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Fast Changes - Fierce Challenges

Corporations Sharing Expertise to Help Non-Profits Survive and Thrive


Dr. Matt Ganis
IBM Senior Technical Staff Member

“Using Social Software to Get the Word Out”
Follow-Up Questions

How can you drive traffic to a blog?

Check out this link for a great success story on a non-profit’s success with blogging.

Talk about things that will interest your readers – not just your generic marketing message.  Do you have a favorite column in the newspaper that you read? Why do you read it?  What draws you back?

Also, solicit comments or feedback.  If you say something, and someone takes the opposing view, be sure to respond. Remember the old saying “people love a good fight” – now, I’m not saying you want to “pick” fights, but the banter back and forth makes for interesting reading

What are some tips for keeping blog content “fresh?”

Keep it topical.  What’s happening in your industry today?  Or in the economy where your readers are? Again, I’d stay clear of the direct marketing pitch, but do it in a way that’s fun to read (perhaps a recap of your latest fund raising event – some candid thoughts and observations – and again ask others what they liked the most – or the least about it).

Can you provide more information about using Flicker? Specifically, how do you tag photos and link them to the URL of your site?

I went back to Flickr to check this out.  You used to be able to tag pictures much more easily.  Go to and you can batch organize photos.   In there choose the option to “add tags” – tag them something meaningful to you (I think you can use a URL).

Can you give an example of a “good tweet?”

That depends on what you want to tell your followers:
“Home heath care meeting tonight, 7pm Westchester Medical Center”
“Looking for Board members for our newly forming Educational Foundation, email me”
Any tweet that discusses your day or issues surrounding your organization – but include a URL.

How do you foresee the internet changing over the next two years?

That’s tough.  It depends on the economy.  A lot of these free services may have issues staying afloat.   As a result, they may go “for fee” or offer premium services. On the flip side, with a poor economy, people will have problems paying for some of these services – so they may not be able to go that route

We will defiantly see the trend to toward wider social computing (twitters, facebooks, etc).  Hopefully online collaboration will really begin to really pick up.

Do you think we’ll see any kind of “backlash” against the “go to our website” mentality?

I don’t think so – unless that’s ALL that you do.  Providing a URL where it makes sense is a good thing.  Providing it OVER and OVER will be perceived like SPAM.  There’s nothing wrong with pointing at other websites if you have an opinion about something either.

Everyone today talks about “going viral.” What does that actually mean?

I took this from Wikipedia:

Viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological or computer viruses.   It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet. Viral promotions may take the form of video clips, interactive Flash games, advergames, ebooks, brandable software, images, or even text messages.

In other words, put your message out there, and let it spread by “word of mouth.”

Can you talk about the key features that go into creating a good website?

That’s a matter of opinion. I like it when the content I’m looking for is no more than 1 or 2 links away from the homepage. If I find myself searching for something on a site for too long, I give up. 

With all of these different social networking sources, how do we keep our message consistent and crystallized?

There should be one person (or small group of people) that are providing the updates to these services. That should allow the organization’s message to stay consistent. But I would encourage others in the organization to participate as well so there are a variety of opinions and points of exposure for your organization.

How important do you feel it is for the non profit community to embrace social networking and why?

I think it very important. It’s another (at times) very effective way to reach out to your constituents.  A lot of this can be updates, one-liners if you will.  If your goal is to keep your organization on their minds, what better way? Do you have to do it?   No, traditional methods will work – you do have to understand that others WILL BE adopting these methods and may “steal” some of your mindshare.