#OurWork: NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan Marketing Campaign

Social Marketing and Media Relations Campaign

Working under the aegis of the Nonprofit Marketing 360 collaborative, MKCREATIVE and LCG Communications embarked on an ambitious campaign to promote an online silent auction for a client. We used a combination of PR (LCG Communications) and social marketing (MKC). Our client, NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan, sought to raise funds to continue its fight in preventing New York University from embarking on a multi-billion dollar plan to redevelop parts of Greenwich Village in New York City.

[Read more…]

Facebook To Nonprofits: Pay to Play

If you thought Facebook was a no-cost way to reach out to potential supporters, brace yourself for a big disappointment. According to a Facebook sales presentation published by Ad Age, an organization that wants its posts to be seen by its fans had best buy advertising. Julia Campbell, blogger and social media marketing consultant, commented that Facebook marketers have been telling clients “that if you consistently post great photos, videos, questions and other interactive content, you can reach your fans. This is no longer enough.”

Bottom line: Posts that are not sponsored or promoted are currently seen by less than 15% of your followers. Facebook’s new policy will drive that down further.

Oy, Another Year. Who Knew?

Yes, it’s another year. When 2013 began last January, who could have anticipated that, a mere 12 months later, we would be doing this all over again? Not the news media, apparently, judging from the gusher of year-end reviews and new-year predictions filling our eyes and ears.

Can you stand one more? After thoroughly digesting the most important trends of our times, I confidently predict these developments in 2014:

  • 12 new studies will reveal that Facebook is useful for engaging supporters but lousy at raising money.
  • 11 newly launched social media sites will be greeted euphorically as definitely the next big thing.
  • 10 newly social media sites, after their enthusiastic debuts, will be bought out by Facebook or Google.
  • 9 governmental investigations will determine that Americans willingly share personal information with corporations but are shocked! shocked! that details of their private lives can be recorded by the NSA.
  • 8 blogs will observe that direct mail response is declining.
  • 7 blogs will observe that email direct response rates are declining even faster.
  • 6 research reports will discover that a majority of executive directors don’t trust their development directors and vice versa.
  • 5 golden rings!
  • etc. etc.

Public Service Billboard Has A Hidden Message

Here is one brilliant example of audience targeting. To reach abused children, who may be accompanied by an adult who is also their abuser, a Spanish child advocacy nonprofit has created a billboard on the street with a secret message. Adults see a photograph of a cute boy. But children who are less than 4 feet 5 inches tall  see  a photograph of an abused child (above) and the telephone number of a help line.

Is Google Advertising a Waste of Money?

Google Search
Google Search (Photo credit: Steven Combs)

A study by eBay has concluded that buying keywords in Google Search had negligible effect on its search rankings or its results.  Most people find their way to websites through organic search, with or without advertising,  according to the study. Google earned almost $37 billion in online advertising in 2011 in the U.S. alone.

The report did not speculate on the value of advertising for sites that are not household names such as eBay.

#FUNDRAISING: Causevox Improves Online Outreach & Fundraising To 2.0

Widgets to turn on or off
Easy-to-customize donation pages

We have often sung the praises of the online charity-site platform Causevox. And we do so again as the good folks at Causevox have released a significant series of upgrades and integrations in version 2.0. It moved out of beta last week, allowing any charity or nonprofit to take advantage of the expanding toolbox. This is how the programmers put it last week on the company blog:

We found out that the key to success for online fundraising this decade is easy customization, community engagement, and content marketing. Our existing platform couldn’t accommodate that vision, so we scrapped it and developed, from the ground up, a new and improved CauseVox.

CauseVox 2.0 is our first step to revolutionize online fundraising.

[Read more…]

#HOWTO: Tweak Your Organization’s Facebook Site For Graph Search

Facebook's Graph Search
Help your supporters find your organization on Facebook

Last week we talked about what Facebook’s latest feature, Graph Search, is (Namely, a way to combine keywords, categories, and what friends are saying about them within Facebook) and it is not (Namely, a challenger to Google’s search algorithms across the internet). This week we want to help you and your organization make the most of the new feature by prepping the content you post on Facebook.

First and foremost (and this tweak applies to any images you post on your blog or website, much less your Facebook Timeline), tag your images and identify them. Such terms will show up in people’s searches (both Graph & Google). What else?

[Read more…]

#COMMUNICATIONS: Postal Service Rates To Rise on 27 January

US Postal Service Stamp
Forever stamps still good after the 27th.

We have managed to put off the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ for a couple of months, but we can’t avoid the changes in postal rates coming in a couple of weeks. Thanks to our fine business partners at Ecoprint in Silver Spring, Maryland, for the heads-up! The US Postal Service (USPS) has been on hard times over the last 5-7 years due to the overwhelming presence of email, social networks, and e-fax services. Moreover, the semi-private/ public service is carrying a striking burden of compensation packages for its executives that, frankly, seem to outweigh the performance of the venerable institution. Be that as it may, be prepared for upticks to many of the services. What’s coming at the end of the month?

[Read more…]

#HOWTO: Have A Film Screening As A Fundraising Opportunity

Tugg offers movies of your choiceWe at MKCREATIVEmedia wish you a joyous, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

As the year’s projects and fundraisers and festivals start rolling onto your computer’s calendar, you might be looking for an opportunity to host a one-off event that can bring much-wanted PR, good karma, and even some financial support. How about sponsoring a film screening? The chance for your nonprofit or charity to be a movie mogul, at least for a day, has been made possible by the social/cinema site Tugg. Though currently considered ‘beta,’ Tugg could make hosting a screening of a big-name movie, documentary, or short film so easy that you could host a few each season.

[Read more…]

Outrageous Fortune for Marketers

Bow & Arrow
(Photo credit: ganesha.isis)

Those of us in the marketing profession have taken a few slings and arrows in recent days. First a consumer study commissioned by Adobe found that marketers were held in low esteem by the consuming public. How low? Lower than bankers. Lower than lawyers! Even lower than politicians (ouch!).

Then Forbes takes it one step farther with a column entitled “The End of the Expert: Why No One in Marketing Knows What They’re Doing.”  People trained in the classic ways of advertising and marketing are useless as we transition into digital and social marketing, says the chairman of  Razoo, a digital agency which, we must assume, has achieved pre-eminence by not positioning itself as an expert.

Well, I don’t hold telemarketers and late-night-TV pitchmen in high esteem either. And it’s impossible to be truly expert in a field that experiences a major revolution about every 72 hours. But I think the underlying principle of all marketing – that you put the customer, not the product, at the center of your enterprise – remains valid, even in the digital era.

What do you think?


#SOCIALNETWORKS: How To Promote Facebook Posts & Why You Might Not Want To

From a personal blog's experment with Promotions
CecilyK on ‘MomCrunch’ blog says ‘No’

This past summer Facebook launched the opportunity to purchase ‘Promoted Posts’ that − for at least a $5 fee − would be promoted across the Facebookiverse. The more you paid, the more broadly the algorithms (aka ‘magic’) circulated the post. It was hailed by many for- and non-profit organizations as an opportunity to push through the background noise endemic in most people’s timelines to get your words and images out to a larger but (broadly) targeted audience.

We want to show you how to promote a post if you are unfamiliar with the easy process, but we also want to call attention to the fact that many power users are not finding the return on investment that Facebook claims. Is it a case of false advertising, or is Facebook still working out the kinks?

[Read more…]

#COMMUNICATIONS: NFC Means More Than Paying By Mobile Phone

Phone as travel card for the subway
Wave-&-Ride to replace Swipe-&-Ride?

Near Field Communication has been around for a few years now, though the most popular mobile device, the iPhone, does not (yet?) carry the necessary transmitters to take advantage of it. The technology requires its own dedicated chip to send and receive data. Thus far, Google’s Android phones have been taking the lead in the US economy, but one of the more pulsating rumors about the iPhone 5 is whether it will contain said chip. The web consensus seems to be ‘probably not yet’, but as people become ever more aware of what NFC can do, then Apple will surely enter the market.

[Read more…]

#MARKETING: Can Nonprofits Take Advantage Of Pinterest’s Open Platform?

Keep Pinboards organized and relevant for your audienceWe talked about Pinterest last week when we discussed the fact that the social-media platform has been opened to the public, who no longer need to wait for an invitation. The incredible growth of the platform, already the fastest growing social network in the brief history of such networks, is likely only to continue over the next few years. The questions for nonprofits and small businesses should focus on how to think about Pinterest as a tool to reach more donors, volunteers, and customers. In order to answer some of those questions − even to ask the right questions − one must appreciate what Pinterest ‘is’ and get a sense of what current users expect of each other and of the sharing that goes on. We’re here to help with just those questions.

[Read more…]

#NONPROFIT: Some Models Of How Charities Use Tumblr

First Book's call to actionWe’ve sung the praises of Tumblr a number of times on this blog, and today we want to present a few examples and ideas of just how nonprofits are using this free platform as a means to spread the word of their great work. One of the many great things about Tumblr is its simplicity of setup. That said, you don’t want to treat your organization’s efforts simplistically.

First off, you might want to consider Tumblr as your calling card to a larger audience, rather than as a venue for in-depth reports to your committed constituents. Tumblr loves images, quotes, and videos, but few go to their accounts to read long analyses. Your nonprofit definitely should have a place for such detail, but Tumblr might not be that place. How have nonprofits used it?

[Read more…]

#SOCIALMEDIA: IOC Struggles To Corral First “Social Olympics” In London

Infomous envisions social media activity around London Olympics
Click on image to visit Infomous.com

The Opening Ceremonies went off without a hitch. Security concerns have been allayed thus far. The weather hasn’t been too bad. For Americans, we’ve had a few sub-par performances in the pool and on the gymnastics apparatuses, but so far, so good.

Unless the issue is how this so-called “First Social Games” is going. The social media events have not gone quite like fans, competitors, or International Olympic Committee members had thought it would − all for different reasons. Indeed, the biggest security dust-up has to do not with fears of terrorists, but fears of unwanted mention of sponsors by athletes and/or their supporters. Is the IOC fairly trying to protect the Olympic ‘brand’ or are its members greedily limiting expression through social media? And does anybody else really care?

[Read more…]

#SOCIALNETWORKS: Let’s Check In With Foursquare For Nonprofits

Screenshot of Foursquare SM on a mobile device
Checking in on the iPhone

We have talked about Foursquare, the social network and geo-tagging software that offers opportunities to share your experiences at businesses and organizations of all types. The platform is a comparative newcomer, having been launched by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai in 2009. But as of this April its membership has swelled to over 50 million. Unusual for a social platform, Foursquare’s members are pretty evenly divided between men and women and between US and worldwide users.

Communications consultants have been eager to find ways to leverage Foursquare’s appeal for nonprofits, so let’s see the interesting things that have been developing over the last year or so.

[Read more…]

#COMMUNICATIONS: Keep Storytelling In Forefront, Whatever Platforms You Use

Retweeting can be huge but ephemeralOprah Winfrey likes a book. BOOM! It’s a best-seller and a big movie. Justin Bieber retweets something that catches his eye. POW! It’s trending huge for forty-eight hours! Who wouldn’t want that kind of attention? Well, often nonprofits and charities don’t want that kind of attention. The best/worst case of this kind of virality is the Kony 2012 campaign, which we followed closely earlier this year and don’t have the stomach to repeat.

What nonprofits and charities want is steady growth in awareness, volunteerism, and donations. They don’t need the huge splash (some small splashes don’t hurt!), but they use the same social networks that the Oprahs and the Biebers of the world use. How do they use the same tools to develop dissimilar results.

[Read more…]

#MARKETING: Build Your Search Engine Marketing Strategy With Solid Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Marketing for the internetSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) includes numerous tools and plug-ins that help (first) web crawlers and algorythems find your organization’s website, so that human web searchers can then find your site via Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc. Optimization means (in part) key words are placed in specific parts of the website’s code and banners to ensure that not only do search engines find your site, but they easily calculate the importance of certain terms and ideas so as to put your site ever higher on their list of relevant sites.

SEO is something we’ve often talked about on this blog, but marketing experts have been taking SEO to the next level over the last year or so to develop an overarching strategy of online marketing: Search Engine Marketing. But what is it and why should your business incorporate it into your outreach?

[Read more…]

#TECH: Microsoft Surface To Shake Up Tablet Market & Challenge iPad…Someday.

The Surface comes with a magnetic cover/keyboard
We really like the keyboard idea

Full disclosure: We at MKCREATIVEmedia are pretty Apple-centric, even though we are aware that many of our readers are using Microsoft products to access the blog. So when we heard that Microsoft want to enter the tablet market, we thought, “well, that’s about two years too late.” But we also wanted to see how Microsoft handled the announcement/release and what they wanted to bring to the market − and we wanted to keep an open mind.

The Microsoft Surface was announced this week, and − unlike ‘iPad’ − we really liked the name. In fact, on the surface, the new Surface has lots going for it, not the least of which are the millions of schools, nonprofits, corporations, and individuals who already have a Windows computer and who might be more comfortable waiting for a Windows-built tablet before jumping into the market.

Unfortunately, even the early reviewers at the Microsoft Event are not so sure that’s what will happen.

[Read more…]

#TECH: How and Why To Develop A Google+ Page For Your Nonprofit

Google+ offers numerous means to reach out to clients, donors, and customers
Tools for your nonprofit's outreach

Yesterday we looked at how to pin something of interest to Pinterest, and why such activity can draw many many eyeballs to that interest and then to your organization. One of the striking demographic facts of Pinterest is that the audience is strikingly female. Toward the other side of the spectrum is Google+, which is largely made up of males. Though the status and interest of Google+ remains an open question, we remain confident that it supplies a number of features that are not difficult to use yet create a well-organized presence for any nonprofit or individual.

[Read more…]

#SOCIALNETWORKS: What Makes Pinterest So Engaging? It’s Incredibly Simple to Use.

Pinterest is 'Invitation Only,' which will come quickly if you askPinterest was released as a private beta in March 2010, which makes it something of a late-comer (or the ‘second generation?) of social networking platforms. Its mission was “to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting,” and its modus operandi was to encourage people to ‘pin’ whatever they found interesting online to their own boards (e-bullentin boards, if you will). Within two years, Pinterest claimed over 11 million users, making it the fastest site/service to break 10 million subscribers.

How has use in Pinterest exploded and why might a nonprofit want to establish a presence on the site? The simplicity of administering and advertising your organization’s interests make it well worth the effort. Let us show you how:

[Read more…]

#SOCIALNETWORKS: Facebook Stocks Being Sold Off & Facebook Accounts Not Expanding

Facebook's stocks continue to retreat
Should nonprofits worry?

The saga that is the Facebook IPO continues. Wall Street took a break from claiming to be the US Economy yesterday, but as of lunchtime this Tuesday, stock in the uber-social network fell below $30 for the first time. The brouhaha surrounding the IPO has largely concerned possible fraud or withholding of information from public investors, but some are wondering if the real issue is simply the product itself. If it is, what should nonprofits and charities be doing with their Facebook accounts as the company deals with this shakeout?

[Read more…]

#COMMUNICATIONS: The Number One Way To Gain Site Or Blog Readership Is…

Though a Supergenius, W.E. Coyote rarely simplified his plansIf your nonprofit or your charity has any online presence at all, you want readers to engage your content, click through the link(s), visit the site, and get involved with money and/or time. If you are a blog writer, you want pretty much the same, though gifts might also/instead mean advertising dollars because so many people come to your site. And, of course, no reason a nonprofit can’t have a blog that carries those ambitions for the blog and the site that hosts it.

The million-dollar question is: “How do I get people to move from scanning the headline to clicking on it and getting engaged?”

[Read more…]

#SOCIALNETWORKS: LinkedIn’s Value As Networking Platform Far Bigger Than Mere Numbers

Linked In helps bring professionals togetherWhether they put skin in the game or not, everyone has been watching the Facebook IPO for the last week or so. The stock has only fallen from its $38-a-share launch, and though its price seems to have stabilized around $32 in the last day or so, the company is being sued over ‘selective disclosure’ of its weakened earnings portfolio. One of the things that has weakened the stock is the fact that ever more people are accessing Facebook on mobile devices, where advertising dollars are (at this point) scarce. Another concern is that Facebook tries to be all things for all people (all 900 billion users), whereas other social-networking platforms are making strong inroads as specialists in certain kinds of social and informational exchanges. One of those is LinkedIn, a network designed for professionals looking to present their business selves online to other professionals. In our ongoing and period series of social-network platforms, we introduce (and in many of our readers’ cases ‘remind you of’) LinkedIn.

[Read more…]