There are hundreds, if not thousands, of other new media tools. The trick is finding out which tools work for your organization and which tools are being used by a possible target audience. I wanted to highlight four other services not mentioned before:
Organizations frequently have to share and present their ideas. Microsoft PowerPoint is perhaps the most commonly used tool to convey those ideas and presentations. Annual meetings with season’s highlights, education campaigns, advocacy campaigns and fundraising events could all benefit PowerPoint’s strengths in projecting imagery and bullet points. But why would you limit your audience to those who are gathered in the room? Potential patrons, advocators and donors are everywhere.
SlideShare is an online community for sharing presentations. Upload your presentation to share your ideas and connect with others. Users can easily find presentations via a search and tags and download or embed their presentations into blogs and Web sites.
SlideShare lists things you can do:
- Embed slideshows into your own blog or website;
- Share slideshows publicly or privately. There are several ways to share privately;
- Synch audio to your slides;
- Market your own event on SlideShare;
- Join groups to connect with SlideShare members who share your interests;
- Download the original PowerPoint / PDF file
Launched only two years ago, Twitter is one of the most instantaneous, direct new media services around. Similar to Facebook’s and Myspace’s “status update” functions, Twitter allows the user to post short (up to 140 characters) messages for the public to see in a process called micro-blogging. Over two million users are registered at Twitter, including companies such as Whole Foods and presidential candidates such as Barack Obama.
Twitter’s uses are multiple: networking, sharing information but mostly conversation monitoring (even if you’re not ready to jump in the conversation yourself, you can monitor what is being said about your organization). Colin Carmichael, blogging at the Social Media Group, wrote:
“Track your name, your brands, your competitors, anything you need to know about before it hits the ‘rest of the web.’ Twitter is a breeding ground for blog posts and bloggers have gotten into the habit of using Twitter to collaborate and research their upcoming posts out in the open. If you or your brand get a lot of blogosphere play, it’s the online equivalent of having inside access to the editorial boards of every major newspaper.”
Online fundraising is a completely different sector of the Internet and new media. A whole new series could be written about the opportunities, case studies and tools; Barack Obama alone can tell you how important it can be for an organization. Obama not only raises funds but engages and activates his online community. Now, most organizations do not have the manpower or the funds to set up a complete social media network like Obama’s, but there are ample opportunities to raise funds and activism. One such service is The Point.
Inspired by Malcolm Gladwell’s book “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference,” The Point lets its users start campaigns—asking for donations or make something happen—but the operation only succeeds if the campaign hits a predetermined tipping point. For example, if we raise $5,000 we will start an education program in a community center, or, in one wacky case, if we raise $10 billion, we’ll build a glass dome over Chicago to keep the winter out.
In its own words: “Every problem has a tipping point of public frustration that will force a solution. If enough people want a problem to be solved and they have a way to find one another and coordinate action, they will solve it” and “The Point offers a new approach to leveraging the influence of groups and making things happen.”
Online city guides have been around since the early beginnings of the Internet, but now they combine yellow pages, city guides and social networks with user-generated content. Yelp is perhaps the best-known example.
Users can find, review and talk about places, restaurants, doctors and anything local. Businesses can claim their page. According to the Web site “Once you have claimed your business page you’ll be able to access numerous features (track how many people view your business on Yelp, private customer messaging, immediately update your business’ facts).” Advertising and sponsorships are also possible.
Yelp has come up with a list of dos and don’ts for businesses and organizations:
- DON’T review your own business or solicit reviews from your employees or friends.
- DON’T spam yelpers with promotional messages about your business.
- DON’T overestimate the impact of a single negative review. It happens to even the best businesses. That said, if you see a trend of negative reviews, you may want to take this feedback and determine if there is a way to improve your business.
- DON’T lash out at the people who have written negative reviews about you. Tempting as that may be, we see that backfiring in some cases as the Yelp community may up the ante and even engage in “vigilante justice” by spreading more negativity. Try to remember, “the customer is always right”.
- DON’T offer incentives or payment for your customers to write positive reviews about your business on Yelp. This sort of “shilling” often causes ill will with both current and potential customers. In addition, these paid reviews violate Yelp’s Review Guidelines and will be removed.
- DO claim your business page and afterwards, login to Yelp for Business Owners to keep track of your business’ page on Yelp and to engage with the Yelp community.
- DO add photos to your business page and make sure your business information is correct. You’ll be able to immediately update your business’ information via the Yelp for Business Owners website.
- DO thank those customers who have reviewed your business using Yelp for Business Owners. In general your best bet is to keep it simple and positive, keeping in mind that these are your most vocal customers.
- DO take the feedback to heart but remember that each review is just one single opinion.
- DO start thinking about every customer as a potential yelper and supporter… and providing the excellent customer service that will encourage them to spread the word.
Remember the MTV/Nickelodeon study? According to the study, “a clear majority of young people asked said the majority of website links (88%) they viewed and the viral video content they downloaded (55%) came from friends’ recommendations.”