Good Blogging Practices

Blogging is relatively new to me but over the past couple months I’ve learned a few best practices that help with personal brand and relevant authenticity.

Microblogging

Microbloggging, a smaller version of blogging are short blogs posts, i.e., text messages, instant messages (IM), status updates on Facebook and Google+, but the most popular is Twitter.  When using Twitter, be genuine, honest, and let people see your personality.  Routinely compliment and support other people.  For example, if I wanted my personality brand to be a dog lover, which I am, but that’s not all I’m about, I would microblog a post on Twitter about my dog or a funny video link of a dog doing something funny.  I would also comment or retweet (RT) what other dog lovers post.  These two and more best practices can be found in the Tao of Twitter by MarkSchaefer.         

Blogging

Blogging is the same as microblogging but a longer version.  One popular blogging outlet is WordPress; the very forum I’m writing this blog.  According to jjames, a couple best practices for blogging are to be succinct and concentrate on personal branding. Blogs should be written with few words.  If many are like me, I tend to avoid what I long-winded blogs of three or more pages.  I like to get right to the content and quickly absorb good information.  Avoid run-on sentences and or long paragraphs.  Personal branding, I think, is most important.  What do you want people to envision your brand personality to be?  This will affect who follows you and your personal goal for having a Twitter account.  If for a business, you don’t want the impression of a party animal associated to your business brand.  If your goal is to gain followers with business knowledge, blogs about what you do every minute of the day will not attract high-level business followers.   In addition to the content blogged about, carefully design the blog site, logo, and possibly a favicon.  Make sure your writing style is consistent and truly represents your personality.  Don’t try to be someone you’re not.  People will sniff that out very quickly. 

Hopefully, the best practices in this blog help new bloggers. 

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Charities: Social Media Challenges

Start using social media

Non-profit and charity organizations have to engage social media branding if they want to survive in today’s economy.  The old traditional ways of direct-mail or email blasts are rapidly declining in their effectiveness.  I too am guilty of throwing away 99% of mail advertisement because I can’t trust the authenticity of the content being communicated.  Email brings phishing attempts and virus threats.  However, these were traditionally ways for non-profits and social charity organizations to market their services.  Today, more people use technology, i.e., smart phones, social media, and are always connected to web communities.  The challenge is sustaining a social presence (existence) by migrating marketing techniques to use social tools like Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.  Social media helps route traffic to your website and presents opportunity to engage interaction.  Donors and volunteers are what keep the doors open, so it is important to continually stay engaged with this community.

Monitoring Content and Interactions

Being engaged in social media presents another challenge of managing content and responses to social outlets like Twitter and Facebook.  It’s not like a major corporation where jobs are threatened, so rules and policy are harder to monitor.  The main thing is to limit the users interacting socially and ensure all communications are run through a committee or governing board.  An example of loose monitoring is the case where a Red Cross had to do some major PR damage after a rouge tweet from a social media specialist tweeting about getting drunk (#gettingslizzard).  The specialists accidentally tweeted the Red Cross account thinking it was their personal account.

Legal and Ethical Risks

Transparency is expected in non-profits today and rightly so.  Having a social media presence doesn’t come without legal and ethical risks.  Non-profits stand to lose their IRS Form 990 and Federal Tax Exempt status if accounting rules and laws aren’t strictly followed.  Social media will definitely contribute to any shenanigans if they exist, which leads to ethics.  New Jersey just settled over some misappropriation of funds in the Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation.  Not all the money donated was going to the victims.

In summary, technology is driving non-profits need to engage in social media to grow their donor base and reach the community, but keep in mind that there is added responsibility in managing content being communicated and establishing ethical guidelines.

YouTube Channels Emotion, Content Makes It Complete, Mobile Media broadens the Audience

Old-School Marketing

I can remember back in the early 1990’s watching a TV commercial on children in foreign countries suffering from hunger and living in horrible environments compared to mine. I became emotionally attached and donated money.  I received a picture of the child I was supporting and continued sending money for months.  Six months later I found out through the news media that less than 10% of the money I was donating was actually going to the children.  I felt mislead, cheated, and preyed-upon.  Since then, I’ve been skeptical of the authenticity of these kinds of televised commercials and spans out into the social media world today.  Catherine Sherlock writes using the saying “people buy on emotion and rationalize with logic” is old-school selling.  It isn’t effective today.

Emotion + Content = Success

As humans, we’ll always have a sense of emotion when considering a purchase, participation, or engagement.  However, like me, I have a skeptical side that requires confirmation of content in my decision making.  Charity and non-profit organizations still need to do due diligence when creating content of their offering or service, but when combining good content with genuine emotional attraction, success is more probable. YouTube is a good avenue for emotional attraction so now make it available on the move.

Now Bring In Mobile Media

Ever find yourself searching the Internet, looking at Facebook, or YouTube when sitting in the waiting room of the dentist or doctor’s office?  How about at the airport or a restaurant?  I’ll be willing to bet you’re not using a public lobby desktop computer, but rather, a smart phone.  We are busy people, but well connected.  Smart phones have the ability to display pictures, news articles, and video through mobile applications using the Internet.  Mobile media just expanded your exposure with an unlimited captive audience.

Who does a good job at this?

Source: YouTube

Source: YouTube

While looking at videos on YouTube using my iPhone via a mobile application, I entered the search criteria “feeding the hungry” and Feed America came up as one of the options.  I watched the video about a family who fell on hard times as a result of the housing crash on 2008.  I can relate as I too was affected; but thankfully not to the same level.  Watching the video captured my attention, so I went to their website to learn more (content).  What makes the video more captivating is it isn’t a staged or paid for video add.  To me it was a testimonial of a real-life situation and how Feed America helped this family.  Feed America measures success by how many pounds of food is collected from their partners and supporters, by how many people and families they help, and how much money is donated.

Conclusion

Marketing and selling a service, product, or cause in today’s society requires a combination of emotion, content, and mobility.  From my perspective, Feed America utilizes these methods and outlets to communicate their mission.