Here are three clear measurable benefits of your Social Media efforts. Despite the best efforts of boffins everywhere, there is no way to measure the overall impact of your social media activity. However your SM effort can result in more visits to your web site as measured by:
1. Direct Referrals: You can be sure that visitors have read and reacted to a post if they click a link in it. There are many ( too many ?) link shortners which allow you to track how many have clicked on a link in your post. Twitter`s proprietary shortner, t.co, is now fully operational and automatically works on any links that are included in a Tweet. Bit.ly remains the most popular choice as it can be used to log how many people clicked on links to sites and pages other than your own. You can see visits that have come to your site via shortners in your Google Analytics account. GA >Traffic Sources> Sources > Referrals
2. Better search engine rankings: Social media activity is now clearly affecting search engine rankings. Postings and reaction to them are becoming a more important part of the collection of `signals` that search engines use to determine what content to display for a given search query.Ian Laurie has noticed that Google is now putting more emphasis on Twitter and Facebook account activity. So a Google search for a brand or charity plus a top social media site such as Twitter or Facebook eg `rnib Twitter`, or `breast cancer care Facebook` now produces results which include sitelinks. Normally Google only shows site links for Organic and/or AdWords results for highly regarded sites. Ian`s view is that sitelinks are shown only for those SM accounts that have some unique content. A quick check that I did on a number of charity accounts seems to bear that out. Over at SEOMoz they did some tests to check if social signals drive search engine traffic and they found that they did. However they do suggest that Google +1, which has yet to be widely used by visitors to charity sites, is a big part of it.
3. More Backlinks to your content from authority sites is still the most powerful signal to Google that your content is worth showing. Without backlinks it is almost impossible to rank in Google. To date charities, who normally have well written content, could rely on media and government site to mention and link to their content. But the web is daily becoming a more competitive place so social media is a great way to identify key influencers and get them to link permanently to your content. If you can use SM to build a relationship that leads to a link from an important site or blogger then you will get visits and kudos with Google. So, long after your Tweet or FB post has been forgotten the backlink will still be sending visitors and convincing Google that your content deserves to be shown.Backlinks: the gift that keeps on giving.
If you’ve been avoiding getting your organization involved in Facebook, here are three good reasons to think twice:
- Facebook has an audience of 600 million and growing, making it equivalent to the population of the world’s 3rdlargest country
- Meet them where they’re at: it is extremely likely that a considerable amount of your wired network is already engaged on the platform
- More and more donations are happening online
Here are a few guidelines for getting started with Facebook:
First, create a “Page” for your organization—this is similar to a personal profile. It allows members to become a “friend” of your nonprofit, allowing them to subscribe to your updates and engage in dialogue with you and other supporters. To set up your Facebook Page, visit: www.facebook.com/pages/create.php.
Second, create a Facebook Group: If you are interested in sending direct messages to the inboxes of your supporters (and you have under 5,000 followers), setting up a group is the way to go. Without a group, you are limited to posting status updates and having your supporters read them via their Facebook News Feed. To set up your group, visit www.facebook.com/groups/create.php.
Once you are established on Facebook and your supporters are accustomed to communicating with you through this platform, it is time to start raising money. “Causes” is a tool (application) built for Facebook that allows you to fundraise within the Facebook network. While it’s difficult to build a community within Causes, it’s worth exploring as a fundraising supplement to your Page or Group. Get a better feel for this tool at www.causes.com.
Once you are set up on Facebook, a great tip for integrating fundraising activities is to use the platform to express thanks for member contributions generously and frequently—public recognition helps spread loyalty and reinforces generous support. Read more from Nicci Noble and Sean Sullivan in Chapter 22 of Nonprofit Management 101, “Online Peer-to-Peer Fundraising.”
GRANTS – General
Big Lottery Fund’s Silver Dream Fund
Big Lottery Fund’s Silver Dream Fund, in association with the Daily Mail, offers an exciting new opportunity for groups to test out a range of ideas about new ways to support older people, whilst building on the wealth of experience and skills that they have to offer to others, including their families, neighbourhoods, and local communities.
The challenge is to come up with a great idea that will pioneer ways to help vulnerable older people deal more effectively with life-changing events.
Ideas also need to reflect five themes:
· Helping older people to help themselves
· Working with others
· Managing better
· Testing new ways of working
Our aim is to generate learning about what works so that this can inform our future investments and also the ageing agenda in terms of both practice and policy. We are interested in testing out new ideas or growing/replicating what works in new ways – this is not for just doing more of the same. We will work with a range of selected projects, supporting them with learning and development opportunities and with our funding.
Whilst only voluntary and community groups, registered charities, social enterprises and other not for profit companies will be able to submit ideas directly, partnerships can include private sector and statutory bodies, as we are particularly interested in testing new models of interventions that support older people to manage changes in their lives.
If you value older people as active participants with voices that need to be heard, and who have an important role in to play in seeking solutions for current and future generations, and you want to find out more about this opportunity and how to submit your idea, please visit our website at http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/silverdreams or contact the Big Advice Line on 0845 4 10 20 30. Please note the closing date for the initial submission of ideas is 28 October 2011.
Comic Relief Grants
Comic Relief has announced that its UK grants programmes are now open for applications. Applications are invited from voluntary and community sector organisations throughout the UK to support projects in the areas of:
Domestic and sexual abuse
Refugee and asylum seeking women
Sport for Change
Young People aged 11 – 25 that are:
suffer from alcohol abuse
suffer from mental health problem
In addition, Comic Relief operates a programme that supports disadvantaged communities. Comic Relief provides both capital and revenue and can pay for up to 100% of projects costs but they encourage applicants to get some of their funding from other sources. On average grants of between £25,000 and £40,000 are available.
The closing date for the Older People Programme and Sports for Change is 12 noon on the 7th October 2011. For all other programmes the closing date is 12 noon on the 28th October.
Comic Relief has further announced that this funding round is the last under its current funding strategy. The new strategy will launch in Spring 2013 with grant making resuming in the Summer 2013.
This programme is devolved to the Community Foundation Network. Please contact your local Community Foundation directly for details of their funding application procedures. For further information of the schemes visit: http://www.comicrelief.com/apply-for-a-grant/apply-for-a-uk-grant
The Princes Trust – Initiative for Mature Enterprise / Support for the Over 50s
People over the age of 50 who wish to become self employed or set up their own business can apply for a loan of between £500 and £10,000 through the Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME) new loan scheme.
PRIME is a member of the Prince’s Charities group. It was set up on the personal initiative of HRH The Prince of Wales in response to letters he was receiving from people desperate to work but unable to find anyone to employ them – because of their age.
To be eligible applicants need to be over the age of 50; must be either:
o unemployed (not in paid employment),
o facing redundancy within the next six months or be
o self- employed but still in your first year; and
o must be a UK resident for at least three years.
The loans are for up to three years and the interest charged is 12% APR. Applications may be made at any time.
For more information, visit: http://www.primebusinessclub.com/loans/prime-business-start-up-loan/
Community First Fund – launched on 4 October
Community First focuses on communities that require additional support based on relatively high levels of deprivation and low levels of social capital. The programme is worth £80m and consists of two elements:
A £30m neighbourhood grant programme available to eligible wards in every Top Tier Local Authority (TTLA). To access funds communities must match the amount they want in time (volunteering) or by raising money.
A £50m programme designed to encourage the development of local endowments to be a long term source of local grants. Through leveraging private sector investment on a two for one match, we expect this to be worth £150 million plus gift aid by 2015.
Community Development Foundation (CDF) will deliver the Community First programme on behalf of Government and will launch the Community First website on 4 October – http://www.cdf.org.uk
Church and Community Fund – Deadline extended
Following its extended deadline, the Church and Community Fund (CCF) will launch a new set of funding priorities, which will replace the current funding guidelines.
Applications under the new priorities will be accepted from 3 January 2012, with the new guidance notes available from the CCF website in mid-December 2011.
The Fund’s new overarching aim is to grow the Church of England and develop its capacity to engage a wider community. The new strategic themes include the following:
Significantly expanding the Church’s engagement with neighbourhood renewal.
Seeking innovative ways of developing established community projects so that they either grow existing, or evolve into, new communities of Christian Faith.
Replicating models of successful community engagement across the wider church.
The quarterly deadline of 30 September has now been extended until the 14 October 2011. For further details visit http://www.ccfund.org.uk
GRANTS – Environmental
The Architectural Heritage Fund – funding for the conservation and regeneration of historic buildings
The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) is a registered charity that promotes the conservation and regeneration of historic buildings in the UK. Funding is available to voluntary organisations building preservation trusts to regenerate historic buildings to create community and education facilities, workspace and homes.
To be eligible to apply for funding through the AHF, organisations need to be a registered charity and the building(s) must be listed, scheduled as an ancient monument or in a Conservation Area (if in a Conservation Area, it must be of acknowledged historic or architectural importance). The project must also involve a change of ownership and/or a change of use.
Previously funded projects include turning run down historic buildings into community theatres, resource centres, community learning centres, workspaces, places to live and community meeting places.
The next closing date for applications is the 26th October 2011. For more information, go to: http://www.ahfund.org.uk/index.html
GRANTS – Youth
The Field Studies Council – Funding for Kids Clubs
The Field Studies Council is an independent educational charity committed to raising awareness about the natural world. The Council works through a network of 17 residential and day Centres in the UK providing courses for schools and colleges at all levels in addition to adult Individuals & Families courses, outreach education, training and consultancy.
The Kids Fund aims to bring environmental understanding to disadvantaged young people by attending a course at a Field Studies Council centre. It helps disadvantaged young people to attend a course who may otherwise be excluded due to some form of disadvantage – health, mobility, deprivation or financial.
Funding will normally be up to 80% of the cost of your group’s course to an FSC Field Centre to a maximum of £3000. Applications can be submitted at any time with decisions being made in February, June and October. For more details, visit: http://www.field-studies-council.org/supporters/kidsfund_application.aspx
This topic might not be 100% focused on social media or marketing but its important to remember these ideals and incorporate them into your day. These tips will be especially helpful for bloggers, designers, social media managers and people with a lot on their plate each day to get more done.
Start Working Early
Starting on your work when you have a whole day ahead of you can be a huge psychological boost. You may find that you are less stressed when you give yourself lots of time to get your work done and have a brighter outlook on the day. Whereas starting later can leave you feeling out of time and behind on your work, leaving you frazzled.
Regardless of when you wake up and where you work, getting an early start will be helpful. If you work from an office you won’t have to worry about being late or traffic on the way in, and the pace is likely to be more relaxed where things could pick up later and get hectic. If you work at home, get up before the rest of the household and start the day with some uninterrupted work and time to yourself. For those people who live alone starting early will still give you an extra boost of productivity. Later on you will be able to wrap things up feeling good and without scrambling to finish your projects.
Manage Your To-Do List
Having a to-do list can definately help keep you organized, but when it grows from a cute little list of three or four items into a monster with 20+ things to grab your attention problems can arise. Try to keep focused on just a few tasks at once and organize your to-do list accordingly. You can seperate it into immediate and long term tasks and then further with major and minor ones. If your list starts to balloon don’t panic, just stay focused on completing the most important immediate tasks and then you can worry about moving on to a few more.
Manage Your Time
Now that your to-do list is under control you know what to do, but now the challenge is when to do it. Managing your time effectively is just as important as knowing what you need to do. Some times doing a few things at once works out
Your time can easily get out of hand
and is just necessary, but consider setting aside some time to give your attention to a single task for a while. Using blocks of time like this to work on your most important and immediate tasks can help you power through what needs to be done with great focus and speed. If waking up early leaves you behind still, time management like this can still get those important tasks completed on time.
Lay Out Your Plans for Specific Tasks
Organization is key. Knowing the steps you want to take before you even start a project will save you time and headaches down the line. Whether you write down the steps you plan to take for a large project or give a little bit of forethought to something smaller, effectively managing your projects is a prime example of how planning leads to success.
Don’t Get Distracted
Distractions are the bane of productivity, because they are by definition things that divide your attention, preventing you from focusing on your task. Working at a computer all day distractions are close at hand with just a few clicks. Games, recreational social media activities or interesting articles can all pull at your focus very easily if you let them. Especially when you’re using things like Twitter or Facebook for work you should be careful not to get sucked in. A good idea if you can is to set aside time for these possibly distracting activities, check your Twitter once each hour or twice a day depending on what your requirements are and then leave it alone otherwise.
Don’t Take on Too Much at Once
It is unlikely that at any given time you will have only one project on the go, and that is certainly a good thing, but make sure you don’t take on more than you can handle. Taking on fewer tasks and focusing more attention on them will enable you to work more effectively and efficiently. This will lead to projects being completed more quickly and maybe even with better results than if you had too much on your plate. You should still be able to keep working on the same volume of projects overall just completing individual jobs faster and then moving to the next. If you find your days are stressful and chaotic and productivity is suffering, take a look at how much you’ve taken on all at once and see how cutting back a little bit works for you.
Taking breaks can be just as important as working diligently. If you’re in the zone and flying through things keep it
up, but when your attention starts to wane or you hit a block try getting up and taking a short break. The Pomodoro System of taking breaks, named after a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato (Pomodoro is Italian for tomato) , revolves around 25 minute work periods with 5 minute breaks in between them, followed by a longer break every 4 pomodoros. Taking time to get refreshed will let you get back to work with unparalleled zeal!
Keep your workspace organized. Go through everything in and on your desk and decide if it has a place in your working area. If you work at home make sure you have an office space that you keep organized where you can go to do your work, seperate from the rest of your life if at all possible. Some things that you might not think about uncluttering are your computers desktop, bookmarks and email account, but these things can have a big effect on how you work, how you feel and give you that feeling of being more organized.
Have a Stopping Point
Having an end in sight can be very motivating when it comes to getting work done. When a task seems like it will just go on forever its very disheartening and can lead you to look for things to distract you. Keeping the end on the horizon helps keep you movitaved and on task but will keep you from working too long which can be unhealthy. If your schedule changes from day to day don’t worry about keeping your end time the same every day, just set aside enough time that you can comfortably complete what you need to do and plan your stopping point around that.
With a priority on work during work time and keeping a balance between intense focus and short breaks you will find that your efficiency rises dramatically and projects move much more smoothly. So enjoy your new found time and relax when you can.
UK based company, The Profit Unlocker
Limited has been launched to support
small to medium sized businesses in
their efforts to improve sales and profit
results by developing a simple, robust
and secure business development
solution likely to change the way
businesses look at sales and profit
The Profit Unlocker™ an e-based tool
which is the brainchild of sales
professionals, Steve Marsh and his
business partner Trevor Weldon, is due
to launch on the 10th October. The tool
uses business insight to drive
performance by identifying profitability
across 5 key areas, it helps locate
untapped hidden potential, and
develops simple effective initiatives to
generate greater profitability. It allows
the business owner to stay in complete
control by tracking performance, identify
gaps, make fast decisions and ensure
that the business exceeds targets.
“Having seen in excess of £200m in
sales revenue generated by applying
these techniques, I am very excited
about enabling others to adopt the same
approach but in a much more joined up
and automated way” says Trevor
Weldon, Co-Founder of The Profit
Trevor goes on to say “Given the
economic climate and the need for
business owners to be even more cost
conscious, the need to reduce sales
costs has increased at the same time as
the need to generate more profitable
revenue, factors which often don’t mix
very well. The Profit Unlocker™
combats these issues, it reduces the
cost of sales at the same time as
improving conversion rates and
increasing profitability – the tool really
will enhance the performance of small to
medium sized businesses
Facebook is driven by a single, unique goal. Its priority isn’t to gain more users (it already has 750 million of those), nor does it feel compelled to find stupid ways to increase pageviews. Its primary goal right now isn’t to increase revenue, either — that will come later.
No, Facebook’s goal is to become the social layer that supports, powers and connects every single piece of the web, no matter who or what it is or where it lives. On Thursday at its f8 conference in San Francisco, the world’s largest social network will take a giant leap toward accomplishing that goal.
I have seen what Facebook is launching on Thursday, and it’s going to change the world of social media. And while I won’t talk about the mind-boggling things Facebook will be launching, I will say this: The Facebook you know and (don’t) love will be forever transformed. The news that will come out of Facebook during the next few weeks will be the biggest things to come out of the company since the launch of the Facebook Platform.
SEE ALSO: Facebook Reveals Major Updates at F8 [VIDEO]
For Facebook, it all boils down to one problem: emotion. Facebook has hundreds of millions of users and spectacular levels of engagement, but it is a platform that has lost its emotional resonance over the years. More and more people visit Facebook out of necessity rather than desire. It’s a platform people prefer to hate, but won’t leave simply because all their friends are there.
It’s a relationship gone stale. After years of dating, the magic between Facebook and its users has dissipated. It’s a natural evolution in any relationship, but now there is another suitor vying for Facebook’s users. And a lot of people think this suitor is easy on the eyes.
That’s why Facebook launched three recent changes: revamped Friend Lists, a real-time news ticker, and the subscribe button. Friend Lists lets you share content with just your closest friends (with whom you have the strongest emotional connection), and the ticker lets you have real-time conversations with your friends as soon as they do anything. Subscribe lets you fill your News Feed with people you admire and respect, fostering a different type of emotional connection.
But these changes are just the beginning. The changes Facebook will roll out on Thursday are designed to enhance the emotional connection its users have to each other through Facebook. These changes will make Facebook a place where nearly everything in your life is enhanced by your social graph. These changes will make it so you know your friends better than you ever thought you could.
On Thursday, developers will be elated, users will be shellshocked and the competition will look ancient. On Thursday, Facebook will be reborn. Prepare yourselves for the evolution of social networking.
UPDATE: Facebook has rolled out a number of major changes, including a major overhaul of user profiles, new apps for playing music and watching video on the site, and social news apps. See some of the highlights in the gallery below:
Andy Samberg and Mark Zuckerberg