them to view your tweets so you ask them to stop following you.

The solution:  Please don’t do this.  It’s quite impolite and offensive.

The whole Twitter culture revolves around following and unfollowing others and it’s as simple as that.

If you feel really strongly about that person that just followed you, use the block button to block that person.  I don’t even recommend this but it’s the next best option.

Mistake 16:  You send tweets asking influencers you don’t know to tweet your link

The problem:  You find someone that’s following you that has a large following and you send him or her a tweet asking them to tweet your link to their followers.

The problem with this is that influencers with large followings get tweets like this all the time.  Many of them just ignore these requests because they feel like you are using them for their influence.

The solution:  Build relationships with influencers first.  See first what you can do for them and not what they can do for you.  After that, if God opens up the doors for them to tweet your links, then it’s a win-win situation.

Mistake #17: You never engage your followers

interesting-tweets

The problem:  People like your tweets and so they reply to them.  Only you never reply back and you don’t keep the conversation going even it’s just a polity acknowledgement.

This is a good way to make your followers feel disengaged and like you don’t really care what they have to say.

The solution:  Reply back to other people’s replies when you can.

Once your Twitter following grows, you won’t be able to keep up with everyone that mentions you so you’re going to have to pick and choose.

Nevertheless, replying to some people is better than not replying to anyone at all.  Also, don’t forget to space out and schedule your replies so that your followers don’t just see a bunch of your conversations in their timelines.

Key Takeaway

Be a blessing to everyone that you can on Twitter.

The result will be that people will follow you, people will re-tweet you, and you’ll be blessed 100 times more in return.

Be others minded and do everything that you can to help your followers meet their Twitter goals and they in turn will help you to meet yours.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Guirguis

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I’m the Technology and Social Media Manager of Calvary Chapel South Bay, a church in Gardena, California. My passion is to see people give their life to Christ both online and offline. I’ve created the free guide to getting thousands of Twitter followers to show ordinary people how to get extraordinary results on Twitter.

14 Great Tools to Create Engaging Infographics and Images for your Social Media Posts

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HOW AND WHY EDUCATORS SHOULD USE TWITTER: cormac reynolds

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Twitter is possibly the most versatile social media network and since its rise to prominence less than a decade ago, it’s been used for any number of different things.

Using Twitter smartly and well can result in it truly being a fantastic tool for learning and other areas too. This is why it’s being used in the educational sphere by teachers and tutors increasingly. Amazing considering its 140 character limitation. So, let’s evaluate some of the ways educators are using Twitter for learning and the reasons why you should too.

Why Educators Should Use Twitter?

There are numerous reasons that Twitter should be used in and out of the classroom:Child-pic3

  • It allows teachers and students to connect personally
  • Interaction can be outside the classroom
  • It’s easy to differentiate learning for individuals
  • It provides the chance to link to other communities
  • It’s brief, to the point and so works well in an age where attention spans are often short

Some Innovative ways to Use Twitter for Learning

There are numerous ways that educators can use Twitter for learning and getting more from their lessons and here are a few.

Hashtags

The humble hashtag can be put to amazing use in the classroom. Simply create specific hashtags around lessons and all members of the class will be able to find and also add to the message thread. This allows students to participate, interact and broaden the educational discussion.

Of course, you can also help students enhance their own leaning by offering them hashtags to really great resources such as #TED or #Geography – plenty of interesting stuff there too.

Twihaiku and Language Learning

There are also numerous different sorts of language related games and learning on Twitter. Hashtags can be used to exchange micro reviews, create Twitter fiction or to even cite Tweets in academic papers as you can see here. Twihaiku’s are also a common part of the Twitter landscape.

Message Board

Twitter can also be used as a message board quite easily, informing students to different news and information. Whether it’s a reminder for a test or a cancelled class or tutoring session, Twitter can be very useful in this regard. A specified Twitter can be used to capture all the news, views and events in a school or on a course, class or campus – something that can make organisation a lot easier.

Great for Shy Students

The fact that Tweets are short in their length and also don’t involve some of the aspects of traditional communication means children that don’t participate often may do so. Twitter walls are a common visualisation software used at events, however they can be used in the classroom and for tutoring too according to UK 11+tutor James Goldsmith, who use them regularly for different sorts of prep. The web app simply projects a discussion based around a hashtag onto a screen, showing all the different participants in the conversation. These Twitter walls tend to encourage and entice even the quieter students to join in and can really encourage interaction from quieter students – something.

Class Newspaper

There are a number of great apps out there that allow you to curate and create content around specific subjects. Paper.li and Storify can be used to this effect and are ideal for starting a class or subject based newspaper. These social feeds compile a variety of social media activity to create a real time online newspaper. Needless to say there are numerous obvious benefits of such a newspaper creation tool in the classroom.

Recaps

Finally, it’s quite easy to use Twitter for recaps. Educators can use the tool to make it a go to place for after class or lesson discussions. Used in tandem with rewards for students that participate, Twitter can be a great place to engage students, recap lessons and even encourage them to take part in mini Twitter quizzes that keep them interested in the specific area of study.

Twitter is an amazing tool and one that is extremely versatile inside and outside of an education or training setting. These tips and ideas should help you get more from it in and out of the classroom.

Social Media for Non-Profits: High-Impact Tips and the Best Free Toolsjust: By Kevan Lee

JUST FOUND THIS

JUNE 16, 2015

Whenever we have the chance to chat with folks about social media stats andmarketing strategies, we are amazed at the many unique ways you all go about charting a path to social media success.

Every industry and niche—every social profile, even—is unique.

Non-profits are a great example of a segment of social media with its own unique elements and expectations. The non-profit structure—donation-backed, humanitarian-focused, member-based—presents an opportunity for some really neat ways of putting social media to good use, and I’ve done my best to collect a number of stats, tips, and strategies here in this post.

Do you run a non-profit? Do you help your non-profit share to social media? I’d love to learn from your experience also.

Social Media for Non-Profits

Survey Says … How Non-Profits Share to Social Media

1. The pinnacle of engagement

What is the absolute best form of engagement your community could give you or your business?

A mention on social media?

A 1:1 email conversation with you?

A share of something you’ve written on your blog?

Nearly half of non-profits (47%) find that the pinnacle of engagement is a donation. 

This data comes from a survey performed by the Case Foundation, which goes on to highlight the connection between this pinnacle of engagement and its effect on how non-profits view their different marketing channels, including social media:

Nonprofits overwhelmingly (88%) said their most important communication tools were email and their websites, even though fully 97% of them are on Facebook. This may have to do with the fact that in their mind, the pinnacle of engagement is a donation (47%). Clearly, simply getting folks to retweet or comment (18% each) is helpful only to the extent it culminates in financial support, which still typically happens through a donate page.

Best marketing channels for non-profits

How does social media fit into a marketing strategy when a non-profit’s focus is quite donation driven? (I’ll hope to offer some answers below.)

2. The case for social media—it’s growing, fast!

Though email and websites still rule as non-profit marketing channels, social media is catching up. In Social Media Benchmark Study’s 2015 report, they found the following:

  • Email list sizes grew 11% in the past year
  • Facebook and Twitter followers grew 42% and 37%, respectively

For non-profits, social media is growing 3x faster than email. 

In terms of total numbers, email still dwarfs social. For every 1,000 email subscribers, non-profits have on average 285 Facebook fans and 112 Twitter followers.

But the gap is closing.

Here are some benchmark numbers of where non-profits stand in terms of social media followers, broken down by segment.

Average Facebook followers non-profits 2014Average Twitter followers for non profits 2014

(The Small, Medium, Large distinctions in the charts above are based on a non-profit’s total number of email subscribers. Small non-profits are those with 100,000 or fewer subscribers. Medium is 100,000 to 500,000. Large is 500,000 and up.)

3. Many non-profits are short on social media staff

Social Media Benchmark Study’s 2012 results claimed that nonprofits only allocated 1/4 of one full-time person to social media marketing. Case Foundation’s 2014 study (two years later) found that the number had increased, if only slightly: Half of survey respondents had one full-time or part-time person doing social media. For the remaining half, one quarter used a social media team, the other quarter is ad-libbing it.

The same Case Foundation report found lack of staffing to be the biggest challenge for non-profits.

With this being the case, it becomes all the more important to share to social media as efficiently as possible, saving as much time as possible.

4. The preferred social networks for non-profits

Most every non-profit is on Facebook. Quite a few are on Twitter, and many do LinkedIn and YouTube, too.

In a HubSpot survey of small-to-medium non-profits in the U.S., here’s the breakdown of the top 10 social networks used by non-profits:

  1. Facebook (98%)
  2. Twitter (~70%)
  3. LinkedIn (~55%)
  4. YouTube (~45%)
  5. Pinterest (~25%)
  6. Instagram (~15%)
  7. Google+ (~15%)
  8. Flickr (~10%)
  9. Tumblr (~5%)
  10. SlideShare (<5%)

Most popular social networks for non profits

The HubSpot survey also had a number of other fascinating insights into how these non-profits spend their time on social media. In particular, the following tidbits stood out:

  • Most nonprofits do not have a documented social media strategy.
  • Responsibility typically falls to only one employee.
  • Tracking the social media accounts of donors within a donor database is a rare practice.

And, to highlight the effect of having little staff to handle social media, HubSpot’s survey found that more than half of non-profits spend 2 hours or less per week on social media marketing (whereas half of for-profit businesses spend at least 6 hours per week).

How much time do non profits spend on social media per week

5. What do non-profits measure? 

HubSpot found that about half of non-profits measure their social activities, which is about twice as good as the average for for-profit businesses.

What are non-profits measuring?

The Case Foundation’s study found that the most popular social media measurement tool is Facebook Insights, which makes sense given Facebook’s popularity among non-profits.

(The second most popular metric is Twitter followers.)

As far as what non-profits do with the info from Facebook Insights, the Case Foundation made this discovery:

Fully 60% of our audience still believe that there is no benchmark for what an average engagement rate is on Facebook. Twenty-two percent said the benchmark was 2-4%, but from our personal experience, only the most engaging posts from nonprofits with highly active communities can hope to attract those numbers.

(For our Buffer Facebook page, we reach between 2-3% of our fans.)

An Easy-to-Follow Social Media Strategy for Non-Profits

Tips

One more finding that stood out from the Case Foundation survey was that 74 percent of non-profits use social media as a megaphone to announce events and share what they’re up to, instead of seeking out conversation.

Moving away from this mentality—a simple change in perspective and strategy—could make a big difference in social media results.

One way to ensure the content you share on social is balanced with a mix of megaphone and conversation is to use a social media sharing plan. We’ve covered some useful plans before:

  • 4-1-1 – 4 pieces of content from others, 1 reshare, 1 self-serving post
  • 5-3-2 – 5 pieces of content from others, 3 from you, 2 personal updates
  • Golden Ratio – 60% others’ content, 30% your content, 10% promotional
  • Rule of Thirds – 1/3 posts about you, 1/3 curated content, 1/3 conversations

Steven Shattuck at HubSpot has found these formulas to be useful for many businesses yet “curiously and uniquely inadequate for nonprofits.”

He proposes a three-part system for non-profits, the “Three A’s”:

  1. Appreciation
  2. Advocacy
  3. Appeals

Appreciation – 1/3 of your social updates should recognize your donors, supporters, volunteers, and employees

Advocacy – 1/3 should engage and share with the content of other groups or nonprofits who are relevant to your area

Appeals – 1/3 should solicit donations or help

Non-ProfitSocial MediaStrategy

29 No-Cost, Simple Strategies That Non-Profits Can Implement Today

1. Highlight a donor of the day or donor of the week.

Donor of the Day - Zero Percent, Facebook

These kinds of simple moments of appreciation can be powerful for building connections with your communities, and they can often make for attention-getting, visual content. (Bonus: The people you highlight will share with their friends.)

2. Interact with relevant pages and profiles

In addition to building community by highlighting your donors, you can also connect with those fellow nonprofits and companies who support your mission. Stay involved with their updates and shares by liking, favoriting, retweeting, sharing, and commenting. It’s great for community-building and helps boost your visibility to boot.

3. Tweet to landing pages with specific asks

If you have payments enabled on your website, send social media traffic back to your site and to specific landing pages. Make 5, 10, 20, or more landing pages, each with a specific ask, then compose a social media message to accompany each of these pages (part of the 1/3 “Appeals” section listed in the above strategy).

4. Create behind-the-scenes content

Non-profits by nature are a bit more open than traditional business. Take full advantage by sharing behind-the-scenes: Backstage at events, inside your planning sessions, around the office, etc.

5. Create and share a simple crowdfunding campaign

As an alternative to events or dinners, you can create a simple crowdfunding page (Crowdrise is a great spot) and share this with your social media followers, asking for a quick-and-easy donation.

6. Encourage peer-to-peer asks

Tools like Classy make it possible for your supporters to set up their own fundraising pages. They can then share these pages with their own followers, enabling a strong sense of 1:1 support.

7. Post a thank you message on a sponsor’s page

Thanking those who help make your work possible—everyone from donors to employees to sponsors—is a great way to fill the 1/3 appreciation section of your strategy. Sponsors pages in particular can be great places to engage as they likely have a strong following as well. Share a thank you on their page, and add one to your page, too.

8. Include an image in your tweets

From Noland Hoshino:

Twitter is like looking out the window of a fast moving train. If you insert insert a “billboard” (photo or graphic image) tweet, people will notice it.

(We’ve seen up to double the engagement with this strategy.)

9. Ask questions in your social media posts.

These tend to encourage conversation with your community and lead to higher amount of interactions and responses.

10. Share your content more than once

Here are some simple ideas from Lauren Girardin:

Share just the headline, write a tweet in an alternate engaging format (e.g. ask a question, quote a juicy bit), add an image, try a new hashtag, share at a different time of day or on the weekend, or add ICYMI (in case you missed it).

11. Track your social media mentions

We’ve written before about some great tools for social media monitoring.Mention is a favorite of ours here at Buffer.

12. Organize accounts into Twitter lists

You can build Twitter lists for just about anything: VIP supporters, sponsors, press, influencers, partners, fellow nonprofits, etc. And if you need to, any Twitter list can be made private.

13. Use Twitter lists for research

Look through the lists of your followers to find new, relevant people and accounts to follow.

14. Monitor and analyze those who follow you

Keep an eye on the new accounts who are following you. They might have great influence in an important area to you or have many followers you can reach out to. Social Rank is a simple and powerful tool for sorting through Twitter followers in this way.

15. Enlist a group of supporters to engage with your content

If you’re just getting started on social media, you might not be able to get great engagement form the start. To avoid the empty look and feel of a new account, encourage a small and active group of supporters to engage with your content.

16. Find and engage with influencers in your area

Followerwonk follower map

Followerwonk shows you analysis of your Twitter followers, including a map with a breakdown of where specifically each follower is. Keep clicking the map to get more and more granular with the location (country > state > city). To access this report, log in at Followerwonk and choose an Analyze report, with your @username and “analyze their followers.”

17. Discover the connections of your team

Tap into the networking aspect of social networking, on LinkedIn in particular, by looking at the connections of those in your organization.

18. Use closed groups on LinkedIn or Facebook

Chat internally with your team on LinkedIn or Facebook to help share resources or ideas. Also great for connecting with a team of volunteers or a board of advisors.

19. Reserve your name in all social media platforms. 

KnowEm is a great place to visit to see which social networks you’ve yet to claim.

20. Create your own Wikipedia page

Wikipedia pages can be great for social sharing and for helping manage your brand online. (They’re pretty great for SEO, too.) To create a page, go to the entry creation page at Wikipedia, and once you’ve created the entry, be sure to check back often and track any changes.

21. Allow social media as a communication preference for your members

Many people (millenials in particular) may prefer any notifications or messages to come via social media. You can add these folks to a group or list and message them directly when you might otherwise send an email.

22. When someone registers at your site, ask for a social media profile

This can be a simple extra field in your signup form (or for the especially tech-savvy, you can add social sign-in to your forms). Once you have the social media info, you can connect with this person and store his or her social media info in your donor database.

23. Offer text-to-give & tweet-to-give

As social media continues to go mobile, your payments can, too. Text-to-give is a slick way to help those who want to donate to be able to donate quickly.

Same goes for those who might want to donate directly from Twitter. You can register your non-profit at Charitweet to enable simple, micro-donations direct from Twitter.

24. Add social media PR contacts to your list

If you’re looking for press coverage for your non-profit, instead of going the traditional news route, you can find many great contacts online, including online-only publications and journalists who are primed for your topic. Some smart searches (“PR,” “[your topic],” “[your area],” etc.) can reveal some leads worth following.

25. Have a social media person on your board

Find someone who knows their stuff on social media and can help with formulating strategies or making plans should something go wrong on social.

26. Schedule routine drive-bys of your social media accounts

Fifteen minutes in the morning, afternoon, and evening may be enough to catch up on what’s been happening on your social accounts.

27. Find and participate in Twitter Chats 

Share your expertise and connect with like-minded people. You can search in a chat tool like Twubs to find a relevant Twitter chat on your area.

28. Respond to everyone

Responding completely is one way to help set yourself apart on social media. And if possible, it’s great to respond in a timely manner, typically 24 hours or less (or a couple hours or less on Twitter).

29. Ask about non-profit discounts for your favorite tools

Many online tools offer discounts for non-profit businesses.

Buffer has a 50 percent discount for non-profits!
Visit our page here, or get in touch directly with our support team to activate the discount for your organization.

10 Helpful Tools for Non-Profits

  1. Crowdrise – Crowdfunding platform ideally suited for nonprofit fundraising
  2. Amazon Smile – You can set up your organization to receive donations from Amazon purchases
  3. ClassyFirst Giving & Blackbaud – Peer to peer fund raising
  4. Mention & Social Mention – Social media monitoring
  5. Buffer – Social media scheduling and management
  6. Google for Non-Profits – Discounts on products for nonprofits
  7. Piryx – Web payments for non-profits
  8. Bloomerang – Fundraising management & software
  9. Harvest & Donate.ly – Online payments and donations for your website
  10. Charitweet – quick and simple microdonations with a tweet

Further resources

Recap

There appears to be great room for growth for non-profits on social media—and many ways to go about it! At the least, there’s certainly validation that social media is a great place for non-profits to invest. Take this list from the Huffington Post of seven reasons why social media is perfect for non-profits:

1. Get the word out cheaper and faster.

2. Use social context to drive friends of friends to participate.

3. Build a community of supporters.

4. More easily reach the people you’re out to serve.

5. Find and engage influencers to help spread the word.

6. Become a thought leader in the space you serve.

7. Better tell your story.

What have you learned about non-profit social media marketing?

What tactics have been helpful or effective?

I’d love to learn more from you on this topic. Feel free to add your input in the comments. See you there!

5 Tips for Creating Powerful Brand Advocates: By Kimberlee Morrison on Mar. 5, 2015

JUST FOUND THIS

Brand advocates are a reliable way to expand your reach on social media. All the company has to do is provide positive experiences for repeat customers. An infographic from BlueNose, a provider of customer retention software, offers five  tips on creating stronger advocacy in the B2B and SaaS markets.

The tips include:

  1. Managing customer success. 83 percent of satisfied customers are willing to become advocates. When user acquisition is seven-times more expensive than retention, it’s important to focus on the customers you already have first.
  2. Leverage the power of word-of-mouth. 9 out of 10 customers trust recommendations from friends, and the word of advocates can increase brand influence and trust by 90 percent.
  3. Using a customer rewards program. Rewards can provide added incentive for making referral — and 84 percent of B2B decision makers start their buying process with a referral.
  4. Encourage social sharing. Brand Advocates are three-times more likely to share brand information with someone they don’t know, and their dedication to spreading a social message can generate a lot of leads.
  5. Turn employees into brand advocates. 67 percent of customers trust content created by a technical expert at the company, and employee attitudes can affect customer satisfaction by up to 80 percent.