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Blogging is a useful marketing tool

The benefits of blogging

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I previously discussed how to write a blog so we thought it would be timely to expand on this topic and discuss potential benefits.

According to the Oxford dictionary a blog can be defined as “a website or web page on which an individual records opinions, on a regular basis.”

There are two things to take from this definition:

  1. Blogging is a form of opinion based writing.
  2. Another important aspect is regularity. Usually a blog is updated monthly, fortnightly, weekly, daily or even in real time.

At Syneka Marketing we blog on a weekly basis, with the aim of sharing our insights and thoughts on marketing related topics.

While business blogging tends to be around a particular topic of expertise, you can develop a blog about anything.

One of the most popular blogs globally, is the Huffington Post, which receives over 110 million views per month. The Huffington Post is well regarded for its news content and demonstrates how blogging can become a serious pursuit.

Content marketing is the general concept of developing a narrative and promoting expertise through content, including blogging and multimedia.  This approach can be an effective communications tool for businesses and not-for-profit organisations. For example, a blog enables you to establish your field of expertise by providing informed content that relates to your industry, business or organisation.

As a marketing agency we highly value blogging and content. Through our blog we are able to share content and discuss the role of strategic marketing. Blogging provides us with a voice, and assists us in creating a narrative. It is that voice that motivates us to keep writing content every week.

Social Media Workshop with Leadership Great South Coast

By | Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Government, News, Presentations, Resources | No Comments

Leadership Great South Coast is an annual leadership program provided to 25 emerging leaders from within the business, community and government sectors.  I was invited to workshop the social media component of the program.

Alex presenting at the Great South Leadership Conference

Alex presenting at the Great South Leadership Conference

Social media is used increasingly within both a personal and professional capacity. It is important for emerging leaders to have an understanding of social media and its use as an interactive communication medium.

The workshop was held in Port Fairy. I discussed several social media tools, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and others.  Like any communication tool, each social media platform has its own strengths and demographics. LinkedIn, for example, is extremely useful in reaching professional networks, while Pinterest can work well for retail, fashion through the visual representation of content.

Social media is a communication platform that is used in a personal and professional capacity. It is possible to hide content but online privacy is not always guaranteed. It is always better to not share questionable content, rather than to risk it being found by employers or others. Inappropriate content  may adversely affect your reputation or that of your business or organisation.

The Port Fairy Community Services Centre

The Port Fairy Community Services Centre

Similarly, there is a need to manage a social media presence on an ongoing basis.  Social media needs to be kept up-to-date with new content, otherwise its effectiveness is hampered.  The Australian Advertising Standards Board (ASB) has recently ruled that an organisation is responsible for all content on its Facebook page, including items posted by other users.  The ruling was supported by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and requires organisations and businesses to actively manage and curate the content on their pages.

The lighthouse at Port Fairy on Griffiths Island

The lighthouse at Port Fairy on Griffiths Island

It is also important to have effective policies that can stimulate and manage discussion on social media. Organisations need to deal effectively with negative comments, taking the time to understand and transform negativity, while promptly removing offensive remarks.  Social media policies should be readily accessible to ensure that all contributors are clear on acceptable usage.

Port Fairy is an extremely picturesque town and it was fantastic to be able to share my social media experiences with aspiring leaders.

I was the first elected Councillor in Australia to utilise blogging along with social media as a communications tool. It is inspiring to be able to share this knowledge with emerging leaders.

 

Third Sector Magazine: Activate your community through social media

By | Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, News | No Comments

Third Sector Magazine has published our advice on engaging communities through social media. Alex will be discussing social media as a speaker at the Third Sector Expo on Monday the 15th of April, for details please visit www.thirdsectorevents.com.au.

The website Humanities 21 which is integrated with Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools

The website Humanities 21 which is integrated with Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools

Activate your community through social media

Is your organisation considering social media, but not sure where to start? Or has it recently created a Facebook page and Twitter feed only to be underwhelmed by the results? Syneka Marketing provides seven tips to help your organisation strengthen its social media presence and re-engage its communities online.

Know where to start

Social media is the collective name for a range of tools that enhance interactivity and discussion, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Each of these tools has a slightly different purpose and audience, but they are all designed to encourage participation.

Know what you want to achieve

Success begins with strategy and this is no different for social media. Decide the specific outcomes you want to achieve from your social media efforts, such as:

  • Raising awareness
  • Encouraging volunteers
  • Increasing donations.

Once you know what you want to achieve, you can consider the messages and tools that can be used to promote these objectives.

Develop a social media policy

Social media policies help to identify the people who will have access to social media accounts and will be authorised to provide official announcements. Other individuals can respond to comments and interact, as well as support the authorised spokespeople.

Policies should enable board members, staff and volunteers to support the organisation’s social media presence.

Each social media tool has its own audience and key strengths.

Each social media tool has its own audience and key strengths.

Engage and interact

When creating a new social media account, encourage your members or supporters to follow your organisation. In addition, promote your social media presence through your website, newsletter and other communication tools. Undertaking initial promotion will ensure that you can build a network of followers that will assist in promoting your organisation. Follow similar organisations and encourage them to follow you.

Handle negativity

Negative comments should hopefully be kept to a minimum, but it’s important to have clear guidelines to manage any adverse commentary.

Make a clear distinction between negative and offensive comments and respond accordingly. Aim to engage directly with someone that has written a negative comment and suggest that you would like to follow up further. Try and engage the person through offline forms of contact, such as the telephone, so that you can discuss their concerns directly. Attempting to resolve the issue outside of the public realm will enable a more in-depth discussion.

If a comment is deemed to be offensive, it should be removed immediately as per your media and communications policy.

Integrate online tools

One of the great aspects of the web and social media is that messages can be integrated. You can automatically post updates from your website through to Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools. Integration ensures a consistent message while saving time by replicating content across your networks.

Integrating social media means you’ll have more time to foster and develop your community by providing a base level of communications.

Share content

Re-tweeting or sharing posts on Facebook indicates that the person supports your organisation and messages. The sharing of content is the online equivalent of word of mouth advertising and is a great way to extend your organisation’s networks.

Social media, like a website, needs to be kept up-to-date. An inactive presence is worse than having no presence, as the first question someone will ask is whether the organisation still exists.

Day Two of GOV49 Communication Delivery and Social Media in the Public Sector

GOV49 Communication Delivery and Social Media in the Public Sector – Day Two

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Day Two of GOV49 Communication Delivery and Social Media in the Public Sector

Day Two of GOV49 Communication Delivery and Social Media in the Public Sector

Today is the second day of the GOV49 Communication Delivery and Social Media in the Public Sector conference. Yesterday I chaired the proceedings and delivered a presentation on the use of social media for advocacy campaigns.

Today’s sessions looked at the day-to-day usage of social media, through government programs and in emergency management. Insights included the New Zealand earthquake where social media was used to disseminate information and provide updates on the recovery efforts. The presentation also discussed the importance of keeping backup information, particularly when electricity and computer networks are unavailable.

My presentation looked at the various social media tools and how they can be utilized to assist the public sector in being able to engage the community. I looked at the most prominent tools, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and discussed their strengths and potential usability for the public sector. Like most technologies, social media is increasingly being used across all age demographics, with people aged 5 plus being the fastest growing users of Facebook.

Email still has an essential role in reaching communities and the number of email accounts overshadows the use of social media. Email, like most other tools, can be integrated, providing the option to share content via Facebook, Twitter or other networks.

Integrating these tools saves time by reducing duplication and the need to write multiple content. In addition, the use of sharing assists in promotion by encouraging recipients to distribute content through their networks.

While it is imperative that there are clear guidelines and policies for social media usage, this should not be used to deter its usage within an organisation. There should be the clear identification of official spokespeople and individuals should use social media to support these official roles.

The official spokespeople should be the people that respond to difficult situations and seek to resolve these issues. It is often advisable to resolve situations outside of social media by demonstrating a responsive approach and following up with additional details if required.

Social media can be used effectively by the government and the public sector. Ultimately it is important that the public sector is part of the conversation that occurs on social media so that it can respond and be part of this discussion.

The community will be discussing government and policies and the public sector should be part of this discussion, just as it is within traditional media outlets.

The two-day conference provided several insights and examples of social media within the public sector.

Managing Volunteers - Take the Next Step

Managing Volunteers – Take the Next Step

By | Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Presentations, Resources | No Comments

Many not-for-profit organisations rely on volunteers for service delivery and to assist with administration and other functions.

Managing Volunteers – Take the Next Step, was a full day conference hosted by the Shire of Yarra Ranges and Eastern Volunteers. The conference discussed several topics relevant to volunteer management national standards, the steps required to prepare an organisation for volunteers, as well as marketing and promoting an organisation.

I presented a session for the afternoon workshop, discussing the Essentials of Social Media and Marketing.  The presentation discussed the need for a strategic marketing approach, to identify aims and to understand what would attract volunteers to assist with the organisation.

Organisations need consistent messages to demonstrate the volunteer experiences that are created through their involvement.  Messages need to be communicated using a range of marketing tools to reach prospective volunteers through multiple communication channels.

Social media is one of the tools that can be used to reach prospective volunteers and should be considered as a part of a cohesive marketing campaign.  Social media should be integrated with website content, providing the seamless ability to update websites, as well as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites

It is important to utilise the strengths of each tool and one advantage of social media is the ability to share content.  The intent should not necessarily be to develop viral content, but to ensure your target audience is able to distribute content and share their views on being involved with the organisation.  Stories can be very effective and assist in providing content that can be shared.  The sharing of content is the online equivalent of word of mouth recommendations and can help reach the connections of people already involved with the organisation.

Successful volunteer recruitment will use a mix of tools to reach prospective volunteers, supported by consistent messages and a cohesive marketing approach. Marketing encompasses more than promotional tools, such as brochures or flyers, but every form of interaction that someone has with an organisation.

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