Category Archives: Social Media

Movement Building and Collective Impact

In an article written for Fast Company, Kaihan Krisppendorff, identifies four steps to building an effective social movement, which I have adapted below:

1. A community forms around a common goal or aspiration.
2. The community mobilizes its resources to act on the goal/aspiration.
3. The community crafts solutions and acts to deliver them.
4. The movement is accepted by (or actually replaces) the establishment or established regime of laws and policies (Source).

If you are involved in a collective impact initiative, these steps should resonate with you, in particular with the five conditions of collective impact.  Krisppendorff doesn’t address shared measurement in his post about social movements, but successful movements are always about moving the needle and bringing about systems change to do so.

Consider the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. in 1964; the Civil Rights Act rendered discrimination/segregation illegal, especially with respect to jobs and workplace advancement, and termination because of colour. States that did nothing to address discrimination lost federal funding. There were other impacts but you get the gist. Big change for sure. Continue reading Movement Building and Collective Impact

Social Media – What Now?

Most non-profits are active on the web and understand the importance of ensuring there are ample opportunities for cross sharing between websites, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms like Pinterest. My sense is that only a minority of non-profits – truly understand and then embrace social media as being vital to communication with stakeholders, increasing brand awareness, promoting a cause, and generating philanthropic interest and action in their organizations.

I understand it is difficult for many non-profits to allocate a staff person or more importantly overall staff time to social media work. Not doing so, however, will make it harder and harder to connect with one’s stakeholders deeply and continually. Not only is it imperative non-profits get sophisticated about social media, it is also an affordable undertaking, given that social media is typically free or very low in cost. Not having and acting on a social media strategy is a missed opportunity to experience significant impact with stakeholders at a very low price point.

Here are some trends that may help you understand the need for your organization to get more involved in the Internet and social media.

Mobilization of the Internet
Sometime this year, it is expected that accessing the Internet through mobile technology will surpass traditional desktop access. More and more people are engaging businesses, non-profits, and one another on their smartphones and tablets. According to comScore, nearly two-thirds of social network users use their mobile devices rather than their desktop. These two trends suggest that non-profits need to create websites that are easily transposed to mobile interfaces. If they aren’t people aren’t likely to ramble through a site that does not display simply and well in terms of navigation and content.

The Rise of Influencer Marketing
Stephanie Frasco (SocialMediaToday) reminds us that the sharing power of social media is critical to our success, especially if we can connect with what she calls “ambassadors and influencers.” Getting others who support your cause to post about you to their followers is a key strategy to be considered if you want to reach a high volume of people. This is called “influencer marketing” and while it may be a tad scary to put your marketing in the hands of others you cannot control, receiving support and affirmation from influencers are far more meaningful because the sharing is voluntary not orchestrated by your organization.

Emails are Still Important
What you need to consider is that the use of mobile devices to access emails has increased 110% since 2010. Today emails are opened on mobile devices 44% of the time, and that rate is expected to grow significantly over the next few years. Your emails should be written and laid out with that in mind. Don’t use a font size less than 11pt. Double that size of headers. And don’t get too fancy. Stick to a single column communication.

Where Should You Be Active?
The graph below tells us that people are using applications that do the following:
1. Storing and sharing pictures
2. Storing and sharing videos
3. Communicating via the Internet with friends and colleagues

Vine, the fastest growing mobile application. According to Wikipedia, “Vine is a mobile app owned by Twitter that enables its users to create and post short looping video clips. Video clips created with Vine have a maximum clip length of seven seconds and can be shared to Vine’s social network, or to other services such as Twitter… and Facebook.”  Note the videos are very short and implies that our messaging should be brief and to the point.

Take a look at the list below. Are you actively involved with these applications?  Are you integrating them amongst each other and with your website?


Of course being on social media is not enough. You have to know why you are there and what you are trying to accomplish.

Dialogue is one the key strategies worth considering. One way communication  (print materials like brochures, advertisement, newsletters, and static websites) are far less effective that two way exchanges between your organization and your stakeholders. You can create dialogue on a blog (allow people to make comments) and via Facebook and Twitter. You do that by not just expecting people to engage you on your Facebook page or through your Twitter page. You also create dialogue by visiting the pages of those who follow you and by retweeting other people’s tweets or commenting on them.

Information-Sharing is another purpose of social media. It’s less effective if that’s all you do, but if you are optimally engaged in social media, you are likely to get more results from sharing information about an event, an online fundraiser, or a show you are putting on.  Social media is also helpful in terms of informing others of facts they  may not be aware of and then linking them to places they can get more information if they wish to.

Calls to Action also can work well. When Bissell Centre had a devastating fire at its Thrift Shoppe, the organization lost all of its contents (primarily clothes and household items). Twitter was deployed very successfully to launch a “Restock the Shoppe” campaign. The retweets exceeded our expectations and people mobilized clothing campaigns at work, at their schools, and places of worship. Others got their friends to participate and many individuals showed up with bags of clothing they gleaned from their closets. Within a month we had more than enough stock to re-open at a temporary location.

Services can also be delivered via social media. I have resolved issues with Telus through its Twitter-based customer representatives and frankly much more quickly and effectively than through their telephone-based services. Perhaps there are ways for your organization to better serve donors, volunteers, and in some cases clients through Twitter.

If you are not yet as active as you should be or if you are reluctant to fully commit to social media as a social engagement strategy, I can understand the reluctance. You have to be prepared to give up control of your messaging for one thing and trust that your brand will be treated respectfully by the masses. Keep in mind, however, that even if you are not on social media, others can and do “talk” about you. Your absence is no guarantee that you are in control of things anymore when it comes to messaging, branding, marketing, and so on.

As I wrote previously on this blog, “Social media is communication to be sure, but also about engagement. It’s dynamic and more unpredictable.  The buzz created about your brand is no longer under your control.  Those doing the buzzing are commenting on your brand, interpreting it, judging it, and promoting it. Not only that, they are talking about you (having social conversations) in ways you might not, altering the message for context or effect (and yes, their bias), and if your social media efforts are successful, they are influencing and involving others in your cause. Actually, they are playing an instrumental role in shifting the your cause mindset toour cause. As Beth Kanter says somewhere on her blog, ‘Your supporters are the message’.”

In a slide show on social media, Beth Kanter referenced the work of Neil Perkin. I have adapted below. This outlines the differences between traditional and social media communications.

Some of the above may make you uncomfortable because social media is less predictable than traditional communications strategies. But the more people you have involved in conversations about your cause, influencing their friends, creating messaging together, the better able you will be to connect with people and learn from them.

Social Media Resources

Our work in social media strategy development and social media implementation has helped us come across a wide set of resources. This is just a small list of learning resources developed by Mark Holmgren and Brent MacKinnon that can help you understand certain applications as well as facilitate some strategic thinking within your organization. I hope it is helpful.

The Facebook Guide Book
This guide book provides training and resource in the following areas: Facebook 101, Managing your Facebook Wall, Facebook for Businesses (or organizations), using Facebook applications, and advanced uses of Facebook.

The Twitter Guide Book
This guide book provides a great introduction to key learnings like hashtags, retweets, how to build your Twitter community, how to manage your Twitter stream, branding, and much more. Instructional and informative videos are offered as well.

How to Create a Successful Company Blog
Offered up by Mark Suster, a Partner at GRP Partners, this article contains 6 excellent ideas on how to find and sustain your `blogging` voice.

The Unofficial User`s Manual for Updating Your Facebook Page
This is an excellent resource to use along side of the Facebook Guidebook and is full of tips and how-to`s. The author is social media expert, John Haydon.

Facebook How-to`s (from The Social Media Guide)
These are more advanced tips such as how to add a Like button to your website, how to add Facebook administrators, how to send RSS feeds to Facebook (and Twitter).

This page on YouTube will connect you to everything you need to know about using YouTube, placing videos on your website and blog, YouTube feeds and more.

The Social Media Glossary from the Social Media Guide.

Social Media Glossary from the Buzz Bin


Like all important business practice, social media work requires a policy and procedural framework to help mitigate risk while also enabling staff to get their work done. This is new territory for most organizations. Because of the public nature of social media and the fact that most employees are on the web tweeting and social networking, identifying a governance framework is a challenge.

There are some excellent resources to help you. One we highly recommend is Social Media, Risk, and Policies for Associations (

Social media policy development can become as complex and arduous as one makes them. The example policy in the aforementioned document is simple, easy to read, and comprehensive, and for the most part could be adapted and adopted by many organizations.  In addition to developing a policy that governs how staff deploy social media, there could be legal or other related issues that require a policy. For example…

  • Are there copyright issues to address?
  • Do you need a policy and related procedures to use people’s photographs, videos,
    artwork, etc.?
  • What is the exit procedure for staff from social media applications when they leave your employment?
  • Should you post a privacy policy on all of your sites?

There are likely other questions to consider. In the excitement of launching social web strategies it might be easy to put off the social media policy work, which admittedly is far less exciting than getting on with the work. It is important, however, to be developing social media policy at the same time you are developing your strategies.

Our sites:

The So-What about Social Media

This presentation was given today via video conference to Hanna Learning Centre and Return to Rural. While a slideshow can’t tell the whole story, this was a three hour session that addressed social media strategy, an overview of marketing and social media (their differences and potential synergies, target audiences, and a tour of various applications.

For more information contact Mark at

This presentation was a collaboration between Mark Holmgren Consulting and Social Media Tools (Brent MacKinnon)