Top 2 Social Media Monitoring Sources and Tools for Not for Profit Organizations

Image Source  Luke Chesser via Unsplash

Social media has greatly impacted the ways in which people communicate whether they are everyday users communicating with friends and families or companies interacting with their audiences. However, if content and communication are key processes to a social media strategy, monitoring and measuring are equally as important. Through monitoring and measuring one’s social media pages, companies and social media users can profoundly improve their messages and reach.  Here, I would like to examine monitoring tools and sources of news that can be effectively used by not for profit organizations and for my own professional development.

When it comes to staying up to date on news related to not for profit, Narwhal and Charity Village seem to be great sources. Narwhal, launched in 2018, is a Canadian investigative news publication that deals with environmental issues (Gilchrist, 2019). They have also won and have been nominated for many national publishing awards and most recently been accepted as a member of the Institute for Not for Profit News (Gilchrist, 2019). Thus, I believe they are a credible source of information and it would be beneficial to follow them. Another great source for news in the not for profit sector would be Charity Village. They primarily serve as a job search site where job seekers can find meaningful work. However, readers can be updated on latest news through their articles, newsletters and podcasts. Charity Village also has online webinars and courses for their audience. This site is of particular interest to me as I am currently hoping for a career and industry change. Charity Village provides great resources to stay in the know as well as develop one’s skills whether they are currently in the not for profit sector or seeking new opportunities within it.

Two social media monitoring tools that are helpful to not for profits would be Google Alerts and BuzzSumo. Google Alerts, I believe, is a staple in the industry. If not for anything else, knowing how to navigate and utilize Google Alerts will be beneficial for one’s general and industry knowledge. I like the fact you can monitor websites, news, blogs, discussion boards, books and videos and even monitor by region and language on a daily basis. According to Boch, BuzzSumo is a great tool and is extremely valuable for nonprofit marketing toolbox as it saves both time and energy. From the few minutes I spent on it, I found it to be very user friendly. BuzzSumo allows users to trace and analyze competitor’s content and find influencers within the industry as well (Boch, n.d).

I believe these two social media monitoring tools and two sources of news channels would be of great value to me as I start to dig deeper into my areas of interest. Do you have any suggestions for other sources of news and tools for social media listening designed for not for profits? What are some of the hurdles you are finding with using such tools and any advice you’d like to share?

References

Bloch, Becca. (n.d). It did what? Free NGO Marketing Tools. Elevation [Blog Post].
     https://blog.elevationweb.org/free-marketing-tools-for-your-nonprofit   

Gilchrist, Emma. (2019). Institute for Nonprofit News welcomes The Narwhal as sole Canadian
     member.  
     https://thenarwhal.ca/institute-for-nonprofit-news-welcomes-the-
narwhal-as-sole-canadian-member/

   

WFH… WTF!?


Image Source  Nelly Antoniadou via Unsplash

When this whole pandemic started to really bear upon us back in March, I like most, was worried about what was in store. However, there was one thing I was stoked about, and that was to be working from home! One of the main reasons for my initial excitement was the thought of not commuting to work. I hate commuting! In fact, I had to switch jobs just for the commute. So the prospective of my early morning commute being from my bed to my desk was very appealing! It allowed me to save on some gas, and I got to sleep in a bit!


Image Source  Agnieszka Boeskevia Unsplash

But, 7 months in, and I’m starting to regret my initial joys. You see, work from home (WFH) arrangements doesn’t really suit a majority of people. I’m sure parents who now have to juggle their work life, home life and their kids’ school life will agree to this.  I am not a parent so I cannot speak to that. However, what I have found is the following:

Working from home has:

  • Blurred the lines between personal and professional life
  • Caused tension between members of the household
  • Lack of Social life
  • Affected Mental and Physical health

Image Source JESHOOTS.COM via Unsplash

 When I reflect on the above, I am not at all surprised to see that working from home can cause depression in some people and burn out in others. Working at the office allows me to leave my work behind. However, WFH has caused a blur between my personal and profession life. More often than not, one ends up working overtime without realizing it when they work from home. Also, with different modes of communication available to keep in touch, I am never disconnected from work. Where there was once the office phone and emails, there are now hundreds of DMs via Microsoft Teams, Skype and the likes. The negative effect of this on one’s personal life is profound if one lets it seep its way there as well (which I am guilty of). I can take out my frustrations on those dear and near.

However, after taking a step back in the last few weeks. I have gathered some ways to deal with this new normal. I am giving myself more breaks during work hours and ensuring I step away from the monitor for lunch. I also managed to get in a few walks after work and have been enjoying the last bit of fall weather before old man winter arrives. More importantly, I am sticking to a routine and setting boundaries. This last bit has helped me significantly as I am able to pursue other interests after work.


Image Source Aaron Burden Via Unsplash

Which brings me to my questions. Has anyone else recently started working from home? What has been your number one struggle? And for those who’ve always worked from home…any pointers?


The pitfalls of working from home and how to overcome them https://tinyurl.com/y2jsvz6w

WFH…not as fun as it sounds Find out why https://tinyurl.com/y2jsvz6w

My Personal Brand

Image by Arnel Hasanovic Via Unsplash

Against all odds I’ve survived since day one. The doctors told my parents I wouldn’t make it but lo and behold, here I am.

I am accountable, adaptable and approachable. Or so, that is what I see in the mirror. I don’t take anything for granted and I find a way to succeed in everything I do.  

My colleagues see me beyond these words. They value my resourcefulness, diligence, eloquence, meticulousness and team player attitude. They recognize my ability to go beyond the call of duty to ensure tasks are completed to the best of my ability. I have been praised as a high achiever and go-getter with a steadfast positive attitude. My handling of key projects that have resulted in stellar revenue generation has been noticed company wide. More importantly, leaders are thankful for my willingness to share my knowledge and inspire others.

My friends and family are grateful for my patience and willingness to share their burden. They appreciate my helping hand in times of need.

Reflecting on my journey, I recognize it hasn’t been an easy one. But despite the many setbacks, I ensure I make the most of what life throws my way with a pleasant attitude, a kind spirit and persistence.

This is not just a personal statement, it’s who I am and what I strive to be every day.

Marketing Under The Influence

If I were to say I am addicted to Youtube that would be an understatement. At one point I was spending hours upon hours on it, traveling across the globe and listening to countless stories from the comfort of my home. I’m sure I’m not the only one; in fact social media has become a major part of our lives in the last decade.


Image by Sara Kurfeß via Unsplash

Throughout the years there are couple things I’ve noticed when it comes to the videos I was watching. The Youtube landscape gradually changed from viral cute cat videos to the dawn of family vloggers and now lifestyle vloggers.  Along with this, I saw a rise in ads as well. I later came to know this was a new form of marketing called influencer marketing.


Image by  Stricker Mule via Unsplash

Influencer marketing, according to Forbes, is a type of social media marketing where brands partner with online content creators with significant followers in order to promote their products and services. This is because influencers have more engagement. They not only connect with their audience but activate their followers to comment and share their videos/posts and more importantly buy the items they promote. Although influencer marketing can be costly, it is believed to have a profitable ROI. It is no surprise as influencers can tap into their huge audience base that trusts them. In fact, 6 out of 10 people say they would buy from an influencer over T.V. personalities. Due to this, influencer marketing can be a great addition to a company’s social media strategy as it is impactful to the bottom line.


Image by  Diggity Marketing via Unsplash

However, it’s not all smooth sailing when it comes to influencer marketing. The industry, netting nearly $5-$10 million in market value, has become highly saturated. It seems everyone these days has a promo code for HelloFresh and the likes! Companies also have to be careful of those they bring on to partner with their brands. It has been known that many influencers buy fake followers to increase their audience. On the flip side, influencers face many challenges and rewards too when they partake in such advertising. They also need to be weary of the brands they endorse. For example, YouTube recently saw influencers back away from DevaCurl for ethical reasons. There’s also a need to be always “on” and be creative to gain more followers which can become taxing on the individual.


Image by  Mateus Campos Felipe via Unsplash

As an audience however, I am concerned about the legitimacy of influencer marketing especially when I see nonprofessionals giving out advice. It’s interesting to note that sometimes these advertisements are not blatantly evident.  Take for example Susan Yara of Mixed MakeUP. She does not hold any valid certification in dermatology, and that is not to say she cannot be an expert, but when she is critiquing dermatologists I do have some reservations.  Recently she also came under fire for promoting a company without being upfront to her audience about the fact that she was one of its co-founders.

Which leads me to my questions, is there room for improvement when it comes to influencer marketing? Do you know of any examples where it has been tastefully done?

Marketing Strategies for the new age. Is it worth it? Find out https://tinyurl.com/y3qfejfc
Influencer Marketing: A hit or a miss? Find out https://tinyurl.com/y3qfejfc

Lego: Blocked in?

Lego has been the staple of childhood pastimes and a nuisance to parents’ toes everywhere. Either way, Lego has been around for decades. It seems the company had a Midas touch in anything they tried their hands at. Their success over the years and the growth in their market share can be attributed to their efforts to diversify their product portfolio and target segments.  Lego has always catered to the young/adolescent boy market. However, they now incorporate product lines for young girls and adults offering not only the original Lego (or Lego Friends for girls), but licensed products and movies. For a brand that markets to various segments I was intrigued to explore further into their global campaign in an attempt to understand whether their success can be duplicated in a global market.


Image Source by Xavi Cabrera via Unsplash

Image Source by Kelly Sikkemavia Unsplash

But with their first global campaign in 30 years something fell short. The ad according to Marty Swant was a step towards global inclusion aiming at markets outside of North America and Europe (where Lego had their humble beginnings). Of course, on the surface it appears to be a success. The narrative strongly aligns with the campaign’s theme of “rebuilding the world”. In my opinion, this narrative centers on the shift in power dynamics. This can be seen through the diversity examined by gender roles (the newly wed bride carrying the groom holding his bouquet or the female black cop), animal welfare (the hunter being hunted) and the environment (animals and humans co-existing safely as seen by ducks crossing a busy street and a deer enjoying coffee with a lion on a crowded patio).

However, after watching this ad few times, what I recognize is something is missing. It doesn’t take long for one to notice that this ad catering to a global audience is missing, well, the rest of the world! It holds a very Western/European centric viewpoint, and we can clearly see that if we examine the streets, the characters and the story itself. A major reason for this could be that, despite close to a 500 person in house team, the ad was created with the help of French and Danish agencies. This is crucial and highlights the thoughts shared by Sonia Gibbs in developing a social media strategy in a culturally diverse world. According to Gibbs (2020), it is important to not only know your audience (through research) but value their input and feedback when developing social media strategies. It seems Lego failed in the second bit as they have completely excluded the target audience they were seeking in their ad.


Image Source by HONG LIN via Unsplash

Image Source by Yogi Purnama via Unsplash

Lego has found great success in classifying their target segmentation into personas and developing social media strategies around them; not only in an effort to create dialogue but for brand awareness and product improvement through user generated content as well. But for a brand that built its own airport to better sell its products to the world, Lego needs to find better ways to speak to its global audience (specifically if we look at their Rebuild the World campaign). If they truly want to inspire kids to build a world without limits they need to do a better job of including their target audience and not blocking themselves into a corner.

References
Gibbs, Sonia. (2020). Module 3:Understanding Audience Diversity and its Impact on Communication Style. BrightSpace.
https://ontariolearn.desire2learn.com/d2l/le/content/36136/viewContent/1748754/View

Why I am the Perfect Candidate


Image Source

It was finally over. A long day of work followed by an even longer day sitting through a lecture– which says a lot because I loved that class. As I made my way to the bus loop thinking of what I’d have for dinner it hit me. I had left my phone in the lecture hall! It was truly a doh! moment as I hurried back to retrieve it. As I got closer, the thought of never seeing my phone again dawned on me. But, I quickly shook it off thinking, who would want a taped up phone with half the numbers rubbed off? As luck would have it, one of my fellow students turned it in and my professor was waiting to return it to its rightful owner.

My name is Anitha and the above story is a representation of my belief around consumption. I hate throwing things in the garbage knowing it’ll sit in a landfill untouched for years to come, especially when it works just fine. So to answer your question, yes, I do go out of my way to reduce, reuse and recycle – so far as to even taping up my phone.

I went on to finish my courses at university earning a degree in Communications. But it is my passion for the environment and writing that led me to apply for this role at your company today.

As a Communication major who has taken several marketing courses I know the value and importance of communication, advertising and marketing. I am familiar with consumer behaviour, social media platforms, and communication strategies. I have used Microsoft Office, and SharePoint extensively throughout my career, and I am familiar with Adobe Creative Suite. 

My experience, as a Marketing and Sales Coordinator at a not for profit, provided me with many of the skills required for this position. For example, I have experience in coordinating communication activity in a multi-stakeholder environment. This included building and maintaining relationships with both internal departments as well as external vendor partners such as mail houses, graphic designers and news agencies like the Globe and Mail. One of my greatest achievements was surpassing our target by 10% within half the fiscal year. I managed to obtain this stellar result through critical path development, as well as constant measurement and evaluation of marketing campaign performance against plan. Furthermore, I am a highly motivated and result orientated person that values team work along with open communication and resourcefulness.

I believe my knowledge of communication strategies and my ability to manage multiple priorities simultaneously makes me a great candidate for this position. However, what excites me most is the oppourtunity to combine my passion for storytelling and project management with my passion for helping environment.


Image Source

100 % Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed!?

At 33, I finally feel as I have some sense of direction in terms of what I want from my career. However, it wasn’t always this way. I’ve held countless odd jobs over the years. The longest I’ve stayed with a company was at a national retailer. I worked there for over a decade holding various positions. What made it exciting and stressful all at the same time were my interactions with the customers. On any given day I can meet people from all walks of life. For the most part it was a customer centric role that involved me listening to their concerns and suggesting the correct products. Over the years, I began to notice a drastic change in customers’ behaviour. The number of people coming to me for advice dwindled, especially with the younger crowds. I noticed they became more self-sufficient in finding the product they needed as they had done their research ahead of time, using online platforms and social networking communities for reviews and advice. I felt like my job was going to go obsolete. But this all got me thinking, as consumers have more access to product/company information 24/7 via digital platforms and communities, what does that mean for businesses and their efforts to provide customer satisfaction? How can they stay competitive and relevant in today’s culture with social media being front and center?

As more and more people have access to technology and take part in the digital world, companies can turn to them to create, disseminate and maintain a brand identity. In relation to customer satisfaction, Reuters highlights the need for organizations to encourage their customers to provide feedback of their experiences and engage in online activities. In this way, companies can guarantee their digital communities remain loyal and satisfied. However, it is not only about encouraging brand loyalists to toot company’s horn.  As documented by Business2Community, companies must also build strong internal social media teams to ensure they are monitoring, engaging, and empowering their social channels. Deloitte also shares this sentiment and believes companies should actively participate in social listening in order to negate any issues that may arise, while ensuring the company’s voice is also heard.

Image by Morning Brew via Unsplash

Yet, we cannot simply ignore what this might mean for both social media marketers and users alike. According to SocialMediaToday who spoke to several social media managers across the globe, there are struggles that come along with this profession. As someone who has some sense of familiarity with this world, I can also concur that these challenges present a roadblock to effective social media strategies. For starters, as many managers attested to in this article, there is just so much to do in so little time. With countless platforms and even more voices to listen to, where do marketers find the time and resources? Even if they do have the time, many marketers find it challenging to remain impactful, on-trend and adhere to company guidelines all at the same time. Especially, in an age of cancel culture where it seems customers wield just as much power (if not more) as the companies themselves. It goes without saying that these challenges are also met by social media users who interact with their favourite and not so favourite brands online. For consumers, the challenge becomes one of trust. With companies paying influencers, and social media platforms to constantly sell them something and/or track their behavior online; how can they leave with a positive brand experience and be truly satisfied?

If I were to deduce, as it was in pre-social media times, customer service and satisfaction is a process that is never ending. It involves a relationship that builds upon trust, has effective listening and communicating at its core. What are your thoughts on this? What price does a business pay to attain 100% customer satisfaction in today’s digital society? What do they stand to lose if they continue to operate in more traditional avenues of communication?


100 % Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed!? – What does it mean in today’s digital world for social media marketers and users? Find out here.
100 % Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed!? In a Digital world? Find out here.

Sun, Sand and Some Fun!

You know that movie 27 Dresses where Katherine Heigl has an eclectic range of bridesmaid dresses? Well, I have nowhere near that, but I can hold my own if a competition arises for the most bridesmaid dresses or should I say bridesmaid sarees? If I’m being honest I always wanted to wear a dress to a wedding, but, the oppourtunity never seem to come my way. You see in my culture we don’t wear dresses to the formal wedding event, we wear sarees. Don’t get me wrong, I love my culture but I just wanted to let my hair down and twirl in a nice flowing dress for a change. As luck would have it, that oppourtunity came in May of 2019 when my close friend invited me to be her bridesmaid at a destination wedding! I felt elated at the chance to finally wear a dress and that too on a sandy beach...in Dominican Republic!

Coconut water on a sandy beach

That’s how my last vacation started — with a reason to celebrate! We arrived at our destination late at night and we were glad to be off the plane. My sister (who was my plus one for the event) and I along with another bridesmaid hurried to sign in to the hotel as we were told we had very little time before the restaurants closed. I’ll never forget the rush we felt that night. I genuinely felt like I was on the Amazing Race with all the scurrying around we were doing in the dark trying to find our way to the buffet and then to our rooms. There’s definitely a sense of adrenaline and wonder about being in a strange place isn’t there? For me, this vacation brought with it lot of new adventures. I think that’s why I felt that way.

For starters, I tried parasailing. Once I got over my initial fear, and was up in the air, I was so glad I did it. It was one of the most peaceful experiences I’ve ever had. I also got to go on a party boat that took us to the middle of the ocean. The cool part came when they docked the boat and told us to get off. I remember thinking, wait..what?  Little did I know that they had brought us to a natural pool. The water around us, in the middle of the ocean, was up to my chest! We spent nearly two hours floating about. It was so tranquil; I didn’t want to get back on the boat. Along with the countless hours spent by the beach, I got to ride some dune buggies as well. Looking back, I do regret not exploring the island a bit more to get a feel for the local culture. And of course, how can I forget the beautiful wedding and all the dancing that followed! We were on our feet until the wee hours of the morning and I got to do some twirls in my dress after all.

Vacations are often seen as a form of escapism. They let you escape your reality for a few days, a week or even months (for the lucky few). But, for me this vacation was all about witnessing a supportive friend getting married to the love of her life, going on adventures that I never thought were possible and making memories to last a lifetime. This vacation was eye opening in many ways for me. First and foremost, I am thankful I was able to experience such a vacation.

Where is this place you ask? Let it be where your imagination takes you. A place where the sun’s morning glory fills your eyes, the soft sand hugs your feet and the sounds of the crushing waves are endless. Let it be a place of some sun, sand and fun where we can all escape to during this time of restrictive travel.

P.S. If you’d really like to know where I went, it can be found in the first paragraph hidden from view;) Comment when you’ve found it!