Tag Archives: webserves

  • 16 June 2015
Webserves launches The mPathy Project

Webserves launches The mPathy Project

For the past decade, WebServes has been empowering nonprofits and businesses to effectively use technology to do good in various populations globally and The mPathy Project is the latest addition to WebServes’ portfolio of technology solutions.

What is The mPathy Project?

The mPathy ProjectJust to give you a bird’s-eye view of this latest initiative, The mPathy Project is essentially an app development contest; a hackathon, if you will. However, unlike the typical hackathon that runs over a weekend or a week, The mPathy Project participants will have 10 weeks to design their apps.

So how is this different from other app development challenges? Well, if it is a WebServes initiative, it has something to do with social good, right? That’s exactly what The mPathy Project is; a challenge based initiative that will give talented app developers an opportunity to showcase their technological prowess and empathy (pun intended!) to build apps that will help out the ones most in need.

The Key Players

The layout of the project is straightforward with the following key members:

  • The Hosts: They  are the various nonprofits and non-governmental organizations who constantly work to address the problems in various communities. They recognize a problem and seek to use mobile technology to address it. They offer their support to the project and will in turn benefit by having the option to deploy the apps developed by the participants. 

 
  • The Partners: They can be either Sponsors or Patrons. The Sponsors ensure the operational success of the project by providing resources such as tech support, cloud services, venues, logistics, legal and consulting service. The Patrons provide the financial support. 

 
  • The Participants: They develop the app designs for the various challenges in the project and will have the opportunity to have their app designs sponsored and developed. The participants have this unique opportunity to gain recognition while working towards social good. 

 

The First Challenge

This summer, the first challenge in The mPathy Project is being hosted by ECPAT-USA whose mission is to stop commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) at the source by advocating for laws to protect children and by educating and raising awareness among youth, first responders, and within the tourism industry.

The participants have the task of developing an app that would be distributed to the companies in the travel and tourism industry to provide them with a quick and easy way to report suspicious activities related to the CSEC.

The Goal of The mPathy Project

With The mPathy Project initiative, WebServes (in conjunction with the hosts, partners and participants) aims to make it a priority to harness the power of mobile based technology to create solutions to the critical problems faced by communities around the world.

We’ll keep you posted on all that goes on with The mPathy Project but in the meantime, head on over to The mPathy Project website and Facebook page for more information on the project, photos and how you can get involved!

~Ramya

  • 7 November 2014
Client Spotlight: THE CHAIN COLLABORATIVE

Client Spotlight: THE CHAIN COLLABORATIVE

 

The Chain Collaborative

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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

  • 7 February 2014
What the loss of net neutrality means for nonprofits

What the loss of net neutrality means for nonprofits

Last week I was listening to my favorite podcast WBUR with Tom Ashbrook and the topic of net neutrality came up. I never took into consideration that one day our internet freedom could be jeopardized. Net neutrality means that Internet service providers (ISP) cannot discriminate between different kinds of content and applications online. A free and open Internet guarantees a level playing field for all Web sites and Internet technologies. Recently, Verizon challenged the FCC over net neutrality –and won. A federal appeals court tossed out the FCC’s Open Internet rules, citing that the agency doesn’t have the power to require Internet service providers to treat all traffic equally. The question for today is: What does this ruling mean for nonprofits? To start, without net neutrality the nonprofit sector will be forced to compete with for-profits on the cost of messaging. Andrew Raseij, a serial social entrepreneur and founder of the Personal Democracy Forum stated, “For the nonprofit sector, loss of net neutrality may be as devastating as losing their tax free status because cost of reaching the public will go so high as to be prohibitive.” If the ISPs are allowed to put up tollbooths, only those content providers who can afford it will be able to have their content downloaded quickly. Below is a theoretical example of Internet pricing structures by BarStoolSports. If you notice all the websites listed in the packages are major brands. Where is the rest of the internet? Will we only be allowed to access the big companies who pay up to ISP? Network-Neutrality-500x364 The FCC plans to appeal the ruling, but if that effort is unsuccessful nothing can be done to protect net neutrality outside the backing of the Federal government. If you wish to fight this ruling I invite you to sign the White House petition that aims to restore Net Neutrality by directing the FCC to classify Internet Providers as "Common Carriers." The petition has exceeded its goal of 100,000 signatures and is still taking signatures until February 14, 2014. It can be found and signed here. Times are definitely changing and what does the end of net neutrality mean for SEO? Finding a way around the "tollbooths" could mean sharpening the technical skills needed for search engine optimization. What are your thoughts regarding net neutrality? Do you think the increasing number of people moving from cable to Netflix has anything to do with the recent ruling? -Rebecca

  • 20 June 2013
Is Your Website Donor-Friendly?

Is Your Website Donor-Friendly?

In one of our previous posts, we talked about how you can improve your website’s User Experience (UX) and for nonprofits, one of our most important user groups is the Donor community. Our donors make it possible for us to succeed in achieving the causes we stand for, but did you know that there are certain ‘donation-killers’ on our websites that could potentially drive donors away? Take a look at these statistics that are the results of a Donation Usability Research conducted by the Nielsen Group in 2009:

  • 47% of the 'donation killers' were usability problems relating to page and site design such as cluttered pages, confusing workflow, and unintuitive information architecture. To quote Jakob Nielsen, 'If the customer can't find the product, the customer can't buy it'.
  • 53% were content related issues such as including unclear or missing information and unclear terms.
These donation killers fall under the big umbrella issue of poor communication. As Nielesn says, nonprofits must clearly communicate their value proposition if they want to attract online donations and, sadly, this is where nonprofits are falling short. So, how can we make sure that our websites do not have the above donation killers? Nielsen's study offers more valuable information as well as a few insights on how nonprofits could improve their websites and make them a great fundraising tool.

1. What does a donor want to see?

According to the study, donors want to know what the organization does (mission, goals and objectives) and how it will use their donations. In short, Take a look at your website. How easy is it to find this information? How many pages do the users have to navigate through to reach this vital information? Here is a screenshot of WebServes' Home page with the Mission and Objectives: Mission

2. Where is the donation information?

Surprisingly, on 17% of the sites in the Nielsen Research, the users couldn’t find where to make a donation. In a previous post, we touched on the topic of the necessity of having a prominent ‘Donate’ button and a good Donate page with enough information and a call to action. At WebServes, our 'Donate' button is part of our header that appears on every page. donate button on the header for donor convenience  

3. How can a donor contribute?

“Giving money on charity websites is 7% harder than spending money on e-commerce sites.” In a follow up study conducted by Nielsen in 2011, the researchers found that “completing the actual donation process took the users 7% more time on average than it took users to complete an e-commerce checkout process.” This is partly because e-commerce websites have a quicker and more streamlined checkout process and partly because it is harder to give money away than it is to spend it. So, make it easier for the donor to give! Have shorter forms to fill out. Have flexible, secure payment options. For example, we have a short, 3-step online donation process powered and secured by WePay. Donation payment process - Donor view  

4. Who can a donor communicate with in case of questions?

This can be addressed very easily by having an up-to-date 'Contact Us' page and having the Contact information displayed on the Donation page as well. You could also have it as a page footer like we do: contact information accessible to donor   The study notes that fixing a minor usability problem could potentially increase donations by 10% which is a significant amount for donor-dependent organizations. As Jakob Nielsen puts it, 'to improve fundraising, speak plainly and answer donors' main questions, and money will flow your way.' Do you have other ways in which websites can be improved to be more donor friendly? Share them with us! ~Ramya  

  • 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

  • 13 March 2013
Optimizing your Facebook Page for Graph Search

Optimizing your Facebook Page for Graph Search

In our previous posts, we have stressed on the importance of SEO and how essential it is to your nonprofit’s marketing efforts. In this post, we’re back to talking about optimizing for the latest search tool in town; Facebook’s Graph Search.

Released to a select group in March 2013, Graph Search is an enhanced version of Facebook’s existing search tool.  With the new Graph Search, one can search for users based on keywords (such as location, likes or interests). For example, say someone searches for ‘My friends who like nonprofit technology service providers in New York City”, then a list of all such service providers in NYC will be displayed and since these keywords match what we have on our WebServes Facebook page, our organization will be a part of the search results too and this way, we can broaden our reach. The key to this search is that it is only as good as the amount of content that has been publicly shared by the users. For instance, if one does not share their content publicly then it would be hard to search for such people. Keeping that in mind, here is a list of to-dos that will help you make sure that your Facebook page is optimized for Graph Search. 1. Have complete information about your nonprofit For starters, your Basic Information section should be complete and up-to-date. Make sure all the fields on this page are filled out with the correct keywords so that traffic is directed to your page. The Place Sub-Category section is sometimes overlooked; so pay special attention to this field and fill it out with keywords that define your nonprofit. Place Sub-categories for Facebook Graph Search 2. Have a distinct username The default URL for your Facebook page is SEO unfriendly and a bit of an eyesore to look at too. For example if your page URL reads something like this: www.facebook.com/pages/webserves/123456789, then you must create a username which will be good for your overall SEO. The process is very simple. Just go to http://facebook.com/username and follow the instructions to have a nice URL like this one: Distinct URL for Facebook Graph Search 3. Tag your photos A picture says a thousand words and wouldn't it be a pity if a great picture is left out of search results just because it wasn't tagged or didn't have a description? As a nonprofit, you would be having a wealth of information in terms of photographs so don’t let that go to waste. Tag your photos with your Page name, add a location and a description with keywords. In addition, encourage people to tag themselves in pictures of an event, for example. Remember, the more the information, the better the SEO. 4. Research your content As is the case with social media, we are trying to constantly post content but not all of it resonates with our followers. Some posts are more ‘liked’ and ‘shared’ while some might be viewed by just a handful of people. Like button for Graph SearchFor Graph Search, the ‘Like’ concept is very important because the more the likes, the higher the chances are that the content will show up in the search. So what you need to do is sit down and analyze your past posts to see what your audience likes. What is it that makes your audience sit up, read and share your content? Once you find this out, channel your efforts in posting more of this content. For example, if your audience ‘likes’ your original content (such as blog posts), increase the frequency of such posts and get people talking about them. 5. Continue creating great content Last but not the least, keep up the efforts of creating relevant content for your Facebook page to give Graph Search more to work with! This list is by no means an exhaustive set of the ways in which you can optimize your Facebook page. Do you have any other tips to add on to the list? Share them with us and let’s keep the conversation going! ~Ramya  

  • 11 January 2013
Digital Matters for your Business

Digital Matters for your Business

There’s no shortage of bloggers making their predictions of the hot trends for the new year and marketers are never shy about adding their two cents. I’ll refrain from making a gamble on whether Facebook will still be relevant or Myspace making a comeback and instead stick to the facts. Well, one fact. Here it is - Digital matters.

I think that the only thing guaranteed in 2013 and beyond is that you need to be online. The World Wide Web is living up to its name and there is a market for every possible business and every single niche in every location. Kickstarter has proved that any good idea, in spite of potential market size, can find an audience and funding online.

The ideal digital tools for your nonprofit or business will be specific to who you want to connect with. Facebook’s billion users and LinkedIn’s professional audience are an excellent starting point for most businesses. If you’re blessed with a photogenic organization or travel a lot, Instagram is a social photo sharing community of enthusiastic members. If you’ve got lots to say, Twitter is your best friend.

It comes down to looking at your organization and matching your strengths to the social media that suits best. There is no point in forcing your business onto any social media channel because it’s the “next big thing” if it doesn’t match your brand or your audience. Whatever your business, there’s a social community online that wants to hear from you.

- Peter

  • 19 November 2012
Making the most of the Spirit of Giving

Making the most of the Spirit of Giving

GivingThe holiday season is right around the corner and so is the spirit of giving, one of the busiest times of the year for nonprofits. It is a well-known fact that people tend to give more during the holiday season but exactly how do donors decide which nonprofit gets their donation? Hope Consulting's research, Money for Good, found that while 9 out of 10 donors say that nonprofit performance is important, only 3 out of 10 do any research before giving and only 3 out of 100 do any research to find a high performing nonprofit.

These statistics didn’t entirely surprise me because many people tend to give to a nonprofit they already know so the question of researching on nonprofits may not arise. This is an advantage for the larger nonprofits since people can easily identify them and relate to their cause. For smaller nonprofits however, it is a different story due to the limited number of resources available for creating widespread awareness.

So how can smaller nonprofits make sure that they make the most of the spirit of giving? Here are a few ways we thought of: 1. Increase visibility A great way of increasing visibility is using social media effectively. Talk about your cause, promote it, connect with other nonprofits by ‘sharing’ and ‘liking’ their pages and create a network that can route people back to your nonprofit. 2. Create a great landing website Free image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.netThe purpose of using social media is to not only create awareness of your nonprofit’s activities but also to direct the followers to your website where they can gain more information and take action e.g. a clear ‘Donate’ button or a page with volunteering opportunities. We at WebServes know the importance of having a great website which is why we offer web development services and welcome nonprofits that are seeking a professionally developed website. 3. List down tasks for drop-in volunteers The spirit of giving doesn’t always need to translate to monetary donations; some people give their time by volunteering at nonprofits. There are some people who just drop-in at nonprofits to help out and this is great since an extra pair of hands is always a big help. A great way of ensuring that the volunteers’ time is put to use is to have a ready list of tasks (such as organizing or cleaning) at hand to accommodate the drop-in volunteers. We recognize the fact that drop-ins are not always welcomed or appropriate given the nature of the organization’s programs or structure, but a cordial exchange and channeling of the prospective volunteers interest is definitely constructive. 4. Be specific about your needs As 10 Percent Solution puts it, don’t make your supporters guess what you want from them. Be specific about the nonprofit’s objectives and how the supporters’ donations of time, money or goods will enable your nonprofit to achieve the said objectives. Outline where donations go and even what specific amounts can achieve - A donation of $20 to our cause can... 5. Acknowledge your supporters No amount of time or money, however big or small, is insignificant so make it a point to acknowledge your supporters. Instead of just having a big ‘Thank You!’ on your website, send out personalized emails or Thank You cards and make your supporters feel special. How does your nonprofit make the most of the holiday season? Share your ideas and activities with us, ‘tis the season for giving after all! ~Ramya  

  • 16 October 2012
Will Context dethrone Content? The importance of context in making your content marketing seen

Will Context dethrone Content? The importance of context in making your content marketing seen

Following on from my previous post, I’m still totally inspired by Gary Vaynerchuk’s Inc. 500 Keynote speech. It is widely acknowledged among web marketers that ‘content is king’ but Vaynerchuk proposes that content marketing is about to be usurped by context.

http://youtu.be/lcqCAqZtedI?t=16m54s

While Vaynerchuk doesn’t dispute the value of content, his argument for the importance of context is based on an unbelievable fact learnt from Eric Schmidt: Every piece of content created by the human race from the beginning of time until 2003 is now being replicated in volume every 48 hours. Take a moment to let that sink in. Mind = blown. This fact is the reason that Vaynerchuk highlights the importance of context. How can you expect your content marketing to be seen when you have that much competition? Context is how.

Context is defined as the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc. That’s a pretty broad definition but what it really amounts to for marketers is knowing your customer. And not just in the 'know your target market' sense, know your individual customers. Vaynerchuk gives insightful examples of this such as following a customer on twitter, finding out what their interests are and then buying them a suitable gift in an effort to establish a long-term relationship. It's about going the extra distance.

Tortoise and Hare - via Leo ReynoldsWhile his example (buying a signed NFL jersey) is extreme and expensive on a large scale, Vaynerchuk describes his company’s implementation of the “Thank You Economy” as a way to show your customers that you value them. Each customer receives a phone call from his company, thanking them for their recent purchase and wishing them a good day. Nothing more. No sales pitch or survey, just a thank you. Vaynerchuk is in business for the lifetime value of customers.

"Most businesses are not playing the marathon, they’re playing the sprint"

An area that Vaynerchuk sees becoming vital to marketing is location-based context. The example he gives is walking into a supermarket and an advert on your phone shares a recommendation your peer has given for a product on sale. The advert also includes a discount for this product. The success of the smartphone makes this a very real scenario and is already evident in businesses offering discounts when customers “check in” at their premises.

While you would think that technology and the Internet has made people less social, the opportunities of context show that this isn’t the case. We’re social creatures and technology is amplifying this. The key to marketing in the coming years will be optimising your marketing strategy to personalise the experience for your audience. The Internet is making the world a smaller place and marketing needs to reflect this. Since these are all Vaynerchuk’s ideas, I’ll let him close:

"As we all go Jetsons, the action is in being like the Flintstones"

- Peter

  • 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