Posts tagged ‘online community’
With the launch of Change.gov, commentary on Obama’s social media strategy and success have been made here, here and here. Yup, here too. Some are even calling Obama and the government integration of new media tools through Change.gov the Digital New Deal while others wonder about the extension of the Obama brand and community – post election.
Social media is awesome. Grand. Influential. Amazing. In my professional role working with government agencies, I must admit that my first reaction to Change.gov was, “Sweet, I can’t wait for this priority on social media to trickle down among other government agencies. Man, that would make our job so much easier.” Or, would it?
Because now, instead of talking about why to do it, the opportunity to implement may [hopefully] increase, meaning we must show results. And, Obama set the bar high.
Granted, Obama’s campaign is an amazing case study that aided in achieving an important end objective – getting Obama elected. However, Obama’s online success is due to more than social media.
- Obama’s campaign was newsworthy as according to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center Project for Excellence in Journalism. This encourage the public to be interested and engaged. The study found that:
“Overall, the presidential campaign filled 54% of the newshole as measured by PEJ’s News Coverage Index from Oct. 27-Nov. 2. That represents a slight uptick from the previous two weeks when the election was at 52% (Oct. 20-26) and 51% (Oct. 13-19). The race for the White House was the dominant story in all five media sectors, most notably in cable, where it accounted for 84% of the airtime studied, and on the radio airwaves, at 65%.”
- Obama created the Obama-brand. If you work in government, you may understand some of the government’s sensitivity to the word brand. And from the outside, how the public might react to the government branding or marketing itself. (Hence, the whole debate back when to transition from health communications to health marketing.) However, the Obama-brand has become widely accepted and adapted while maintaining a consistent message to diverse audiences across a range of platforms.
- The number of resources available. Obama’s fundraising numbers were out of the roof. Not every project is as fortunate. This is why highlighting and emphasizing ROI is important and critical.
- Obama was the first, and it was sexy. Being the first is always advantageous. In the government 2.0 sector, Obama led the way in showing how to leverage a comprehensive social media plan to create an online presence that connected with the overall program’s mission. Not only did he do it, but he made it sexy by implementing creative elements that encouraged not only online users, but also online ambassadors.
- Obama and his team understood the essence of social media online and off line. This is the biggest one I think. Obama’s message tapped into the cornerstone of social media – help me, help you, help me, empower America. Did you get lost in that? Web 2.0 is about the conversation and Obama is encouraging conversation with him and among each other. The Change.gov Web site communicates it best:
“Share your vision for what America can be, where President-Elect Obama should lead this country. Where should we start together?”
He took the essence of social media tools and made it his mantra. He is change, but he needs you to help create that change. You want change, but you need him to lead that change. Brilliant.
In your opinion, what other factors outside of social media helped mold Obama’s online success?
As the debate on the creation of a National Social Marketing Association continues, future social marketing and SM-related students/practitioners should check out FLiP (Future Leaders in Philanthropy). It is another online community that offers many great resources and connections for those exploring philanthropic related fields. According to the its homepage, FLiP’s mission statement includes:
We are the future leaders in philanthropy. By working together, we will further our careers, serve our organizations’ mission, and change the world. FLiP is dedicated to creating a community and a network where other future leaders can meet, learn, exchange ideas, and contribute to each other’s success.
They offer interviews with young professionals in a variety of social change/philanthropy related careers. They offers resources for further education, career guides, views from fellow interns, opportunities to network, online presence on Facebook, MySpace and AOL and much more.
This community is great for making connections with those who have related interests and goals. In the meantime, there is a Massachusetts Social Marketing Association and WOMMA (Word-of-Mouth-Marketing Association). However, a national social marketing association is still in progress. Nedra Weinreich, on her blog Spare Change, offers a better history about the creation of a professional social marketing society. Weinreich also offers her views on the status of such an organization. The big debate seems to rest on whether or not the SM Association should be underneath the AMA (American Marketing Association) or be its own separate identity.
As this blog has hinted at, I believe this relates to the ‘identity crisis’ that all of strategic communications is facing, whether commercial or not, in seeking universally accepted definitions. How do you draw the lines between what is and what is not advertising, marketing, dare I say journalism, corporate social responsibility, word of mouth marketing, social marketing, viral marketing, sponsorship, etc. I have my own ideas, of course. But, I’m more curious about learning what others think about this topic.
- Should social marketing have its own professional organization?
- How would you decide who could and could not join?
- Should it me under the AMA? If so, then should word-of-mouth-marketing also be under the AMA instead of having its own organization?
- ETC. There are much more questions than answers about this topic. Feel free to leave your own questions as comments.
After my last post, I received an email asking how other non-profits or social causes could also use blogging technology for its purposes. Below, I list someways blogging can be used by non-profits as well as some strengths and limitations of the technology.
First Things First
I come with the view that like in the commercial sector, finding an umbrella term to put all non-profit marketing and advertising under is difficult. Research studies have been explored, textbooks written, debates held and still universal definitions are lacking. Some used to think a few years back the IMC, Integrated Marketing Communications would be the end-all classification system for advertising. Yet, this debate still continues. Do we put public relations under this? Why the term marketing? Where does viral belong? etc.
Therefore, just like the commercial advertising arena suffers from an identity crisis, so does the community of non-profit/health communications/social causes/etc. Though, I might classify many of these as social marketing. But then, where do we put corporate social responsibility or cause marketing? (These both have profit aims…) So, yikes! Is there overlap? Is overlap the right word? What are we to do? The questions and debates continue. In discussing these terms and looking at definitions, I am going to offer up that is depends largely on your end objective. I agree there’s more to this debate, but for practical considerations (and when looking to use blogging technology) I say, first determine your end objective to decide if, and what type, of blogging is right for you.
Examples of Blogging Being Used by Non-Profits:
Citizen’s League in Minnesota. They have two blogs. One that is updated with public policy news, trends and updates. The other who is from the point of view of a person which has similar content, but the first person point of view adds relevance and personalizes the stories.
Children Matter. A Christian non-profit ministry who uses a blog for its message.
Strengths of Blogging
1. A blog can provide an outlet for stories to be told regarding the issue or project. This can also be created as a way to get more involved and to increase participation. It can also make the message for personal and relevant. Interplast has their volunteers upload information and share stories about their experiences regarding their work site.
2. Helps build an online community. This includes expanding your traditional media lists to include other bloggers, online social networks, websites and more.
3. Blogging has no geographic limitations unlike a lot of traditional media (tv, radio, magazine, newspapers).
4. Requires small tangible finances. But, may require more employee/volunteer hours and time to manage.
5. Can boost media coverage by expanding your traditional media list to include fellow bloggers, social networks, online communities, websites and more.
6. Put your already-drafted press releases to good work by setting up an RSS feed on your blog to provide up-to-date news about your organization. this allows others to know what the organization is up to, gives those interested more information to talk about and can increase your media coverage.
7. Provide information and resources via a blog. A blog is one way to provide the same information you could on a website or brochure, but in an interactive, fun, and personal manner. For example, instead of telling what the participants do throughout the year. Have the voice of your blog be told through the ‘Volunteer Sarah’ and give it a diary feel.
8. From your blog, you can also provide information on how to get involved, donate, volunteer, and participate. This could include a sign-up page for the weekly email blasts.
9. Blogs also are a way to track, organize and build a resource for an organization/cause. If it comes time to write a report, you can search your blog for all relevant information regarding ‘XYZ’ and poof- you have all the information you need already written.
10. Use a blog as your organization’s website.
11. For good feedback, use your blog as a sounding board or discussion forum. Also, blog stats and analytics could help you find more target audiences interested in your cause.
Limits of Blogging
1. If you use a free service (blogger, wordpress, etc.), sometimes you are limited with the type of content you can post. Examples including: limitations for customizing options including how you organize content or the design unless you have someone with the expertise to do so, or upgrade your blog service.
2. The domain name can be tricky. Unless you want to purchase a domain, your domain name will (usually) include the blog service you are using. However, domains can be purchased for something like $10/year. This blog also provide many helpful tips and resources for creating your own domain.
3. Must provide quality information at a consistent rate.