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NFPtweetup still has enough learning to surprise me

27/05/2011

Earlier this week I attended the hugely popular NFPtweetup event in London which shared loads of good ideas and experiences of how charities are using social media in the broadest sense to support their goals.  I wrote a blog for the team over on the NFPtweetup site but just in case you missed it, here it is in it’s full glory!  Your thoughts welcome as always.

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surprised kid - Carol Garbiano via sxc.huActually, this title is a bit misleading in that social media is such a dynamic area that there is nearly always something new to learn from pioneering types and organisations who are prepared to invest a little time (and occasionally funds) into trying something unproven.

That said, amongst the excellent presentations and conversations at last night’s 11th event, there were still a few surprises for me that I thought I’d share:

  1. Some charity organisations were at the vanguard of the social media movement and actually using social media tools and approaches to engage with their staff and supporters before it was coined social media.  Adrian Cockle’s session showing just some of the ways that WWF are using these tools highlighted a couple of examples of early adopter behaviour not always credited to the charity sector.
  2. There was actually very little content about twitter specifically!  This might sound daft for a meeting that’s labelled a tweetup and it certainly isn’t a criticism.  It’s just very clear that twitter is only one tool which needs to be integrated with others to generate maximum benefit from our social media efforts.
  3. People think QR codes will work just because they are cool and funky.  Ashley Clarke of Beautiful World shared a cracking example of London Underground advertising which used these tools, no doubt placed because of the tech-savvy and cosmopolitan nature of commuters.  But, escalators move too quickly for anyone to get a good scan/photo on their phones and, wait for it… there’s seldom enough signal underground for phones to open the associated web pages!  Doh!  Shouldn’t fitness for purpose be the only test we use to judge whether a social media tool is viable or not?
  4. Amnesty UK’s Digital Editor Sam Strudwick shared an outcome that on the face of it seems blatantly obvious but should probably have occurred to more of us sooner.  Donors engaged through social media channels might prefer their money to go towards something tangible and of direct, linked benefit, rather than an overarching project.  Amnesty’s campaign to encourage people to buy radios rather than donate money during their Break the Silence campaign in Burma last year, delivered much better than expected fundraising results.  In many cases, the ‘donations’ doubled from expected levels and were generated from new audiences that hadn’t been involved with the charity previously.

And the biggest non-surprise?

Integration is key to success.  I’m so glad to have heard this countless times throughout all the sessions and the breakouts.  No tool (including web, social media, PR etc) stands alone and all the successes we heard about from pretty much every organisation relied on the integration of social media with other marketing and communications tools.  This also means integration across teams and departments – yes that means considering fundraising and campaigning objectives at the same time…

It ain’t rocket science and reinforces what many of us in the sector have been saying very loudly for a while… there are no prizes for using social media well; we win by using social media AND other activities to deliver what we always needed to deliver.

Here’s to the next event and even more shared learning, updates and surprises.

(Image by Carol Garbiano via sxc.hu)

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