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I removed a lot of stress in my work life with one simple app

By | and Tricks to Increase Impact, Social Media | No Comments

Over the past few weeks, I noticed that my stress level had been ramping up. I wasn’t entirely certain why, because things were going well: I had been productive, I had been having lots of meetings, things had been going well.

But something clicked, as I was sending an email in response to an email in response to a whole chain of emails asking to set a meeting to talk about something. This was the issue.

Strangely, a lot of my stress comes from needing to find a way to set times to meet: you have to hold three different options, then none are available, and finally the meeting gets scheduled at a time where you have to re-arrange everything else. It’s horrifying, and inefficient.

So I found an app to help out, and I’ve honestly felt a lot less stressed about meetings as of late. Read on to hear about it. Read More

Communicating your social impact

By | Social Enterprise, Social Impact, Social Media, Strategy and Advice | No Comments

I’m guilty of using big words when little ones suffice. And that can be a barrier to communicating social enterprise – complex terms can block our messages from reaching the very people we want to reach, and telling the stories we want to tell.

So how do we communicate our social impact? My suggestion: through communicating our values. And more. Read More

Choosing a social media manager: Buffer vs. Hootsuite

By | Impact Technology, Social Media | 2 Comments


Choosing a social media manager

A social media manager is something that any nonprofit, social enterprise, or progressive brand needs these days. You need something to manage your tweets, Facebook postings, Pinterest Pins, and other postings to various platforms. There’s a lot of choice on the market, too, so you can take your pick from platforms that interest you. But it’s sometimes hard to choose, which is why I’ve crafted a review for you on the two leading social media management platforms – Buffer and Hootsuite.

Historically, I’ve been a fan of Hootsuite – it’s a Vancouver-based, locally grown company that employs some of my friends. However, I’ve recently made the switch to Buffer for some significant reasons. Read on to learn more, and use this as further information to make your social media manager choice for your brand. Read More

Let’s Encrypt – nonprofit and community encryption

By | Impact Technology, Social Media, Strategy and Advice | No Comments

letsencrypt-logo-largeIf your organization has a website, you should seriously consider installing an SSL certificate on it to enable encryption. Otherwise, any information anyone sends to your site could be intercepted and stolen. If you handle personal information, that’s an alarming thing to think about.

But if your mind sort of boggled at the term “SSL certificate,” and if you’re afraid of even asking what that means, we’ve got good news – a nonprofit, community-based option has just opened up. It’s called Let’s Encrypt, and its goal is to help enable encryption everywhere on the internet – helping make personal data safer on the web.

First, let’s explain what this means.  Read More

Are you sending your email newsletters legally? An important check!

By | Social Media, Strategy and Advice | No Comments


Are you sending your emails legally?

Many of us in the nonprofit and social impact sectors are aware of the new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), but it seems that not everyone is – or of the potential outcomes if you’re not!

Today, the CRTC issued a press release detailing a $1.1 million dollar fine they assessed against CompuFinder, a company that does training for marketing and social media and other kinds of services. They do a lot of their marketing, apparently, through email.

CompuFinder did a few things wrong, according to the CRTC:

  • They couldn’t prove they had consent to market to the people who received the emails – and CASL requires that you collect express consent from people and document that consent.
  • While they provided an unsubscribe mechanism in their emails, it didn’t work. CASL requires you to provide an unsubscribe mechanism in your marketing emails – a link is often easiest – and it needs to remain active for at least 60 days after you send your message.
  • They accounted, apparently, for about 26% of all complaints in the CRTC’s database!

Many nonprofit and social impact organizations use emails to send notices of training workshops, programs, and other services. If you’re sending emails, make sure that you’re compliant!

Need advice on how to make your email marketing compliant with CASL? We’re here to help. Schedule a consultation and we’ll plan a strategy to keep you onside.

Screenshot of the Incipe Workers' Cooperative Facebook Page

Evaluating Facebook Ads – Are They Worth It?

By | Social Media | No Comments

Evaluating the channel before buying the ads

Are Facebook ads worth the expense for your nonprofit or co-op? We’re evaluating Facebook ads so that you and your groups can weigh the costs and benefits.

Screenshot of the Incipe Workers' Cooperative Facebook PageFacebook recently decided to give us some free credit for advertising through their ads system, and we thought we’d take the opportunity for some free word-of-mouth.  After all, a lot of nonprofits and advocacy groups use Facebook advertising to work towards spreading news of their campaigns, their projects, and the work that they’re trying to do. Co-op enterprises use social media and Facebook as another advertising channel.

So, we did a few things – spiced up our Facebook page before setting the ad, posted a blog post to serve as the ‘sponsored story’ link, and all kinds of other recommended things that experts have suggested.  The ad was approved, and released onto the market, and…

Boom. We got dozens of likes right quickly.

But we took a look at the people ‘liking’ our page – while there were some people obviously involved in our target demographics (we targeted Canadians who had interests and likes connected to the nonprofit, social enterprise, or cooperative field), there were a large number of people whose Facebook profiles showed no friends, had one or two photos, no activity, and were created very recently.  And these profiles all seemed to like thousands of Facebook pages.

Something didn’t seem right here.

In the end, it seems that there’s a serious issue plaguing Facebook advertising – through ‘blackhat social marketing,’ unscrupulous marketers or campaigners can ‘buy’ thousands of ‘likes’ on their pages, to create a false ‘buzz’ around their campaigns or products.  Purchasing these likes means thousands of fake accounts will like a page, falsely inflating the appearance of its reach.

These fake accounts plague the Facebook system. Many regular – and very real – users accidentally or innocently accept friend requests from these accounts, which inflates their reach, which feeds back into the loop that’s being created.

The fake accounts also end up ‘liking’ random Facebook pages, in various attempts to appear to Facebook administrators and moderators as real accounts; to do this, they like the ads that they see, in addition to the page that they’re being hired to like.

Here’s where a lot of our sudden boom in likes came from.

This can really impact your nonprofit, co-op, or advocacy marketing campaign.

Facebook charges you per click on your ad.  If there’s a substantive amount of false accounts liking your page, you’re likely to be paying for likes that aren’t real and reach that is inflated.  For some of us on small budgets actively trying to make an impact on social media, this is a budget-drain with absolutely no return on investment. For a few of us, this could be a serious issue.

What do we do?

  • Evaluate.  Take a look at your current Facebook audience, and get to know them – our page had very little likes pre-ad campaign.  Ask them to take action in promoting your page, by sharing stories, recommending your page to friends. Focus on digital word-of-mouth campaigns. In good conscience, we cannot easily recommend Facebook advertising to some of our clients because of the low return on investment and the high waste of ad money through fake likes.
  • A key evaluation is also consideration of whether you feel ads will have a meaningful impact – I regularly use Adblock extensions in my browser, and was debating turning them off to see the impact of Facebook ads. They aren’t always appealing.
  • Engage your audience and drive online traffic through real-world presence. Make your page engaging, offer images to be shared, campaign steps that users can easily take, and other ways of driving online traffic.   People respond well to calls-to-action – try that.
  • Work with us. We can work on organic social media campaigns where you don’t have to resort to paid advertising. That’s what we’re here for – let’s get started.