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33 Must-Read Updates to Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits

May 18, 2013

Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits was released in August 2011 and despite the rapid change occurring on the Social and Mobile Web, 90% of the content still rings true. The functionality of the tools discussedhave changed slightly (see the Table of Contents for a compete list), dimensions have been tweaked, and Google+ Pages, Pinterest and Instagram have since become relevant when launching a successful social media campaign for your nonprofit, but the vast majority of the best practices in the book have stood the test of time.

That said, for those of you that have bought the book [Thank you!], below are 33 of must-read updates to Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits. You may also want to listen to a 30-minute radio interview I did about the book on May 17 which also discusses how social and mobile media has changed since the release of the book.

1. Introduction :: Integrating Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web 3.0
Replace the “Web 1.0: The Static Web” with “Web 1.0: The Broadcast Web.”

Social Media for Social Good is written as a how-to, step-by-step strategic plan for nonprofits in three parts: Web 1.0: The Static Web, Web 2.0: The Social Web, and Web 3.0: The Mobile Web. Readers understand that one era compliments and empowers the previous one and that the set of tools associated with each era are not meant to be replaced by the tools indicative of the the era that follows. However, defining Web 1.0 and its tools – websites, e-newsletters and “Donate Now” buttons – are much better summarized as the Web 1.0: The Broadcast Web i.e., one-to-many communications defined as broadcasting outward with complete control of the message and no public interaction or feedback.

2. Chapter 1 :: The Importance of Selecting the Right Donate Now Vendor
Add Google Wallet to the list.

At the time the book was written, mobile wallets hadn’t been launched yet. They are mentioned in the book as a possible means to raise money in the future, but the concept of using them to donate online didn’t even exist yet. Well, as of October 2012, Google Wallet is the first wallet service to launch the ability to donate online via a Google Wallet “Donate” button.

3. Chapter 1 :: Network for Good
Network for Good now offers mobile-optimized donate pages and donation “Share” functionality.

Early this year I was considering dropping Network for Good as vendor that I advocate for because they were not innovating fast enough, but they recently relaunched their “Donate Now” service and it now meets most of the criteria I look for in online fundraising services – especially when coupled with their “Email Now” service.

4. Chapter 2 :: Experiment with Social Media Dashboards
Know that using third-party apps decreases ROI if not used carefully.

Recently both LinkedIn and Facebook dropped their integration with Twitter indicative of a trend – a maturing of the Social Web, if you will – where automated tweets or updates are generally frowned upon as they tend to be formatted poorly, lack authenticity, and clutter News Feeds on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. The tide in social media is currently turning against automation and I think that’s a good thing.

That said, nonprofit social media managers need to understand that updates posted from HootSuite and other similar tools often come attached to mini icons (with the exception of posting to Twitter) that tell your fans and followers that indeed the update has been posted from HootSuite and as a result, your fans and followers pay much less attention to your updates. In fact, a study released in the fall of 2011 revealed that auto-posting to Facebook decreases likes and comments by up to 70% which can have a detrimental impact on a nonprofit’s EdgeRank score on Facebook. Thus, please be careful when using any tool that automates posts from one social network to another. Even the tiniest of changes from posting natively can result in decreased Return on Investment (ROI). As I said in the book and many times since, there are no cutting corners on the Social Web. A well-executed social media campaign requires a time investment and skilled social media manager.

5. Chapter 2 :: Deciding What Social Media Tools to Use
A more diverse tool set requires a shifting of priorities.

This section of the book details what a full-time social media manager could accomplish in a 40-hour work week. The hours don’t reflect exactly how much time one should spend on the sites themselves, rather the time spent and the time necessary researching and preparing the content for each social network, setting up and maintaining the profile and pages, and tracking ROI. That said, a couple of minor tweaks are necessary. The new time allotment and updated tool list is as follows:

  • Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube: 15 Hours Weekly
  • Flickr and Pinterest: 5 Hours Weekly
  • LinkedIn: 5 Hours Weekly
  • Blogging: 10 Hours Weekly
  • Niche Networks and Early Adoption (Instagram, Tumblr, Ning,, Care2, Wiser Earth, BlackPlanet, Quepasa, New Myspace): 5-10 Hours Weekly
  • Peer-t0-Peer Fundraising Networks (Razoo, Crowdrise, KickStarter, FirstGiving, GlobalGiving): 5 Hours Weely
  • Location-Based Communities (Facebook Places, Google+ Location, Foursquare) and Mobile Social Networking: 5 Hours Weekly

Of course, most nonprofits will not use all the sites listed above, but the time frame does at least allow you to craft a reasonable job description. It is, of course, intentional that next section in the book details how to prevent social media burnout. Too many nonprofit staff are being expected to add social media to their job descriptions without a time adjustment or a budget and that’s a doomed social media strategy. My greatest hope for 2013 is that nonprofits evolve beyond the “free” mentality to a strategy that gives the time and financial investment necessary to make the Social Web work for your nonprofit.

6. Chapter 2 :: What About Myspace?
A New Myspace has launched.

In the book I give kudos the nonprofits that pioneered using social media by being active on Myspace and hoped that Myspace would be able to resurrect itself, but the New Myspace is completely separate from the old versionwhich is why at this time I can not advocate for nonprofits being active on the New Myspace.

7. Chapter 3 :: Find Your Facebook Voice
Upload more photos.

The Facebook algorithim has changed significantly since the release of Social Media for Social Good. If you want to maximize your Facebook ROI to increase likes and comments, then you need to be uploading more photos with links posted inside your status updates rather than simply posting links. Photos get a higher EdgeRank score and better grab the attention of your fans in an increasingly cluttered Facebook News Feed.

8. Chapter 3 :: Send Facebook “Updates” at Least Once or Twice a Month.
Updates no longer exist.

Not a big loss since they were filtered into a mail box that few ever visited, but it is worth noting that fans can now mail admins directly if you have enabled the functionality under Edit Page > Manage Permissions > Show “Message” Button.

9. Chapter 3 :: Create Custom Tabs on Your Facebook Page
The default landing tab function no longer exists and dimensions have changed with the launch of Timeline.

There was a significant, yet fleeting outcry when Facebook axed the default landing tab functionality when they launched Timeline for Pages, however, you can still have a default landing tab by simply linking directly to a tab when promoting your page off Facebook. Go to and click on the Facebook icon and you’ll see what I mean. Also, to view a complete list of the new Facebook Timeline dimensions, please see this infographic.

10. Chapter 3 :: Facebook Community Pages?
You can now request to merge your Facebook Community Page with your Official Page.

At the time of writing the book my hope was that Facebook Community Pages would be phased out, but they have since been given a redesign and now play a significant role in Facebook’s Graph Search. You can also request to merge your nonprofit’s Facebook Community Page with your Official Page if the two pages have the exact same name. Of course, it’s rare that the two pages have the exact same name so Facebook Community Pages still continue to be more annoying than they are useful.

11. Chapter 4 :: Retweet and Reply Often.
Retweet new school more often.

In the book I prioritize using old school retweets, but not any longer. The built-in “Retweet” button is the way to go. It increases your generosity score and the exposure of your avatar in the Twitterverse and in the “Interactions” module and thus results in more new followers. To learn more about the power of new school retweets, please see Five Types of Tweets Guaranteed to Get Retweeted. It’s also worth noting that HootSuite’s default setting is set to retweet old school and old school retweets rarely get retweeted. This reiterates the point communicated in the book that you need to periodically get out of your HootSuite bubble or risk not understanding subtle, but important shifts in the Twitterverse.

12. Chapter 4 :: Follow on a 1:1 Ratio on Twitter
Change to “Follow on a 1:1 ratio or at least follow more often.”

As discussed in the book, Twitter Lists are a powerful way to organize the chaos of following a lot of people. That said, in the book I wish I would have written to “Follow on a 1:1 ratio or at least follow more often” – here are four reasons why.

13. Chapter 4 :: TwitPic, TwitVid, or yfrog
Use Twitter’s mobile app.

Sorry TwitPic, TwitVid and yfrog. It’s easier and more powerful to use Twitter’s mobile app to upload and archive photos and videos to Twitter.

14. Chapter 5 :: Introduction to YouTube Channels.
YouTube is now fully integrated in Google+.

When the book was published you could still create a YouTube account separate from Google and Google+. That’s no longer the case. Now you must create your YouTube Channel using a Google Account you already have or by creating a new one. For those who already have a YouTube Channel, you can now merge it with your Google+ profile and then merge your nonprofit’s Google+ Page with your YouTube Channel.

15. Chapter 5 :: Use the Colors of Your Avatar to Design Your Channel
YouTube has launched the new One Channel design.

Though available for months, very few nonprofits have upgraded their nonprofit’s YouTube Channel to the new One Channel design. Much simplified and optimized for viewing on smartphones, tablets, and TVs, the design process is now limited to uploading to one banner image. You can no longer select a color as your background.

16. Chapter 5 :: Producing and Editing Videos
Use YouTube’s video editing tools.

Low-cost video editing software is easily available, as discussed in the book, but it is worth noting that Windows MovieMaker is another free alternative for simple video editing.

17. Chapter 5 :: Send YouTube Friend Requests Weekly
Friend requests have been discontinued.

In March 2012 YouTube removed the friend request functionality. Subscribers vs. friends was always confusing and with so many trolls on YouTube, ditching the friends functionality was a wise move.

18. Chapter 6 :: Fill Out Your LinkedIn Profile to “100 Percent Completeness”
Add Volunteer Experience & Causes.

LinkedIn for Good has launched a new category for profiles where you can add your volunteer experience and causes that you care about. Hopefully soon we will be able to link the LinkedIn Company Pages of the nonprofits that we add to the “Organizations I Support” field.

19. Chapter 6 :: Post Authentic Updates – Don’t Sync With Twitter!
The ability to sync with Twitter has been discontinued.

LinkedIn has discontinued the ability to automate personal LinkedIn Updates with Twitter. As a result, the LinkedIn News Feed is much less cluttered and engagement in the feed has increased.

20. Chapter 6 :: Claiming Your Nonprofit’s LinkedIn Company Page
Once claimed, post updates and upgrade to the new design.

LinkedIn continues to expand the company page tool set and yet most nonprofits still have no idea that they have a LinkedIn Company Page. Find it, claim it, and post updates at least once a week.

21. Chapter 6 :: Experiment With Answers
The Answers functionality has been discontinued.

Rarely used, LinkedIn has discontinued the Answers functionality.

22. Chapter 6 :: Block and Delete Spammers
LinkedIn Group spam is worse than ever.

And its killing LinkedIn Groups. The growth rate of groups has slowed significantly in recent months. If your nonprofit has a LinkedIn Group its worth reiterating that you must absolutely block and delete spammers.

23. Chapter 7 :: Add Share Functionality to Your Blog
Be sure to use a service that incorporates Pinterest and Google+.

When using a sharing service for your blog, be sure to add a Pinterest “Pin” button and a Google+ “+1” button. Pinterest has now surpassed Tumblr in monthly traffic and with each +1 your nonprofit receives the higher your placement in Google Search results.

24. Chapter 8 :: Eleven Essential Tools for the Mobile Social Media Manager
Prioritize Instagram, drop Gowalla, add Google and/or Bing.

Instagram is now the most popular mobile-photo sharing app with more than 100 million users and it should be prioritized above all others. Gowalla is out of business. And the Google Search App and Bing Search App are very useful and now empowered with voice search. Personally, I prefer the Bing App for search, but the Google App also connects to your nonprofit’s Google Account which is increasingly becoming more important to nonprofits with each passing day.

25. Chapter 8 :: Google Places, Yelp, and Loopt?
Google Places is now Google+ Location and Loopt no longer exists.

Geolocation and location-based communities have had a volatile existence. With the exception of Foursquare, it’s been a trend that has had a hard time getting into the hearts and minds of mobile users. That said, we haven’t even scratched surface yet on mobile and it could be that services like Gowalla or Loopt were just a tad bit ahead of their time. Nonetheless, nonprofits can not ignore finding and claiming their venue and places pages on Facebook, Google+, Foursquare. etc. especially if you are a location-based nonprofit such as a health clinic, an animal shelter, or a college or university.

26. Chapter 8 :: How to Claim Your Facebook Place Page
Facebook Places is now called Facebook Location.

You can still request to merge your Facebook Places Page with your Official Page, but you can now also add Facebook Location to your nonprofit’s Facebook Page by simply adding your address in the “About” section.

27. Chapter 9 :: Link to the Mobile Versions of Your Social Networking Profiles on Your Mobile Website
No longer necessary since Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. are now responsively designed.

At the time of writing the book you still needed to link to the mobile version of your Facebook Page ( so that visitors to your mobile website could view the the mobile-optimized version of your Facebook Page on their smartphone. That’s no longer the case. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. now all have components of responsive design which Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. detect and then automatically covert/forward from the desktop version ( to the mobile version.

28. Chapter 9 :: Launching and Maintaining a Mobile Website
Responsive design is a better option.

Launching a mobile website separate from your desktop site is only the best option if you can not afford to launch a new responsively designed website within the next two years. After that, most desktop sites will be rendered obsolete and you will need a new responsively designed website if you want to be successful on the Social and Mobile Web.

29. Chapter 9 :: Five Ways Nonprofits Can Use QR Codes
QR code campaigns are not producing results.

Put simply, QR codes will not be in my next book. 🙂

30. Chapter 10 :: The Future of Fundraising is Mobile
With the launch of Google Wallet “Donate” buttons, the future has arrived.

Unless text-to-give fundraising finds a way to bill donors through their credit cards or mobile wallets instead of their phone bills, I don’t think the future of mobile fundraising is text-to-give. Nor do I think donors will be likely to enter their contact and credit card information on two-inch, mobile-optimized “Donate Now” pages. At the time of writing the book, my gut told me that the technology that would empower the future of mobile giving hadn’t been released yet – now it has. Google has ushered in a  new era of online and mobile fundraising with the launch of Google Wallet. Nonprofits need to be paying very careful attention to mobile wallet technology. I believe it’s the future of commerce and online, offline, and app fundraising.

31. Chapter 11 :: An App Economy for Nonprofits?
Android, iOS and Windows Phone – in that order.

It’s hard to believe how fast the smartphone market has changed since this book was written and published. Android now dominates. iPhone sales are still powerfully strong. BlackBerry has plummeted. And Windows Phone with its integration into Windows 8 (which also offers the ability for nonprofits to build and launch Windows 8 Apps for desktop and tablet computers) now needs to be considered if you are planning on launching a smartphone app.

32. Conclusion :: What’s Next?
Internet TV will transform how nonprofits tweet and report in real-time.

I only give Internet TV a brief mention in the conclusion of the book, but I am firm believer that in 2014 we’re going to see a fourth screen evolution so profound that it will change forever how nonprofits communicate in real-time. Get ready social and mobile media managers, because your work will definitely require you to be available after hours and on the weekend.

33. Conclusion :: What’s Next?
The era of “Free” will soon come to an end, hopefully.

My hope is that soon social networking sites begin to charge small monthly fees for customer service and premium tool sets or small one-time fees for design upgrades. I know nonprofits love free and many will protest a $10 monthly fee for analytics or a one-time $20 fee for a premium ad-free, design upgrade, but this quasi-obsession with “Free!” has made the nonprofit sector completely dependent upon the whim and the advertising models of for-profit tech companies.

By default, the dependence upon free services has also resulted in social media being perceived as less valuable by some executive staff. The effect is then$0 allocated to social media budgets which inevitably leads to poorly executed and poorly managed social media campaigns. As a sector, we need to move beyond the era of free to paid and premium and part or full-time paid social (or new) media managers. Otherwise, the greatest fear these same executive staff have i.e., wasting colossal amounts of time on the Social Web will come to pass. Increasingly, on the Social Web, you get what you pay for.

Related Link:
Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Webinar Series for Nonprofits

22 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2012 6:00 am

    Thank you, for this!!

  2. Editor permalink
    October 23, 2012 7:29 am

    Reblogged this on Social Media Marketing for Non-Profits.

  3. October 24, 2012 4:51 am

    Thank you for this post! It was very intersting to read and extremly helpful for my own blogpost. There are so many options an tactics a nonprofit organization can choose from, still I feel as if not many truly understand the meaning of sucesfully implenting some of these tactics. Such a same, when the purpose of these organizations are some much more social than those of commercial enterprises!

  4. May 20, 2013 4:34 am

    Reblogged this on Sheva's Cross of Change Blog and commented:
    I havn’t had time to read this, but reblogging, it may help us & others, alot of groups that could help victims & survivors more, or do more to help stop child abuse, are really strapped for cash, personally i really hope people will get the point of the Red Real Fullstop Campaign, and at Join The Dots, team, we are hoping that many will join collaborate, co create, events and help our movement flourish & grow……… massive as it needs & deserves to be, as the children of today & tomorrow deserve it to be, there are so many committed people working beyond reasonable hours, devoted and determined to end child abuse & support victims & survivors or it…….and please do send us your creations to either display or sell, with a small percentage for our organisation. I have seen very beautiful, rich work, read amazing poetry, if not published yet, we could collect poetry, accounts, art, and produce books too….
    We have much we,d like to activate, so please if you are inspired to help, email us. Hope everyone is as well as possibel, Sheva

  5. James permalink
    May 20, 2013 5:10 am

    Android dominates sales… but that doesn’t mean Android dominates actual web traffic or engagement. Apple devices are still responsible for 70% of mobile web traffic (source: App developers tend to go iOS first (notable examples- Twitter Music, Path). I’m not saying Android isn’t a player, but as far as ROI, I’d put Apple at the top.

  6. May 20, 2013 5:53 am

    Thanks, Heather – this is a really helpful summary of recent changes. We try to keep up, but it seems like things change every time you log in to some of these networks!

    It’s part of why I think having a good responsive website is HUGE — because that will always be completely yours, even as other things come and go.

  7. May 27, 2013 9:54 am

    Reblogged this on chifidil and commented:
    Invaluable information and ideas for using Social Media effectively!


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