Between You and Me, There's PR

Exploring, learning and using social media, public relations and marketing.

My Social Media Toolbox February 10, 2013

social-toolboxI’ve always been stingy with my money. If I go shopping with friends, you can count on me to head straight to the back where the sales are. I’m the same with a budget at work. As a former nonprofit employee, I am very conscious of spending money and always look for ways to avoid it.

When I first started at a corporation, I remember  being nervous to tell my boss that a platform I wanted to use was going to cost a little bit of money. Their response to my request was laughing at how small it was and sarcastically replied, “I think we can spare that.”

With a little extra freedom to spend money when needed, I still find myself choosing applications and tools that don’t cost money. It’s my personality. I’ve found success using these free or low-cost tools and I think most brand can. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Polldaddy– Polldaddy can do anything. We originally purchased it for surveys because it allowed us to download an application for our iPads, but it’s proved to be a endless resource. Our website didn’t have the ability for people to upload photos. Using Polldaddy’s photo upload feature on a survey, I grabbed the code they provide and embed it on my website. I’ve yet to come up with a task that requires gathering customer information that PollDaddy cannot accomplish. There is a free version, but as much as I use it, the paid version is way worth the money.
  2. ShortStack– As you know, Facebook has strict rules for companies that want to run any contest on their Facebook page. Basically, you aren’t allowed to do anything unless you use a third party application/platform and disassociate Facebook with any connection to the contest. Shortstack is the best free application I’ve used. It has minimal branding, templates and lots of features to choose from. This also has a free and paid version, but by combing Polldaddy and ShortStack, I’ve managed to survive with the free version.
  3. HootSuite/TweetDeck– You know about these. I think HootSuite is the easiest to use on my phone and during the day at work, but TweetDeck I like that TweetDeck is a desktop feature so it has a small popup anytime someone mentions my brand. Tweet Deck also catches some interactions, such as who retweeted your post, that Hootsuite does not. I always have them both open!
  4. Facebook Pages– this is an application for smart phones and iPads. Until recently, it was only developed for iPhone users, but as soon as they released the Android app I downloaded it. I love it because it sends a push notification to your phone every time someone comments on your page. This makes monitoring on the weekends and after work so much easier. If there is an emergency, I will find out about it much faster than just randomly checking in every once and a while. I also like that it is separate from Facebook application so I don’t risk posting personal stuff on my company page. Additionally, it lets you look at insights which the Facebook application does not let you do.
  5. Facebook Post Analysis Spreadsheet– I just discovered this last week. Tim Wilson has created an awesome (free) downloadable spreadsheet that will analyze your Facebook post history. It uses a color coded system show you when posts received the most engagement and another table tells you when your post reached the most people. I have discovered that when the data is exported from Facebook it uses the time you schedule the post, not the scheduled time which skews my data a little, but I still think this is a very valuable tool. Too much other research out there does not speak specifically to my demographic so I appreciate being able to analyze my own data with this spreadsheet.

These are my top five social media tools. What’s in your toolbox?’


A lesson in social media: Contests October 8, 2011

For the past month I have been working for a nonprofit organization to build publicity  in preparation of their second annual fundrasing event. As a promotion, we decided to run a Facebook campaign to attract more fans we could then recruit for our fundraiser.

The idea was to have people post the answer to a question related to our mission on our wall. The answer with the most votes would win a prize!

It was exciting because people would like our page to win a prize, engage on our page and share our page with their friends.

Fun fact: Facebook has rules against all of that.

And I would never of known to even check on these rules except a discussion on LinkedIn in the group PRIntern/ EntryPR that appeared in my inbox literally the day after we decided to do this contest.

The biggest concern for our contest was that Facebook prohibits any use of a Facebook tool to contribute to a contest. This includes vote to win, using the wall for anything except promotion and you cannot contact the winner of a contest through Facebook message, chat or wall post.

Uh oh.

I read everything I could about Facebook contests and even attended a fee seminar on law ethics associated with social media. It seemed as though the only way to continue our contest as planned was to use a third party application.

As a nonprofit organization, we could not afford to pay a third party platform to develop our contest as I had in my previous internship over the summer at an international company. I had no idea how easy we had it.

So I researched companies that would do it for free. I narrowed it down to two. Let’s be honest, there were only two out there: Binkd and EasyPromos.

I decided to use EasyPromos because when I emailed Binkd for examples, they had a hard time coming up with one. I also like that EasyPromos had an entire page of tips, FAQs and allowed me to upload a photo.

Everything went smoothly and according to plan. In the first day we had 6 people like our page! I was excited. By the end, we had a 13% increase of fans in just one week. Not bad for a little nonprofit like ourselves! Not bad for my first solo attempt at a contest either.

But this contest is what I like to call a successful failure.

It was successful because we increased our fan base. It failed because only 3 people actually participated in the contest (keep in mind we had about 160 fans!). I think we asked too much of our fans. In trying to keep with our mission, it was decided that we would have the contestants enter the contest by telling us who has made a difference in their life.

The question was probably too deep and the process too involved. However, I think it says a lot for our organization that we had a 13% increase during this promotion and hardly anyone entered the contest. It was a lesson that showed me how supportive our fans are of our cause and mission. They care about what we do, not what we give away.

The important part of the contest results, and any contest that recruits fans, is that you create lifetime fans- of both your page and your organization. We successfully created new fans and spread the word of our organization. It was a great learning expereince and I hope by me admitting my challenges you can have a success story rather than the successful failure type.

If you have questions about how we ran our contest, or how we overcame challenges, let me know! I’m happy to share what I have learned and would love to hear any stories you have as well!


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