Social Media Audit: Oxfam Australia

I’m not sure if I’ve announced it via my blog or not, but I’ve decided to move back to Australia. After 10+ years of living abroad it’s time for me to return to the motherland.

I’ve spent the past few weeks researching and applying for digital marketing positions in Australia. I’ve always kept an eye on the non-profit scene in Australia, so I knew from the get go that there would be plenty of job opportunities for me at one. Luckily for me, one of the non-profits that I am most interested in, Oxfam Australia, is currently hiring for a social media position. As a part of my research for the job application I conducted a mini social media audit to get a better idea of their online presence. I find it’s always best to walk into a job interview with an extensive knowledge of the clients business and their needs.

Here are my findings.

Website (Grade: A-)

Oxfam Australia Website

Current footer of Oxfam Australia

Overview: I’m a firm believer that social media links should be in the top right hand corner of every website. As a customer, that’s the first place that I look. Oxfam currently has their social media links in the footer of their website. It’s important that Oxfam Australia takes steps to leverage the power of social media on their website. There are several thousand articles on the internet that detail the importance of social media integration, but I’ll leave that decision up to the digital team at Oxfam. I will say that the Oxfam Australia website is a lot cleaner than the Oxfam International website, so kudos to the web development team for keeping it simple. There’s nothing worse than a website with too much going on!

Oxfam Australia Blog Screenshot

“Social Share” buttons on Oxfam blogs

Content: The content on their website is fresh and up-to-date, although I imagine an international brand like Oxfam doesn’t have much trouble with their SEO efforts. There are blogs posted every second day, but there are no social share buttons on the posts. There is a hyperlink that says “tweet” which just shares the link (no text, title, or twitter handle) to Twitter. They do, however, have Disqus installed, which is a great platform for engagement.

Oxfam Australia Petition Screenshot

Current “sharing” option on Oxfam Petition

Twitter Petition Screenshot

Example of “I just signed a petition” tweets

Suggestions: I would change the location of the social sharing buttons to the top of the website, and if possible add floating social sharing links. This would help promote the sharing of their website and help with their SEO. I would also add social sharing links to all the blog posts (this is just a simple WordPress plugin) to increase the user experience, help with brand exposure, and is honestly just “best practice” at this point. Something else that might be cool is a “Share This” link after signing an Oxfam petition.
This could be an option to share a message to either Facebook or Twitter that says, “I just signed XXX petition on @OxfamAus to XXX the XXX. Join me in the fight #OXFAM.” This is a great way to tap into peoples innate desire to make a difference (and to tell everyone that they’re doing it!), but also an easy and organic way to spread the news of Oxfam’s latest petitions.

Facebook (Grade: A-)

Screenshot of Oxfam Australia Facebook

Overview: The first thing I noticed is that the Oxfam Australia Facebook page is not verified. I know from previous research that the America and Great Britain pages are. The second thing I noticed is that it’s “OxfamAustralia” (one word) vs “Oxfam Australia.” Not sure if that’s a conscious decision or not, but it’s peculiar. All I have to say about that is that consistency across all platforms is really important. The cover photo that’s currently selected is brilliant – Oxfam puts a high focus on people and the international community. The current cover photo really reflects that. It’s also high quality, properly cropped, and has the logo in the bottom right hand corner. I would say that the logo should be a little bit higher as it’s currently blocked by the interaction buttons. I will say that the Oxfam Australia Facebook page is doing a fantastic job at curating (and creating) engaging images. The images that they use on their page are definitely powerful and engaging, and always relevant to their messaging.

Content: The first thing to note is that the page is updated daily and regularly with high-quality pictures, links, and videos. The posts attract a decent amount of likes, comments, and shares which the current social media team is doing a good job responding to. It is clear that the Oxfam Australia team sees value in engaging with its Facebook audience. However, the “About” section of Oxfam Australia could do with some work. In terms of brand consistency, the ‘short description’ is not consistent with Oxfam GB or Oxfam USA. The overview, location, and products sections are filled out properly. I would suggest adding life events, like the British and American Oxfam pages have done, as well as possibly adding some “house rules” (the British page does this) about deleting comments and/or banning users. The Facebook content being used is a good mix between links, photos, and videos. That’s always good practice! I would, however, suggest uploading more videos directly to Facebook, especially since they auto-play in the mobile feed, and test how the audience engages with them. This shouldn’t be an issue since Oxfam Australia has a large library of high quality videos on their YouTube channel.

Screenshot of Oxfam GB post

Oxfam GB puts a positive spin on their Facebook posts

I do fear that the Oxfam Australia page posts too many “negative” things, and should try and mix in a few more achievements. The Oxfam GB page does a really good job of this (see right), and you can see that is pays off in social shares/likes. Oxfam deals with some very heavy material (poverty, income inequality, land grabs, etc), which makes it difficult to decide what content to share on Facebook. It’s important to know and understand your audience, and to remember that Facebook is a platform that people visit to take their minds off things. In that sense, it might make more sense for Oxfam Australia to start focusing more on their successes as an organisation vs. their challenges. It might be time to start experimenting with a “80-20” rule, where only 20% of the content is “heavy stuff” and the other 80% focuses on Oxfam’s success and thanking its donors. Again, it’s really important that you listen to your audience and adjust your content according to what’s working and what isn’t. Hubspot wrote a fantastic article on how non-profits can use Facebook to drive engagement, and it talks about understanding your audience. In the case of Oxfam Australia, their most successful Facebook posts have been positive news, thanking their audience, or success stories. While I fully understand both the significance and importance of Oxfam’s efforts, there is no harm in experimenting with different content and giving your audience what it wants. It’s about re-working your content and making it “social” friendly. For example, the Charity: Water Facebook page is filled with pictures of how their organisation has positively effected people. Their posts receive consistently high engagement and they well-known for having a successful social media strategy.

Oxfam Community Manager Facebook Response

Oxfam Australia responds to negative feedback

Suggestions: Apart from the suggestions that are outlined in the content section, I would say that Oxfam Australia should start experimenting more with promoted posts. Recently, Facebook made a change to the newsfeed algorithm which resulted in a significant decrease in the organic reach of company’s posts. One of the best ways to get back onto your fans timelines is to boost Facebook posts. Also, I would be more careful with responses to Facebook fans.  It’s very common to receive negative feedback on Facebook, and it’s very important that a community manager handles these comments with grace. It’s also important that negative feedback be handled diplomatically. I’m not sure that the response (pictured to the right) was the correct way to respond. Unless, of course, this is the correct response outlined in their social media strategy. To me, this response doesn’t seem consistent with the voice and personality that Oxfam Australia has displayed across it’s other platforms. It’s important to adopt a voice that is consistent with your brand values, and although this response is consistent I’m not sure that the tone is.

Twitter (Grade: B+)

Oxfam Australia Twitter Account

Overview: The first thing I noticed is that Oxfam Australia has a space between the words (unlike their Facebook). I cannot stress the importance of consistency enough. This is definitely something that the social media team should look into. Again, the cover photo is brilliant and reflects the voice and personality of Oxfam. Oxfam International has always placed a high importance of people, and this cover photo shows just that. I’m immediately pleased to see that the Oxfam Twitter account is posting different content than the Facebook page. It’s really important to understand that there are different audiences (and therefore different needs) on each social media platform. Again, Oxfam International and America are verified but Australia is not.

Oxfam International Twitter Screenshot

Oxfam International shares Huffington Post article

Content: Oxfam Australia actively tweets, and retweets, relevant articles. Occasionally they interact with the other Oxfam groups (in both a serious and comical manner) and respond to @mentions. You can tell that they’ve started to experiment more with pictures (huge plus!) and that they have a grasp of basic Twitter etiquette. Right now, @OxfamAustralia tweets about 4 times a day and it’s mostly just Oxfam Australia content. It might be useful to start tweeting content from other reputable sources (like Oxfam International does). It’s generally considered “best practice” to follow the 80/20 rule. That is that 80% of your social media activity should be about helping your community, and 20% should be about promoting yourself.

Suggestions: I would definitely suggest that Oxfam Australia invest in Twitter scheduling software. I can tell that @OxfamAmerica is using Hootsuite to schedule their posts and that (via Twitonomy) @Oxfam is using a mix of Hootsuite and Sprout Social. According to Twitonomy, @OxfamAustralia is tweeting from the Hootsuite account but that’s not always obvious. Second, I would suggest that @OxfamAustralia define their purpose for being on Twitter. Is it to promote their cause? To engage with their audience and in conversation? Or something else? Tweets mentioning @OxfamAustralia Third, I would suggest that @OxfamAustralia start to “listen” on Twitter. Listening is one of the most important things your brand can do on social media. You can tell almost instantly that @OxfamAustralia isn’t actively engaging with their community because of their low favourite count and out-going @mentions. This is such a missed opportunity! There is some fantastic conversation surrounding @OxfamAustralia on Twitter, and it would be to their advantage to join in. Plus, listening and participating in relevant conversations is definitely “best practice” on Twitter. Fourth, and this is just something really minor, I would interact more with the other @Oxfam Twitter accounts. The international @Oxfam account does a brilliant job at this. It just makes Oxfam seem like more of a family, and makes it obvious that you’re listening and participating in conversations.

YouTube (Grade: A)

Oxfam Australia YouTube

Overview: The first thing to note is that the general appearance of their YouTube page is up to date. All of their platforms are properly linked, the banner picture is high quality and relevant, and description is properly filled out. Oxfam Australia is killing it with their banners! They’re always of faces, laughing and/or smiling, and really exemplify the company’s strategy to “mobilise the power of people against poverty.”

Content: The account is updated with videos almost bi-weekly (anywhere between 5-9 videos monthly) and are all of high quality. The descriptions are filled out properly, but there is little interaction. Although they only have 580 subscribers (as of July 17th) their videos often reach thousands of people. Of particular interest to me was a video about Working at Oxfam Australia. Videos are consistent with their branding. In 2011, Oxfam announced an international re-brand. The goal was to create a single global brand identity across its 14 affiliates to create a consistent brand personality and strengthen campaigning. There’s a high focus on children,

Suggestions: They’re currently utilising playlists to sort their videos, which is great, but don’t have any featured channels listed. This would be a great opportunity for them to link to other Oxfam locations, which would help highlight their global efforts. Adding clickable links to their videos might help to drive some traffic back to their website (or other social platforms) as well.  They have a lot of great content on their YouTube channel, but I feel like they aren’t promoting it enough! Oxfam Australia should definitely start sharing these videos on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc.


All in all, I think that the current community manager at Oxfam Australia is doing a decent job. Being a community manager is a tough gig – representing a brand and being a part of an online community 24/7 is hard. All they need to do now is make a few (minor) adjustments to their social media strategy, and they’ll be on their way.

Oh, and they could hire me too.

P.S. The Facebook post about the Community Manager position is hilarious. Bravo!

Oxfam Australia post about community manager position.

Oxfam Australia post about community manager position.


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It’s been a while – I know.

My apologies for not keeping this blog up to date.

As you may or may not know, I just graduated from Boston University! As you can imagine, the past few weeks have been filled with celebrations (read: me sobbing in the corner realising that I’m no longer a student and just ‘unemployed’)

I’m back at work at United Planet, where I’m now working full-time as their social media specialist. It’s very exciting stuff! In fact, we just got three new marketing interns and I’m going to be working with one of them exclusively. That means I’ll get to teach her everything I know about non profit marketing and social media!

I’ll blog you soon,


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#GivingTuesday Essentials:

Have you ever posted a funny and informative tweet that you thought deserved more attention? As a marketer, there’s nothing more frustrating than creating great content but nobody seeing it. Thunderclap aims to change that.

Screenshot of website

Screenshot of website

I’m sorry… Thunder what? is a new crowd-sourcing website that lets supporters of a cause pledge to share a message at a certain time, thereby boosting the audience of the message by substantially. Users can opt to share the predetermined message on their personal Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr accounts.  It’s been described as an “online flash mob” as it allows you to reach users that you wouldn’t usually be able to. It’s important to note that when you sign up to use Thunderclap, you’re authorising the app to share a single message on your behalf. After the campaign is over, Thunderclap promises that they won’t post again from your account.

Thunderclap is open to use for non profits, government agencies, individuals, and anything in between. The British Labour Party has already taken advantage of it, and reported that thanks to Thunderclap their message reached the feed of 4.5 million people. And they’re not the only ones taking advantage of this awesome new tool.

How do I use

Set up Thunderclap CampaignIn order to create a Thunderclap account you need a Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr account to connect it with. When you log in, you’ll be directed to a dashboard that will give you an overview of your scheduled Thunderclaps. To start a new Thunderclap go to the top right hand corner of the screen and click “Start a new Thunderclap.” That will direct you to the next screen where you’ll be able to fill out a name, category, message, and photo. The “message” is what your followers are going to tweet out, so I would suggest using a few hashtags and keeping it short incase anyone wants to add a message before the tweet. You can see what your message looks like in the top right hand corner (red circle) and personalise it to make sure it looks just right. Set Up

You also might want to personalise the picture you use, the way that #AIDSFreeGen did on their profile, and share the same picture across multiple social media platforms to add some consistency to your campaign. To get an idea of what sort of message you should use, take a look at some of these successful campaigns that are running right now:

Campaigns are typically authorised between 1-3 days, the entire website is free (unless you want to use Pro for $500 per campaign) and it’s really easy to use. If you haven’t already set up a campaign for #GivingTuesday, I would highly suggest doing so.

Update Your Cause

Taken from blog

Another really cool part of Thunderclap is the option to create updates for your followers. You can do in the “Project Update” tab under the “My Thunderclaps” section of your admin page. Supporters love staying up to date and to see how they’re making a difference in your campaign, every before it’s over. Also, saying “thank you” never hurt anyone! Thank your supporters for their support up until this point, or thank them after the campaign is over.

How do I market Thunderclap?

You’re in luck: has a guide on how to promote and run a successful Thunderclap campaign. The guide includes how to optimise your campaign, marketing templates, and much more. Here’s a quick summary of the guide:

  • Keep your message short and sweet (I support meaningful volunteer experiences #teamunitedplanet)
  • Set a deadline of 2-3 weeks.
  • Thunderclap suggest promoting through email, embedded website, twitter, Facebook, tumblr, and youtube.
    • Make sure to have a clear call to action and to specify that you want them to join through Thunderclap (not just “like” your Facebook status)
  • Use “Updates” to rally support for your campaign and/or to update supporters on your campaign’s progress.

If I had some suggestions it would be to advertise on Pinterest, possibly have a countdown going on your Instagram, and to blog about what Thunderclap is so that your supporters know what’s going on. I know the Thunderclap guide mentioned that in your email marketing you should include a brief paragraph about what the website is, but I would personally link to a blog post that goes into detail about the site. It generally makes people uncomfortable to “link” their personal accounts to outside sources, and the idea of a new website posting on “their behalf” is a bit scary. I’m always terrified that a service is going to take advantage of my Twitter account and post crazy spam messages!


Honestly, I think this is a fantastic idea. I’m not surprised at how many companies have already sign on to this, but I am surprised that I’ve yet to see a Thunderclap message on my Twitter feed. The United Nations Beyonce campaign reached 1 billion people and yet I don’t remember seeing anything about it. But maybe I’m just getting old and my memory isn’t as good as it used to be!

It’s simple, and I think it’s largely symbolic of the what the modern political activist is turning into. This is a “lazy” but powerful way to spread a message. All I have to do is sign up, authorise my accounts, and Thunderclap does the rest. It makes me feel like I’ve contributed to something, and it gives your campaign the coverage that it needs. What more could I want?

More Articles on Thunderclap

Read more about Thunderclap:

Remember to follow me on Google+ and Twitter to stay up to date on my efforts.

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Oh, The Places You’ll Go: How to use Pinterest’s new Place Pins


If MTV ever filmed a “True Life” segment about being addicted to Pinterest, I would be the perfect candidate. I’m seriously addicted. I use it to find DIY projects, recipes, outfits, and look at adorable kittens. I’m obsessed and I’m not the only one. Pinterest is the fastest-growing social network available with 53 million monthly users — and, according to this Hubspot article, has more clout when it comes to ecommerce than both Facebook and Twitter combined.

Pinterest, really?

Pinterest should be an integral part of your marketing plan. According to studies done by Hubspot, Pinterest drives 25% more sales than last year. Oh, and also, Bing (the search engine) recently announced that it will integrate Pins into Image Searches. So not only are there millions of people using the site, but it can help you create leads and customers. For more information on how to set up and use Pinterest for your non profit, check out my “Pin the Change” page.

Pinterest Place Pins? What are those?

Pinterest Places

It’s the brand spankin’ new location based feature that turns your Pinterest boards into a map. It basically allows users to give their pins locations and plot them on a map. It’s kind of like Instagram’s photo map. But why? Why would Pinterest do this? According to the announcement they made on their blog, “every day people pin about 1.5 million places, and now there are more than 750 million pins of these destinations on Pinterest.” Basically, a whole lot of people use Pinterest to share things that are travel related. If you’re still a little bit confused about what it is, Pinterest has created a page of examples to help. It seems like a really cool feature but there are a few problems.

First and foremost, they’re using Foursquare integration (vs Google Maps). This means that adding a location can be a bit of a struggle because not all venues exist on Foursquare. If you find that a location you need to use doesn’t exist, visit this Foursquare link to add a venue.  Second, it doesn’t work properly. There are still lots of glitches with the program that should have been sorted out prior to going public with it. Third, I really don’t like that you can’t toggle between map-view and the standard Pinterest view. So if you add locations to your Pinterest board, it will permanently change to look like this. 

How do I make a Pinterest place board?

Add a Place

When you log into Pinterest you’ll probably see an announcement about Pinterest Places on the top of your page. You can click through the “how-to” guide there, where Pinterest will walk you through how to set up maps, or you can just select “add a map” when you create a new board. If you want to add locations to an existing board, go to the settings and click “add a place.” It’s all a bit confusing right now because, like I said, Pinterest is bugging a bit and facing lots of technical difficulties. If you want to see some examples of companies that are already taking advantage of the new tool, and doing so without technical difficulties, check out Fodors and the University of Michigan.

I should note that a lot of people are having trouble with adding maps to existing boards. It seems the features are still a bit buggy but Pinterest reps claim they are “working on it.” If you’re having technical difficulties I would suggest submitting a complaint to Pinterest and letting them know. It’s a cool feature, or at least it will be when it works.

How can my non profit use Pinterest Places?

Luckily enough, I was able to create a board for United Planet that you can see here. As I’ve mentioned before, United Planet sends volunteers to locations all over the world. That means that Pinterest Places is going to be a really great tool for us to use with our Pinterest marketing. Recently I added locations to our pins to show people where you volunteer with us! I’ll also start adding locations to any other relevant boards. That’s what’s going to be key about Pinterest Places: relevancy. Don’t add Places to boards that don’t need them! Here are some ideas for your non profit:

  1. Create a Pinterest Places board to show where you currently have projects like United Planet did. This will help people discover projects that are close to them!
  2. If you sell products with your logo on them, create a board similar to Charity:Water’s and add locations to your pins.
  3. Create a board that shows where you’re volunteers are working, like Amnesty International, and add locations to make it more visual.
  4. If you have a collection of photographs that your company has published, like UNICEF, try adding locations to make your boards more interactive.
  5. The World Wildlife Fund could add locations to their “WWF together” board to show us where endangered animals are located.

Other Links

To see how other non profits are using Pinterest, check out this “group” Pinterest board filled with international non profits. If you’d like to read what other people are saying about Pinterest Places here are a few more links:

P.S. Pinterest also launched a “now-trending” tool for select businesses (Zappos and Walmart) this week. It will show users what products are getting the most love from Pinterest. I suspect this will become a powerful sales tool for e-commerce sites this season!

Remember to follow me on Google+ and Twitter to stay up to date on my efforts.

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Top 6 Non Profit Marketing Blogs You Should Be Reading

Top 6? Why not top 5? Well, I like to shake things up around here. Keep it fresh and original. And also, if we’re being honest, I couldn’t stick to just 5 companies but had no desire to write until 10.

Non Profit Marketing Blogs? Those Exist?

Uh, yeah. They do. And if you’re not already reading them then you better start bookmarking! Although I guess my blog sort of falls into that category so you’re already aware that they exist to a certain extent.

Taken from Minn Post

As a social media marketing manager, or someone who is involved in online marketing, it’s your job to stay on top of industry trends. I don’t have to tell you how quickly the social media world changes and therefore how important it is that you’re “constantly in the loop.” I mean, if something as cool as BatKid is happening and your non profit hasn’t mentioned it on social media… that’s just a loss of potential traffic – and your loss is someone else’s gain. It’s also probably in your job description to report any new trends back to your superior, so, you know… That’s important! I know the struggle – I mean, how am I supposed to stay on top of all this information? That’s why I’ve collected some of my favourite non profit marketing blogs to help you stay in the loop. I chose these blogs because I feel they have superior content, a good use of multi-media, attractive and functional design, and most importantly convenient social media sharing. These are, what I believe to be, signs of a well informed social media coordinator, or an industry influencer.

Six Non Profit Marketing Blogs You’re Gonna Wanna Know About

  1. NP Engage
    NP Engage is actually split into 7 different blogs (analytics, CRM, event fundraising, integrated marketing, interactive, non profit management, research and trends, and technology) so it’s just a pool of helpful information. It’s almost overwhelming how many resources they provide. My favourite part of the blog is a weekly segment that they publish called “The Non Profit Weekly Roundup.” The author, Madeline Turner, summarises any relevant information into a few bullet points. It’s a great way to catch up on anything that you might have missed.
  2. Beth’s Blog
    I would be a fool not to mention Beth Kanter in a “best of” post. Beth is a non profit guru. She’s got thousands of followers spread across multiple social media platforms, and it’s because of that she is considered an industry influencer. She recently published a great guide on how to “kickstart your non profits #GivingTuesday campaign” that is a must read for anyone who is planning on being involved.
  3. Kivi’s Non Profit Communications Blog
    What I really love about this blog is how relatable it is. She writes in a conversational tone, which makes the content easy to understand and fun to read. She also hosts lots of well informed guest bloggers, which keeps her content and insights fresh. I love this series that she’s doing called “A Day in the Life of a NonProfit Communicator” where she basically asks communicators coordinators to describe their average day. It’s really insightful and I’d highly suggest reading some of them!
  4. Non Profit Tech For Good
    This might be a shameless plug because I’m interviewing to work for them, but I honestly wouldn’t apply to work at a company that I didn’t think was incredible. If you aren’t making use of their webinars, or if you aren’t aware of their services, you’re seriously missing out. NP Tech For Good’s blog is an incredible resource for anyone looking to further their expertise in social media, mobile media, fundraising, or anything else related to non profit tech. Their whole goal is to provide easy-to-understand information related to non profit technology to non profits… So, that’s pretty much what this entire list is about. And that’s why they’re on it!
  5. Cone Communications
    I’m not sure if I’m “allowed” to include public relations and marketing companies on this list, but whatever. Who can you trust more to keep you up to date with communications trends? And honestly, I love Cone. I love the fact that they have a cause marketing and non profit marketing category on their blog, and I especially love that it’s jam packed with relevant information. Their titles are always quirky, they host tons of guest bloggers, and they know their stuff. They also do a bunch of relevant research and provide their results online.
  6. Hubspot 
    I mean. Duh. If you’re following me on Twitter (and you should seriously re evaluate your life if you aren’t) you’ll notice that I post a lot of articles from Hubspot. Also, if you’re at all involved with inbound marketing you’re probably just as obsessed with Hubspot as I am. Taylor Corrado, one of two non profit savvy employees at Hubspot, is definitely on her way to becoming an industry leader. Not only is she an engaging writer but she knows her stuff. I would keep my eye on her if I were you.

More Non Profit Marketing Tools

Just as a side note – if you’re looking for a way to keep up with industry trends I would also follow my social media and marketing or my cause marketing + non profit tech Flipboard magazine. How’s that for a shameless plug? Also, for more general information on keeping up with social trends and how-tos I would suggest following Mashable Social Good or The Non Profit Quarterly. Pretty much anything that Aine Creedon posts is golden.

But you already knew that! Right? Right.

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What’s all the buzz about? Amazon Smile.


If you’re active on social media, and I pray to George Clooney that you are, you’ve probably seen a few tweets or posts about Amazon Smile this week. If you haven’t had the time to Google it, Amazon Smile is a new initiative where Amazon will donate 0.5% of your (the customer) total purchase to a non profit of your choice. It’s easy donating, a great way to give back this holiday season, and it’s going to be an excellent way for your non profit to boost its profits this holiday season. Cool, right? You wanna sign up, right? How do we get those donations, right?

Let me show you.

Amazon Smile for Customers

Categories for shopping with Amazon

Amazon Smile is exactly the same as Amazon. The only difference is that instead of shopping at “,” you’re shopping at “” Apart from that it’s the same prices, same products, same payment method, etc. All Amazon has done is said “we’ll donate 0.5% of your total to a charity of your choice.” You, the customer, just have to choose a product that is “eligible for Amazon Smile.” There are over one million charities on Amazon Smile that you can choose from, which is pretty cool for the consumer, and apparently tens of millions of eligible products. Oh! And if you’re signed up for Amazon Prime it still applies. Which is awesome, because nobody wants to wait more than two days for new stuff. You use the same Amazon account that you use for your regular purchases and it’s just as quick and seamless as the original website.

Some things to note: you have to choose your organisation before making a purchase and because the donation is made through Amazon you are not eligible for a tax deduction. This is important for you to know, as social media marketers, because I’m sure that most people will be weary about using something new.

Amazon Smile for Non Profits

According to the FAQ, in order to be eligible for Amazon Smile you must:

  • Be public charitable organizations that are registered and in good standing with the IRS as a 501(c)(3).
  • Be located in one of the 50 U.S. states or the District of Columbia.
  • Not engage in, support, encourage, or promote intolerance, hate, terrorism, violence, money laundering, or other illegal activities
  • Adhere to the AmazonSmile Participation Agreement to maintain eligibility.


So that’s great! I actually did a trial run for United Planet and it seems pretty easy to sign up. You basically go to this website to sign up with an account that’s registered to your non profit (don’t use your personal Amazon account). We actually already had an account with Amazon because we use Amazon Ads, so we’ll be using that account. They use electronic transfers to send you the money, and they are “transferred approximately 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter”.

Oh hey – here’s something really important: Customers can donate to your cause if you’re not signed up already. From my understanding, if you don’t register your non profit for Amazon Smile (and your funds aren’t claimed within a year) then the funds will be distributed to other registered non profits. So make sure to sign up ASAP!

How to Market Amazon Smile

Amazon Smile is going to be a crucial part of your “holiday” marketing campaign. Do a quick Twitter search and you’ll see that non profits are already tweeting out messages about donating to #amazonsmile.

Amazon Smile Hashtag

It should be integrated into your all of your social media platforms, blog, website, and email marketing. I would suggest writing a blog post about what Amazon Smile is, or maybe even include it in your holiday email, and then ask people to consider donating to your cause this winter. You should only begin advertising with social media once you’ve explained what it is.

I’m not sure if you’re aware of how important Google+ is to appearing on search engines results, but I would absolutely make sure to post on your G+ account. When doing so, make sure to keep it visual. G+ posts do a lot better when they contain a picture.

Here are some other ideas on how to integrate Amazon Smile into your holiday marketing plan:

  • A Facebook (and Google Plus) header with a CTA that leads to your Amazon Smile page.
  • A blog post about the 10 coolest things you can buy this Christmas… With click through links to Amazon and your Amazon Smile page.
    • For United Planet, we might make a list of things that volunteers could use on their volunteer trip. We’ve already got a Pinterest board dedicated to the topic so we might just draw from that.
  • Use of the “#amazonsmile” hashtag. A tweet might look like “This holiday season shop @AmazonSmile and support XXX Fund! #AmazonSmile
    • You could also start tracking keywords or phrases on Hootsuite like “I don’t know what to buy” or “Christmas Presents ?” and suggest that people buy their presents on Amazon and donate to you.
    • Make sure to add pictures to your tweets. Reports have shown that tweets that contain pictures do a lot better than those who don’t. This probably has something to do with how pictures are now being shown on users timelines.
  • A Pinterest board of cool things that you can buy on Amazon Smile that will donate to your cause. Make sure that the click through link on the picture leads them to YOUR Amazon Smile Page.
    • You could also do this with your Instagram account (collages?) or Vine account (stop motion videos). Notice how a lot of these ideas are visual. Visual marketing is key!

Do you have any other cool ideas for how to integrate Amazon smile into your marketing plan? Let me know! I’d love to hear about any other ways that your non profit is using Amazon Smile.

More Reading

If you need to do some more research on Amazon Smile in order to present the idea to your company here is a collection of articles that I found helpful.

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The Most Important Day of the Year: Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday

Hopefully the words “Giving Tuesday” hold some sort of significance to you as someone who is involved in social media for non profits. If not, you definitely need to start doing your research! Giving Tuesday is one of the most important days of the year for a non profit looking for funding and it’s absolutely crucial that you are involved.

What is Giving Tuesday?

#GivingTuesday, which takes place this year on December 3rd, is a day that aims to kick off the holiday giving season. Strategically placed after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the day invites people to make a donation (of either personal time or money) to support things like big issues (think global poverty) or more local issues (think homelessness).  Families and individuals are encouraged to be generous in whatever ways matter to them, whether that means volunteering at a local charity or donating to a favourite cause. It’s basically an national campaign to encourage charitable activities that support non profits. Hopefully you’re starting to understand how important it is that your non profit is involved.

Giving Tuesday

How do we get involved?

To be an official partner, you must be a registered non-profit [a 501(c)3 in the United States] with a specific #GivingTuesday initiative, or a for-profit business, school, religious or community group who commit to spearhead a project that will benefit at least one registered charity or non-profit. This is super important. If you don’t have a specific initiative, either take steps to create one or sit this year out. Here’s a great HubSpot article on how to amplify your Giving Tuesday campaign. Oh! Also, Giving Tuesday actually provides a bunch of suggestions on how non-profits can become involved on Giving Tuesday.



Anyways, if you don’t have a specific initiative I would suggest that you don’t get involved. United Planet, the non-profit that I work for, won’t be registering as an official partner but we will be promoting Giving Tuesday on our blog and social media in general. It’s really about the bigger picture. The non profit community as a whole is coming together to promote a day of giving. The fact that this takes place on social media means that it’s going to be easy for your non profit to take part, and in doing so you’ll probably draw some traffic to your website and/or help spread awareness of your cause. You’ll also get to interact with other members of the non profit world, which is always a plus.

Stock Photo

Give me some numbers.

If you’re still not convinced that being involved in Giving Tuesday is an absolute must then let me convince you with some numbers. I’m not sure why, but crazy awesome statistics are always super convincing. So here you go:

  • In 2012, more than 2,500 partners from all 50 states of the US took part in Giving Tuesday.
  • Blackbaud, the accounting software that Giving Tuesday uses, processed over $10 million in online donations on the 27th.
  • Paypal mobile donations soared 487% higher than the previous year’s number. The total value of those donations increased 228%.
  • More than 50 million people worldwide spread the word about Giving Tuesday – you better believe that it was a trending topic world wide too!
  • According to this infographic, the 28 clients that promoted Giving Tuesday performed 170% better on the actual day.
  • The movement was named the “Social Innovation of the Year” by; “One of Five Philanthropy High Points in 2012” by the Chronicle of Philanthropy; received a 2013 Cannes Lions Award; and is a finalist for the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation. (Stats from this article)

At this point, I’m going to assume that you’re completely convinced that your non profit needs to take part in Giving Tuesday. Just in case you don’t fully understand what it’s about or how your non profit can take part I’ve added some articles for you to read at the end of this post.

So – will you be taking part in Giving Tuesday? What role will your non profit play? Can’t wait to see you all actively using the #GivingTuesday hashtag next month!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter to keep up to date with new blog posts, fresh content, and anything else that catches my eye.




Some extra reading for you

Obviously the media is buzzing about Giving Tuesday. In fact, Huffington Post has an entire section of their website dedicated to it. Salsa Labs designed an on-demand webinar about how to raise more money with a Giving Tuesday plan. For Momentum, who specialise in cause marketing, wrote an article on How to Maximise Your 2013 Giving Tuesday Results. Also, like I mentioned above, the GivingTuesday website has a whole bunch of resources for you to use. They’ve actually put together Tweets + Facebook posts that your non profit can use working up to the event and on the day of. You can also follow them on Twitter to keep up to date with partnerships, news, and more.


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Getting Started with Google Analytics (Part 1)

It’s end of the month, and I know that all of you are filling out your marketing spreadsheets. At least, I hope you are! If you’re not keeping track of your monthly progress (Facebook likes, Twitter followers, etc) read this article by Hubspot on using Excel to your advantage.


But monthly progress isn’t just measured in an increase of Facebook likes or Twitter followers. It can also be measured in how successful your campaigns are in directing traffic. Kind of like measuring your ROI. Google Analytics can help tell you how many people were directed to your website via Facebook or Twitter, and sometimes (through Hootsuite) which Tweets/Posts drove that traffic. Then, based on that information, you can plan your next social media campaign.

Am I making sense? Maybe an example will make this a little clearer.

As you may or may not know, I work for a small non profit based of Boston. I started working for them mid-October and my official position is “Social Media Coordinator.” I’m basically in charge of their entire social media presence. Last week, I was filling out the Hubspot spreadsheet that we use to track our social media presence and I noticed that a lot of traffic was coming from Tumblr. Hmm. How curious, I thought, since the previous Marketing Director hadn’t mentioned Tumblr at all. I immediately logged onto their Tumblr and noticed that they had a pretty sad presence on the site. So, I decided to re-vamp their profile (check it out here!) and am now actively updating their page. Within hours of using Tumblr, we received three questions in our “Ask” box asking about volunteering with us. WOW! And that’s all because I paid attention to Google Analytics.

So how can you use Google Analytics to your advantage?

First and foremost, make sure that Google Analytics is set up correctly on your website. Here’s a great video that Google put together on how to set up Analytics.


Second, use Analytics to see what social media platforms are important to your Non Profit. In order to do so, you’re going to want to go to “Acquisition” and then “Channels.” What this is going to do is show you how people are finding your website. Google breaks it down into six (or more depending on your settings) categories: organic search, direct search (typing the website directly into your browser), referral, paid search, social, and email. The one that you, as a social media marketer, are going to focus on is social. At this point, it’s best for you to make sure that you’re viewing the results from this past month. You can do so by adjusting the dates in the top right hand corner. As you know, social media is constantly changing. If you’re going to be “on top” of your platforms, it’s best to analyse month by month.


Once you click on social you’re going to see a list of social networks with the number of visits that the network has given you.

This is a great way for you to see what networks are working, what networks aren’t, and even more importantly which ones you should be using that you aren’t. Like I mentioned, it was a huge surprise to me that United Planet was popular on Tumblr. But because of Google Analytics, I was able to add Tumblr into my daily projects. Be sure to check back monthly to keep track of what platforms are driving your traffic, and to see any improvements your campaigns might have made.

ImageThird, you should definitely explore the keywords section of Google Analytics. According to this article, “Keyword research is one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities in the search marketing field.” I talked about how important it is to use the right keywords in my SEO blog post, but just to remind you: using the proper keywords can really help in your where your website ranks in a Google search.

So, what does Google Analytics show you? The “Organic Keywords” page is a list of keywords that people are searching online to get to your website. These are the keywords that you’re going to want to use in your blog posts, on your website, in your Google adwords, and/or all over your social media.

Again, refer to my SEO blog post for more information on how to increase your websites popularity.

Pay attention to both the long term (adjust the date to explore the past year) and short term (monthly) keywords. Why is this important? It’s important to see what words people are consistently searching to get to your website, but it’s also important to track any monthly changes. For instance, United Planet (the non profit I work for) sends volunteers to 30+ countries for various projects. Naturally, our keywords mostly consist of the word/phrases “volunteer” and “volunteer abroad.” However, when I checked our Keywords for October, I noticed that a lot  of people are searching “medical volunteer abroad” and other variations of that phrase. So, I immediately informed our blogger and other members of the marketing team so that we can start creating content related to our medical trips. Do you see how that works? I’m creating content based on what people are searching. I’m giving the people what they want! And I would never have known that if I hadn’t explored our Google Analytics reports.

So, in summary:

  1. Set Google Analytics up properly
  2. Track what social media platforms are driving traffic to your website, and up your presence on them.
  3. Check your Keywords monthly and adjust your content to “give the people what they want.”

Google Analytics is an extremely powerful tool that will dramatically change how you and your marketing team design your social media presence. Be sure to check in for “part two” to learn more about how to use Google Analytics to your advantage!

P.S – I just uploaded this Google Analytics powerpoint that I created a few weeks ago. Check it out!

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Why Vine Is Great for Your Nonprofit


As someone who is actively involved in promoting a non profit on social media, I try to make sure that I stay “in the loop” on social media trends. Recently, smartphone apps that take short snippets of video – like Twitter’s Vine and Instagram’s Video have been soaring in popularity. Did you know that five tweets per second contain a Vine link? If that isn’t reason enough for your company to have an active account on the app then I don’t know what is. There are small difference between the two apps – Vine, for instance, only allows 6-second videos while Instagram allows 10 – but they both basically do the same thing. I’m going to focus on Vine, because it’s my personal favourite, and also because I’ve already covered how to use Instagram for your non profit.


How to use Vine

Vine, the Twitter owned video app, allows a user to record and create six-second videos that loop like a gif. Vine recently added features where users can now edit videos and save multiple drafts, allowing you to piece together the “perfect Vine.” You can now save up to 10 vine drafts at a time, and you can also go back and delete or replace any shot that you deem unworthy. You’re still not able to import video from your camera roll, which you can do on Instagram video, but apparently the company is taking steps to make the recording process easier.

At first, Vine was used for friends to share short snippets of their days with each other. Then, comedians caught onto the trend and began creating six second movie-like videos (most of which went viral). I think it was around this time that Vine added in the ability to “revine” people – which is basically the same thing as retweeting. Now we’re seeing Vine being dominated by a core 12 vine users who claim to be “vine famous.” What’s important about Vine is that these kids aren’t A-List celebrities like you’d find on Twitter or Facebook – they’re just “vine famous”.


Naturally, the growth in popularity of Vine has drawn several businesses’ attention. What we’re seeing now is businesses, both national and international, reaching out to the popular Viners (i.e Brittany Furlan, Josh Peck, Nash Grier, KingBach, etc) and paying them to either endorse their products or for the rights to their clips. According to this article, Viral Spiral (a London company that connects international brands and production companies with viral content) has been actively pursuing Nash Grier, one of the more famous viners, for quite some time. We’re also seeing a lot of famous Viners being given access to companies Vine accounts, “hacking” the account, and giving some sort of quirky endorsement.

So why does any of this matter to you? Well, as you may or may not know, the “tween” population represents an extremely powerful and valuable demographic to marketers and to non profits trying to engage millennials. Oh, and Vine just hit 40 million users. So that’s a pretty big market to tap into.

So how can your non profit take advantage of Vine? Try some of these suggestions:

  • Get an endorsement. Six seconds is more than enough time for someone (either a celebrity or one of the popular Viners mentioned above) to endorse your company or your cause. (Red) reached out to David Guetta and received an endorsement from him on Vine and it did wonders for their marketing campaign.
  • Create hype! I think it was Rolling Stone that covered their magazine in post its and created a stop-motion video where they took off one post it at a time to reveal who was on their cover. It was fantastic. Do you have an up coming event? Maybe a product that you’re releasing soon? Use Vine to create suspense and/or hype for the product.
  • Use Hashtags. When uploading your video, be sure to hashtag keywords to reach and engage with a larger audience. This will also help connect you to people with similar interests to yours. For instance, here’s a webpage displaying vines that have been hashtagged “non profit.” If you’re thinking about creating a campaign of some sort, make sure to create a unified hashtag to track people participating in your campaign.
  • Promote Your Account across your other social media channels. Make sure to share your Vines to your Twitter account! This will help bring some of your followers over to your new account. Plus, Vine is meant for sharing!
  • Make use of stop-motion for cool effects. Target, Oreo, and Samsung are all guilty of doing this. It’s one of the biggest Vine trends right now and it’s really easy to do. If you need some guidance on how to make a Vine stop motion video, check out this article.

If you need some inspiration, check out this Mashable article on “15 Brands that are Kicking Butt on Vine.”

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SEO and why it’s important.


In 2012, charities in the United States received just over $300 billion in donations. And, thanks in part to the incredible success of the Kony Campaign, online donations rose a median of 15.8%. So you can imagine how important it is that your non profit has a significant online presence, and a good Google search ranking can really help with that.


Did you know that the first three results on an average Google search get nearly 60% of the clicks? So, it follows that getting your website to rank in the first page results of your desired keywords

will mean a huge increase in the number of visitors (translation: donations) for your non profit. For me, that’s reason enough to justify studying up on your Search Engine Marketing (SEO).

I first learnt the basics of SEO when I was interning at Indivly with John Clark, but honestly the landscape of search has changed so much since then that what he taught me almost doesn’t matter anymore. Keywords in meta tags don’t matter. Content is king. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Keyword search is so unbelievably important to the success of your non profits SEO. It should be the first step in any marketing and/or SEO plan, and it’s often not carried out properly. There are so many different tools available to help you with your keyword search, so make good use of them. Make sure to always use keywords that rank high in searches and have low competition. If you’re willing to pay, I would suggest using Hubspot’s SEO Software. If you’re looking for something free, you could use Google’s Keyword Tool.
  • Avoid using a lot of images on your website, because they aren’t visible to search engines and won’t help your ranking. Images are better used on platforms that are visual, like Pinterest or Facebook.
  • Google loves frequently updated websites and fresh content, so update your blog once or twice a week. Also, make sure to add a blog section to your website if you haven’t already.
  • Going off that, Google also loves websites that are well connected. Because Google is trying to become more focused on the consumer, it displays sites that they deem “relevant” higher up in the search results. In the online world, relevance is measured by analysing page content and by the number (and quality) of other pages linking to your website. Think of links like up votes. This is called “Page Rank.” Each time your website is linked to by an external site, your PageRank increases. The more trusted or respected the website is (e.g. Wikipedia or BBC), the more weight it’s vote has. For instance, a link from BBC is more meaningful than a link from my personal blog. Don’t think that you can go out and buy PageRanks. If your website is linked to from untrustworthy sites (spam sites) it will be detrimental to your PageRank.

So basically, try to keep your website fresh and make sure that you are constantly linking back to your site. Not only will this help improve your non profits visibility, but it will also keep your customers coming back. I check BuzzFeed obsessively because they constantly church out new and interesting content. Also try to increase the number of pages that link back to your website. A good idea might be to reach out to relevant and popular blogs and ask if you could guest blog for them!

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