September Communications RoundTable : A Social Media Sharing Fest

Submitted by Sarah on Fri, 09/24/2010 - 9:26am

flickr: ryancrflickr: ryancrNot to toot our own horn (although we love to do that around here) but do you know about our RoundTables?

RoundTables are monthly hour-long chats, free for NTEN Members, moderated by an NTEN member from the field of Consulting, Communications, or IT -- depending on which RoundTable it is. The events don't always have a set topic, but are open discussions for questions, sharing, and learning from your peers.

Here are some highlights from this month's particularly tool-loaded Communications RoundTable with Chad Norman of Blackbaud. Chad is an absolute rock star when it comes to social media and marketing. During the call we discussed how to manage a Facebook page & Twitter account.

We started out talking about Facebook, specifically: how to grow your following and attract the "right kind" of followers (read: engaged). Chad recommended contests as a way to grow your fan base and pointed to the Wildfire application. Wildfire creates a spectrum of contest based apps, including sweepstakes & photo/video contest apps.

We also discussed the importance of creating not just a contest for fans, but an entire strategy around that contest, reinforced on your website and via email. The contest should offer an incentive for your constituents to become fans.

Chad also recommended (if you have the budget for it) using Facebook Ads to connect with folks who are out there, but may not be aware of your organization on Facebook. Much like Google Adwords, the Facebook Ads are pay per click, so they're a more cost-effective form of traditional advertising.

Then we switched topics to Twitter. Here's a brief rundown:

The first topic raised (as it frequently is) was hash tags: How do I find the hashtag for my area? For my field? The solution that came out of the group was to check out the Twitter search function (, and to try using different combinations. For example, if I were looking for the best Portland, OR hashtag, I would try some combination of the city name and nicknames until I found the most popular tag. (This turns out to be #PDX - the airport code. This tag seemed to be the most popular, but also brought up the least amount of spam as tweets.)

If you're looking specifically for nonprofit related hashtags, check out this list of 40 Hashtags for Social Good. You can also find hashtags on What The Hashtag, a user-edited site that collects hashtags and their meanings.

If you're creating a hashtag for your org or an event, make sure you register it with Twapper Keeper. (No, not trapper keeper.) Twapper Keeper will keep an archive of all tweets with registered hashtags that you can pull up long after an event -- or after the twitter feed dies out.

Ok, so now you know how to tweet with a hashtag. But how do you know how effective your tweets are?

Try TweetReach. Using a calculation of who tweets, how Twitter users engage with your tweet, and overall exposure of your tweet, TweetReach turns out a report that tells you how many people you reached with recent tweets. You can search with a twitter handle or hashtag.

Another great resource is Twitalyzer, which gives you free data on trends, sentiment, tweet and tag analysis. You just log in with your twitter account to start analyzing.

Twitter, Facebook, multiple accounts, how do you manage it all? Here are a few places to start.

  • Twitterfeed will update Twitter, Facebook, & your blog all at once.
  • Tweetdeck lets multiple people manage multiple (or one) accounts.
  • HootSuite & CoTweet are both fantastic tools that enable you to engage & analyze on multiple platforms, either directly providing or helping you create a dashboard to track your engagement.

All in all, this month's Communications RoundTable was a stellar example of what they can accomplish: connecting with your peers and colleagues, learning about new tools and how to use them, and getting your questions answered.

Thanks to everyone who came. If you didn't make it, you can check out upcoming RoundTables on our event calendar.