When you label something as “First Annual”, you’ve committed to at least a Second Annual and so here we are, soberly (well…) watching and reviewing commercials during the Super Bowl again. I don’t mind it though since I’m already sitting here and being responsible for a blog post means I can’t leave the couch for 3 to 4 hours. Basically, I need to stay awake and write maybe 10 sentences. As lifelike fembot Carrie Underwood likes to sing, Game On!
When people say things like “I just watch for the commercials” what they’re really saying is I have no understanding of sports, specifically football. That’s fine, football isn’t really worth knowing, but no one honestly enjoys commercials. For every Budweiser horse/puppy commercial that allows us a moment to think the world is a hopeful, welcoming place there’s a painfully inappropriate Dodge spot using a Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speech
I was flying down to San Antonio recently for the holidays. It is about a three and a half hour flight from DC to San Antonio, so my intention was to get on the plane wifi and work the duration of the flight. I would answer some emails, review some work from other team members, and get started on a new business proposal I had due in a few days.
As we were about to take off, that plan went out the window. The plane wifi was broken. After participating briefly in the mini riot that broke out, I decided to work on the proposal since that was the only task that wasn’t completely reliant on Internet access. As I got started, it became clear that the lack of connectivity would dramatically change my writing process.
In my twenty year digital career, I would estimate I’ve written around 500 proposals.
In researching our recent study on the use of social media by nonprofits, we went through a ton of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter posts. Here are fifteen of the most successful and inspiring posts we saw.
Wounded Warrior Project
The Wounded Warrior Project does a great job updating its social media presence. During Black History Month in 2017, they posted this homage to first African-American military aviators, the Tuskegee Airmen. The post is timely, inspirational, and well executed.
Self promotion doesn’t have to be boring. In this post, the Mayo Clinic used an inspirational quote and graphic to promote its mobile application.
American Heart Association
Tying into National Nutrition Month, this post from the American Heart Association educates without being preachy or boring. The graphic is designed to grab the attention of those absentmindedly scrolling through their Facebook feed.
American Civil Liberties
The biggest fundraising time of the year for most nonprofits inexorably approaches. It can be stressful, but you got it! Perhaps you can’t do everything you’d like to do this year, but you can do some things. Here are 12 strategies for you to consider.
If you have worked in the web development industry, you’ve probably had the following scenario play out on more than one of your projects.
You work on something for a year. Your internal team tests extensively for months. You are proud and excited about the work you’ve done. You launch the site to the public and within days real users identify a variety of small bugs and usability problems with your project. Despair and panic ensues.
We recently had this happen to us. We launched a high profile new site for a client that featured a unique and innovative user interface. Within days of launch it became clear that a small percentage of users didn’t understand how to use aspects of the site. An even smaller percentage were using obscure mouse configurations that prevented them from being able to access key site features.
It’s not easy to shake the general public’s perception that trade associations are stuffy, bureaucratic, and staid. But it can be done, and in this age of social media, Instagram is a valuable tool in your toolbox. Instagram users are nearly 10 times more engaged compared to any other social media platform, and Instagram has an audience that is only growing.
There is also a proven model of success for trade association Instagrams. A handful of associations have thousands of engaged followers on beautifully curated Instagram feeds. Last month, our Chief Strategist Todd Zeigler wrote a great article sharing what we know about those associations and why they are so successful. Today, I’m sharing a step-by-step guide on how to make your own Instagram as effective, engaging, and beautiful as any trade association Insta in the land.
The easiest way to get started on Instagram is to promote
Pretty much all of our clients, regardless of sector, have made Facebook and Twitter key parts of their digital strategy. They invest time and resources into producing content and growing their followings on these two social networks.
Instagram is a different story.
Instagram has experienced explosive growth the last few years, and is now the third most popular social networking site in the United States, trailing only Facebook and YouTube. 35% of Americans now use Instagram, compared to 25% and 24% for LinkedIn and Twitter respectively. Further, a study we recently conducted found that organizations are seeing much higher engagement levels on Instagram than other platforms.
Despite its widespread adoption and high engagement rates, professional use of the platform is mixed. Some organizations are thriving on Instagram. Others have written it off completely – perhaps out of the belief that their audience doesn’t use it and/or that their content isn’t
Our Brick Factory team spends a lot of time helping nonprofits get the most out of their presences on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Despite how important social media has become, there isn’t a ton of benchmark data for nonprofit marketers.
Which social networks are most effective? How often do nonprofits post? What types of posts perform best?
Finding answers to these questions is surprisingly difficult. In an effort to provide nonprofit marketers with better benchmark data, we performed an analysis of the Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts of the 100 largest nonprofits in the United States.
You can download a free copy of our study on how nonprofits use social media here.
There are a ton of important insights in the full study, but perhaps the most interesting finding is how much higher engagement rates on Instagram are compared to Twitter and Facebook. For example, the median post for a
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new set of rules issued by the European Union (EU) designed to give citizens more control over their personal data. From a web perspective, it requires Web sites that reach a European audience to actively inform site visitors of what data is being gathered by the site via cookies, and to offer those visitors the choice to opt in or out of having that data collected.
This mandate means that Web site owners must implement functionality to satisfy these laws, or face extremely punitive fines from the EU.
Chances are you’ve already encountered Web sites responding to these new laws. When arriving at such a site you typically see a message, usually at the bottom of the page, indicating that the site collects cookies. This message specifies some details about the cookies, and then gives you the option to opt in or out
At the beginning of the year, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook was changing its newsfeed algorithm. Users could expect to see more content from friends and family. And less for organizations and pages. Businesses started panicking.
Facebook was already a play to pay environment – on average, only 2.6 percent of your audience was seeing your organic posts. So, once the new algorithm was introduced, marketers expected a catastrophic decline in organic reach. Some even speculated it was the end of Facebook for businesses.
Speculation is great and all. But now it’s been a few months since the change. So I wanted to know…what really happened?
Here’s what I did
I don’t know exactly when the new algorithm was introduced. But since Zuckerberg made the announcement in January, we can assume they flipped the switch that month.
I wanted to look at the average organic reach for my
So you’ve done it. Your association has launched their brand new website and all is well with the world! Your months of hard work have paid off, which that means you can finally relax…or does it?
While this may have once been considered the end of your online story, we now know launching your website is just the first chapter. If you want to capitalize on your new site and grow your reach, traffic, and engagement, taking the time to put an effective digital strategy in place can make all the difference. And while there’s dozens of ways to approach this challenge, here’s a few post-launch tactics we love that can help make your website an incredible marketing tool for your association.
Make data-informed decisions with analytics tracking
One of the easiest ways to report on the ROI of your new website is analytics tracking. Detailed tracking codes can
Drupal is well known as an incredibly robust content management system, or CMS. Brick Factory uses Drupal for most of the websites we create, both for our customers, and for ourselves. One of the factors of Drupal that makes it so very versatile is the ability to add Drupal Modules.
What is a Drupal Module?
I’m not talking about this kind of Mod, but I do love the style!
One way to think about Drupal Modules is in the context of video games. Many games start out with a standard set of features, perhaps a boring person with a boring car. But the game allows users to enhance those features. They can add a cool sound system or a flashy paint job to the car.
A Drupal Module, or Mod, is an optional installation to extend, expand, and customize Drupal’s functionality.There are Mods for basically every function you
Most of my conference sessions are inspired by the real-life problems we struggle with as a firm. For this year’s DrupalCon in Nashville, I tackled a challenge that most managers face at some point – how to delegate work to their team.
Trusting your team members to take on work that you are already doing successfully is tricky for a number of reasons. You have to give up some control over how things are done. You have to set aside time to pass on information, answer questions and figure out a game plan for overseeing the work. And for those of us in technology, it can feel like you aren’t doing “real work” when you move from coding/contributing to managing.
But at the end of the day, being a manager is about bringing your employees up to your level. Delegating gives your team a chance to learn and grow, and
You, a nonprofit employee, are preparing for the biggest fundraising event of the year: giving season. Website call to actions? Check. Social media ramped up? Check. Game face? Double check. All that’s left is email. Between the newsletters and narratives, email subject lines sometimes get neglected as a fundraising tactic. By doing so, nonprofits miss an opportunity to leave a lasting impression on their donors.
Think of email subject lines as the elevator pitch of your nonprofit. You have mere seconds to strategically “sell” your nonprofit to users, so you need to pack a lot of punch in a just few words.
In case you’re not convinced, let’s start out with the big picture. Why should nonprofits care about email marketing?
Emails notify donors and interested parties about what your nonprofit has been up to, which can mobilize volunteers and increase donations. Keeping followers in the loop about your organization
Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from a few years ago?
It was a social media phenomenon where people challenged friends on social media to pour a cold bucket of ice water over their heads to raise awareness about ALS. Once called out, people either posted a video of themselves completing the Challenge or donated money to an ALS charity. Many people did both.
The Challenge went viral. More than 2.4 million ice bucket videos, many featuring celebrities, were uploaded to Facebook.
The Ice Bucket Challenge was a giant windfall for ALS charities. The ALS Association raised $100.9 million in online donations during the height of the phenomenon between July 29 and August 29, 2014. This compares to $2.8 million during the same, ice bucket-free, period the previous year.
After the success of 2014, a group of ALS organizations tried to relaunch the challenge in 2015. It
One of the great things about working in the digital communication field is that just about everything can be tracked. Visitor data. Usage patterns. Message effectiveness. A wealth of data is available, and, in the right hands, it can be used to reach a real understanding of what is and isn’t working for your nonprofit.
The downside is that all that data can be overwhelming. I’ve seen nonprofits struggle with analysis paralysis; they have trouble acting because they aren’t sure which metrics to focus on.
In an effort to help separate the signal from noise, below are five key digital metrics all nonprofits should be tracking on a monthly or quarterly basis. Also included are industry benchmarks for each metric and some simple ideas for improving your performance.
Nonprofit Metric #1: Online Revenue Growth
Online Revenue Growth: What is it and Why Should I Care?
Have you received a bunch of emails about updated Privacy Policies recently?
Facebook, Microsoft, AdWeek, Pinterest, Slack. It seems everyone is making updates to comply with new European Union policy: General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Should you care? Should you stop deleting those emails? What updates should you make to your website?
Well, keep reading.
I’m not an expert in EU law. But I am a former EU intern (yes, really) who works in tech. That must mean I’m qualified to break this down…or something.
So, don’t panic. I’ve laid out what all this means and what you should be doing. Whether you think it applies to you or not, here’s how you can protect yourself and be a better marketer at the same time
What is GDPR?
Let’s start with the basics.
GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation – are new rules the EU passed back in 2016. They
Details matter online. Every aspect of your web program is an opportunity to communicate who you are to your visitors.
On most websites many small opportunities to connect are squandered. A great deal of energy is put into big, obvious decisions. I’ve been part of two hour discussions about what image to use on a site homepage, for example. Zero thought is given to the small details of a site that can do just as much to convey your brand identity.
Take the thank you message a user sees after filling out a contact form, for example. On most sites you are shown a generic thank you message, seemingly written by a robot. This opportunity to communicate is thrown away.
When redesigning our contact form for www.thebrickfcactory.com, we wanted our thank you page to surprise people and show our sense of humor. We wanted