Archive for ‘Social Media’

May 13, 2015

Be Ready for Anything: Even a Good Crisis

This is a guest post I wrote for Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog, April 4, 2012

As the recent Komen and KONY 2012 controversies show, having a crisis plan is essential. But what happens when you have  a great reaction to something good you have done? You need a plan for that too! Kyla Cromer offer some tips on getting ready.   ~ Kivi

When your organization is planning for a PR crisis, (you are, aren’t you?) keep in mind you may need a quick response to a pleasant surprise, too. It may be through “newsjacking,” or you may be approached with an unexpected opportunity.

I want to draw attention to the tech side, which can be forgotten amidst the focus on wordsmithing and media savvy. Here’s a great case study:

In the 2009 wedding video that went viral, Minnesota couple Jill Peterson and Kevin Heinz and their wedding party danced down the aisle to Chris Brown’s romantic song “Forever.” The video was posted on YouTube for family and friends. Jill later explained to Scarlet & Black, the newspaper of Grinnell College (her alma mater,) they had chosen the Chris Brown song months before Brown’s violent assault on Rihanna.

When the couple realized the video was getting millions of views – essentially promoting Chris Brown’s music – they approached the Sheila Wellstone Institute (SWI). The SWI is a program of St. Paul-based Wellstone Action that advocates and organizes to end domestic violence. According to the SWI site, at the time Jill was working on a PhD focused on breaking cycles of violence in society, and Kevin was headed to law school due to his passion for social justice.

The story came up at a nonprofit tech meeting I attended a few months later. The SWI tech person described how quickly it all happened, and how fortunate it was they had the ability to both immediately create a special donation page, and handle a large volume of donations. Of course, it wasn’t luck.

A link to the special donation page was posted on a website created by a friend of the couple, and added on the YouTube post. The link was also included in many articles and interviews, and of course, in SWI’s publicity. In less than a month, SWI raised nearly $16,500.00 from 47 states and more than 20 countries.

Some basic things to plan for:

  • Capacity to handle high site traffic , or an ongoing agreement with your vendor for a short notice increase.
  • The ability to quickly create a unique donation page.
  • A means to get the link out to everyone, including the media.
  • A method to track those particular donations.

I checked in with SWI’s Director of Communications & Marketing Sara Beth Mueller recently [2012] and total donations are now close to $40,000.00. As of fall 2016 the video has been viewed over 93 million times.

The SWI was ready, are you?

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March 30, 2012

It’s ALL Customer Service: Living Vicariously

Picture this: you’re at the store picking up a few things, and at the returns desk nearby you hear a customer being shut down before she can finish explaining her situation. It’s not you, but it could be you, and it affects your feelings about the place. Call it vicarious customer service.

The flip side: yesterday at Target the cashier next to mine noticed her customer buying just one item, a cup of yogurt, and volunteered that there are spoons over at the snack bar. A pleasant surprise to that customer, and to me. Clearly the cashier was on the lookout all the time for an opportunity to add a little something extra, a sort of informational lagniappe.

In a nonprofit there are many opportunities to show volunteers, donors, and participants recognition. Seeing it on a website, in a newsletter, or at an event says these people are valued, and by extension, so are you.

The wonderful Wayside House, Inc. in the Twin Cities provides supportive housing and many other services for women recovering from addiction and mental illness. Their newsletters highlight donors and volunteers, and also women from the programs. This isn’t unique, but I believe that type of recognition may be the little something extra some recovering women need, and it’s more than inspiration. They get the message their success is and will be noticed, and that it matters in the larger community.

Suppose someone comments on this post, “This is the dumbest post I have ever read.” I can thank him for his input and perhaps clarify something, or I can say something about his mother. Maybe I even know his mother, but you wouldn’t know that, and you’d draw a conclusion about me. Or perhaps about my mother.

So here’s a new rule: Do unto others as you may one day do unto other others. Because it’s all customer service.

December 30, 2011

Online Sharing and the Fear of Abandonment

We live in a social world, both on and off the web, and love to share things that are interesting, funny, or helpful. Online it should be easy, but often it isn’t and the sharing doesn’t happen.

Here’s an example:

  1. I see something in an email newsletter, maybe an upcoming free webinar, and I want to share it because I know the organization does good work.
  2. I look for a Twitter button, and sometimes get lucky.
  3. Unlike on a blog post or news article, it usually links to the organization’s Twitter profile rather than the specific information. I read back through their Tweets, but more often than not strike out.
  4. Generally I give up here, but if it’s important to me I visit their website.
  5. Often I can’t find the information there or it looks so unprofessional I can’t bring myself to link to it.
  6. I might write my own Tweet, or maybe forward the newsletter to one or two people, but most likely…
  7. I give up.

Another example:

  1. A friend mentions he’s speaking at a tech conference the next day. Great, I’ll spread the word.
  2. He doesn’t have a Twitter account. OK, fine.
  3. He’s a good friend, so I surf around trying to find him and the event, or even just the event. No site, no Twitter account, no LinkedIn. All I can find is the host organization’s home page — which lists last year’s speakers and date.
  4. I give up.

No doubt a more casual visitor (read: sane) would give up sooner. Unfortunately, you can’t measure this type of abandonment.

Find your audience where they are, as they say, but anticipate where their friends might be, too. Take a fresh look at your newsletter, website, blog, and every other place you have an online presence. Ask someone outside your organization to do it, if you can.

How easy is it to share your great content, events and news?

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