30th January, 2015

Inspired by a trip to #GoogleJuiceBar, this post is about the pressure to keep up with technology and be involved.

I've just been at the Google Juice Bar in the wonderfully refurbished Unity Works.  Unfortunately there was no opportunity to sample the delights of a juiced bag of spinach.... no, this was all about Google Juice;  how to get yourself found on line.  The lovely people from Google talked us through some of their great tools which help you understand how to have and impact and whether you're having an impact..... things like google analytics and google trends.  I'll be posting up my learnings in the Resources area of the website on Monday, but for the moment, I'm just going to have a bit of a rant...... nothing to set you up for the weekend like a little rant!

You see, without a full team of comms and web experts it just ain't possible to keep on top of it all and I'm asked again and again, "Should I be on .... insert media of choice".  The answer is almost always "it depends".  Time has to be one of the factors you consider when deciding how to reach out to your audience and increase their number.  Even the big organisations have to make decisions about what they prioritise and with an ever increasing number of social media platforms (most of which I've never heard of) it's really difficult to decide where you should spend your time and how much time you should be putting into the analysis.  So, here are a few of my thoughts on the matter:

  1. Don't take on more than you can service - a twitter account with no tweets is worse than no twitter account at all.
  2. Think carefully about where your audience is likely to be - a younger audience is more likely to be on reddit, flickr and the like rather than facebook for example.  A professional audience will be on LinkedIn.
  3. A captured audience is worth more than a big following on social media.  By this I mean that people who have opted to receive information from you - usually in email format - are worth more than a twitter or facebook following; and it's worth thinking about how you prioritise your time in servicing different platforms.
  4. Related to this, drive your social media contacts to become more deeply related - email sign up, volunteer sign up etc.
  5. Analytics are great.  They are some measure of how you are doing on Social Media - I use google analytics and Klout to assess how I'm doing..... BUT Analytics are not the be all and end all (a phrase coined by Shakespere incidentally and given to Macbeth!).... One contact generated by social media can jusify everything you ever do on it.
  6. As with everything, plan what you're going to do and stick to it for a bit, then assess what's working and what's not and tweak the plan accordingly.

So, what do we do at Nova?  Well, I am often to be found looking pretty similar to the picture above; we don't always get it right and often my schedule is packed to the gunnels with things to do.  But our strategy is to spend most time on our membership and email lists.  These are the people who we know want to hear from us and who we know will attend events and interact with us - they are our devoted customers.  So, my biggest investment of time is in the website and our emails.

However, it's likely there are a lot of potential members out there that don't know about us or who haven't seen a reason to sign up yet.  We are just about to instigate a marketing plan for these people and in all likelihood as much of that plan will be off line as on.  It'll be about persuading our members to tell others about our services and talking to non-members directly when we can.  We'll be using our on-line media as a back up for this, so asking everyone to sign up to the newsletter and follow us on Twitter.  Which brings me on to Twitter;  We use Twitter primarily to follow Voluntary Sector influencers like Navca, NCVO, other voluntary sector support agencies and the like.  We tweet our posts on the website and about the things we're doing.  

We don't currently have a Nova LinkedIn account but I use my personal account for anything which involves the corporate sector.  We don't use Facebook at all because we think we are better hosting that kind of interaction on our own website - hence the recent implementation of a blog on the website.

So, that's us.  What about you?  How do you cope with the pressures on your time?  What are your top tips?  Are there any tools or apps you've found which have been particularly useful in helping you manage your time?

We'd love to hear from you.  Do leave a comment below.

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