Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Can You See It? Social Media Wins and Your Small Nonprofit

Picture via Children's Vision Coalition
When I walked into my friend Ann's house last week, her daughter was on her laptop. Laura, knowing my interests, was quick to tell me about a thread that had shown up on the Pringles brand FB fanpage. A customer had asked why the Pringles can had a reusable lid, since - as their advertisements pointed out - no one could stop eating until all the chips were gone. Pringles had responded that many customers liked to use the empty can for other things and found the lid useful. They thanked the customer for the comment and said they'd pass it along to the rest of their team.

My friend said basically, how nice. I responded, "Are you kidding? That's social media gold." "It is?" Ann asked, doubtfully. Laura then confirmed my opinion by telling me that the thread had been posted on Reddit and gathered thousands of comments (not unusual for Pringles, which has a gajillion devoted fans).

My Point

I realized it might not be that easy for people who aren't as enthusiastic about social media to recognize when something important has happened... and you might be one of them. You've got a lot of things to do for your small nonprofit and keeping track of trends and memes in SM might not be one of them - at least not on a regular basis.

But then you might miss an opportunity for your organization to capitalize on an opportunity.

The Short Answer

Train yourself to recognize lessons and opportunities. Twitter has a list of "What's Trending" hashtags and there's always Knowyourmeme.com. You might even want to give a friendly social media enthusiast permission to tell you all about what's happening in the SM world, or you could start watching late night television again, since Jimmy Fallon and lots of other folk regularly reference social media memes these days.

Sorry this means extracurricular activity, but social networking is only gaining larger and larger pieces of territory; it only makes sense to understand the landscape. Then if someone hands you a social media gold nugget, you'll be able to tell what it is and use it to do good.

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A Little Help, Here

There's very little interaction on this blog, and I'd be lying if I said this doesn't bother me. I sometimes wonder if I'm shouting into the wind or if the 600 or so people who subscribe or check in to the site every week just don't find it engaging. Maybe I don't have enough gravitas (credentials, authority) to be taken seriously, I don't know. But I need to find out, so I can decide whether to keep working here or turn my attentions somewhere else. So here's a little survey - four questions - answer them and help me decide.

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