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social media revolution

 

I’ve previously blogged about Erik Qualman’s Socialnomics book and work on “socialnomics” — here’s the latest version of his Social Media Revolution video for 2013:

What statistics stand out as you view the video? Drop a comment and your reflections here. I’d love to hear them.

Most non-profits, churches and other organizations I work with that have a decent website know about the free Google Analytics service.  You drop a snippet of code into the HTML of every page (usually in the footer of the page code).  Then Google shows you graphs, data and other interesting tidbits about who’s visiting your site, how they got there, and what they’re doing while on your website.

But at the same time, a large part of the webmasters and communications directors for these organizations don’t know how to use the analytics data in a strategic manner.  What do I mean by that?  Are you looking at your stats in Google Analytics and just observing things about your site visitors….and then not do anything else different?  Or are you looking at your data and then making some decisions that change the way you communicate on the site or off the site?  Is the data helping you to refine the content produced and published on your site?  Are you able to reach out to new potential partners to explore how you can increase the impact and effectiveness in engaging your audience?  Most people are not in a position to say yes to most of these questions.

Here’s a great “tour” of Google Analytics that I recommend to people when they want to study up on all the goodness that Google offers through this free service for websites and communicators that use the web to reach and influence people.

Google Analytics instructions

 

The site has a decent list of topics listed so that you can either go through it all sequentially or jump around at your leisure.  Click through and check it all out:

Click here to check out the Google Analytics Tutorial

What is the latest thing you learned about Google Analytics or how to use data that it presents across various reports?

In my marketing communications advisory of nonprofits and churches, I have increasingly been producing infographics for clients’ marketing campaigns. . . because they are effective and they just work in getting the word out.

When we create custom infographics for clients it usually takes about a week or so to turn them around and costs the client anywhere from $500-750 on average to produce.  The results have been phenomenal creating some powerful case studies for integrating visual media into anyone’s marketing communications campaigns.

But for those times where you want to produce a quick infographic, there are other resources out there like Piktochart which can produce interesting visual content for your blog or flyer or other smaller project.  Check out this quick video where you’ll see some screenshots of the menus inside the piktochart online service:

 

Just earlier this week, I published an infographic that I whipped up using this method:

 

infographic example

 

 

There is of course a learning curve to using the online infographic generator with it’s set of online toolbox because you want to control details of layouts, text placement, etc.

But to be truthful, the real challenge of infographic production is not the graphics but being able to use data in order to tell a story that is compelling.  That’s where the real value is when we create custom infographics for clients.  When we succeed, people get the message and are compelled share or follow the call to action in it.

But if you’re up for dabbling in infographic land in the short term, these online infographic tools are a decent beginning point.

 

When you produce any messaging for your audience, who are you writing for? Does it really show in your writing?

You see, so many times we end up writing for the wrong “me”

Instead of writing for “me” the reader who is going to end up reading the materials you are producing, many marketers write for “me” — literally themselves. Their writing ends up for their own edification. To serve themselves or their organization. Does this make sense?

user-centric messaging

Check out the awesome packaging I found in medicine aisle at Duane Reade recently. Imagine you have a cold, stuffy nose, cough and/or have a headache at the same time. You need to find something to make you feel better…pronto. When you walk down this aisle, which packages will grab our attention first?

The product marketers here took a very bold move and produced packaging with product copy that completely served the “me” that is the potential customer. Not the corporate brand that is trying to gain market share, brand equity, etc. Nope, this drug maker is completely focused on what is important at that moment in Duane Reade — the sick customer. Wonderful. I love it. Don’t you?

Now look back at your latest marketing collateral piece and tell me if you honestly can say that you produced it with the right “me” in mind.

When it comes to end-of-year charitable giving, the number one questions a donor usually ask is: Where can my donation make the greatest impact in the lives of others?

Well, ROI Ministry, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization of market place believers and Christian leaders who desire to make the greatest Kingdom impact possible with their God-given resources.  And to answer the question, ROIministry.org went out and challenged exhaustive research on non-profits, historical advice and giving patterns of strategic givers and the largest Christian foundations in the world. After a reviewing nearly 1,000 causes, the donor advocacy group has produced a list of the 10 most impactful Christian charities.

Typically, non-profits’ 990 forms are reviewed by donors to ascertain program verse overhead expense, however this group felt that a biblical approach also requires evaluating “good lasting fruit” from gifts. In addition, many of the Christian charities in the survey also responded with physical needs met per dollar, amount per meal, clean water, etc. Others emphasized the spiritual part of a person, as “this had to be included, because people are the only thing that last forever.” To verify and evaluate, this ended up being many trips to specific ministries and to the “ends of the earth” to see the “fruit” and employ checks and balances used to track this.

The result? ROIministry.org found that the most impactful Christian charities serve the “least of these” billion people at the “ends of the earth” who are currently only receiving 1/3 of one percent of all Christian giving today.

Most impactful Christian charities list

TOP 10 MOST IMPACTFUL CHRISTIAN CHARITIES OF 2012

  1. “You” – A reminder that individuals like you have ability to increase giving impact substantially more than organized charities

  2. Jesus Film Harvest Partners

  3. Compassion International

  4. Legacy World Mission

  5. 410 Bridge

  6. Faith Comes By Hearing

  7. Global Media Outreach

  8. Gospel for Asia

  9. International Leadership Institute

  10. Equip

ROI Ministry has also partnered with the National Christian Foundation (NCF) to develop a free web-site to give anonymously to the Top 10 ministries, available at www.roiministry.org/top-10   The organization does not charge fees and receives no compensation from ministries highlighted. One hundred percent of all giving goes to the ministry’s specific program that achieves the greatest impact per dollar. More information can be found at www.roiministry.org

Do you think faith-based charities can be more effective than secular charities?  Please share your thoughts and leave a comment below.

Looking back at 2012, the USA Olympic Swim Team contributed to one of the biggest social media sharing phenomenons with their Call Me Maybe mashup parody video.  It wasn’t just a blip and was of course included in the international coverage of the Games, but 10 million video views later, the video is an example of something else that’s happening — video as a form of content publishing for the masses has gone mainstream.

Call Me Maybe Social Media Viral Video

 

The genius of these cover videos of pop music hits is that they are actually really easy to script, record and publish.  In fact, if you think about it, you could take various people in your organization and create an end of year video in this style that’s enjoyable and relatively easy to pull off.  The result is that you really put on display all of the parts of Check out what the team at Wheaton College did with their Merry Christmas video message.  I love the simplicity and the fact that they used this format to put on display the various parts campus life and departments who make it all happen all year long.

For an institutional end of year video message, I thought this was one of the more fun and engaging executions of the year-end message.  It sure beats the staid “From all of us at _________, we wish you a safe and joyous holiday with your family. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!” type message, doesn’t it? Face it, those just get deleted as soon as they are opened.

The only thing I would change is for someone at Wheaton to upload it to YouTube instead of Vimeo and secure a Google Non-Profit Grant so they can put a donate link at the end of the video (HELLO WHEATON — if you’re reading this, contact me directly and I can help make this happen).

You could even take the cue from Wheaton and recreate this same music video with your own team singing the various parts of the song, right?  Are the various people on your teams going through your head right now?

What about creating one that features all of the various volunteers and/or donors that support your organization? And if you’re able to plan just a bit, you can bring a video camera to various groups activities throughout the year to sing parts of the song in order to assemble your very own blockbuster video at the end of next year for Christmas 2013.

If song isn’t your thing, what about reading a poem, or a famous passage in this style on camera?  As you can see, there are many possibilities for creating a short, but engaging video like this.

Can you see your own group produce a simple year end video like this?  What is keeping you from making that dream — what you have in your head right now — a reality?

 

It still surprises me a bit that whenever I mention that I actively use virtual assistance across the various projects I’m managing, it is still somewhat of a novelty.  The majority of people have not used any sort of remote help. . . yet.

But whenever I have walked someone through the process of finding and utilizing outsourced help, it has been a big win — and in a couple of cases, they have become basically addicted to scaling their work with the help of remote assistants.   This can come in form form of help with small finite tasks as well as hiring contractors to do full blown large-scale projects.

Slide1

One way virtual help can have a big impact for most business workflows is the role of executive assistant.  This is where Bryan Miles, founder of Miles Advisory Group comes into the picture.  Bryan has built out a service providing proficient virtual executive assistants who are all US-based, native-English speakers, technologically adept, and as he explains a bit in this interview, typically are of a much higher caliber than for what you probably would be utilizing them for.

Bryan Miles - MAG Miles Advisory Group

Check out how he describes the service MAG & eaHelp provides in this video interview below.  (the video session went totally 8-bit on us in a couple of spots, and Bryan looks like he’s morphing into Wreck-It Ralph here and there, but the audio is just fine and you’ll be able to appreciate the interview content just fine). Continue Reading…

Timothy Keller Center Church Book

In the new book trailer video, Tim Keller talks about how the model for city-center church ministry developed at Redeemer reflect the following components:

  • Biblically Balanced
  • Urban Centered
  • Gospel-Centered
  • Theological Values

60 days left before you can get your hands on a copy!

Timothy Keller’s next book, Center Church is now available for order on Amazon.

My friends Jason Locy and Tim Willard just published a short ebook on rest and sabbath (they are also co-authors of the big fat yellow book, Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society).

The short devotional text, The Sound of Silence, challenges readers like you and me to slow down and push back against the frantic pace of life.
Sound of Silence iBook by Jason Locy

 

Here’s an excerpt from the ebook.  Enjoy:

“The life of sensation is the life of greed,” writes Annie Dillard, “it requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet.” Dillard’s “life of the spirit” is far from our reality; a bygone idea. Yet the life of the spirit is one we were meant to live. We were meant to grow in wisdom, to have relationships and to experience life in all of its complexity.

But the life of the spirit is hard and requires commitment. We’re not used to the idea of “less and less.” On the contrary, we strive to do more, to acquire more and to be more. What would it mean to go against what we know, this life of greed? It means forgoing the Saturday trip to our favorite department store. It means getting off of the couch and taking a hike. It means stopping by a friend’s house unannounced just to say hello. It’s emphasizing the relational, the simple and the quiet of life. It’s all the things we used to do as kids but, for some reason, have abandoned.

I remember a time when the choices about how to maximize time were pure and innocent. A time when we knew what rest looked like without even knowing that we knew. It was found in action and friendships and ice cream.

I remember the tire swing over Jeannie’s Creek. Everyone would meet there for a long hot Saturday in the cool mountain water. I always wanted to be the first to launch off the boulders, grabbing the tire swing in mid-flight and screaming my lungs out. That was real and wet and terrifying and a knee-busting good time.

Memory makes the captured images in my mind glimmer. Hindsight does its magic, making everything better. There was more sunshine then, too. Right? I remember it flecking through the oak boughs, bouncing off the creek into a million pieces. Things took longer back then. Those afternoons at the creek felt like an eternity. Life was lived in analog—saturated with a richness that is now only shadowy nostalgia.

The Analog Language of Memory

Friendship back then was a gift. Our shared experiences pulled us all closer to each other. We spent nights on Samantha’s deck playing cards and counting the stars. If it got too late, everyone would just crash. There were no friend lists—just friends. The firefly nights at the Jigger Shop eating ice cream and sipping coffee together always left us knowing we were making memories. Tonight it’s ice cream, next week live jazz on the open lawn at the winery, next week a trip to the ocean, next week a midnight splash in Hammer Creek off Pumping Station Road. And always there were fire nights; nights where we sat around the blazing ring just “being.”

Now it all seems so antiquated, almost a novelty. I think progress ages us faster than time. Now, it seems, we would rather sit in front of a monitor or television and consume: ads, meaningless shows, social networks, blogs, Twitter, etc., etc. We are cultural animals now; enlightened, ironic, savvy and connected. We speak a new language, one more sophisticated than the one we spoke jumping into the creek. The ideas and concepts of this new language are not compatible with the analog language of our memory. We speak and mimic what we see on the screens and only understand expressions from that context, in that same language.

Thoughts of spending a day at the creek with friends are voided out. We have too many other things to do. But we don’t know what they are, really. We just know we’re busy and important.

What about you? Where does your memory take you? Is that you, running through the leaves with your friends? Is that you, piling the leaves on top of yourself and laughing? Is that you, gathering more and more and more leaves because you can never have enough? Thoughts, like the leaves, begin to pile on your brain and you realize you’re still that same little girl in the leaf pile, you’re still that brazen little boy at the creek. You just can’t see yourself. You can’t see the purity of who you really are.

The memory almost convinces you. You begin to see things in a different light. You can see … and then your phone vibrates.

It’s a text. You gotta go.

 

Pick-up to The Sound of Silence iBook for your iPad and pause your day for a moment or two.

Do you think there is a way to have REST, SPIRITUAL RENEWAL and SABBATH while utilizing today’s technology and being plugged in?  Please leave a comment below and enter into conversation.