Can Slacktivism Actually Be A Good Thing? Well, Yes

Sla-ck-ti-vis-m: A combination of the words slacker and activism. Used to describe “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it take satisfaction from the feeling they have contributed.

Slacktivism is the worst thing that ever happened to social causes and the promotion of important issues.

That’s usually the gist of the conversation when the term slacktivism is used. Social media gets thrown in there as well, as one of the leading causes associated with the rise of slacker activism. It makes sense; why give money or send a letter to a politician when liking a status or retweeting a post can be just as fulfilling?

This is the common perception and, in some ways, it’s true. Slacktivism and social media go hand-in-hand. Slacktivism has shown the ability to keep people from donating resources to a cause. The online community is leaning more and more into slacktivism.

But despite these gloomy trends, this couch-potato activism doesn’t need to be all bad. Social media is actually the perfect tool to turn slacktivism from ineffective to a wild success.

Non-profits, charities and associations can harness slacktivism to promote their causes, goals, industries and members on social media. But reader beware, this is not a quick fix. It is one, however, that will make an impact. Here is a road map that could take your online community from slacktivists to activists.

Awareness

Slacktivism is the mother of awareness.

Liking a link, sharing a tweet or pinning a quote means the person doing all these activities is aware of a cause. This same person also feels the cause is worthy enough to share, making others aware.

This is where social media starts to thrive. Organizations can now make thousands of people aware of an issue with little material resources as long as the creative will and ability is there. This process, while doing nothing material for the cause, makes it known that a problem, and a solution, exists.

In other words, you now have their attention.

Education

One of the biggest knocks against slacktivism is its penchant for only skimming the surface of complex topics. On the flip side, many argue that providing in-depth information is cumbersome, boring and will drive people away. This is where social media steps in and gives you the best of both worlds; in-depth education on a topic in an engaging way.

Now that you have an audience’s attention on social media, you can use it to bring them up to speed on the breadth of the issue. Social media platforms give you an array of opportunities to do so in creative ways. Infographics, short videos, interesting stats, pictures and crucial news updates can be shared to both draw your audience in and inform them in a way that personalizes the cause.

In other words, your audience is now connected to the cause with their hearts and their minds.

Conversation

The next step in turning slacktivism into activism is having a conversation. Social media allows organizations to make personal connections with their audience by asking questions, encouraging participation, answering questions and providing further information.

Having a conversation is crucial to helping your audience make an impact for a cause they care about. Many people who are interested in a cause don’t know how to contribute. Letting them know the opportunities that available and how to take advantage of them eliminates some hesitancy that some people may feel.

In other words, having a conversation breaks down the barriers to participation and shows people there is a community that will participate with them.

Action

Social media may be the vehicle that took your audience from slacktivism to activism, but oddly enough, this action may not take place on Twitter, Facebook or any one of the dozens of platforms out there.

It’s more likely that all the effort you put into tweeting, posting, taking pictures, etc., has resulted in someone donating money, volunteering or attending a public meeting. That’s great, but it doesn’t mean social media doesn’t play a role in taking action.

The advent of the Facebook donate button and the rise of several innovative mobile apps connected to platforms such as Twitter (case in point, the Movember app), means people can give to their cause of choice through social media.

In other words, giving has never been so easy. Make this point known.

Follow-Up

Keeping this thirst for action alive takes effort and a constant desire to maintain and strengthen the organization-audience relationship. You don’t want your connections to fall back into the slacker part of slacktivism, so you shouldn’t either.

Social media is one of the best tools to ensure you stay in contact with those that gave to a cause. You can show the benefits of an event, project, campaign, protest or donation with your social media accounts.

Platforms, such as LinkedIn or Facebook, can also be a good way for action-takers to connect with those that have had similar experiences and are looking for ways to collaborate on another project for your cause.

In other words, people can see they made a difference and will keep in touch with your organization and its cause.

 

Slacktivism doesn’t need to be harmful to your cause. In fact, with the help of social media, slacktivism can actually lead to a fully engaged and active audience for your organization. It is a process and it takes time and dedication, but the results are well worth the resources.

What do you think? Can slacktivists be a boon for your cause? Let us know in the comments!

Twitter’s Nearby App Can Help Non-Profits and Associations

Social media has made it easy to reach out to a global audience, but has also renewed the focus on the local.

Companies, organizations and individuals are starting to pay more attention to those in their own backyard. Twitter’s new mobile app, called Nearby, gives a boost to this community-focused strategy.

The feature, which has been in test mode for more than a month, allows users to see a collection of tweets from people close to your location.

While the blogosphere has been abuzz about Nearby’s potential for local businesses, we thought it would be an amazing tool for non-profits and associations to capitalize on.

Here are a few ways organizations could benefit if Nearby is rolled out in full.

Volunteer Searches 

There are probably as many non-profits looking for volunteers as there are people looking for an opportunity to help with events, fundraising and day-to-day work. It’s a match made in heaven, right? Not necessarily.

Finding the right people to help in the right locations can be tricky. Nearby would give organizations a chance to target a local audience with their tweets. This would be the easiest and best way to contact future volunteers while ensuring they are from the area.

Local Chapter Initiatives

Many associations have local chapters that may struggle to be heard over the roar of their national, state or provincial counterparts on social media. Nearby could go a long way to fixing this.

Local chapters are all about drawing local members. By targeting local Twitter users with tweets about local issues, these smaller chapters will be able to cut through the noise to reach their target audience. For example, when promoting an upcoming local chapter event, the posting would show up to a much more select and captive audience than you would be likely to get without Nearby.

Business Improvement Areas

Business Improvement Areas, or BIAs, are the definition of a local non-profit. BIAs, for the most part, advocate for businesses in a small area of a city or town. Nearby seems like a dream app for these organizations. Both their members and their members’ customers are most likely in the area. Knowing who is tweeting what in the area and connecting with these users opens up a whole new way to engage the community.

Promoting Local Sponsors/Members

Every association has members who are doing great things in their community and every non-profit has a sponsor or donor who is dedicated to improving their local area. The Nearby app would be a great way to showcase both these groups and increase awareness of your organization’s partners in a place where they will gain the most benefit and recognition.

By recognizing a sponsor, donor or member and what they are doing in a certain city, it will increase their exposure to an audience that will be most interested and captive. This will go a long way to creating long-lasting relationships between your organization, your sponsors/donors/members and the community they serve.

Although Twitter’s Nearby mobile app is still in its infancy, it’s potential to positively impact non-profits and associations is already sky-high. From fostering relationships to building new ones, Nearby is a great tool for going local and doing so with a bang.

Check it out on your mobile device and let us know what you think. Also feel free to comment below and tell us how your organization connects with the local community. Stay social everyone!

Is the Blog Dead?

We heard the whisperings of some tragic claim the other day, a claim that blogs are dead.

Yes, we were told (true story) that blogging was dead, buried and gone forever. Different media and different tastes had made the platform obsolete and as good as extinct, said this person.

Well, we’re here to tell you the rumors of the blog’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, to borrow a line from Mark Twain.

No the blog isn’t dead. Or rather it is not dead anymore.

Let us explain. Blogging has evolved since its inception in the 1990s and while its original form has declined to the point of extinction, it has been reincarnated several times and it will continue to do so in 2014 and beyond.

What hasn’t changed about blogging is its core purpose. Blogs, since their start in the basements of the earliest adopters of the internet, were a way to share opinion, information and content with those who were interested in the same things. This is still the same.

Blogs, however, look different and are read differently than before, but they can still be a huge boost to organizations seeking to make an impact in their industry or community.

The modern blog ties together multiple platforms and seeks a variety of ways to communicate content. Gone are the days when a blog was simply a journal in digital form. Blogs are, often times, attached to a website or are a website in their own right. They now have social media streams attached to it like Twitter or YouTube. Some come in short and frequent bursts and use pictures to tell a story rather than words. Others have not one, but dozens of contributors and still others crowd-source content from the community.

While the look of blogs has changed, so too has the way audiences read them.

While it was common five to 10 years ago to have a list of 15 to 20 blogs to read weekly, that is no longer the case. More and more people have one or two they read regularly. Rather, reading blogs has become an ever-changing adventure to discover information. A Google search for information on a topic will definitely turn up at least a couple hundred blogs on the subject. Instead of getting 1000 loyal readers browsing your material every week, your blog may receive 1000 readers one week and a completely different 1000 readers the next.

This is where your organization can step in and use a blog to flourish and help others flourish.

Let’s start at the beginning. Your organization and its members/staff/volunteers are experts in something. Whether it is health care, finance, pastry making or something else, your association or non-profit has worked tirelessly to promote and improve your industry.

Writing a blog is a way to share your expertise with the world. Blogs afford you the flexibility and creativity to tell your story and share your knowledge in a variety of ways. From humorous to matter-of-fact, from pictures to words or from short to long, blogs have very few limits if you are willing to spend the time to create great content and are ready leap outside the box.

Sooner or later there will be someone who comes looking for information on the subject your organization is an expert in. It might be a member, someone from the community or even a student looking for information for a project. This is when they will find your blog.

At that moment, when someone looking for information finds your blog, the possibilities are endless. They may read it, say “That’s interesting,” and move on. But they may also learn from it. They may see your passion, creativity and knowledge and realize that the content and the organization are worth investing in. They may take the information and spread it around. They may change the way people see you, your members and your organization.

Blogs aren’t dead. In fact, we at Incline think blogs can breathe new life into non-profits and associations. Although they have evolved from years past, the new species of blogs that has risen up has only improved. Harnessing the power of blogging can take your organization to new heights.

We don’t think it’s time to say bye to the blog, but we want to know what you think. Is the blog dead or alive and kicking? Let us know in the comments!

The Biggest Social Media Tools for Non-Profits in 2014

One of the best things about social media is its ability to be exciting. Platforms and tools are constantly being created and improved. People are finding new ways to use established forms of social media every day.

Similarly, non-profits and associations must also grow, evolve and change with the times and the people they serve. By utilizing social media tools, both the young-gun ones and those of the old guard, organizations can continue to connect with the most integral part of their business: people.

Keeping up with the latest trends and platforms on social media is crucial to reaching a broad audience and serving that audience best, while achieving your organization’s goals. Here is a list of a few of social media platforms to keep an eye on in 2014 and why they could game-changers for your non-profit or association.

Google+

It’s time for organizations to start embracing Google+ with the zeal and zest Twitter and Facebook programs have received over the past couple years. Google+ offers a complete platform for non-profits and associations looking to boost awareness, education and engagement. With features like Google Hangouts (which could revolutionize webinar education sessions), the ability to share updates, links, etc., and the ease with which to connect with others, Google+ can be a one-stop shop for organizations looking to boost their reach and impact on social media.

There are other benefits to setting up a profile on the platform of the biggest search engine in the world. The main advantage is the SEO boost you could receive from getting attention on Google+. Better SEO means your organization will turn up higher on search lists when someone types in a query on Google, like “Canadian Trade Associations” or “Volunteer positions, Non-profits, Toronto”.

Google+ plus is trending upward and if you want your organization to do likewise, this platform would be a great investment.

Spotify

A much deserved round of kudos goes to this article by Jennifer James that mentions Spotify as a growing platform for brands and organizations to increase exposure and awareness. Indeed, there are over 24 million active users on Spotify in over 50 markets worldwide.

That got us thinking, how could non-profits and associations use Spotify to draw engagement?

Imagine creating a playlist for a conference, a playlist of songs volunteers can listen to while helping out or even a list of your members’ songs if your association represented the music industry.

With a bit of creativity and work, the possibilities are endless when you combine the universal love of music, an on-the-rise social platform and your organization. It’s fun, it’s different and it leaves the hard-sell out of the equation.

Vine

Vine exploded onto the scene in 2013 and it looks like it’s here to stay in 2014.

You wouldn’t think that a video service that only allows six-second videos can be versatile, but that’s exactly what Vine is. By breaking free from the usual constraints of filming, editing and uploading longer videos, Vine allows users to share quick, visual updates to their connections.

Non-profits and associations can capitalize on this feature by providing great updates during events (“Wait, I missed that at the conference!? Well, I’m definitely going next year!”) and to donors (“It’s great to see the impact of my support”). It keeps from bogging down busy sponsors, members, volunteers, etc. with long and heavy videos. Besides, Vine lends itself to more creative applications, like contests or humorous clips.

Twitter and Blogs

Twitters and blogs are the old faithfuls of social media, which is saying something about how fast a platform can age in a relatively young area of marketing.

When put together, Twitter and blogs can be a dynamic duo for your organization. Great content is important to building an audience that recognizes your organization as expert and interesting. Leveraging blogs and the myriad of options they bring, is a great way to do this.

Twitter is the vehicle to get your blog out there. Passing on great content and generating discussion from your posts will boost engagement, build lasting relationships and increase awareness.

Social media has changed the way non-profits and associations serve their members and the community. These platforms will no doubt evolve, grow and emerge in 2014. Utilizing these platforms will help your organization thrive with hard work, creativity and consistency.

Which social media platforms do you think will have a major impact in 2014? Let us know in the comments.