Tag Archives: social media

  • 7 November 2014
Client Spotlight: THE CHAIN COLLABORATIVE

Client Spotlight: THE CHAIN COLLABORATIVE

 

The Chain Collaborative

I-love-coffee.jpg

Coffee is a staple in the daily routine of millions of people. It’s delicious, flavorful, and energizing. But how does it get into our cup? The process coffee goes through in order to reach our bellies is one worth taking interest in. A lot of help is needed to make sure our coffee gets to us in the most humane, sustainable way possible. But where do we go to lend a helping hand? Introducing: The Chain Collaborative.

 

WHO IS THE CHAIN COLLABORATIVE?

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Peru

The Chain Collaborative was founded in 2014 by Nora Burkey, whose passionate interest in sustainable development led to a passion for the coffee industry. The interest was sparked when Burkey began work as a coffee shop barista. A greater opportunity arose when she met one of the original three founders of Coffee Kids, an organization geared towards supporting the communities of coffee farmers in Latin America. Burkey ended up joining a project in Nicaragua, with the intent of using the experience to aid the development of her master’s thesis, aside from gaining hands-on experience in a chain of the coffee industry. However, the trip gave her more than just that; it helped to inspire the creation of The Chain Collaborative. Burkey saw that there are people who want to get involved in working with sustainable coffee development. However, many either don’t know where to start or don’t have the right expertise to carry out their intentions. That’s where The Chain Collaborative comes in.

“We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there are so many important players in the supply chain of coffee, but often we only focus development efforts on relatively few parts of the supply chain” says Burkey, about the naming of The Chain Collaborative. “So we wanted to be a resource to people at every level of the supply chain and not favor one part of another, since all levels are really important.” They are the experts who establish and develop connections between different parties in the coffee community. This can range from connecting consumers to nonprofits that specialize in coffee sustainability, to connecting coffee farmers with businesses or importers that are looking to collaborate. Gaining momentum in February 2014 and kicking off in July, The Chain Collaborative has had no trouble finding organizations to team up with. Along with co-founders Mike Morgenstern and Tina Kim, Burkey has focused on linking various companies and businesses with coffee farmers from various regions.

 WHY CARE ABOUT COFFEE?

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Coffee cherry

Why are so many people interested? When speaking with WebServes, Burkey brought up a fact that many of us know but don’t think about: coffee is everywhere. “Coffee is the second most traded commodity, after oil,” she stated. “It’s greatly consumed, and a lot of people have a passion for it.” That passion expands beyond the morning cup of fuel into the desire to contribute to its cultivation in a positive way. With an international consumer demand for coffee, there are repercussions in the form of labor, environmental, and economic security issues. Thankfully, since coffee is so popular, there are also a lot of platforms that address these issues. Consumers want to help, and The Chain Collaborative is a resource to help businesses and nonprofits reach out and engage with them.

VENTURES

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Coffee Camps Kids

The Chain Collaborative works with other nonprofits and cooperatives in order to help create, facilitate, and develop projects that accommodate the ever evolving needs in the coffee community. Here are a few of their current programs.

 The Coffee Residency

coffee retail bags

Collaboration with Irving Farm

Coffee shops sign on to three-month long “residencies” with TCC that get cafes and consumers involved in active awareness of sustainable coffee cultivation. Coffee shops “in residence” promote certain products where buyers can donate a dollar of the sale to a project of their choice, or the shop itself can fundraise in a different manner of their choosing. This networks together the shops who participate and brings about more awareness of resources available to those who want to get involved. All funds raised are used for the projects promoted.

Planting Hope

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Kids in art class during Coffee Camps

TCC’s main operations are focused in Nicaragua at the moment, where Burkey arrived at the end of October. A large part of The Chain Collaborative’s objectives is to collaborate with other organizations and nonprofits to help boost these other programs and develop them further. Following the harvest season from November to January, The Chain Collaborative will be working with Planting Hope , a nonprofit that focuses on promoting interaction between Nicaraguan and U.S. communities. They are running a project called Coffee Camps, where education, health screenings, and meals are provided for the children who accompany their parents, who work in the coffee farms. The Chain Collaborative’s plans are to revamp the food system for the children, write a Coffee Camps manual in English and Spanish for other communities to follow, and better connect Planting Hope with  both cooperatives and businesses in the coffee industry.  So instead of just giving out meals, the idea is to cultivate organic gardens and teach agricultural methods that can be sustained all year round. This will provide a constant food source for the migrant workers and their children. One of the businesses The Chain Collaborative is assisting Planting Hope in strengthening a relationship with, is Green Mountain, a coffee company that is taking initiative to collaborate with Planting Hope.

 Nyamigoye Coffee Farmers Group

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Farmer in Uganda

Further down the line, TCC will be working in concert with coffee farmers in Uganda, who are looking to organize together in order to sustain a practice of better coffee production, and to better connect with potential buyers. By doing so, they will be able to more effectively organize care of their collective crops, and care of the workers themselves, coordinating to gain health care, insurance, and loans. By working with The Chain Collaborative, a goal will be met to eliminate the middleman in their selling process and thus gain more control over the sales process of their harvest. The Chain Collaborative will also take charge in creating programs that will give them access to benefits they need, and will aid the process of connecting these farmers directly to a US importer.

 

THE CHAIN COLLABORATIVE AND WEBSERVES

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The number one information resource is the Internet. An organization’s web presence and its visibility  in various social media platforms is crucial. For The Chain Collaborative, being a young organization means that the need to cultivate a credible, professional face is key. It’s important to maintain constant social outreach, whether it is through Twitter updates or Facebook events. That, connected with a navigable, informative website, creates a legitimate presence. The Chain Collaborative has such a specific and detailed mission, and so their website is being geared to easily lead the curious and the interested to accurate and informed perceptions. This speeds up the process of collaboration and increases opportunities for working together with other parties who wish to get involved. WebServes is currently working with The Chain Collaborative to help polish that effective public element. We are glad to know that TCC is finding our services welcoming and encouraging, and that our organizational expertise in the nonprofit sector through the efforts of our WS Tech Agents, especially James Bradley, Anna Karingal, and Maya Leggat, has helped to guide The Chain Collaborative’s objectives. We will focus together on fleshing out thechaincollaborative.org with the information and the impact it needs to interact and connect well with visitors. We are also improving the aesthetic appeal of the site in order to highlight and emphasize all pertinent information. After its launch, we aim to have created the professional face TCC is looking for and for which they can easily take over ongoing updates and management.

   

- Maya

   

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All Star Code Alexander Robertson School Staten Island Children's Museum December 2011 Newsletter

  • 9 May 2013
Check-in For Good: Pay It Forward Year Round

Check-in For Good: Pay It Forward Year Round

Over the last week and a half I have noticed a lot of tweets and Facebook posts about Pay It Forward Day or Week. The span of time is different depending on the post. Some say it is April 25th and others say it is the last week of April, but my vote is that Pay It Forward should be everyday. Enabling someone or a group of people to be able to do something that may not have been available to them previously should be a mantra that everyone strives for everyday. So, in the mindset of Pay It Forward, I went looking for a way that small businesses and large businesses, alike, could give back to their community or favorite charity and I found Check-In For Good. Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 12.10.07 PM This company brings passive giving to any business that wants to participate with no setup or initiation costs. Check-In For Good was founded in 2011 and has headquarters in Clearwater, FL. It is like Foursquare for a cause.

When a business or organization signs up, it can:

· Set the times and days customers can check-in

· Choose a monthly maximum for donations

· Choose the amount to donate per check-in

· Use optional check-in verification (using a QR code)

· Approve check-ins during review period

So, let’s envision your local supermarket; now no longer will there be a can on the checkout counter with the local youth baseball team's logo on it asking for donations. In the new Check-in For Good scenario, customers will be able to check in with the app on their smartphone or by scanning a QR code. Each time that a check-in occurs, a micro-donation, up to a certain amount that is preset by the supermarket, is made to the local sports team. Everyone wins, supermarket gets more customers and the sports team gets monetary support. The focus is on raising money for charities or organizations, but the businesses that sign up to accept check-ins and make the donations get some hidden business advantages, too.
  1. Built to be “Social” – the business gains the reach of social media because when their customers check-in they immediately alert all of their followers and friends that they checked-in, in turn, passively donated to the local charity or organization. Word of mouth advertising on an exponential scale.
  2. Gain clout in the community – the organization or charity that the business is supporting will funnel customers in that business’ direction in order to help their cause, and the patrons that check-in will identify the business with a feeling of community and giving. Charity breeds charity.
  3. Trackable ROI – included in the business’ dashboard is the ability to get real analytics about how well the campaign is doing and how much the business is helping the community.
It only seems fitting in a world of check-ins, online coupons, and text-to-donate campaigns that an app could make it easier to Pay It Forward all year round. When one part of the community thrives it can help the rest of the community thrive around it. Here are some Check-in For Good campaigns that are active right now: Career Wardrobe – empowers unemployed women in the Philadelphia area to transition back to work. Top Dog Readers’ Club – “In October 2010, the Mike Peterson Foundation partnered with Grove Park Elementary School in Atlanta, GA and Home Depot, to build new KaBOOM! playground that changed the entire landscape of the once baron ground outside Grove Park. “ Help keep these efforts growing. Kicks For Kids - Tara Costa's Inspire Change Foundation uses the donations from Check-in For Good to buy athletic shoes for kids in New York who can’t afford them. The foundation is also helping kids displaced by Hurricane Sandy that need sneakers to stay active and healthy. Play a positive role! How will you Pay It Forward Year Round? ~Josef 

  • 23 April 2013
Empower your people for a successful marketing strategy

Empower your people for a successful marketing strategy

Have you ever read an article or some bit of information and felt like saying ‘I knew that already..it’s common knowledge’? But have you reflected upon why the author may have written the article even though there is a wealth of information on the same topic? I recently underwent the ‘reading and reflecting’ process after reading an article titled ‘People are the new channel’ in the Harvard Business Review and realized how much the message in the article resonates with WebServes' mission of 'Empowering through technology'.

People are the new Marketing channel; empower them to further your Marketing Efforts

The authors talk about how the world of marketing has changed and that people are the new channel. This is not necessarily new information in itself. I mean, we know that the concept of Marketing (pardon my textbook-ish analysis for the next few lines) has evolved through some stages from the initial Production Marketing (which was based on creating products and hoping there is a demand for them) to the Societal concept (which focuses on delivering value to a customer in a sustainable way). However, the way in which the authors put the information across is interesting. They talk about how people are replacing the ‘pipes’ that delivered messages to the audience. What was once a one-way street is now a network of traffic flowing to and from all directions; the sources and destinations being people who are using technology at a rate it has never been used before! What the authors stress upon is the fact that the most important marketing gimmick that an organization can have is how they empower their people to do the marketing with them. The authors gave a few suggestions for the same:
  • Externally, empower your clients to become brand advocates. You can do this by asking for reviews, requesting to be tagged in photos, starting conversations and asking for comments, sharing information and requesting your clients to share it with their networks. In short, use your existing clients’ networks to spread the word.
  • Internally, treat your entire organization as your marketing team. Give everyone the ability and opportunity to own the brand they work for and increase its awareness. This includes creating awareness through social media, representing the organization at events and opening up lines of communication.
This empowerment of people is made possible through the use of technology; especially the internet. While it is true that technology cannot replace people, the opposite holds true too. The key is to have a balance and the authors give a very good formula for achieving the harmony; mix one part technology with an equal part humanity! How do you empower your people? Share your ideas with us! ~Ramya

  • 6 March 2013
Writing a Tweet: A Lesson for Novice and Experienced, Alike

Writing a Tweet: A Lesson for Novice and Experienced, Alike

Writing a Tweet: It’s harder than you'd expect The art of content promotion is one that many view as an afterthought. This topic has been covered in many other blog posts on our site (e.g. The Kingdom of Content Is Advanced Only By Its Followers and Content Marketing: Are you content with your marketing efforts?), but very often the concepts are discussed and not the actual prescription; a concrete example. Until this morning when this lovely infographic made its way into the twitter feed that I was perusing. Gerry Moran at Marketingthink.com gave every novice Twitter enthusiast, not just an idea, but he gave a formula (which, after reading some other comments on similar blogs, was/is much needed).

Infographic by Gerry Moran from Marketingthink.com

Infographic by Gerry Moran from Marketingthink.com

“With only 140 characters in play, it seems pretty simple to write the perfect tweet! How hard can it really be when all you need is a few words to get your point across to your followers? Unfortunately, that is what many marketers and their management think how it works.” - Gerry Moran from Marketingthink.com Crafting the Content After reading Gerry Moran’s blog post How to Write the Perfect Tweet, a few things stand out:
  1. Amplify Your Message: which is essentially what you are doing by using Twitter as your loudspeaker.
  2. Motivate the Audience: whether it is through humor, a call to action, or simply just a “[Check this out]” each has its place and use.
  3. Be Interesting: this is important, the way the tweet comes across to others is the only impression you will make in this 140 characters. Ask a friend how it sounds before you send it out (believe me, it helps).
  Inserting Links and #Hashtags Once the content of what you want to say is hashed out the logistics of compiling the information becomes the chore. Everyone has seen the links to articles shrunk down to help fit more into a tweet. The most popular tools to do this are:
  1. Bitly.com
  2. Ow.ly (as seen by anyone that uses Hootsuite)
  3. Tinyurl.com
  4. Shrinkthislink.com
These tools are free and rather easy to use. Each one works the same, but each represents itself differently. First you copy the link that you want shrunk, then you click the button to shrink it and you have a shorter link that can give you back valuable Twitter composing real estate. #Hashtags are ways for people to easily search for things that are being discussed. In a presentation, the speaker can give a hashtag, like #WebServesSocial, and the attendees can tweet with that hashtag and then after the meeting is over the speaker, the attendees, and those who could not attend can see the interactions and further interact with one another. The hashtag is not always just a funny endnote as it seems many personal twitter accounts have made it a way to make a joke, e.g. #CaseoftheMondays. Hashtags are tools to mine information from the massive information and data glut that is Twitter. Examples This is the one part that is always left out, and for the novice Twitter enthusiast it is the most important.
  1. [New Blog] Examples for the #Novice Twitter Enthusiast: Concrete examples of tweets http://tinyurl.com/cg3lspu (this tweet left 34 extra space for Retweeters (RT’s)
  2. Our New Product is here! Look at the specs of the all new #widget http://tinyurl.com/cg3lspu (this tweet left 43 open characters so that people can comment or reply)
  3. An example from our own twitter feed is (BTW follow us @WebServes):
While each of these examples represents a different type of tweet and a different format, the last one is more advanced. The “RT” means that I am ReTweeting the content, but I am also commenting on it outside of the quotes. The last example exemplifies the original idea that some “blank space” needs to be present in the original tweet so that others have a chance to comment. Social Media is inherently social, so enable the conversation in any way possible. Empowerment The novice twitter enthusiast need not be intimidated by the Twitter world. It is a platform to promote, learn and express thoughts to a wide audience. Sometimes a speaker stumbles on words in real life, but it is a sign of a good speaker to roll with it and keep moving along. Everyone has goofed up a Twitter post, and the good ones learn from that and continue on. Happy tweeting! ~Josef

  • 25 September 2012
Content Marketing: Are you content with your marketing efforts?

Content Marketing: Are you content with your marketing efforts?

 

-Courtesy of National Positions

I recently read an article on 5 Companies With Inbound Marketing Strategies That Work and saw why these 5 companies were on the list: Salesforce.com, Cisco, Dell, GE and Starbucks. These companies have effectively used content marketing to attract their target markets. From using social media to video documentaries, these companies have used content to show, in some cases, an emotional side and a ‘human’ side in others. Starbucks has created an emotional connection by interacting with its fans on its Facebook page and posting fascinating photos on Instagram while GE has added a more human face to its machines by highlighting the roles of its experts using Twitter.

What is Content Marketing anyway?

So, what is content marketing and why do the companies we know so well swear by it as being the best marketing strategy in existence? Before we delve deep into definitions and uses of content marketing, here is a short video clip from the Content marketing Institute (CMI) that shows how old this practice really is and how it has evolved over time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5Tt5JSRsOc&feature=player_embedded According to the CMI,
“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience - with the objective of driving profitable customer action."
The ending of the above statement…. "driving profitable customer action" should not be misconstrued to imply that content marketing is meant to be used only by for-profit organizations; in fact, content marketing could be more beneficial to nonprofits and could be more easily executed by them than by for-profit organizations....what? Did I just say more easily? Yes, more easily. As Joe Pullizzi of CMI puts it, for one, we as nonprofits have a positive cause that we are working towards. That in itself creates a willingness in people to be a part of the cause or social good since it is a form of intrinsic motivation that drives them to donate or be involved without expecting any rewards in return (tax savings from a tax deductible donation could count as a reward but many people don’t donate just to get some tax exemptions. They do it for other motivations like a feeling of satisfaction that arises from acting towards a social good). Secondly, the cause is a story in itself which is what content marketing is all about! Why do you think the major name brands have a story associated with them? Whether true or otherwise, companies have created stories around their brands to make them more appealing. Consider this for instance, would you rather hear a story about how a loaf of bread makes it to your table right from when the wheat is grown, harvested and then processed? or would you prefer to see an image of the bread and hear a list of all the ingredients it contains? If a company just states what a product consists of exactly, it would create a pretty feeble marketing pitch wouldn’t it? Coming back to nonprofits, we do not have to sit down for hours with branding experts to create a story around our cause. All we need to do is seek testimonials from people we have helped and voila, we have a story that could touch a number of hearts. So, how is content marketing done? Well, we at WebServes are doing it right now….through our blog! Other ways to do it include social media (Facebook, Twitter), white papers, video documentaries, SEO, newsletters, webinars, podcasts to mention but a few. The main thing to keep in mind is that the content should grab the attention of the target audience by giving them value for their time. The audience should be in a position to answer the question, ‘What can I take away from this message? What have I gained from the time I invested in viewing/reading this content?’

Benefits of Content Marketing

The following numbers from Mashable's infographic tell it all: 1. It costs less than traditional, outbound marketing. Statistics show that content marketing costs 62% less per lead than outbound marketing. 2. People want to be in control of what information they receive and this is evident from these statistics: · 86% of people skip TV adverts · 44% of direct mail is never opened · 91% of email users have unsubscribed from a company email that they previously opted into With content marketing, we earn the loyalty of our patrons without having to bombard them with messages that will serve as spam to many. It is a classic case of a pull vs. push strategy; instead of ‘pushing’ our messages out to the masses in the form of a billboard, we are ‘pulling’ people in through our content. For more numbers and an interesting infographic, check out this great article on Mashable.com. Despite the high praise for content marketing, it is not a given fact that just doing content marketing will generate positive activity for every organization. The effectiveness of the messages being put out and their frequency plays a big part in making or breaking the content marketing strategy for your organization.

Some basic rules of thumb to go by when creating content are:

1. Have relevant content. Posting about the weather every single day might not do you any good if it has nothing to do with your operations. 2. Have a frequency of creating content to generate and retain interest. A good blog can only be read so many times but a series of frequent posts will create more traffic and thus more interest in your nonprofit’s causes. 3. Have open, two-way lines of communication. Tell your story and be open to receive comments. In addition, if you are maintaining a blog, it would be a good idea to have guest bloggers from outside your organization who could bring in a whole new perspective. In summary, a quote from the CMI serves as the best reason for the emphasis on Content Marketing; ‘If you’re not Content Marketing, you’re not Marketing’. ~Ramya

  • 29 August 2012
More Social Media; ‘Pinterest’ed?

More Social Media; ‘Pinterest’ed?

PinterestBefore you say ‘not another social network!’, let us revisit the phrase ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’. When time is of essence and reading a text-heavy marketing message is out of the question, well-captured images take effective marketing to a whole new level. Pinterest is the latest kid on the block in the world of social networking that has rapidly gained enough popularity to be rated 3rd after Facebook and Twitter and is the fastest standalone site in history to cross the 10 million users mark according to TechCrunch.

What is Pinterest anyway? Just to have a small intro course for Pinterest 101, we’ll define Pinterest at its simplest by calling it a highly visual virtual bulletin board of images that allows users to ‘pin’ their images to their own boards and explore other user’s images.

via perfectpinning

There is a ton of information on the web as to how Pinterest works but in this blog, let’s focus more on why an organization should consider Pinterest as a marketing medium. For-profit organizations have effectively used Pinterest to market themselves but would this apply to nonprofits as well? If we go by Pinterest’s goal of connecting ‘people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests’, then we can conclude that nonprofits can effectively use the medium to connect people based on social passions.

Reasons for using Pinterest

There are a myriad of reasons for Pinterest’s popularity as a marketing medium but the following are the most important for nonprofits:

1. Target Market

Demographically speaking, Pinterest has captured the attention of a certain population group which would be of great value to the nonprofits. According to the Huffington Post, 70% of Pinterest users are women aged between 25 and 34 with a household income of $100,000+ per annum. In addition, statistics from ComScore report that Pinterest buyers spend more, buy more items, and conduct more transactions than other social media buyers. Why is this statistic important to nonprofits in particular? Well, statistics show that women are major donors to the causes of nonprofits so using Pinterest as a targeted marketing tool for this specific population segment makes good marketing sense.

2. SEO points

As outlined in a previous blog post by Peter, having recommendations and referrals is important for organizations to generate traffic to their website.  With Pinterest, this is made possible by linking images in the profile to the organization’s website such that every user who clicks on an image is directed to the official website which is a very good way of increasing visibility. In fact, According to TechCrunch, Pinterest’s referral traffic has topped that of Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined which further reinforces the use of the emerging social networking site.

3. The ‘Human’ Effect

In addition to the descriptions in the ‘About Us’ section, Pinterest goes a step further and allows organizations to give a face to their cause.  According to marketer Jim Ewel, Pinterest is a great way to ‘humanize’ your company and give a chance for clients and constituents to interact with people and not just faceless brands.

A good example of a non-profit that has effectively used Pinterest is Amnesty International. They pin inspiring pictures related to rights and equality, as well as links to T-shirts and jewelry that support the organization (The Huffington Post).

4. Social Integration

Emily Jenkins, a freelance writer with a keen interest in social media, raises a key point on the importance of integrating social media sites for maximum brand efficiency. Pinterest integrates seamlessly with many social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter which allows for the replication of posts when you pin on Pinterest.

As with any other social media platform, it is paramount that nonprofits invest time in developing their Pinterest profiles in order to optimally display what they stand for. The 10 strategies for Nonprofits on Pinterest by Matt Petronzio serve as a guideline on how nonprofits can effectively use Pinterest to their advantage. A summary of these points is as follows:

  1. Know your audience: who is using Pinterest and how can you customize your profile to attract them?
  2. Get Personal: show how much you care for the cause by sharing information with your followers.
  3. Reveal yourself: show images of staff and volunteers working on the cause.
  4. Focus on the achievable: a non-profit is all about making things possible; not just creating hopes and dreams. Show what is possible and inspire supporters that what you have set out to achieve is doable.
  5. Make it a team effort: encourage everyone to ‘pin’ and contribute their ideas and thoughts.
  6. Fundraise: use Pinterest to sell branded items such as t-shirts with the non-profit’s logo. This creates an additional avenue for raising funds.
  7. Pin/Highlight other non-profits: repinning another non-profit’s images helps to increase their following and who knows, the non-profit may return the favor by pinning you!
  8. Add Pinterest to your website: just as you would add Facebook and Twitter.
  9. Pin videos: videos add extra emotions that pictures alone cannot. Pinning a YouTube video outlining your latest project could generate enough interest to raise funds.
  10. Be inviting: do not let pinning be a solitary action. Invite followers, supporters and staff to contribute and make your Pinterest profile a community.

WebServes wishes you happy ‘pinning’!

~Ramya

  • 3 August 2012
Is Your Business Using Social Media Recommendations?

Is Your Business Using Social Media Recommendations?

After reading Ed Keller’s article on Forbes.com, Recommendations are What Drives Your Business. Remember to Ask for Them, I wholeheartedly agree. Recommendations are at the core of each of the current crop of social media channels. They are so common to our daily lives that we take them for granted. How many of us frequent a favorite restaurant, mechanic, barber or bar on the basis of an initial recommendation? The same rules apply online.

It comes as no surprise that social media is built on recommendations. There are the simple and quick recommendations of “likes” or retweets, and then there are the more significant personalised recommendations. It is the latter, that somebody thought about and went to the effort of writing specifically for the recipient, that really count. This could be sharing a recommended link with an explanation on a friend’s Facebook page or writing a professional recommendation for a colleague on their LinkedIn profile. These are the recommendations that draw attention and elicit a response.

As Keller argues, there is no doubt that a face-to-face recommendation is best of all, but this is not always an option and the internet is full of effective imitations. A popular genre of YouTube videos is product reviews, allowing prospective buyers to see the product in action and demonstrated by a neutral party, usually on their webcam at home. In the case of a LinkedIn recommendation, this is a face-to-face recommendation posted on the Internet for the benefit of a recruiter to encourage them to meet with the recommended. We at WebServes operate our own referral program so that people can receive a reward for recommending our services to a friend.

If you are starting out on a new venture or growing your audience, getting recommendations is a great route towards expansion. Peer-to-peer recommendations are a highly effective form of advertising and they’re free! Recommendations from strangers can even lead to a purchase, such as Amazon product reviews. While these lack the strength of a friend’s recommendation, praise from multiple strangers in agreement can be highly effective in leading new customers towards a purchase, as evident on Amazon, Zagat or eBay.

If you are a small or new business, take Keller’s advice and make the most of recommendations. Make sure you have a Facebook page so that customers can “check-in” or “like” your business, raising awareness among their friends. Make the process of recommending you as simple as possible to encourage customers to do so. If you are providing a product or service that delights customers, then don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation and reward customers when they do. Delighted customers are your most trusted salespeople and will be only too happy to share the experience with family and friends.

Peter

  • 29 September 2011
WebServes September Newsletter

WebServes September Newsletter

What’s Happening at WebServes

WebServes has finished implementing the online ticketing and reservations system for the seventh annual Black and White Gala hosted by the Seamen’s Society for Children and Families (SSCF). The organization’s largest annual fundraising event honors former president Bill Clinton as the guest speaker, and foster parent Laura Graham as this year’s honoree. Reserve your ticket here, and check out their facebook page to see who else might be attending. At the end of October, we will follow up with the launch of a completely revamped website for SSCF at their new domain.

WebServes and Hello Tomorrow have finalized the development of the new brand and logo designs for this media agency’s website. WS has incorporated the re-visualized designs on their new landing page at hellotomorrow.tv. WS will be launching their inaugural website in late October.

                                    Bare Naked Bake Sale       
WebServes has launched a limited public beta for the Bare Naked Bake Sale site this month. Built on a customized drupal platform, this innovative crowd-sourcing site is being tested and reviewed by select users. Read the editorial about BNakedB on the blog, Crowdsourcing and visit their facebook page for any updates. Keep an eye out for the public beta release in October!

Camp Kinderland was severely impacted by the heavy winds and rain brought by Hurricane Irene. For over 80 years now, their organization has provided thousands of children with enriching and enjoyable summers (where else do you find a Peace Olympics?). Unfortunately, the road leading into camp has been destroyed by a water surge, and several other structures (including the lake’s dam) were also heavily damaged. As a long-time client (and Technology Partner) of ours, we would like to support them in the rebuilding of the camp. Please consider donating funds to assist Camp Kinderland.

                 

Tips of the Month

Here are a few ideas from Kivi Leroux Miller’s webinar on social media strategy. A downloadable PDF version is available.. Try not to overwhelm your fans with information, instead, give them “snack-sized” bits of info. Not only will it help them to understand things more quickly, but it will also allow them to gather more information. Social media is all about quick updates, so be sure to keep your updates short and frequent. In sticking with this theme, we’ve created a short guide to social media.
              
According to Mashable, a great way to draw attention to a cause is through pop culture and memes. Even though a cause is serious, nonprofits are not limited to promoting them in a serious manner. Since pop culture is always trending, it’s easy to grab the audience’s attention with a notable catchphrase or image. Take a look at how the American Red Cross was able to use Charlie Sheen’s famous phrase, “Tiger Blood”, to promote blood donations.

  • 7 September 2011
Social Media Strategies: 4 Ideas on How to Engage and Grow Your Fanbase

Social Media Strategies: 4 Ideas on How to Engage and Grow Your Fanbase

Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend one of Kivi Leroux Miller’s free webinars on social media strategy. Although only an hour long, a lot of great ideas were shared, including statistical data on which media channels were best for marketing. Unhinging the myth that Facebook is the number one place to deliver your message, the two best marketing channels are actually your own website and e-newsletter. You have to remember that Facebook and Twitter are only secondary outlets for information, and your website is the most important part of your company.

But, don’t ignore your social media channels just because they are secondary. Here are a few tidbits that I’ve gathered from the webinar:

1. Update your social media channels regularly

Just having a Facebook and Twitter page are not enough. You won’t get a following by just having a page. People will follow you when you offer them useful or fun information that they can share with friends. It may be hard to come up with content sometimes, but you can always retweet someone, or share a link that someone else has posted.

The frequency of updates depends on where you are posting. For Facebook, once or twice a day is perfect, it gives time for others to comment, and reassures that you are not posting spam. Twitter can be updated several times day, depending on how many people mention you, and the types of trends you want to participate in.

2. Deliver “snack-sized” information

I found this to be one of the best tips from the webinar. Kivi used a very sweet metaphor comparing the amount of information to snack-sized candies. No one wants to read a two page long e-newsletter, or a 2,000 word blog post. The information may be interesting, but people want to read and understand it quickly. Having small chunks of information at several intervals is easier to digest than having one large informational package in one sitting, perhaps why social media has grown so rapidly.

For your newsletters, focus and frequency are the things to remember. You can try to create more focused content, while sending more frequently. So, split your content and send a bi-weekly newsletter instead of a monthly one. Yelp does an amazing job with their newsletters. They usually send out bi-weekly newsletters, and instead of having an array of popular places to go, they focus on a specific category. So, their first newsletter can be Greek places around Manhattan, and the next one will be Spanish food in Queens.
3. Don’t just talk, start a conversation

Being an ego and only discussing your own accomplishments is detrimental in the social media world. Just like the non-digital world, no one likes to hear you continuously talk about yourself. Make sure to discuss new topics in your industry, maybe an upcoming event in the nonprofit community, or a political decision that has affected others in your field. Some of the suggestions from the webinar include updating with trivia facts, sharing personal interests, and talking about what’s going on behind the scenes.

4. Spotlight other organizations

Again, don’t always focus on yourself. You may be thinking, why should I give publicity to another organization? The answer is simple, you want to be nice to others and build a connection through highlighting something they have done. In many cases, the other party will reciprocate and highlight something that you have done. This is what social networking truly is, right?