Four Big Reasons Public Media Sponsorship Executives Should Use Social Selling

linkedin, Corporate Support, social media

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According to LinkedIn, the B2B social network, “Social selling is about leveraging your social network to find the right prospects, build trusted relationships, and ultimately, achieve your sales goals.”

Sounds good, but does it work?

Here’s how four public media account executives from across the country successfully use LinkedIn to bring in revenue and contribute to their stations’ success.


Amanda Harris, national account executive at WAMU, D.C.’s NPR news station, has been on LinkedIn since 2009 and often uses it to find leads. “I will look at organizations I’m interested in and see if I have any connections,” she says. With 1,200 connections on the social network, she just may.

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Why Your Station's LinkedIn Page May Be the Most Powerful Social Media Tool You're Not Using

linkedin, Membership, Social/Mobile, General Management

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Between 2011 and 2017, LinkedIn’s membership grew from 140 million to 500 million. In 2017 alone, LinkedIn grew by 100 million new members, most of whom are college-educated, advanced in their careers, and live in high-income households.

In fact, the demographics of LinkedIn members are nearly identical to the demographics of public media listeners and viewers (National Public Media).

But most of public media has failed to include LinkedIn in their marketing and fundraising strategies. Most stations focus on utilizing Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, all of which having declining organic reach. The opposite is true of LinkedIn.

Encourage your staff to cultivate personal LinkedIn Profiles. It's the first step toward cultivating an active LinkedIn presence that draws in audience members and donors. Consider including staff LinkedIn URLs in station bios and email signatures as well. Another powerful outreach tool is to cultivate your station's LinkedIn Page.

How to Connect With Your Audience and Donors Using a LinkedIn Page

LinkedIn Pages are the best-kept secret in social media marketing and fundraising. Engagement and click-through rates are generally higher than on other social media and LinkedIn members are enthusiastic and participatory followers. If your organization hasn’t yet experimented with LinkedIn Pages, now is the time to get on board. LinkedIn has recently redesigned Pages, improved analytics reporting, and changed the algorithm so that Page updates are prioritized in the home feed. LinkedIn is investing significant resources into the LinkedIn Page tool set and some exciting improvements are likely to be revealed in the coming years.

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More Social Media Strategy for Stations From Heather Mansfield

facebook, linkedin, instagram, Membership, Social/Mobile, social media, twitter

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Heather Mansfield of Nonprofit Tech for Good recently hosted a social media Q&A with Greater Public. (Members can always view the full webinar on-demand.) Heather offered station tips on Facebook-sponsored content, how often to post to Facebook, and how to set engagement benchmarks for social media platforms.

Greater Public members can register for Heather's next social media Q&A, scheduled for May 4.

Q: How helpful are Facebook-sponsored posts?

A: It's getting more difficult to apply best practices across all sectors and brands because Facebook changes its algorithm all the time. But I will say that I am very lukewarm on Facebook advertising unless you have thousands of dollars, the right ads, and plenty of time to invest.

Here's why.

I started buying Facebook advertising two months ago. My practice had been to post something visual every two days and I'd get 10,000-15,000 people reached. It was a reliable rhythm.

Then a client gave me $250 to experiment with Facebook ads. I'd pay $50 for a sponsored post and it would hit a 25,000 reach. But next thing I know, all of my non-sponsored posts are reaching just over 1,000. During the two or three weeks following my sponsored posts, my reach dropped by 90%. These are the lowest numbers I've had since I began using Facebook! I don't find it any coincidence that my numbers started dropping significantly from the moment I started purchasing advertising.

In fact, I was experimenting on other platforms too. I had a $1,000 budget to experiment with advertising across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, and I have to say it was the worst $1,000 I've ever spent in the 10 years that I've been using social media. My best guess is that they want to get you hooked on advertising by plummeting your reach when you're not paying to sponsor the content.

I have read some case studies that indicate that large-scale experimentation is worth it. For example, the African Wildlife Foundation spent $50,000 on Facebook advertising, which they were able to turn into about $120,000 in donations. But most nonprofits I know can't make a $50,000 investment in Facebook advertising. And, in my own little thrifty world, sponsored posts have only diminished my overall reach and engagement.

Q: All of our Facebook posts have visual elements, yet we only reach about 500 users, or occasionally 1,500. We post three or four times daily. Any advice?

A: I know from studying Facebook that 1,500 reached means about 10% of that actually saw the post. What reach actually means is that it was published to the news feed of 1,500 people. But if it was published to someone's newsfeed at 8:00 a.m. and that person didn't log on until four hours later and didn't bother to scroll down, then they didn't actually see it. I don't pay a lot of attention to these reach numbers unless I see a drastic increase or decrease. Then I can ask what was going on to cause the change? That helps me learn what type of content sparks interest in my audience.

But you may want to rethink your strategy of posting three or four times a day. What I've learned from my own habits is that if I post at 9:00 a.m. and reach 5,000 people, my post at 3:00 p.m. that same day will have many fewer views. There's something in the Facebook algorithm that knows you've posted twice in 24 hours and demotes your posts because you're generating a lot of content.

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Nine Must-Know Best Practices for Distributing Your Station’s Content on Social Networks

facebook, linkedin, instagram, Social/Mobile, social media, twitter, marketing

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The Internet is at a tipping point. It’s estimated that by late 2014 or early 2015 the majority of adults will get their information from social networks rather than search engines and that social networks will become the primary source of referral traffic to your website and blog. Any doubts that social networks aren’t powerful or don’t need to be prioritized in your online communications and fundraising campaigns can now be put to rest. The sooner you can master content distribution on social networks, the more likely (and faster) your fundraising and content strategies will result in success. Nonprofits have been experimenting with mobile and social networks for years. Sadly many of them do not fully understand how social networks are different from traditional online communications and fundraising, and consequently nonprofits are making many mistakes that are hampering their success.

The effective use of social networks is a skill not to be underestimated. Each mobile and social network has its own unique tool set and etiquette, and only the most observant new media managers have learned what makes each social network unique and then adapted that knowledge to their content strategy. There are universal best practices that can be applied to all social networks. To avoid being repetitive by listing these best practices in each of the chapters dedicated to social networks, those universal best practices are:

1. Prioritize storytelling over marketing.

The five content approaches of success, urgency, statistics, quotes, and humor should be interwoven throughout your social network strategy. Increasingly, donors and supporters follow causes on social networks. If you make storytelling a higher priority than marketing, then over time your nonprofit’s brand becomes synonymous with the cause(s) you advocate.. In practice, for every five status updates, posts, or tweets, four should be related to storytelling (through blogs, website articles, video, photos, stats, and quotes), while only one should be a direct ask such as a marketing or fundraising pitch. The only exception is in crisis situations where urgent calls to action require mobilizing your social networking communities to donate, volunteer, or participate in advocacy campaigns.

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The Top Ten Ways I Use the Internet and Online Tools to Prospect for Clients

facebook, linkedin, sales strategy, Corporate Support

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Now, I recognize that no one had funnier “Top 10 Lists” than David Letterman. But in honor of his retirement last month (not that he has anything to do with public media) and, to mark the occasion I thought I'd come up with my own. Plus, there’s something I know that I don’t think David Letterman knows: selling public media. So, with a tip of my cap to David (drum roll, please)...

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Make the Most of Social Media During Drives

facebook, linkedin, instagram, Membership, Social/Mobile, social media

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The goal of a membership drive is to connect audiences with their treasured public media service. Connection is the very currency of social media, and these platforms can be very effective tools - specifically during drives - to move audiences toward membership.

In a recent webinar for Greater Public, Minnesota Public Radio’s audience relationship & communications manager Jess Horwitz talked about the best ways to use social media during drives to support audience engagement and overall fundraising.

Why use social media during drives?

Jess explains that drive time is the best time to make sure all channels are blazing with messaging in order to optimize fundraising. She creates a planning grid to unify plans for all communication, including direct mail, telephone, on-air, website and email. Social media should support and unify this messaging.

Here are some of Jess’s top recommendations for how make the most of social during (as well as before and after) drive-time:

Do cultivate your social media presence by adding social links to all of your digital communications. Make your social presence consistent and ubiquitous. Create a shareable message that pops up at the end of the donation process encouraging members to tell their friends to support the station: “I just gave and you can too!”

Don’t overextend yourself by creating profiles on several social media platforms that you can’t maintain. Be thoughtful about what your staffing and schedules will allow. An inactive social media profile can be a poor reflection on your station.

Do try to post at least once a day on each platform. If you’re at a loss about what to share from your own organization, look for content to share from other public media sources. Check out #nprlife and #pubmedia, for example. But...

Don’t go on a retweet rampage. Try to balance your Twitter feed with some original tweets and some retweets.

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Engaging Underwriting Decision-Makers Using LinkedIn

linkedin, sales strategy, Corporate Support, social media

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Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media are great ways to engage our listeners, viewers and members. LinkedIn, the business-oriented social networking site, is a good medium in which to do the same with past, current and prospective underwriters.

At our station we recently produced two short videos to run on our public TV station to promote listenership of our two radio stations. One video promoted “more music, less talk” about our classical music station, the other video promoted our news station’s coverage of the “Snow-vember” snowstorm this winter.

Both videos helped tell our story about our radio stations to our TV audience. I repurposed the videos and posted them on the underwriting pages of our website. I also posted and “shared” them on my LinkedIn page where they could be viewed by my business contacts and anyone else connected to my contacts. When my post was shared by one of my contacts, well, you know how this works, the videos took on their own momentum.

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