Top Seven Facebook Launch "DOs" and "DON'Ts"
Looking to launch a Facebook space presence for your organization? Let us offer some tips, drawing on our recent experiences launching our own Facebook page!
DO: Establish WHY you want a presence on Facebook (or other social media).
Here's a hint: "Because everyone else is doing it" is the wrong answer. Be clear about your purpose and goals. Think of your FB page as its own entity — you need to determine a "voice" and create structure, since it will evolve and develop a voracious content appetite. If you are measured in your strategy, it will also pay off in great networking, word of mouth and, yes, even potential revenue rewards.
DO: Build a stream of content before the page is made public.
Create content, between two and four weeks of regular postings, while the page is still private. This will give your first "followers" content to digest — no one likes to be the first one at a party.
DO: Create a posting policy and content guidelines to give the space structure.
You'll want to establish some rules and "laws" for the new space. This will help avoid public blunders, and give people the context they need to feel comfortable participating in a genuine way. Here are Lautman's Posting Policy and Content Guidelines as examples of how to structure a dynamic but manageable Facebook persona.
DON'T: Focus on how many people "like" you, or are "following" your every word.
Focus on creating and reposting content that is relevant to your audience and meets your goals. This will enable you to attract followers who will stay with you and add value to your ongoing social media conversation.
DON'T: Skimp on how much meaningful content you provide your audience.
The social media space truly requires ever-changing content. Of course you will include your own original content — but reposting content is also efficient, and appropriate. Review the performance data Facebook provides ("Insights"), and a pattern of how much and when you should post should start to emerge. To start, try four postings a week, Tuesday before noon, Thursday before noon and twice on Friday — once in the morning, and once towards the end of the workday.
DON'T: Be antisocial.
It's a social space! Ask your staff to share and repost content from your organization's page on their own pages, add the Facebook page URL to your staff email signatures and include a Facebook link/button on other emarketing and communications your organization sends. Using your own social/professional contacts (the line continues to blur more and more!) to garner followers and engage new audience share is a solid strategy.
Finally, DO check out the resources Facebook offers on how businesses and organizations can start a page and maximize the space. You can read up on additional ways to create and market a strong Facebook community for your organization that reflects its unique mission and personality.
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To Digital Print or Not to Digital Print? That is the Question.
There are many decisions to make when creating a direct mail strategy. But one you might not think of is how your package will print. In fact, choosing the best production method early in the process will help the designer maximize the impact of the design. So the question is: should you use digital or offset printing?
There are many variables to consider when making this decision. Below are a few key questions to ask.
- What is the quantity? Offset printing usually has fixed setup charges which get amortized over the quantity. This means that the smaller the quantity, the higher the cost per piece. However, digital printing is just the opposite. Usually digital printing is most cost effective for short print runs because it does not require additional setup. As quantity increases, the cost per piece will plateau making it more expensive for larger quantities.
- How many colors will be used? Digital presses use four-color process printing (CMYK = Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black). This means that everything will be printed using the four colors. If you want to use a PMS color to keep your branding consistent, or if you only need 1 or 2 colors, offset printing would be the way to go.
- What is the turnaround time needed? If you are in a rush, digital printing will most likely offer a faster turnaround time. In some cases, once art is released, printing can be completed within 24 to 48 hours.
- How much variable information is on the design? One of the biggest advantages to digital printing is that variable information (like the donor's name) can be incorporated into the art.
In general, offset printing offers better print quality, more paper and finishing options, and allows for more color consistency and management. While digital printing has evolved and become more popular over the last few years, it is important to talk to the vendors and see samples to gauge the quality and capabilities of the equipment. In the end, great design can only reach its full potential through great printing.
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LMN&C Holiday Tradition
Everyone knows that December is the season of giving. Yet some gifts are more meaningful than others. For the staff of Lautman Maska Neill & Company, some of the most meaningful gifts we gave were for the families we sponsored in the Shelter Care Plus Program at Volunteers of America, in Lanham, MD.
The Shelter Care Plus program provides transitional housing for homeless families — over 4,200 men, women and children last year alone. Maybe that's why making their Christmas extra special just seemed so right.
About four years ago, we were all tired of swapping the traditional gifts at the staff party. We knew that no one needed another candle or picture frame. We wanted to do something more meaningful; we just didn't know what. The answer came a month later in a newsletter from Volunteers of America. The cover story was about a woman and two children who had been a beneficiary of holiday gifts provided by a local company whose employees had purchased toys and clothes for the girls and their mother. Bingo! A new tradition was born.
That first year we sponsored four families, then five and now six as our staff has grown. The wish list is often so basic it breaks your heart. Socks, underwear, winter coats … you can tell that the parents' requests lean toward practicality, but what child doesn't want a new toy? So when the holiday wish list came in, we routed it throughout the office and made sure every need was met — and then some. We also made sure every family had gift cards so that they could get some of the extra things that didn't make the list.
It was wonderful to see the gifts pile up in the conference room — the very best part of our holiday tradition.
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Ask The LMN"X"pert!
This edition's Ask the LMN"X"pert showcases questions about social media, as this unique marketing channel enters its adolescence — and how you can use it to connect with your donors and members.
Read on, and you might improve your social media skills!
I am way late to the social media game, and completely overwhelmed — where should I start??
Great question, and a common one. Here are three steps to help you get started.
Start with Facebook. If your organization is very new to the social media
space, Facebook is an ideal place to start. It's got a solid (although ever-changing) structure, and most importantly that's where the audience typically is. And while there's a template, it's flexible enough to try some cool things and get a great feel for how to communicate over social media.
Don't spend money until you know what you're doing! With few exceptions, spending money on ads, and other ways of promoting your social media presence is going to be poorly spent until you establish yourself in the space. Social media is a content hungry beast, and as you refine your message and your voice over many weeks or months, you will master the logistics of "feeding" the space.
Read our "Top Seven Facebook Dos And Don'ts" article in this edition on how to jump-start your Facebook page, based on LMN&C's own experience in launching our Facebook page this past July.
We have a Twitter account at my organization, but we have very few followers. Any general guidelines you can offer to pump up the volume on our numbers?
Did you start with Twitter instead of Facebook? <grin>
But seriously, to pump up your numbers, pump up your strategy. Get more thoughtful and organized with your Twitter efforts. Share and coordinate with your organization's broader communications team for a consistent message that will drive overall awareness, and in turn "likes" and "followers." Here's a great list of tactical measures and general advice from Chris Brogan on how to multiply your Twitter ranks.
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Client Profile: NCBA Celebrates the United Nations International Year of the Cooperative
Lautman Maska Neill & Company congratulates the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) on the kickoff of their celebration of the United Nations 2012 International Year of the Cooperative.
NCBA is America's oldest and largest national membership association, representing cooperatives of all types and in all industries.
A cooperative is a business like any other business; but, in several important ways, they're unique and different. Cooperatives are owned, and democratically controlled, by their members — the people who use the co-op's services or buy its goods — not by outside investors. Cooperatives exist to meet the needs of their members.
NCBA serves cooperative businesses by offering a number of programs and services to connect co-ops, giving them a range of ways to develop partnerships that help attract and maintain their membership while increasing business. They also provide a strong, unified voice on Capitol Hill, where they work with lawmakers to enact cooperative-friendly legislation.
The 2012 International Year of Cooperatives marks an unprecedented opportunity for cooperative businesses around the world. And in coordination with this worldwide event, NCBA is launching an extraordinary marketing campaign to educate people throughout our country about the power of cooperative businesses.
Lautman Maska Neill & Company has proudly partnered with NCBA throughout 2011 to raise funds for this marketing campaign and promote NCBA and their work to thousands of cooperative businesses. To learn more about NCBA and the International Year of Cooperatives, please visit their website at www.NCBA.coop.
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