Author Archives: Megan Confer
On April 21, members of #TeamProsper attended The 10th Annual YouToo Social Media Conference at Kent State University to learn about developments and trends in social media and digital communication.
The conference opened with speaker Greg Josken, digital marketing and social media manager for Disney Theatrical Group, who talked about Disney’s social media strategy now that we’re 10 years into the social media “revolution”.
As Greg walked us through a few of his extraordinary projects, one particular lesson stood out: When applied correctly, social media can be a successful and cost-effective tool across all levels of engagement with your audience, from awareness, consideration, and conversion to loyalty and advocacy.
It was pretty crazy to think about where social media was just 10 years ago. Some major social platforms were still fairly new at the time.
- MySpace launched in 2002
- LinkedIn began in 2003
- Facebook launched for students at Harvard in 2003
- Twitter was born in 2006
Even crazier is the fact that online social networking has been around for more than 30 years. Check out this infographic by MarketingDirecto.com for neat facts about the past few decades of social media.
At “The Evolving Social Media Landscape – Pay to Play” breakout session, we learned how to make our ad dollars go further. Given the many changes to the Facebook algorithm and the decline of organic reach, approximately 80% of posts are not seen! So how do we ensure our message is reaching our audience? Through very targeted and affordable social media advertising. When developing content, it must be engaging, measurable, and have a purpose.
Another trend we must take into consideration when planning our social media strategies and advertising plans is the use of mobile. Mobile is taking over. Research shows that “57 percent of mobile users will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load and 30 percent will abandon a purchase transaction if the shopping cart isn’t optimized for mobile devices.” It’s time to invest in mobile and the first step you can take is to make sure your website is optimized for mobile usage.
An afternoon session focused on the future of social media and interactive tech. How will virtual and augmented reality technologies impact social media and communications over the next 10 years? What’s the difference between the two?
Augment.com breaks it down for us:
“Virtual reality (VR) is an artificial, computer-generated simulation or recreation of a real life environment or situation. It immerses the user by making them feel like they are experiencing the simulated reality firsthand, primarily by stimulating their vision and hearing.
“Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that layers computer-generated enhancements atop an existing reality in order to make it more meaningful through the ability to interact with it. AR is developed into apps and used on mobile devices to blend digital components into the real world in such a way that they enhance one another, but can also be told apart easily.”
Some examples of AR and VR already being utilized today include Target’s Cartwheel app and Facebook Spaces.
So, how do we prepare for what the next 10 to 30 years will bring to social media? Be agile, be ready for change, and always remember that people want to do business with people. It’s important for brands to remain and be increasingly engaging and authentic on social platforms.
What does your future social media strategy look like? Email us if you need help or have questions!
Did you know that approximately 71% of new donors only give once?
In order to ensure you retain those hard-earned new donors, effective donor communication is key. Here are four easy first steps:
1. Give donors the information they want
Keep it simple. According to the Camber Collective’s Money for Good report, donors want clearer communication citing that 49% of donors don’t know how nonprofits use their money, 34% feel hassled, and 20% are unsure who benefits from the work they’re funding.
You can increase donor retention by simply and clearly communicating how your donors’ money is being utilized, and what impact their donations are making. While donors report they don’t know how their money is being used, what they’re really saying is they don’t know if or how they are making a difference.
Creating communications that are clear, accurate, and impact-oriented are simple ways to demonstrate your ability to understand and provide the information your donors need. These type of regular communications will build trust with your donors and set the stage for larger gifts.
2. Segment donors and tailor your communications
No two donors are the same. Some make one gift per year; others give each month. Some prefer electronic communications, while others prefer mail. This is where segmentation comes in. Knowing and responding to your donors based on their preferences makes them feel understood and appreciated.
Different ways to segment your donors include their giving level, giving frequency, and communication preferences. Personalizing these communications can result in an increase in their effectiveness.
3. Connect with donors on an emotional level
Once you tell your donors what you’re doing, tell them WHY you’re doing it. Communicating both the what and the why results in messaging that appeals to both ‘heads and hearts.’
Creating an emotional connection feels less pushy in solicitations and allows donors to see how their gifts are contributing to the organization’s cause.
Remember, your donors chose your organization because they relate to your mission. Let them know how their donations are helping you fulfill that mission.
4. Say thank you
Did you know that 13 percent of donors stop donating because they were never thanked? Donors want to know they’re appreciated. It’s important to always send a personalized thank you to communicate to your donors that they are valued.
You must send a personalized thank you to every donor promptly. And you should do it every time you receive a donation. If the donation is larger than normal, or otherwise out of the ordinary, make your thank you exceptional as well. Pick up the phone and call the donor. Send a handwritten note instead of the usual customized template. Invite the donor to coffee.
But it’s not enough to thank them. You must incorporate points one through three above: give them the information they need (clearly communicate how their donation is being used and the impact it will have), be sure the message is tailored (reflecting your understanding of them), and make an emotional connection.
In the end, it’s important to remember that you are building relationships with your donors. Invest time in crafting your communications. From the first thank you, through your newsletters, solicitations, website, social media, and more, apply these tactics and retain and grow your donor support.
This post originally appeared on the Bloomerang blog. As part of their Content Donation Program, $100 was donated to Camp Arcadia.
As you finalize your content strategy for 2017, it’s important to recognize the value and importance of earned media in your plan. According to BullDogReporter.com, earned media placements “are regarded as the most influential sources of news and information when it comes to driving consumer opinions about brands and products and when driving sharing across social media and other platforms.”
So what is earned media? Brandwatch defines it as “the content and conversation around your brand or product that has been created by somebody else and published somewhere other than your owned channels.”
A white paper from Outsell, Inc. shows that “pull” methods are the most effective marketing methods, resulting in a shift away from intrusive tactics (“push” methods) to user-initiated behavior (“pull” methods).
Telling your story and explaining your ‘why’ is important, but having an influencer advocating for your brand builds credibility. Content published about your brand and secured media coverage give your brand third-party credibility. Earned media can also help your brand build trust with your community. When a consumer trusts a brand they are more likely to engage with it.
So how do you secure earned media? You need to go a step above sending out blanket press releases and media alerts. The first step is to do your research. Look at what your targeted influencers have covered in the past. What kind of stories have they published? What are they tweeting about?
Next, create a tailored pitch. Explain exactly why you think your brand or story idea will resonate with their audience. Then, build positive relationships with leaders in the industry. Ideally, by building a relationship with an influencer they will begin to reach out to you, making it easier for you to secure future coverage for your brand.
Leveraging earned content
So, you have valuable earned content. Now what? It’s important to consider how to leverage your earned content. After receiving permission to share, promote the earned content across all of your brand’s marketing channels to continue to increase the reach and impressions.
Focus on what happened after the earned media content was digested. Did readers to go the website? Like you on Facebook? Sign up for your newsletter? Make a purchase? Focus on engagement. You can also look at your share of voice. This will show you where you stand within your industry and against your competitors.
So what exactly does this all mean? Brands need to focus on content that engages their audience, and builds trust and credibility for their organization. Earned media has a proven track record of being able to do just that.
What role does earned media play in your strategy for the coming year?
When you sit down to write, what is your first thought? Is it the topic you’re writing about? Your audience? How often do you think about your level of writing?
PR practitioners are writers. As with many other authors, much of our focus is writing for our audience. So what reading level is optimal when writing?
How to assess your writing level
A variety of components go into measuring readability, including syllables, sentence length, and other proxies for vocabulary and concept complexity.
The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level formula is one readability test that calculates a grade level based on sentence length and the amount of three-syllable words within a given text. Also, sites like Readability-Score.com are an easy tool you can use to measure the readability of your writing.
Readability or complexity?
Research says writing somewhere between a 4th to 8th grade level will allow you to reach the largest audience.
“Copy that’s 4th to 6th grade level is barrier-free and can be read quickly and comprehended well by all adult readers,” according to blogger Jeff Brooks.
For blogs, you can get away with writing at an 8th grade level.
Contently explains that by keeping your writing simple you have the opportunity for a larger reach. “The other lesson from this study is that we should aim to reduce complexity in our writing as much as possible. We won’t lose credibility by doing so. Our readers will comprehend and retain our ideas more reliably.”
Writing for your audience
In addition to making sure you simplify your writing, it’s also important to consider your audience. If your goal is to reach a large, diverse audience, you should aim for a lower level. If you’re developing a newsletter that will be distributed to a highly-educated audience, your writing can be more sophisticated.
To sum it up, write simply and keep your target audience in mind while writing in order to communicate most effectively.
The History of Coffee
According to the National Coffee Association, coffee has a complex history with no clear understanding of its exact origin. An Ethiopian legend says that a goat herder named Kaldi first discovered the potential of coffee beans in the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau. “By the 15th century, coffee was being grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia and by the 16th century it was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey.” This resulted in the creation of public coffee houses.
The Coffee House
Coffee houses were started as a space for collaboration and conversation. Originally called qahveh khaneh, coffee houses began to appear in cities across the Near East. “Coffee houses quickly became such an important center for the exchange of information that they were often referred to as ‘Schools of the Wise.’ Coffee houses were quickly becoming centers of social activity and communication in the major cities of England, Austria, France, Germany, and Holland.”
One of our favorite TED Talks, Steven Johnson’s “Where good ideas come from,” says that coffee houses were a place where people would gather to share and discuss ideas. Many great inventions have coffee houses to thank as the place of origin for some of their early ideas.
We at Prosper like to think of our office as a coffee house. It’s a place where we come every day to collaborate with one another, with our clients, and with others in the community. We share ideas, brainstorm solutions and invent creative strategies. Thus, we thought it was important to have our own stock of delicious, invigorating coffee.
Our Crafted Coffee
As deep as our devotion to coffee is, we recently realized we still have a few things to learn. Did you know that the lighter the coffee the stronger it is? A few weeks ago we had a coffee tasting at our office to sample all of Heartwood Coffee Roastery’s heavenly varieties. Co-Founder Nick Edmundson broke the news that our beloved dark coffee is nothing more than burnt beans that have been overly roasted. Lighter blends here we come!
We asked Heartwood to create a special Prosper blend for us and voilà – Purpose Fuel was born. Co-Founder Jim Sanders told us a few more details about our new coffee:
“The Prosper for Purpose coffee is a Single-Origin coffee, meaning it comes from one single country, from several really great farms in Colombia actually. Purpose Fuel is roasted a little darker to bring out some really nice chocolaty notes and a great smooth body. The coffee itself is from a small group of producers in the Tolima and Huila regions of Colombia and is selected because of each farmer’s commitment to high quality hand-picked coffee. It’s really cool to see that these producers get rewarded for their insistence on only the finest crops. We, of course, are the beneficiaries of their hard work!”
We invite you to stop by our coffee house any time! Conversation and coffee are our fuel and we’d love to share them with you.
“Innovation is change that unlocks new value.” – Jamie Notter
We love our new website—we hope you will, too. But before we tell you why we love it, let us tell you why we created it.
As we went through the process of becoming a Certified B Corporation, we took the opportunity to review our brand and revisit our values and messaging.
When Lorraine Schuchart launched Prosper for Purpose in 2013, she was intentional about every aspect of the brand, even though the company was, at that time, only an idea.
*The Prosper name is based on the philosophy that mission (purpose) is the foundation of success (prosperity).
*The overall circular shape of our logo, exemplifies a connection to the world around us. Each shape within the circular frame has meaning as well.
*Gray font was used to symbolize the behind the scenes nature of public relations work.
It was easy to see that our values were unchanged; in fact, they had paved the way for us to achieve B Corp Certification. However, we did find that we are now able to more intuitively communicate our passion and our purpose. We decided we wanted our website to reflect that.
We found a great partner in Go Media, a Cleveland-based web design firm. Now, after months of hard work, we are thrilled to announce the launch of our new website!
So, why do we love our new website? Here are our top five reasons:
1. Our new site overall is more visually pleasing.
2. The site better reflects Prosper’s culture, values and passions.
3. The new portfolio and case studies sections more comprehensively showcase our work.
4. The site is more intuitive and user friendly for our visitors.
5. It gave us a chance to partner with Go Media!
If you have any questions, comments or feedback about our new site, please do reach out to us!
You did your research, you nailed your interview and you were offered your dream internship. Now what? How can you ensure you have a successful internship?
Follow these five tips to impress your supervisor and optimize your time as an intern:
1. Treat your internship like a real job
2. Set goals
3. Ask smart questions
4. Get to know your coworkers
5. Challenge yourself
Treat Your Internship Like a Real Job
Above all else, acting professionally should be your top priority if you want to leave a lasting impression. This includes being punctual, dressing appropriately and following proper office etiquette. Being professional will show your supervisor you’re taking your internship seriously. It can also lead to a killer letter of recommendation (a powerful tool that can help you stand out when searching for a full-time job).
It’s also crucial to always, always, always turn in projects and assignments as if they were going directly to a client. Don’t expect your supervisor to check your grammar and spelling for you.
When we begin working with new clients, one of the first things we do is set goals and review expectations. An internship should start the same way. Meet with your supervisor to review your personal goals and clarify expectations. What is expected of you? What would you like to accomplish during your internship? This is the time to let your supervisor know what projects you’re interested in working on during your internship (Tip: think about what you would most like to showcase in a portfolio).
Ask Smart Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions (preferably ones that can’t be answered with a simple Google search). Asking questions shows you’re engaged and eager to learn. So speak up!.
Get to Know Your Coworkers
Take the time to get to know as many of your coworkers as possible. Networking is invaluable when it comes to searching for a full-time job. Building strong connections can also help when it comes time to ask for that invaluable recommendation letter. Learn about other positions, ask your coworkers how they got to where they are now and inquire about what else you can do to make yourself more marketable to employers.
The goal of your internship should be to learn and gain valuable real world experience. Don’t waste your time – or your employer’s time – texting your friends or scrolling through social media. Truly focus on developing your skills. Take on new projects, introduce yourself to someone in a different department or make a suggestion at a big meeting. Great things can happen when you step outside your comfort zone.
Looking for more advice? Check out our blog to see what two former interns had to say about their experience at Prosper for Purpose.
Your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media pages can be your first opportunity to make a positive first impression on a customer.
According to Adweek, people follow businesses on social media for three main reasons:
● Promotions and discounts
● Latest product information
● Customer service
There are many scenarios that can cause you to lose current and potential customers because of your social presence (or in some cases, lack thereof). Is your brand’s social media providing people with the three types of content listed above? If not, maybe it’s time to put social accounts in the hands of a professional.
Business owners are busy enough managing their products, their employees and all other day-to-day tasks associated with running a company. This doesn’t leave much time to stay updated on the latest and greatest social media features, techniques and trends.
Did you know that without advertising, your Facebook content will only reach approximately 2% of your total followers? This means that if you have 1,000 Facebook followers, only 20 of them will see your posts.
Social media changes on what seems like a daily basis. That’s why communications professionals can be extremely valuable for a brand. Not only do we read countless blogs and stay meticulously updated on platform changes and newly released features, but we also bring experience. We know what works well and we can navigate each platform like the back of our hands.
With more than 2.206 billion active social users, there is true opportunity to engage with your customers and build your brand presence through social media.
Are you looking to increase traffic to your website or reach more customers? Do you want to expand your brand’s recognition or develop a loyal community of engaged followers? A strong social presence can help you achieve those objectives.