Three Take Aways. . .

. . .from Social Media for Social Good. Volunteer Maryland provides the Peer Leaders a budget for professional development during our year of service.  I used mine last week to attend Heather Mansfield’s training:  Social Media for Social Good:  A How-To Guide for Nonprofits .  Proceeds from the event went to the International Lifeline Fund, where it was hosted.  I have been reading and learning from Heather’s blog, Nonprofit Tech 2.0,  over the past year.  This was the first time I met Heather in person.  She is  as knowledgeable and down-to-earth in person as she is virtually.  Her warmth and sense of humor put the audience at ease immediately.  The event was as much a conversation as a presentation.  The audience participation was exceptional; resources and ideas were generously shared.

Here are just three of the “take aways” I left with:

1)  “The Big Pic”  I am sure you are familiar with the adage, “A picture speaks a thousand words.”  Heather recommends brushing up on those “point and shoot” skills.  She suggests a webpage  have big, rotating pictures at the top, with a one sentence caption in large font.  The digital age we live in inundates us with information.  Good pictures cut through the “noise” while capturing our attention.  I am including this  link because after I watched it I thought, “OK, even I could probably make a video.” Kodachrome We do live in the digital age.

2)  “Quality over Quantity”  Heather painted a realistic picture of the time demands of managing social media.  She pointed out one of the biggest fallacies is that CEOs, managers, executive boards,  etc. frequently have the impression that these tools are free.  In fact, while many do not require much investment of money, to be done well, most require large investments of time.  Heather provided us with judicious guidelines to use to choose where to put our focus.  She recommends, for example, writing great blogs posts rather than having mediocre newsletters, webpages, and Facebook pages.

3)  “Go Mobile” More than 80 percent of us use cell phones.  This use cuts across the socio-economic lines other technologies don’t cross.  And, according to a recent survey by the PEW Research Center, approximately 35 percent of adults use smart phones.  Within the next three years, the number of us  viewing webpages on mobile devices will surpass those using  desk tops.  Heather recommends we start thinking now about mobile design.  Smaller viewing screens mean less room for text.

What social media tools do you use?  How about the “M” word. . .metrics. . .do you measure engagement?  I’ll save that for another time.

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