Getting Started Again (After A Break) | Beth’s Blog

Getting Started Again (After A Break)

Housekeeping

That’s Hank, a dog that belongs to Ryann Miller from Care2 Network.  He’s one of many four-legged and fine feathered fans of  ”Measuring the Networked Nonprofit.”   I had the honor of doing a Care2 webinar in December which was one of over 40 book talks, presentations, webinars, and workshops to launch the book.   The book continues to be in the  top nonprofit books at Amazon.     But by holiday season,  I needed a break and took one.   It was a time to focus on family and health (I had my gallbladder removed).

After taking a break, I felt a lot like Hank – I just wanted to keep on resting.      But in the quiet and last days of 2012 and the reflective moments in the new year,   it was time to face the new year!

It was the first time in a long time that I took a long social media break.   I decided to go offline and take a break from blogging, pinning, Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest.   Not completely, but did not create or curate content according to an editorial calendar.    I have done this before and while my reach and engagement numbers go down,  I get them back up when I return from a much needed mini-sabbatical.   I have tested options of scheduled posts, but it doesn’t work that well because you aren’t there to engage with fans.     But now it was time to face my Facebook Insights.

So, I asked on my page,  ”If your Facebook analytics looked like this, what would you do?”    I was half-expecting to hear crickets in response, but people replied with humor and excellent advice.    Someone suggested that I get a sled and slide down the chart!     Another person astutely said,  ”Good for you, you took a break.”    Others offered some good practical advice:

  • Post an unusual (but relevant) photo. That always gets folks talking and sharing
  • Get that editorial calendar up and  running
  • Send an email out to your online supporters promoting something unique about your organization that can only be seen on our Facebook page.
  • Post some inspiring New Year messages and photos to let people know we’re back after holidays.
  • Use scheduled posts for your next break
  • Create posts that stir people up and encourage action
  • Post more than once per day and then promote one or two that take off
  • Keep Calm and Keep Testing and Analyzing (Here’s a good post about FB Analytics)

The truth is that is more “purple dots” or consistent content and perhaps a promoted post or two will certain get more visibility for my page.   But, I have to ask to what end?     For me, reach is only the first rung of the ladder of engagement towards my ultimate success – which is to get 2-3 blog post ideas per month from sharing content and conversation on my Facebook Page.

Taking breaks from work and social media are needed to clear your head, replenish your energy and set new goals.     I have a very exciting year ahead.  I will be facilitating peer learning groups on “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit” and sharing many stories of how nonprofits are learning from measurement and making sense of the data to improve social change outcomes.

And, by the time this post is published,  I will be on a plane somewhere between Paris and Tunis.    This first week of the new year,  I will doing a week of training for NGOs and trainers in Tunisia for the Women’s Economic Sustainability Tunisia project with colleague Stephanie Rudat.  We will facilitate a workshop on Becoming a Networked NGO: Using Social Media Effectively which will expose participants to concepts around transparency, openness and what it means to be a networked NGO.  I will also facilitate a  two-day TOT on Social Media for Women Entrepreneurs where WES trainers will learn how to provide technical skills and best practices to support women entrepreneurs as they design and expand businesses.

12 Responses

  1. Jeanette says:

    Great tips on how to get back rolling after the holidays!

  2. Heather G says:

    Good for you! I also unplugged and took a mini-sabbatical over the break. Much better to come back refreshed and clear-headed to face the New Year!

  3. I’m really excited to see what this new year has in store for you, Beth. I am surprised that my suggestion of hosting a giveaway didn’t make the list. For a small investment of paying for a product or getting a product sponsored that you can provide (e.g. admittance to one of your webinars or workshops for free) and use of a free service (Rafflecopter to spur cross pollination of tweets, status updates, pins, etc. as well as encouraging more comments on your blog posts) it is a win-win when it comes to ROI. But this is one tool in the arsenal of your online content curation strategy. This is just one widget output at the factory in your quest to reach our desired outcome.

    Also, this distinction between output and outcome is a critical part of measurement. Most consider outputs as their outcomes when it is not really the case. Looking at that chart above is similar to looking at your outputs. When, in reality, it could just be an outcome indicator that you are looking at. Sure, there was a drop due to end-of-year activities offline, but others may also be busy with their own end-of-year activities and didn’t visit the page on Facebook. There is no one way to know since there was no control group going in real time (since there is no way to replicate December again in a scientific way other than the following year and even then there are different variables coming into play such as what the Fiscal Cliff was for us this year may not even be a part of next December’s behavior patterns).

    Either way, excited to see what the new year brings for you, Beth.

  4. Welcome back, Beth. Please take care of yourself. You matter most.

  5. WES says:

    Welcome to Tunisia Beth! We are very excited to get started with your training tomorrow.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

  6. Beth Kanter says:

    Will Thanks for commenting and catching my oversight of missing your excellent suggestion!

  7. Ann Whittaker says:

    Happy New Year Beth. I work with a national nonprofit with many local chapters throughout the country, Assistance League. I am a member i of the Kansas City chapter. Most chapters have a presence on Facebook but don’t do any type of measurement of activity.
    I am a big fan of your work and have read and studied both of your books. I am the main ” driver” of outcome measurement of philanthropic programs here in KC and have used your measurement advice and wisdom and applied them there. I read your blog regularly and try to apply ideas I learn there to our program outcome measurements. Some day we’ll get to social media measurement, but for now, your concepts apply very well to our program measurement.
    Thanks for your good work!

  8. Beth says:

    Ann Whittaker – thanks so much for stopping by and introducing yourself. My co-author, KD Paine, has been measuring stuff for 25 years and the seven steps framework works so well for measuring anything as well as social media.

  9. You’re very welcome, Beth. Thanks for the response.

  10. Beth says:

    Will, I wrote that post inbetween boarding a plane in SF and landing in Tunisia where I’m working for the week – probably a function of my jet lag – sorry for the omission

  11. [...] That's Hank, a dog that belongs to Ryann Miller from Care2 Network.  [...]

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