social networking Archives - Syneka Marketing

#CU12 – the Connecting Up 2012 Conference

By Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, News 3 Comments

Connecting Up is a not-for-profit organisation that exists to enhance the level of IT and technology within other not-for-profit organisations. Connecting Up holds an annual conference and this year I was a guest presenter holding the session ‘Marketing Your Strengths’.

The Connecting Up Conference began with a breakfast featuring two speakers from the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). The Commission is as a statutory authority responsible for regulating the not-for-profit sector.

The Commission’s short-term focus will be charities, particularly in considering taxation concessions (such as DGR and PBI status) and reporting requirements. It is anticipated however that other not-for-profit organisations will be part of the Commission’s responsibilities over the longer term.

While harmonisation of laws between Commonwealth and State/Territory is required, it is envisaged at the Commission will become a ‘one-stop-shop’ for charities and not-for-profit organisations. This should assist in providing timely and accurate information to the sector, particularly in regard to the potential for taxation concessions.

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission should be a positive initiative for the sector, particularly if it is accompanied by the harmonisation of various laws that regulate charities and not-for-profit organisations.

I was able to attend several other sessions at Connecting Up, with topics covering cloud computing, social media and the use of technology.

Given that many not-for-profit organisations are busy undertaking day-to-day activities, there is a tendency to overlook technology and marketing due to a focus on operational tasks.

The Connecting Up Conference aimed to showcase the options and solutions that exist for not-for-profit organisations. As a result there was strong focus on innovation and how not-for-profit organisations can gain additional value through social networking, marketing and technology.

One of the highlights was an organised networking session, which provided a great way to meet other attendees. While many conferences discuss how they provide networking, Connecting Up made this a feature by facilitating networking between conference delegates.

Congratulations to the team at Connecting Up for organising such a great conference, we look forward to being involved in future years.

Search engine competition and the need for a cohesive Internet strategy

By Advice, Advice for Businesses, News 6 Comments

A new study released by The Australia Institute has highlighted the importance of high rankings within search engines. The Institute surveyed 1,084 respondents in July 2011 in regard to perceptions around online competition.

Importantly, this research found that 46% of respondents stated that they are always or sometimes influenced by the order of search results when considering an online purchase. In this regard just 15% of respondents stated that they viewed sites beyond the first page of search results.

While the various search engines can display differing results, the search engine usage in Australia is highly concentrated with Google having 93.2% market share. This is higher than the global average of 82.76% and well above Google’s market share of 67.55% in the US.

While this reinforces the need to optimise your website to appear favourably in search engine results, a process known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), it also demonstrates the need for a cohesive Internet strategy.

While search engine optimisation is clearly important, not everyone will be able to claim the first spot in search results. This is why there is a need for a cohesive Internet strategy that incorporates search results, social media and other tools to reach prospective customers.

Internet users actively engage in social media, in Australia alone there are over 10 million Facebook accounts, representing a market penetration of 49%. Likewise many businesses actively generate sales through Twitter through regular tweets and discussion. These tools are also important in reaching potential customers and this reflects the need to integrate your website with social media.

In addition, other tools can also potentially improve search results, with Google often utilising its supplementary services like Google Maps and YouTube in influencing the order of results. It is probable that Google will introduce a similar approach with Google Plus, Google’s new social networking site. Already Google introduced its +1 feature whereby visitors can show that they like the content on a website and it would be fair to expect that there would be increased integration between Google Plus and search results in the future.

Combined these tools can assist in complementing results from search engines providing an Internet strategy that works across search engines, social media and other tools utilised by Internet users and your potential customers.

The Australia Institute is an independent think tank based in Canberra that researches a variety of economic, social and environmental issues. For further information please view the report what you don’t know can hurt you from The Australia Institute website.

Podcast: Volunteering Victoria Panel on Social media for volunteer organisations

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

The podcast for the Volunteering Victoria panel session on social media for volunteer organisations is now available.  The panel consisted of Clare Wynne, Youth Volunteer Development Officer of YacVic; Sarah Forsterling, Save the Children’s Digital Marketing Specialist and myself as the Manager of Marketing for Eastern Volunteers.

The podcast covered a range of questions from participants where we discussed the effectiveness of social media and the need for a cohesive marketing and media approach.

The panel session went for an hour and the podcast is available within this entry:
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Advice when sending invitations via email

By Advice, Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Government, News 10 Comments

Many businesses and organisations are now preferring to send invitations via email instead of via post. Email invitations can save time, money and can be easily measured to determine responses.

While email invitations have definite benefits they are several factors that need to be considered to ensure that you are able to maximize your response rate.

The following is some advice to consider when sending email based invitations.

Respect privacy

Always consider the privacy of your recipients when sending emails. This means you should ensure that the email addresses of other recipients are not visible when sending a bulk e-mail message. This means you should not use the To or CC fields as this clearly shows the email addresses of other recipients.

One alternative is to use the BCC field. This is used to send a blind carbon copy, meaning that the email addresses of other recipients will not be visible. This method however is not ideal, as spam filters can block genuine emails that are sent via BCC. Fortunately email merging provides a way to personalize your message while also sending individual emails.

Personalise your message

People are more likely to respond to a personalized message than something sent in bulk. This is true for email as well, where a bulk message can be disregarded over something more personalized.

Obviously it may be difficult to send a personalized message to every recipient when you have an extensive invitation list but email merging can help provide some personalization while also sending emails quickly.

Use email merging

Email merging operates just like envelope or letter merging but obviously is used for email. Message. While a traditional mail merge may require an address field, email merges require an email address field and a subject line.

Email merging saves time, just like a traditional mail merge and also provides a degree of personalization. For example, depending on your database or the source of your data, you could provide different responses for different types of businesses , or to people that you have contacted recently or have attended previous events.

Emails sent via email merging are sent as individual messages, meaning each message is sent individually to one recipient. This obviously avoids needing to send messages via BCC while also sending messages quickly and efficiently.

Most Word Processor programs, such as Microsoft Word or LibreOffice support Email Merging via Databases, Spreadsheets or Email Address Books.

Are attachments really required?

Now that you’ve received some advice on how to send email invitations, its now worth discussing the content of these messages and in particular the question of attachments.

Many invitations are sent with an attachment and while this can be useful in providing a formal invitation research indicates that many recipients will tend to ignore attachments. If attachments are being sent then make sure that you include the relevant event details in the body of the email so that someone glancing at the message will see the relevant content. This approach gives someone the option of reading an attachment without it being essential to understanding the message.

Messages that only include attachments can also be affected by spam filters further eroding the ability to reach recipients.

I personally do not like invitations sent via attachments and much prefer seeing the content in the body of the email.

If so, send them in a suitable format

If you do wish to send an attachment then consider the format that is being used. It is generally best to send attachments in PDF format. This prevents modification of the document and is generally viewable across email programs, computers and mobile devices. The PDF format is designed to maintain a consistent appearance across computer systems and helps improve readability. In addition there are many free PDF converters available if required.

Sending files in a Document format like Microsoft Word files can lead to unpredictable results. This is particularly true if someone doesn’t have the same version of the program or the same fonts as your system.

Do not send attachments from Microsoft Publisher, while Publisher is sometimes used to design invitations it is not a commonly used program. In particular, mobile devices cannot view Publisher files and many computers do not include the Microsoft Publisher program. If you are using Publisher for your designs then export the invitation as a PDF.

Sometimes images, like JPEGs or Bitmaps are used to include a formal invitation. While these formats tend to be widely supported on the Internet, not all email programs or mobile devices will display images correctly.

Final words

Email can be an effective and cost efficient method of sending invitations but do be mindful of some of these considerations to boost the readership of your invitations.

Guest Lecturing at Swinburne TAFE: Plan eMarketing and Communications

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

I have been invited as a a guest lecturer for Swinburne TAFE to provide an overview on eMarketing and communications, including a class that was held this morning and an additional session held tomorrow afternoon.

eMarketing explores Internet based and multimedia forms of communication, which is part of a broader marketing plan that includes an organisation’s approach to marketing its products and/or services.

eMarketing is a tool used extensively through Syneka and has also been utilised through my role as a Councillor for the City of Maroondah. This includes a comprehensive blog, as well as actively engaging email based subscribers with new content and integration with social media, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Like all other aspects of a marketing plan, eMarketing needs to be consistent with the desired marketing aims, through identifying measurable objectives that can gauge progress towards achieving this aim. These objectives need to be reinforced with strategies that can be executed within budgetary and resource constraints. It is important that an organisation is aware of who is responsible for executing strategies to ensure a sense of ownership and clarity. A lack of responsibility can mean that a strategy is not properly managed limiting the success of outcomes.

Like all forms of marketing, it is imperative that eMarketing is consistent with a brand’s image otherwise this can lead to an adverse reaction and diminish the perceptions of a brand. It is therefore important to ensure consistency between all forms of marketing, including the use of multimedia and social networking.

The use of online forms of communication continues to increase, with baby boomers being one of the fastest growing demographics for new Facebook accounts. The ongoing and diverse usage of social media means that a business or organisation needs to seriously consider the use of eMarketing as part of its marketing strategy.

The eMarketing unit at Swinburne TAFE will help prepare these students in utilising eMarketing and harnessing the Internet in achieving the marketing aims of an organisation or business.

Integrating Facebook Events with Calendars

By Advice, News No Comments

Online social media provides the opportunity for networking and reaching new customers.  While social media, such as Facebook, can be useful it can also create additional silos of information, unless social media is approached in an integrated manner.

One of the most popular features of Facebook is events, which can be used to invite people to upcoming activities and automatically track acceptances.  This can assist a business or organisation in planning its activities, as well as ensuring that invitations are dispatched.  While Facebook tracks events you have accepted, it is useful to integrate this with your existing calendar to ensure that it is updated with these activites.

This provides the ability to manage your calendar from one location, preventing conflicting schedules.  When you accept an event, click on Export, which is located at the bottom of the page and this will enable you to either download or send the acceptance via email.  Once received, you will be able to update your computer diary, whether it be Google Calendar, Outlook, Lotus Notes, Kontact or another scheduling system.

Alternatively all Facebook events can be imported by clicking on the webcal link that is listed on this page.  This will import all events, regardless of whether you have confirmed your attendance.  Integrating Facebook Events with your Calendar, helps improve the efficiency of social networking and will prevent scheduling conflicts and missed appointments.