Preparing Young Leaders: Workshops on Leadership Development and Public Speaking

During my Young Leadership and Public Speaking workshop as part of the Legacy International Professional Fellows Outbound Cultural Exchange Program to Algeria, I worked with a group of 18 young adults on leadership development, communications styles, and public speaking skills. It was an interactive, all-day workshop with hands-on learning – something that is rare in Algerian cultural. Algerian students are accustomed to the lecture teaching format of learning where there is little participation. However, these young leaders were eager to learn and participate in the workshop to gain valuable, practical skills in their efforts to become better leaders in a civil society.

The participants took part in team-building activities and group assignments that often pushed them outside of their comfort zone. They challenged their ideas about leadership and how best to express those ideas.

For their final activity, each group had to come up with a project or association that would help their Algerian civil society. The goal was to work together as a team, display varying leadership styles and then each one of them had to speak about at least one aspect of the project.

The first group had three people who started the day by saying they were too shy to speak in public. One participant was so shy she was in tears when given the assignment. But we repeated our mantra for the day – “I am fearless. I am honest. I am creative” – and with that in mind, the group went through various leadership development and public speaking exercises. The videos below are the result of two of the group’s work from our day together.

Group number one showed the most improvement over the course of the day.

 

Group number two showed the most confidence and creativity.

 

I am proud of all the participants. Many walked in the door on their day off as shy leaders who and lacked confidence. They walked out accomplished leaders ready to take on their community and contribute in a major way to their civil society. This is the kind of cultural exchange Legacy International is known for. I’m honored to have been given the opportunity to contribute in my own small way.

On a side note, the workshop was such a success the group wanted more. We talked abut ways we could all stay in touch. The young leaders decided they would use social media to continue to engage and connect. They have committed to setting up a Facebook Group and Google Hangout where we can continue to work together. I’ve given each of them “homework” that they must complete by the end of next month. They each have to book one speaking engagement at a local association or club and invite someone else to come speak at their association or club. Becuase public speaking opportunities are so rare, I’ve challenged these young leaders to not wait for the opportunity to present itself but to create the opportunities where they can speak. To become a good public speaker, you must speak publically. I can’t wait to see what this group of young leaders come up with.

Special thanks to Legacy International and their sponsor, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for the opportunity to share my social engagement best practices, training and knowledge with the Algerian Pro Fellows. Let’s keep the conversation going!

UPDATE! I recently heard from two of my young leaders. Dallel GUIR wrote, “Thank you for that day it was amazing.” Dallel wrote. 

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She followed it up with these hashtags, #Fearless #Creative #Dreamer Those are her hashtags, not mine. However, that was our mantras for the day so I co-sign.

Then I got an email from one of the participants. Excuse the typos and broken English. Instead, focus on the sentiment. It took a lot to email me this. I’m so very proud.

“Good morning, So i’m one of the lucky persons to meet you and to be a mumber in «Youth Leadership and Public SpeakinAlgeria» to be your student for a day.
I was shy and couldn’t express my feeling, from that day i started to think differently i really want to change to be confident optimistic and crazy in the same time i want to do new things and things which were hard for me.
Something great and special happened to me today and i want to share it with you,
Before i meet you i had to do a homework and send it to my teacher,but because i was a kind of lazy person i left it that because i was negative i was just telling my self that i can’t do it i can’t understand this module but after the training when i arrived home i was thinking that i have to start now i have to do something and i started this homework and in the same day i sent it to my teacher it was 11pm.
I was happy.then 3 days after he sent me a mail and told me«congratulations good job»
Today, we had a corse with him and after a GOOD MORNING he said who is (amrouni amina) then i sad it is me he sad reallly i was glad to see your unswers it was a pleasure for me to read it, he said that i was the only one from 7 persons who did the right job and said that he will give me a complet mark even if i don’t work well.
I know it is just a simple thing or maybe nothing but trust me i’m glad and happy because this special module is my only key of success in the situation in where i am.
To conlude,sorrrry for wasting your time by writing a lot but i just wanted to let you know how much you helped me and thank you soooo much ,
I hope i will recive something from you and everything new which can happen to me i will tell you about it because I AM FEARLESS,CREATIVE AND HONEST.”

That was our mantra for the day… I AM Fearless, Creative and Honest. These young people… WHEW! They blow me away. They opened up and let me pour into them and then they gave the joy right back to me. I’m going to get a tissue now. There’s some sort of water coming from my eyes.

#SocialEntrepreneur #LegacyIntl #ProFellows #LegacyInAlgeria

Storytelling in Algeria: We are more alike than unalike

You think we are all different. You think our struggles are unique. Then you travel the world and you are reminded of the beautiful and powerful poem, Human Family, by Maya Angelou. In that poem, she teaches us that we are all people, and we are so much more alike than different. This has been made even more apparent this week during my trip to Algeria.

I was invited to be a part of the Legacy International Professional Fellows Program U.S. Delegation to Algeria.

“The Professional Fellows Program brings together emerging leaders from around the world who are working in the legislative process and governance, civic engagement, NGO management, economic empowerment and entrepreneurship, and journalism arenas with American counterparts from across the country. The Professional Fellows Program establishes structured interaction among American and international participants aimed at developing sustained professional ties and lasting partnerships” – US State Department.

Legacy International is dedicated to promoting peace by strengthening civil society and fostering a culture of participation worldwide and have been an excellent client and partner in my role as a social entrepreneur.

I worked with the Legacy Algerian Pro Fellows when they were in America on their inbound exchange program. We did workshops on storytelling pitching story ideas. Now, I am part of the Legacy International outbound cultural exchange program to learn from and share with NGOs in Algiers and Oran. The week concludes with the delegates conducting workshops and roundtable discussions to provide skills to continue to build their civil society and to help them grow their NGO or Association. However, before the week wraps up I wanted to share today’s experiences. It proved to be an amazing day of storytelling and cultural exchange.

We started the day meeting with two Oran “Associations” or what we would call in the U.S. nonprofit organizations. Our first stop was to Les NOMADES Algériens where we learned about the challenges and strategies of a newly formed Association in Oran.

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It was interesting to learn how the group used art and visual storytelling – amazing photos and compelling video – to communicate complex issues around their mission to help disenfranchised children in Oran. They found that when you are trying to raise awareness and promote advocacy in the fight for children’s mental health, education or to improve their living conditions, using visuals helps tell the story. While they are still a new Association, NOMADES has compelling content that is sure to catch the eye of funders, grantors, volunteers and participants. I always encourage nonprofits in America to approach their storytelling the same way – to use compelling visuals to tell your story and mission in a provocative and heart – warming way. It appears good, visual storytelling is a universal concept.

The other organization, Femmes Algériennes Revendiquant leurs Droits, is a well established NGO/Association in Oran. They are doing impressive and impactful work in the fight for women’s rights.


They not only use special events and medical and legal assistance to help the women of Oran – sometimes at great risk to themselves – they too use visual storytelling to communicate their mission and outreach services. While they use traditional communication tactics to include flyers, posters, banners and printed material, it is their visual storytelling that is making the most impact. With an all female crew and production team, FARD is producing a series of documentaries to raise awareness about the specific and unique challenges in the fight for women’s human rights in Oran. These rights include everything from stopping violence against women, equality in employment and education, to the type of clothing women should be required to wear or the places women should go in public. We also spoke to a young woman who felt grateful but removed from FARD. This is not unlike the many young women in the U.S. who say they feel removed from the feminist movement or NOW organization.

Fighting for women and children rights are causes of great concern in Algeria and the also in America. This is not surprising. Women’s rights are human rights. When you empower women, you empower the world. While the nuances of women’s rights advocacy may change from region to region, we are all still in the same human rights fight together. Children are our future. Making sure youth are well cared for is the concern of everyone across the globe.

Through all of this, great storytelling remains a powerful communication tool that can play on the heart strings of the public and call about the real change needed in communities across the globe.

As a professional storyteller, this has been an enlightening and empowering day of learning and sharing. I am only half-way through my Legacy International U.S. Delegation to Algeria but what I know for sure is:

“We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” – Maya Angelou

Closing the Gender and Diversity Gap in Tech: A Conversation with Shireen Mitchell #BlackSTEMLikeMe

I had the pleasure of sitting down with my Geek Diva, tech superwoman, sista friend, Shireen Mitchell to talk about gender equality and diversity in STEM. If you don’t know Shireen, here is your chance to get to know her. If you do know her, here is your chance to get to know her a little better. She is a pioneer in the advancement the STEM for girls, women, PoC and WoC and she always, “keeps it real.”

An American entrepreneur, author, technology analyst and diversity strategist, Shireen Mitchell is the founder of Digital Sisters/Sistas, Inc and Stop Online Violence Against Women. Below she shares our chat about the tech gender gap and digital racial divide.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN STEM? Good question. I don’t know that I chose STEM. I was gifted with my abilities and a curiosity at a time when people were saying to me “What are you doing?” They were questioning how I knew what I knew and why things came so easy to me. I was a sick kid, so I wanted to become a doctor. Being terrorized by a medical professional, I wanted to make sure other doctors wouldn’t terrorize young kids like myself. The natural state for me was very analytical and technological. So, I started out with video games. Then I started hacking.

WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A GIRL IN TECH? The concept of a girl in tech was far and few between in the 80s. But it was the highest point when women started entering the tech field. Research shows that women made up 36% of the tech fields during that time. Now, in 2017, we are down to 22 – 30% women. That’s not even counting black women and girls.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE WORKING IN TECH? The biggest challenge is in hiring practices and policies. That is where the pipeline breaks. It’s the “I don’t see gender” and “I don’t see color” mentality that is the break in the pipeline. For women of color, both those things are consistent. We are having these conversations about Hidden Figures. What we did during that time was remove those women from the timeline, and we started to believe what was presented to us instead of the data and what the leaders in tech were saying. It was a false narrative, and it still is. It’s an illusion that women and women of color, in particular, don’t have the ability to be leaders in tech. A white 20-something dropout being considered an ideal leader in the tech industry is a completely false narrative. When we talk about Hidden Figures, we know who had the intelligence. We also know who has been removed from the storyline to allow the false narrative to populate.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER BLACKS WHO WANT TO GET INVOLVED IN STEM? They need to know they have the capacity. Learning STEM is the easy part. The part that we haven’t handled is the social part and the bias it perpetuates. I would also tell them not to let anyone tell you that you don’t know what you know. Don’t let anyone deter you from building your base in tech. Create a space for yourself. Use a model that only you have, and you can change the industry by who you are.

What challenges have you overcome in your STEM Career?

This post originally appeared in the NSBE #BlackSTEMLikeMe website

Photo Credit link here.

Introducing #BlackSTEMLikeMe: Reflection of Black Excellence. An Exciting New Campaign from NSBE

Have you heard all the buzz about the movie “Hidden Figures” that hit theaters nationwide on Jan. 6? The movie tells the story of how three African-American Women — Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson — contributed vital math, engineering and computer science work to the early missions of the U.S. space program. “Hidden Figures” (which is up for several awards and was No. 1 at the box office during its first two weekends) is bringing a major focus to the often overlooked contributions of the black STEM community.

Like the “Hidden Figures” movie, NSBE, in partnership with Air Force STEM, is also bringing a major focus to African Americans in science, technology, engineering and math with our new #BlackSTEMLikeMe (#BSLM) campaign. This multimedia campaign will:

  • Encourage black men and women in STEM to share their stories and passions
  • Bring visibility to the important work they are doing
  • Show black boys and girls that a future in STEM is an incredible—and attainable—career path
  • Encourage black students and professionals to consider NSBE for additional support as they pursue their STEM goals
  • Celebrate our unique, wonderful and life-changing community—past and present!

We have great things planned for #BSLM…

Including events during Black History Month and Engineers Week in February, and we are confident it will help us reach our “Be 1 of 10,000” Campaign goal to graduate 10,000 African-American engineers annually, with bachelor’s degrees, by 2025.

We’re so excited about this new campaign and are proud to take a big step toward ensuring that the Katherine’s, Dorothy’s and Mary’s of the future get their due well before they’re overdue!

How Can You Be Part of #BlackSTEMLikeME?

  • Share STEM stories on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or via the blackstemlikeme.nsbe.org website using the #BlackSTEMLikeMe hashtag. The best stories will be entered in our national social media webisode series. More on our webisodes to come!
  • Tweet your STEM story using the #BlackSTEMLikeMe hashtag. Don’t forget to use visuals!
  • Post your STEM story to your Facebook page, tag the NSBE Facebook page using the #BlackSTEMLikeMe hashtag
  • Post your STEM photo or video to your Instagram account, tag @NSBE and use the #BlackSTEMLikeMe hashtag
  • Email your story and video for blog posts to blackstemlikeme@nsbe.org
  • Or, contact me directly with ways you can get involved.

Look for your post that may be featured here.

Learn more about the #BlackSTEMLikeMe campaign, including upcoming events and other ways to get involved, at blackstemlikeme.nsbe.org.

Ten Tips To Plan Your First Twitter Event

You probably already know how successful a Twitter event can be? If you’re new to Twitter events, this blog is for you! A Tweetchat also known as a Twitter Party is a live public Twitter event, centered around one particular  topic using a unique hashtag. This hashtag allows followers to isolate a conversation and participate in a narrow focused Twitter discussion.

Tweetchats are usually recurring and are often on specific topics that regularly connect like-minded individuals. 2

Twitter parties are great branding opportunities for both large and small businesses. The Twitter party can be used to promote a brand, meet customers, announce a service, launch a product, or simply get people talking about a particular idea or campaign. They are often hosted by a celebrity or a recognizable name or “brand ambassador.”

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GETTING STARTED

  1. Understand How it Works – Before creating your own Twitter event, spend time evaluating the digital landscape. Follow or participate in a few Tweetchats or Twitter Parties in your industry. Do a Google search to see who is already out there chatting about your topic and follow along at the designated times. 
  2. Pick A Topic – Seems simple, right? That’s good. You want it to be simple. Pick a topic that is broad enough to bring in a large audience, but also narrow focused enough to speak directly to your target audience.
  3. Pick A Date and Time –  There’s no hard and fast rule here. Some Tweetchats  and Twitter Parties happen during the day and others may take place late night. It really depends on what you are promoting and the time your audience is online. No matter the time of day, it is best to establish a regular schedule so people can follow along and you can build momentum over time. For some that may be once a month; for others, it may be every week. Choose a day, time, and frequency that works for you and your target audience. You can use these resources to check for possible scheduling conflicts and to plan your Tweetchat.
  4. Determine The Length – Again, no hard and fast rules here. The average length of a Twitter event is one hour. Some people like to let the event flow naturally but I suggest having a definitive set start and end time so you can manage expectations. Your guests will know exactly how much time to carve out for the event and your followers will be wesearchll aware of how much time they have to be engaged in the conversation.
  5. Pick A Unique Hashtag – Keep the hashtag simple and descriptive. Doing a travel event? You may want to use #TravelTipsChat. Promoting a new product? Try a #GizzmoChat hashtag. Keep in mind the 140-character limit on Twitter when choosing your hashtag. The hashtag should be short yet also provide some connection to the topic being discussed. Also be sure to check that the hashtag you picked is not already being used. You can search for the hashtag on Twitter here. Want to learn more about hashtags? Watch my Social Media Tips: Getting To Know The Twitter Hashtag video.
  6. Find A Moderator – The moderator can be a team member, community manager, or someone who is the most active participant in your online community. For the first Twitter event, it makes sense to use a moderator who is very familiar with your business or brand. It will be the moderator’s job to keep track of the questions asked and answered, monitor the time, and keep the Twitter conversation flowing. 
  7. Book Your Guest(s) – The number of guests you choose depends on the topic. Many Tweetchats do fine with one or two people. You may want multiple guests for your Twitter Party. But, if the name is a big enough draw, one person will do. In any event, your guest should be someone respected in their field and who ideally also has a significant Twitter following. This way the guest will be active in promoting the Twitter event, you will have exposure to their Twitter following and you can be assured that you will get interesting, engaging answers to your questions. Also, it’s a good idea to give your guests a list of questions in advance. Without some advance notice, it can tricky to compose responses quickly with the Twitter 140 character limitation.
  8. Promote The TweetChat – If you Tweet them, they will come. Develop an eye-catching graphic to promote your chat. It should include an interesting image with the date, time and hashtag of the Tweetchat. Leverage the channels you already have available — like your website, blog, email list, or other social networks — to promote your chat.
  9. Host Your Event – There are several platforms to host you Twitter event. You can use Hootsuite to follow the Twitter handle and hashtag. You can use  Tweetchat.com to easily follow and participate in Tweetchat or Twitter Party. Or, you can simply use your computer to follow the hashtag and add another device such as a tablet or smartphone to follow along.
  10. Recap the Tweets – The Tweetchat and Twitter Party are live events. However, you want to be able to recap the tweets and hold on to the interaction for future reference. You may want to use Storify to capture and share the Tweets and then reshare the Storify story to your networks. Other platforms like Nurph will give you start to finish, nuts and bolts integration for your Tweetchat.

Need even more tips? Check out my Social Media Tips: Step Up Your Twitter Game with a Tweetchat video.

Have other tips for first time Twitter events? Share them in the comments.

Need help rolling in a Twitter event to your social media marketing strategy? Let me know. I’m here to help!

 

Social Media for Nonprofits: 7 Tips for Success

The use of Social media is a great way for nonprofits to expand their mission. The Global Web Index 2015 report shows the average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks every day. What does that mean for nonprofits? It means that social media can become a powerful tool. It provides a way to tell your story, recruit volunteers, increase donations and share your mission.

As I welcome my new client, Legacy International, to Danielle Ricks Productions, I am looking for ways to do just that. Legacy is dedicated to promoting peace by strengthening civil society and fostering a culture of participation worldwide. They train and mentor community leaders, youth, professionals, and governmental and non-governmental administrators, helping them to develop and implement practical, community-based solutions to critical issues.

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Like many nonprofits, Legacy manages multiple projects. But it’s often hard to find your voice in the digital space while you are busy doing the good work of your mission. Here’s where social media comes into play to help in an effort to market and increase brand recognition.

There are seven social media strategies that nonprofits should consider when developing their social media plan. I’ll use each of these for Legacy International and you may want to consider these tips when developing your own social media strategy.

1. Set Your goals. Why are you in the social space? Is it to raise money? Maybe you need to recruit more volunteers. It could be that you need to get the word out about your mission to partners, supporters and donors. Each of these has a different social media strategy. Know why you are in the digital space before you get started.

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2. Determine Your Target Audience. Will you be speaking primarily to the people you serve, those benefiting from your services, the general public, or to the people who are dedicated to keeping the NPO afloat? Maybe you’ll be speaking to all of these audiences. That’s fine, just know who your audience is so you can develop your online voice.

See3 provides an excellent case study example with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and how they tell their stories.

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3. Choose Your Platforms. There are a lot of social media sites to choose from. Do you need to be in all of them? Your target audience will dictate where you put your social media energy. Have an audience of teens, you may want to be on Snapchat. Need to reach the parents of teens, you may want to be on Facebook. Need to reach government agencies and news organizations, Twitter may be your best bet. The target audience will dictate the platform.

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4. Create Your Content Strategy. This is where the bulk of your social media energy will go. Determining what, when, where and how you will share your content. You’ll want to keep in mind three key things:

  1. Your Voice – Who are you and what do you stand for?
  2. Frequency of posts – How often will you post and why?
  3. Patterns for engagements – What gets shared when?

If you need help developing an effective content marketing plan, you can check out my blog post here.

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5. Ready, Set, ENGAGE! Once you have determined your audience, your voice, and your strategy, it’s time to engage your audience. Be prepared to answer questions, field inquiries, share great stories and motivate your audience.4

6. Track and Measure. After ninety days or so, you’ll want to evaluate how you are doing in the digital space. Take a deep dive into the analysis and data. Keep an eye on likes but keep an eagle eye on shares. A like is a click of acceptance. A share means I’m personally invested in the content and I want others invested in it as well. Determine what strategies worked and which ones fell flat? What resonated with your audience and what does that tell you about your story telling, your mission, your followers

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7. Almost done! The last step is to start all over again at number one and continue the cycle. Determine who on your team will be responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of your social media strategy and maintaining the integrity of the brand, voice, and mission. Reevaluate your plan every three months and make adjustments accordingly.

The most important part of all of this social engagement is to be social. Be authentic and have fun. Have social media strategies that have worked for you? Share them in the comments below. Need help to develop your social media strategy, please let me know.

Tips To Help You Visualize The Life You Want In 2016!

2How is your vision? I’m not talking about your eyesight. I’m talking about your vision for the future. If you want to get clarity in this new year, you may want to think about creating a Vision Board. A Vision Board is a simple yet powerful visualization tool that can help you bring the things your desire into fruition. Maybe you want to increase your client base, build better relationships or create a more balanced work/home life. Whatever vision you would like to create for yourself in this coming year, a Vision Board is a great way to get started. Exactly what makes up a Vision Board? It is literally a board that will display images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your manifest into reality. The board is made up of a collage of images, pictures, and affirmations of your greatest dreams and desires. I like to create my Vision Board at the beginning of the year to set my intentions for the coming months.

Exactly what makes up a Vision Board? It is literally a board that will display images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your manifest into reality. The board is made up of a collage of images, pictures, and affirmations of your greatest dreams and desires. I like to create my Vision Board at the beginning of the year to set my intentions for the coming months.

To get started, you can go through magazines, catalogs, or print articles from websites that support your vision. Start cutting out photos, sayings, and words that support your dreams or goals. You can also write your own sayings or take your own photos to add to the board. I suggest add color, glitter, ribbons, fabric or anything that will stimulate the senses. For you techie types, you can grab digital images and pin them to a Vision Board you create in Pinterest. Get as creative as you like. But dream BIG! This is no time to play small.

Once you have a collection of the items that support your dreams, glue them to a poster board or tack them on a cork board. You can arrange the board via themes or mix it up multiple concepts for variety. Size doesn’t necessarily matter. I like to use a large board that I’ve covered with sayings and photos that support my dream. However, I also like the idea of using an 8 x 10 board that you can frame and put up on the wall. When you are done, snap a photo and make it your cell phone screen saver. That way, you are guaranteed to look at it each and every day.

When you are done, placement is very important. Originally I placed my Vision Board in the hallway. I  passed it every day, several times a day, but soon I stopped “seeing it” and by that I mean, I stopped focusing on the meaning and intent of the board and eventually never gave it more than a glance.  Once I moved my Vision Board into my bedroom, where I could see it upon falling asleep and upon waking, things started to really change for me.  However, I’ve heard stories of people putting their Vision Board away for years, forgetting about it, only to have the things on the board materialize in their lives much later.  I do not think that is as effective as focusing on the vision of your dream each and every day. Looking at it. Giving your intention your fill attention. That said, I’d encourage anyone using a Vision Board to manifest their dreams to apply focused attention on its content every day.

Whether you find a Vision Board party in your area where you can share the creation of building your dream with others, or if  you create one on your own, here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Decide the theme of your Vision Board– Are you visualizing your career life or personal life?  Each one of these aspects of your life could have a very different theme.
  2. Post images that support your dream – Cut them out, print them out or make them yourself. The most important thing is that the images sure support your dream.
  3. Place your Vision Board where you can see it – You want to commit your dream to memory and have it become a part of your subconscious. Put your board where you can access it and keep it top of mind.
  4. Look at your Vision Board daily – Focus on the theme, the pictures and maybe more importantly, the feeling the images bring to mind as you see your dreams manifest.
  5. Do dream is too BIG – Don’t limit yourself by the reality of what is. You are in dream mode. Visualize all your dreams coming true. Assume no lack and no limitations. Don’t let the rational mind take over. You are working with creative energy and anything is possible.

Eventually, you will see some of the things on your vision board start to materialize.  But this isn’t magic. It only works if you work it. Another tip, do not be afraid to make changes to the board as the year progresses.  Take away or add things as your dream for yourself becomes clearer and more focused. Also, think about getting an Accountability Partner who can help you hold your vision and keep you on track. You can also share your new vision to your social media accounts. Trust me, your followers will hold you accountable.

Here is a look at my vision board that built for 2015.

Vison Board 2015
Here is a look ay my vision board for 2016. I’m excited about the possibilities!

Vision Board 2016

 

What will you be adding to your vision? Need help getting started? I’m here to help. Just fill out the form below and let’s start writing your NEW STORY for 2016!

Six Ways Nonprofits Can Start Using Social Media TODAY!

When I spoke at the Daily Do Good conference, I shared ways nonprofits can use social media as part of their marketing strategy. Most nonprofits know they should use digital and social media as part of their marketing strategy, but many are not getting the most out of their social media plan? Some many not even have a strategic digital marketing plan or know where to get started? Want ways nonprofits can get started using digital and social media as part of a strategic marketing effort? Below is the video from Daily Do Good talk where I highlight ways nonprofits can use social and digital media.

Here are some things I hope you’ll walk away with. When we talk about social media we are talking any two-way communication that is open to the public. This includes some spaces you already know about, such as, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others you may not have thought as being social, such as  email marketing campaigns or crowdfunding opportunities. The most important part of social media… in my opinion… is the “social” aspect of the engagement.

Digital media refers to audio, video, and photo content that has been encoded or digitally compressed. Digital media marketing then, is the use of this content to promote your brand or mission. Are you with me? For instance, let’s say you have a lot of photos either from historical references or from current events. These visuals help tell the story about your organization or mission and that’s what’s this is all about. Right? Good story telling.

When you hear digital content, what comes to mind. If you said “video” you are right on point. If you don’t know already, video is the single most important element in any social media strategy. Whether it’s video on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LiveStream, Youtube, or the new hot social space, Periscope video is King. So what does that mean to you and your organization? The content you should think about creating and marketing for your business is video. Period. Research by Pew Internet shows that more and more  people–across demographics–are watching online video. So whether your supporter base is made up of millenniums or seniors or a demographic somewhere in-between, they’re likely to watch videos on the Web at an astounding rate. And, of course, you want to be where your customers are. Right? With social media and video marketing in mind, how can you get started?

Technology and more specifically social media is NOT a cure-all, but done correctly, you can increase your visibility, donors, and cause. To get started, it is important for organizations to be very clear about what their objectives are and invest in crafting their story from day one. Most of your supporters will rarely check your website for updates. Meaning they likely only think of you and your cause now and then. Having them like your page on Facebook or follow you on Twitter provides you with an opportunity to appear on their feeds and give them daily reminders of your mission. From your social media sites, you can drive supports to your website, and after later donations, volunteers, and raise general awareness for your cause. How do you do that? How do you drive traffic to your social media accounts? You’re taking notes now, right? You start by including buttons linked to any and all platforms that your organization uses. Think about recording important events or, better yet, Periscope the event and share with your followers LIVE.

There is a lot to cover when we talk about social media for nonprofits. Here are six key takeaways you may want to focus on.

  1. VISUALS: A study conducted by Professor Albert Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA showed that 93% of communication is nonverbal since visuals can be processed by the mind 60 thousand times faster than text. With this in mind, it’s crucial to tell the story of your mission using appealing visual elements across all of your social platforms. Post pictures or video on sites like Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, etc. You may have seen dog shelters do this. They take video or photos of dogs that came to them in very bad condition. Then they show a healthy, happy dog that is nursed back to health. It’s a complete story. Told visually.
  2. FREQUENCY: Consistency is so important. Non-profits often only post to their social accounts when they have an event or a campaign. Work on building relationships throughout the year… before you need them. Also, it’s best to vary the types of post you use on social media, whether you’re running a campaign or not. Try to mix in press releases, with stories of the people you’ve helped, spotlights on volunteers along with information on upcoming events, and reminders of how easy it is to donate or contribute to your cause. Having a social media plan will help you with this. Post too much could put you in the “unfollow” zone. Don’t post enough and you won’t reach your target audience. If you need help getting started, check out my blog on Developing a Social Media Plan here.
  3. VOLUNTEERS: Create a volunteer social media corp. Your volunteer social media corp should be designed to amplify your messages. By ‘amplify,’ I mean they will share your messaging, not speaking on behalf of the nonprofit. To make sure the volunteers are empowered to amplify messages on your behalf, you can create a Facebook group or Google+ community where you can share the messages that are most important to the organization. Once the volunteers get the hang of it, you might want to start training them to become your social media community managers for your social sites and help you manage your weekly and monthly social media plan.
  4. SOCIALIZE: So many nonprofits broadcast only. However, you don’t want to make your posts a one-way conversation. Like I mentioned earlier, the most important part of social media is the social part of the engagement. For nonprofits, that will call for you to humanize your cause in a way that is relatable and actionable. You’ll want to pull on some heart-strings. Think about making your posts as conversational as possible. Listen to your audience and show them how important they are to your cause by responding back. That means replying to comments on your blogs, Facebook page, Twitter posts and comments on Instagram and Snapchat. Make an effort to comments on posts by other organizations or individuals who support your cause. When this is done correctly, your efforts will result in increased followers that will turn into increased donors, volunteers, and revenue.
  5. STORYTELLING: As I said, you will want to humanize the purpose of your cause. Relying on only phone calls, fundraisers, and direct mailings is no longer enough. If I get one more phone call from my local cultural theater house, I’m going to poke my eyes out! But, if they share a great story about their new play, I’m in! Show your audience what they are missing by not joining you. Or show them how you are changing the world. For nonprofits, emotive content is inherent in your makeup. In this regard, nonprofits are in a better position to use social media more effectively than most big brands. You have, or should have, a community that cares deeply about what you do. Having a well-crafted story will give you tons of content to share and resonate greatly with your audience.
  6. CROWDFUNDING: As a non-profit, you’re always looking for new ways to raise money. One option that has quickly caught on is crowdfunding. It is an easy way to raise money with donations from a large number of people. This  growing trend towards crowdfunding has created lots of new revenue streams and models for investment and funding. Before you jump out there, however, there are many things to consider. Nonprofits should take the time to research all the available options. Some crowdfunding sites charge a fee and others do not. It would be wise to do your due diligence to find the best option for your nonprofit. Then, when you are ready, remember that your crowdfunding campaign pitch is your first point of contact with potential donors. For your pitch to be effective it is crucial to plan ahead and include all the elements that make a compelling story. To learn more about how to develop a crowdfunding pitch, read my 5 Tips For Your Crowdfunding Pitch here.

Social media will continue to have a huge impact on the nonprofit sector. But, like most things in the digital world, social media is evolving quickly. Do not expect your website or social platforms, and blog to hit overnight. Social media and content marketing requires time and patience—so does building an online audience. It can take several months to see results from social media marketing. If you don’t have the time to manage your sites, think about hiring a digital media specialist. The team at Danielle Ricks Productions is ready to help!

 

Five Digital Media Updates Making Headlines

3Here are five digital media news stories ripped from the headlines. I’m most interested in Amazon’s entry into the Internet of Things, one of my tech obsessions and Periscope’s new On Air Button. I’ll be using Periscope to do a live broadcast of my “Social Media For Nonprofits” talk at The Daily Good Conference and to broadcast the breakaway sessions. I’ll report back on my user experience with the web page interface after the conference. In the meantime, here are my picks for the top five digital media news stories making headlines.

Variety: Snapchat Shutters Original Content Channel

Snapchat is laying off members of a team assigned to a channel on its Discover platform devoted to original programming, dubbed Snap Channel.

The closure has prompted the exit of Marcus Wiley, a former executive with broadcast network Fox who was brought on to figure out how Snapchat would build up its programming lineup. Since his hire in May, Wiley led a group of 15 that has been disbanded, with some being pink-slipped and others being reassigned elsewhere in the company.

Until its removal from Discover a few weeks ago, Snap was the home of short-form content produced internally at Snapchat since launching in January. The channel was once home to ‘Literally Can’t Even,’ a split-screen comedy series starring and written by Sasha Spielberg, daughter of Steven Spielberg, and Emily Goldwyn, daughter of John Goldwyn”

TNW: Periscope now has an embeddable ‘On Air’ button for broadcasts

“Periscope now has an On Air button for websites that tell everyone when a broadcast is live.

It’s a useful little tweak that anyone can use. All you have to do is enter your Periscope username (typically your Twitter handle without the ‘@‘) into Periscope’s button generator, and it creates a code so you can embed a button into a webpage. Your username takes the place of the ‘broadcaster’ text, seen below.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 1.40.32 PM

Periscope’s On Air button also comes in two sizes, and automatically toggles when a broadcast goes live.”

Re/code: Twitter Unveils New Video Advertising Strategy

“The company is taking a different approach to video ads. More precisely: Twitter is adopting YouTube’s video advertising approach. What that means is that publishers and video makers can upload their video to Twitter, and Twitter will attach short ‘pre-roll’ ads in front of those clips and split the ad revenue with the video owners. Which is how YouTube, the world’s biggest video site, does it, too.”

TechCrunch: Amazon Launches AWS IoT — A Platform For Building, Managing And Analyzing The Internet Of Things

“Make way for another big player entering the Internet of Things space. Amazon today is announcing its long-awaited IoT platform for AWS at its re:Invent developer conference in Las Vegas. As Amazon describes it, it is a managed cloud platform ‘that lets connected devices easily and securely interact with cloud applications and other devices.’ The platform, which is launching in beta, will be able to support billions of devices and trillions of messages, ‘and can process and route those messages to AWS endpoints and to other devices reliably and securely.’ AWS IoT will integrate with Lambda, Amazon Kinesis, Amazon S3, Amazon Machine Learning, and Amazon DynamoDB to build IoT applications, manage infrastructure and analyze data.”

Advertising Age: Reuters Is the Latest to Try Reinventing News With Digital TV Service

“Early next year, the company plans to introduce Reuters.TV, an ad-supported digital service that allows subscribers to receive personalized video content created solely for the platform. Reuters.TV will cost a monthly fee, but the company declined to say how much it will be. The service will initially be available on iPhones and iPads.”

Five Digital and Social Media Stories Worth Reading This Week

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Here are five stories pulled from the headlines to get you up-to-date this week on digital and social media news. I’ve done the research for you. You can thank me later.

It’s the year of the “Influencer.” IBT: In Search Of The Real Thing: Why Global Advertisers Like Coca-Cola Are Ditching Celebs For Little-Known Instagram ArtistsPULL QUOTE: It was all about selfies for Christine Adelina, until May 1, 2014. That’s when the 22-year-old student and obsessive Instagram poster from London learned her large following on the photo-sharing app could translate to some decent income. After attending a meetup for Instagram “influencers,” she switched from bedroom and bathroom selfies to artistic portrayals of the world around her, now spending at least three hours a day on the app. And brands are gawking — handing over ad dollars to Adelina and other so-called influencers, anywhere from $300 to thousands of dollars depending on the deal, to join their marketing campaigns. While some sponsorship deals simply reward users with gifts for sending out company-related Instagram posts, others are contracted. Take Nabisco’s #PuttingOnTheRitz campaign, for example. That marketing strategy to promote new Ritz Crisp and Thin crackers — to which Adelina and a handful of other contracted influencers submitted two photos for this June  — reached 7.5 million people. One post from British blogger Tanya Burr, who boasts 2 million Instagram followers, drew 110,000 likes.

It’s the latest sign that Madison Avenue and its counterparts worldwide are recognizing the pitch power of organically born social media stars like Adelina and Burr. They can be just as influential, or even moreso, as celebs like the Kardashians. Consumers, the thinking goes, may connect more readily with individuals who lead lives like their own. “For ‘Putting on the Ritz,’ we were very interested in getting people involved. The campaign seemed more real,” said Jana Soosova, social media campaign manager at London-based PHD Media.

instagram ritz

While Instagram influencer Christine Adelina’s post was not the highest traffic-driver for the #PuttingOnTheRitz campaign, Nabisco paid for and endorsed the submission as part of its marketing strategy.  – Instagram Screenshot 

Earlier this month, Instagram introduced its first ad product for businesses. The system allows companies to quickly create standard ads, target them to selected users and include direct-response buttons (like “Buy Now” as seen on Facebook, Twitter and Google). The move will spur more ads on the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app — and fuel Instagram’s predicted rise to $2.8 billion in revenue by 2017.

Marketing jobs have gone digital and they are asking for a lot from their employees! MarketingProfs: The Most In-Demand Digital Marketing SkillsPULL QUOTE: The most in-demand job titles identified by the analysis were digital marketing manager and marketing manager. Those roles may be especially hard to fill given the wide range of skills required: Companies seeking marketing managers tend to look for proficiency in several disciplines, including social media marketing, SEO, PPC, content marketing, Google Analytics, and digital marketing. Other digital marketing job titles with a high volume of listings are digital marketing specialist, marketing coordinator, SEO specialist, Web developer, account executive, and social media manager.

If you’ve paid attention today, you’ll see Kanye West trending on Facebook (kill me now). What does it take to becoming a trending topic on Facebook? IBT: In Search Of The Real Thing: Why Global Advertisers Like Coca-Cola Are Ditching Celebs For Little-Known Instagram Artists – PULL QUOTE: But how exactly does Facebook decide what to put in the Trending queue? And why is it that trends sometimes show up hours if not days after they may be trending somewhere else? Facebook shows you things in your Trending line-up the same way it shows you things in your News Feed: Algorithms. It takes into account a few personal things, like where you live and what Pages you follow. But primarily it looks for two broader signals: Topics that are being mentioned a lot and topics that receive a dramatic spike in mentions. You can’t have one without the other. For example, Kim Kardashian is mentioned often on Facebook, so the total volume of mentions is always high and isn’t a good indicator of whether or not she’s part of a trending topic. Instead, Facebook looks for a spike in mentions relative to the normal chatter around Kim and other celebrities, too. Things that trend aren’t just the most highly mentioned people or topics. They have to be tied to some kind of relevant event.

Right now I’m rocking a Misfit. I ‘m using it as a replacement to my UP24 because I can swim with the Misfit. Am I missing out on not having an Apple Watch? ReadWrite: The Wearables Market Is Exploding, And Apple Is Stealing The Show – PULL QUOTE: Second only to Fitbit, Apple Watch rules the smartwatch scene.  A new report published by IDC paints an intriguing picture of the wearables market as it looks in the middle of 2015. The market grew 223% over the course of the previous year, and Apple—new to the sector and with only one wearable to its name—was bested only by Fitbit, in terms of devices sold during the last three months. That puts reports of rather underwhelming Apple Watch sales into perspective. (Apple hasn’t released official figures of its own, of course.) While the smartwatch has yet to make an iPhone-like splash so far, with nearly 20% of the market, but it’s already threatening to dominate the nascent wearables movement.

I’ll admit it, I’m developing Snapchat campaigns and have totally forgotten about Vine. Apparently, that is not a good thingQuartz: Vine is a sleeping giant (while everyone is focused on Snapchat)PULL QUOTE: A funny thing happened to Vine, Twitter’s short-form video app, after its initial buzz wore off: It kept going. If you haven’t checked lately, Vine, launched in early 2013, is still a thing. It has evolved from a social “Instagram-for-video” built atop Twitter into a unique mobile entertainment platform with its own style, format, and celebrities. And as mobile video continues its long-awaited rise, Vine has built and maintained an impressive audience. Vine serves more than 100 million people across the web every month, according to the company, delivering more than 1.5 billion “loops”—its term for video views—per day. Meanwhile, comScore says Vine reached 34.5 million unique visitors in the US in June across desktop and mobile—roughly the same as Snapchat, which has grown rapidly over the past year and is valued by investors at $16 billion.

 

Social Media: Trends And Tips for Social Video Marketing

3You know that social media is an important element of any marketing strategy. But do you know the single most important element that you should add to your social media plan? It is video. Whether it is video on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LiveStream, or the newest kids on the block, Periscope and Meerkat, video should be the content you add to your marketing strategy.

Here are video marketing stats we can’t ignore:

  • According to Nielsen, 147 million Americans watch video on the internet
  • 87% of online marketers use video content according to Outbrain
  • According to Online Publishers Association, 46% of users take some sort of action after and after watching a video and 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online, according to comScore

More and more people–across demographics–are watching online video. And, of course, you want to be where your clients are. Right?

Here are five ways to develop a social media video marketing strategy:

  1. Decide What Story To Tell: A good place to start is to produce a video about your company and your services. Testimonial videos or an EPK (Electronic Press Kit) are also a great way to showcase your skills. Having an event? Think about live streaming.
  2. Choose The Right Platform: Research your options before committing to any one platform. If most of your audience is on Twitter, try Periscope. If you need a wider reach, use YouTube.
  3. Length Is Everything: Research by Visible Measures said that you have 10 seconds to grab the viewers’ attention. Make your video pop right off the top.
  4. Know Your Audience: Is your audience looking to learn more about you or more about the services you provide? Think about sharing video tips to your viewers so they’ll get to know you and what you have to offer. I’ve done a series of social media tips here.
  5. Engage Your Audience: Think about adding interactive elements to your video. Include in-video links.YouTube has “cards” or you can create your own links. You could also add a survey to encourage engagement.

Need help developing video content for your social media plan? Fill out the form below so we schedule your FREE one-on-one consultation.

5 Tips For Your Crowdfunding Pitch

3Thinking about starting a crowdfunding campaign? Maybe you want to raise money for an upcoming project. Or, maybe your client needs to fund a worthy cause. Whether it’s raising money for your next CD project or a fundraiser to send a group of students abroad to study, there are a few things you should consider before you launch a crowdfunding campaign. One of the most important things to consider is the crowdfunding pitch. It’s the story behind what you are doing and why anyone would want to give to your cause. I’ve been working on a small crowdfunding campaign that is going to lead to a larger, capital campaign. Here are things I’ve learned along the way and five things to consider when beginning your crowdfunding campaign.

Any crowdfunding campaign starts with the pitch. Your crowdfunding campaign pitch is your first point of contact with potential donors. For your pitch to be effective it’s crucial to plan and include all the elements that make a compelling story.

A Crowdfunding Pitch Needs To Include:

  1. The Backstory – What is the campaign? Why will people care? Why will they donate? Talk about where the crowdfunding efforts will go and how it will help you or your cause. Show your passion, explain the impact of your campaign or explain about the people who will benefit from it.
  2. A Thought Provoking Video – Video clips give visitors a better idea of your project — they can see you or your project in action and not clicking through a series of static images. Do you have assets such as photos, powerpoint slides or digital images that can be assembled into a compelling video? If so, you’re halfway there.
  3. What You Are Raising Money For – Be specific and include your funding goal. Also include a breakdown of where the money is going and the purpose it will serve.
  4. When Will Your Project Take Place – Set a deadline, this creates a sense of urgency.
  5. How People Can Get involved – Have a multi-level donation stream offering. What will people get if they donate $1000, $50 right on down to a $25 donation? Beyond just donating money, what else can people do to help you? Outline any perks you have created.

Once all the elements for the pitch are addressed, then you much decide one of the most important details, which crowdfunding site to use.

Crowdfunding Sites– There are several crowdfunding sites. Each has their own pros and cons. Research the ones that will best suit your campaign and don’t be shy about asking others what has worked for them. No need to reinvent the wheel.

Then when you are ready to roll out share, share, and share some more.

Need help getting your crowdfunding campaign started? I’m here to help!