Posted in Social Media on 1:18 pm
Just when you felt completely overwhelmed with your organization’s Facebook and Twitter feeds along come two new powerhouse social networks: Google+ and Pinterest. Non profits in Seattle got excellent advice last night to help them decide if these networks are right for them, thanks to an event hosted by the good folks at Groundwire. It featured Gideon Rosenblatt and Nicole Lampe, who shared great insights into the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of nonprofits using these emerging social media tools.
When Google+ came out Gideon heard the groans of, “do I need another social network?” His answer is that if you just want to stay in touch with friends then no, Facebook works great for that. But if you’re interested in spreading ideas, then yes, you need to strongly consider joining Google+. Since spreading ideas, like saving our planet, treating each other with respect and valuing the arts, is often a goal for non profits and foundations then perhaps another look at Google+ is in order, if you’re not already active on it.
The core strengths of Google+, as Gideon related them, are:
Shared interests – being able to find and connect with others who share your interests, as opposed to having a prior relationship (a la Facebook)
Visibility of your website – Because Google is the god of search and are tying more and more services into Google+ being active there means a spike in traffic to your website.
Early enough to be influential – Google+ is growing fast but still much smaller than either Facebook or Twitter. Gideon advised that if you’ve already got a large following on Twitter that you might want to stay there. If not consider building your network over at Google+ because it’s easier to be a big fish in a small pool.
Gideon sees himself as an information networker and classifies Google+ as an information, as opposed to a social, network. Last December he did an experiment to see if being more active on Google+ would drive more traffic to his blog, Alchemy of Change. Before this time his blog averaged 2K visits a month but that quickly jumped to an average of 7K visits a month, which he correlates directly with Google+.
Intrigued at the idea of using Google+ for your nonprofit or foundation? Be sure and check out the Google+ specific resources we’ve got for you here and look at how Gideon’s explains Google+ in these slides.
Now on to Pinterest.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve been on the fence about Pinterest, more personally than professionally. I just tend to relate to the world more via words than images. Nicole Lampe made a compelling case for re-thinking this as a vehicle for nonprofits, especially to reach audiences that they aren’t currently engaging. She clarified right away that Pinterest is still an unproven medium for nonprofits, but followed that with a slide full of headlines about it just from the last 24 hours!
Just to hammer the potential home, Nicole then relayed stats on how much traffic Pinterest is referring and how it’s quickly becoming one of the top vistited sites on the web.
So what does all this mean for your non profit or foundation? Nicole’s stellar advice was:
Recognize that this is a way to engage new people. A lot has been written on Pinterest’s demographics, which skew heavily towards women of means. These same women are known for their philanthropy and civic involvement.
Pins which provide solutions or cater to the networks DIY ethos get passed around. She gave an example of pinning a list of green cleaning products instead of a picture of a dirty old smokestack to get people interested in an environmental cause.
The rise of Pinterest also means nonprofits have to look at their images and ensure that they can stand on their own and tell a story. If someone is going to pin your blog post it needs a strong and compelling image that relates and grabs the eye.
I was particularly glad that she speculated on why Pinterest is growing so quickly. She attributes this to information overload, particularly the text version, and also that people are getting tired of hearing about their friend’s lives, a la Facebook. Pinterest lets you see what your friends and others are interested in, all in a visually pleasing way and one that doesn’t so blatantly say, “I have a better life than you” as so many people’s Facebook postings have become.
If everyone in the room wasn’t already on board with Pinterest Nicole gave us a final push by showing eye tracking studies which prove that people pay more attention to pictures and visuals than words. We’ve seen it with Facebook’s move to Timeline and even Twitter has tried to incorporate more images into its stream. Images are Pinterest’s sole currency and right now they’ve tapped into a market that is passionate and hugely engaged with the platform.
Image thanks Flickr:Brendan Lynch