On Sunday I attended the launch of Amutah 2.0, a new group dedicated to providing Non-Profit organizations with the social media, marketing and networking tools they need to expand their on and offline presence, increase memberships, and enhance fundraising.
Amita 2.0 is the brainchild of Lisa Barkan, CEO of DigitalShtick Marketing, and Miriam Schwab, CEO of illuminea marketing & media, and the Jeff Pulver breakfast was their first event, hopefully the first of many.
Although I’m definitely not a non-profit, the basic social media tools, I surmised, would probably help small businesses as well. The fact that Jeff was guest of honour was also a big crowd-puller.
Well, obviously I was spot on – about 50% of the 108 attendees were from the business sector.
In addition to Jeff, who’s talk was titled “New Trends in Social Media in the Post-Facebook Era”, Lisa gave the intro, explaining her personal story about how she got involved in non-profits. There was a panel on “which social media tools do/did I use to promote my non-profit”, moderated by Miriam, with panelists Caryn Green, Director of the Crossroads outreach center and founder of Crossroads Comedy; Aharon Horwitz, co-founder and director of the PresenTense Institute; Alan Abbey, website director of the Shalom Hartman Institute; and the wonderful award winning blogger and cartoonist Dry Bones‘ Yaakov Kirschen.
And of course there was food (care of Shmil Ba’Maabada), and networking. The best part of the networking, for me, was actually meeting Jacob Share of JobMob, who I’d only met until now on the blogosphere, and who reminded me to go back and reread Timothy Ferriss’ “The 4-hour work week“. Just that meeting was worth the cost of the event!
OK, so what were the tips that all these people had for us?
Jeff Pulver’s tips
- Social Identity – use the same identity on all your social networks, make it easy to find, and use your organization’s name
- Get into Twitter – which is rather like a public ham radio on the internet! (by the way, here’s Debi’Z twitter profile). Use Twitter to promote your events.
- Your message – you are responsible for your organization’s message, so keep it consistent
- Your community – find and nurture your community
- Giving – success on social media is all about giving. Give 95% of the time, and you get the “right” to ask 5% of the time.
- Mailing lists – if you have something interesting to share, send it to your mailing list. If it really is interesting, people will forward it to their friends. (You can also nudge them and ask them to forward!)
- What you don’t know can help – if you don’t know that something is supposedly impossible, you can often acheieve it
- Your Passion – one of the main ingredients in leveraging the social web, and promoting your organization
- Fear, Greed, Deception Disruption – when you are up against the big guns, you need to invoke these base instincts, otherwise people won’t listen (I’m not too sure how this works with non-profits, anyone care to help me out here?) Thanks, Jeff, for the clarification (not surprising I couldn’t figure out what my notes meant !!): “Sometimes we need to re-think the way we do things. Just because we did it the same way for 50 years doesn’t mean it is the right way or the way it should continue to be done. These are times where we need to disrupt ourselves and our companies.“
- Your Voice – you have the power to effect change. Make your voice important, use your blog, et cetera, et cetera (as my previous CEO used to say …)
- The 3 R’s – Respect you earn in your niche, Resonsibility to be a good person in that niche, Reputation – how you define yourself and how you are defined.
- Facebook Status – update your facebook status, it can get you help from your friends. Jeff gave a great example of once when he needed to get hold of Leonardo Decaprio, and managed to do that in 2 days by asking for help in his facebook status !!! True, Jeff has 5000 friends, including 3000 Israelis (quite a few of whom probably know Bar Refaeli) and a few 100s on the waiting list, but you get the point.
- Get help using Twitter – just like 12. These are two mean tools for getting help (for the 5% of the time that you earned it).
- Web 3.0, a.k.a. the Semantic Web and Semantic Search. In the future, how you represent youself (or your organization) as a complete entity on the web, will be an important part of how people find you. Jeff suggested Friendfeed as a starting point to defining your identity.
- Giving, part 2 – give tools to people who want to promote your work and organization, as per the Eurythmics in their memorable song “Sweet Dreams” – “some of them want to use you, some of them want to be used by you“.
- Video – use tools like BlogTV to make shows and videos about your cause and ideas.
Jeff also told us that the 31st of August was Blog Day, a really cool idea, in which every blogger should write about 5 new and interesting blogs that s/he has found on the web just by surfing around. I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to do that, but here’s Jeff’s post for blog day.
Miriam Schwab’s Case Study – Promoting the Amutah 2.0 event
- Sent email (once) to all the people on Miriam’s and Lisa’s mailing lists. Why just once? Don’t spam your friends!
- Got a big name guest – in this case, Jeff Pulver
- Built a small website, on wordpress.com. Why wordpress.com? It’s free, it has blogging capabilites, it is very SEO-friendly, it has RSS, etc.
- Created an event on facebook, and invited all their friends (this also got it onto peoples’ newsfeeds)
- Got a few people from their blogging network to blog about it
- Sent a message to networks like Digital Eve, Janglo, Taanglo, Markshoret
- Tweeted (aka twitterred!) about it
The Crossroads Center is a pretty intense organization, and they wanted to have people think of them in a fun way, so came up with the idea of Crossroads Comeday, together with commedian Avi Liberman.
- Started by publicizing, selling tickets, etc. on their own, and outsourced it after 4 years.
- Publicized on posters, community newsletters, and the like – traditional media
- Had a volunteer do their website (but it took 1.5 years …)
- Set up a database of the kids they work with, and then added the emails of peole who attended shows.
- Joined Yahoo groups
- Joined local mailing lists, by enlisting the help of people who live in those places (you often have to live in a city to get onto it’s mailing list)
- Did a radio show (on Arutz 7, even though don’t necessarily agree with their politics, but it was a way to get their message heard)
- Wrote (or got written about?) on on-line magazines
- Started a crossroads facebook group
- People started to blog about them
- Made YouTube videos of the shows (sorry guys, looked for them and couldn’t find any … Caryn, wanna send me a link?).
All this use of social media brought them to the attention of Jerry Seinfeld, who has been covering the costs of the Crossroads Comedy shows !!!
Caryn also listed a couple of missed opportunities:
- No possibility of giving feedback on the site
- Very basic site, with no links, and (amazingly) no video on the site!
Yaacov Kirschen’s Tips
- Keep yourself familiar with the constantly changing media
- Don’t write long blogs (ooopps…) – they don’t get read. Long emails get erased… People on the web only have time for bite-sized pieces of content
- Cartoons can get your message across much faster, and they are easier to reach people with
Alan Abbey’s Case Study – Promoting the Shalom Hartman Institute.
Already had a website, a blog, and comments from students on the website. They had 100’s of hours of videos from lectures, and thought it would be a good idea to use these videos to promote the institute.
- Found short videos (up to 10 minutes) to put on the Hartman channel on YouTube – a bit problematic because of the 10-minute maximum, and the fact that the site is not very focused – most of the searches for Israel return anti-Israel videos 😦
- Added their videos to Jewish video websites, like JewTube and Yideoz, which are more focused on the Jewish public, but less well known
- Best video site for them seems to be blip.tv – they created a channel and embedded it into their site. It goes to their facebook and other social media groups.
- Did some professional editing of the videos (quite a lot were low quality)
- Created podcasts from the videos and put them on iTunes.
- Do Live Broadcasts of lectures
- Have a private channel of high quality videos for paid subscribers
- Need to create a strong brand presence, and continue working with traditional media.
- Worth spending some money to advertise on sites like JPost.com.
Aharon Horowitz’s Tips
- For PresenTense, it’s about Edutainment.
- Get your friends, and their friends, and their friends’ friends, to push the message.
- They had a “Viral Video Party” when a new video release was due, where they got a group of about 70 people in a room with computers, and they send the video to their friends, friends’ friends, etc. …..
- They held an event, screened it live, sent an email to their mailing lists 10 minutes before the event starts, and then 10 minutes into the event, asking people to comment. They ended up with their event being commented on by people all around the world who joined in.
- Matt Bar is a rapper who raps about Biblical texts. Instead of just rapping to kids himself, he’s been going round schools and teaching kids how to rap about the Bible. It’s part of getting your audience, the people you work with, to forward your message.
- Be authentic, and keep to your identity. Otherwise it doesn’t work.
- Your employees have to open up and talk about their organization with their friends, and forward your message.
And to end off, one of the speakers – either Jeff or Aharon – said something that isn’t always so obvious:
As a Charity, you are better off finding people who can grow your donor base, rather than those who will just write you a cheque.
And for the businesses amongst us, that can be just as true.
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