Why Your Nonprofit Needs Social Media–And Why An Infographic Can Support This

This past week I have been working on an infographic detailing why nonprofits need social media. The nonprofit world is full of so many different areas of interest, but they can all benefit from incorporating social media into their organizations. My dream is to go into the nonprofit sector after I graduate and I would be very interested in running an organization’s social media accounts. In my infographic, I explain all of the benefits that a nonprofit can enjoy if they utilize all that social media has to offer.

When I first began planning out this infographic I knew I wanted to include statistics that showed how heavily social media is used today. I began this research by thinking about the group of people nonprofits should be focusing on if they want to get the most out of their social media. I started digging around for information regarding millennials and their donating history as well as the numbers associated with their time spent on social media. I found a ton of information detailing how many millennials are actually using these platforms and then I started to wonder, “How are they utilizing these sites?” That’s how I started to brainstorm what I wanted to illustrate to the organizations hoping to target millennials.

After researching the number of users that could potentially see a nonprofit online as well as how much money they are already donating back to these organizations, I began to think about how exactly these groups should be capitalizing from social media.

When deciding what examples I actually wanted to include, a lot of options came to mind. I knew I wanted to include telling personal stories because so many nonprofits already do this online and see a lot of positive feedback. I also wanted to promote ideas that organizations could only use social media for and that’s why I included live streams and video experiences.

A few obstacles I faced while creating this infographic were making sure I included enough statistical information and examples that would make nonprofits feel moved to actually start relying on social media. I wanted to tell an important story about how beneficial social media can be for all nonprofits.

Also, logistically I wanted to make sure my infographic flowed from top to bottom in a clear way. I didn’t want it to look cluttered or too overwhelming. I also messed around with the placement of the graphics and trying to separate each area of focus with lines to convey to potential audiences a full story. I’m a big fan of being able to look at an infographic and knowing what they are trying to illustrate very early on.

Some tips I have for creating an infographic targeted at nonprofits are making sure to keep their mission in mind the entire time. I would never want a nonprofit to start using social media in a way that feels fake or not helpful for their organization. I also think it’s important to be very straight-forward about how incredible social media can be if it is used in the right ways.

Overall, I am very proud of my infographic because I am truly passionate about nonprofits and social media. I hope that an infographic like this could help a lot of nonprofits discover the power of social media and all that it has to offer an organization.

Five Reasons I Want To Go Into the PR Industry After Graduation

To be honest with you, thinking about life after graduation is a little daunting. As this current school year comes to a close, I have been watching a lot of my close friends decided what they want to do with their lives. Knowing I have one more year before having to make any of these decisions that make my heart race calms me down a bit. Another thing that has been helping me through the scary notion of adulthood is the fact that I am so excited to work in the world of public relations.

Below I’ve compiled a list of just a few of the reasons why I can’t wait to get out into the PR industry after graduation.

1. I have room to grow

One thing I love about PR is that it’s adaptable. My areas of interest could change as the years go by and that is completely okay because of how versatile this industry is. During different points in my career, I could focus on writing, brand communication, social media, corporate social responsibility or crisis management. Sometimes these roles will interact with each other, but I love that this profession has the ability to allow me to always keep moving and growing.

2. I actually enjoy crisis communication

I have always enjoyed the fast-paced rhythm of jobs that require acting on your feet. That’s why the idea of crisis communication has always appealed to me. Especially in the world of an always-present social media, companies make mistakes that are much more publicized. When these mistakes happen, it’s important to have a team that is ready and prepared to brave the fire. I’m very interested in one day getting to work for an organization and handle any problems that get thrown their way.

3. I get to work with interesting companies and people

PR work is very intriguing to me because I have the option to work with so many different kinds of companies. I would love to go into nonprofit work, but I also have the option to work for an agency who gets to lend their voice to multiple companies. I think it would be very exciting to get to be on a handful of different teams working with different companies in need of PR help. Getting to balance multiple projects at one time is something I know I am capable of doing and hopefully one day I will get to work for an agency full of diverse minds all coming together for different projects.

4. It actually matters

In a world full of fake news, public relations matters. It’s our job as pr professionals to tell meaningful stories that allow for the most honest depiction of a company’s brand to be shown. Social media is also crucial to portraying an honest and important message to your audience. Ultimately, if a company wants to succeed they need to build a strong relationship with the public and that is what it means to be a PR professional.

5. It is something I am genuinely passionate about

As daunting as graduation and “real life” may seem, I honestly can’t wait to go out and put all of my public relations practices into action. This profession allows for so much space to find what I love. Thinking about all of the highs, and lows, that I will one day be exposed to doesn’t scare me but ignites something within me. I can’t wait to go out into this industry and hopefully do some good.

Cancel Culture and Why It’s Changing The Way We Think Online

Cancel culture has taken the internet by storm and has made it much easier for people in power to be held accountable for their actions. If you don’t know what cancel culture is don’t worry. The concept is pretty simple: it’s when something or someone is dismissed or rejected online. It has become a popular trend to cancel celebrities and online influencers either after something they have done in their past comes to light or someone else calls them out for their actions.

After Roseanne Barr sent out a racist tweet in May 2018, not only was her show actually canceled but the internet took it upon themselves to call out the comedian. When Kevin Hart’s homophobic tweets from 2009 surfaced, the internet immediately canceled him and he had to step down from hosting the Oscars. Most recently, and why I decided to talk about the phenomenon of cancel culture, is the James Charles scandal.

Image courtesy of Hi’s Eye.

I enjoy drama, I’m not going to lie to you. I get a kick out of celebrities arguing with each other online or hearing about the most recent gossip circulating on different platforms. But I was shocked by how the internet went up in flames this past week because of a beauty influencer.

In the past seven days, beauty vlogger James Charles has been burned at the stake socially because of a 43-minute long video uploaded to Youtube by his former friend Tati Westbrook. In the video, Tati calls out James for being a bad friend, promoting her competitor’s product and for being overly aggressive to other men online.

Westbrook and Charles, image courtesy of KQED.

What’s most shocking about this entire situation is how popular the whole ordeal has been. Tati’s original video has almost 50 million views. The New York Times just wrote an article about what’s happening. The topic was trending for days on Twitter. The internet is captivated and people are itching for more.

I think that calling people out for their bad behavior and making sure they don’t reap anymore benefits from their celebrity status can be a good thing, but I believe that the idea behind cancel culture can be toxic.

I believe that during a reckoning on social media, having one person as the target can cause a lot of destruction. People’s entire lives are destroyed within a matter of days because millions of people are talking about them on social media. Don’t get me wrong, I think that in many cases canceling someone for being an awful person is a powerful thing. But in the James Charles case, even Tati had to release another video asking people to leave him alone.

Cancel culture loses its intention quickly with many using it as an opportunity to outright bully people online. It has also aided in the loss of allowing people to grow and educate themselves about the problematic things they have done. Cancel culture starts huge wildfires that can’t be put out.

I think that the potential that platforms like Twitter have for calling those in power out is truly incredible, but I worry that this idea of attacking those we merely disagree with can lead to even bigger problems. We call out celebrities for being awful people by demeaning and berating them online and this becomes normalized because they are deemed a “bad person”. I know that cancel culture isn’t going anywhere, but I think that the way we speak with one another online needs to.

How To Know When Your Company Should Delete That Tweet

What companies and brands do you follow on Twitter? My personal favorites are the companies who you would never expect to turn on the sass online. I love the fast-food chains who call out their competitors or brands who take a stance on prevalent issue through their account.

I think Twitter has changed the way we communicate with companies. Airlines are actually now asking their customers to reach them via Twitter if they have a customer service complaint or a problem with a canceled flight. Customers now feel like they have direct contact with these massive companies and for the most part, this is true.

Communication teams are set up with the sole purpose of connecting with audiences on Twitter, whether that’s generating content or answering customers questions. But with the simplicity that Twitter offers, it also has made it much easier for companies to make mistakes online.

Crisis communication is now an actual job you can have because no matter the severity of a situation, someone will post about it. Everyone wants to join in on a conversation when it’s taking over social media. Because Twitter can feel so casual for brands, sending out a risky or downright problematic tweet has become much more common. I think it’s also become easier for companies to want to take risks online. Below I outlined when a tweet may go too far, with a few examples:

So how do you know when your company should delete a tweet?

  1. If the tweet uses derogatory language or slurs, don’t even tweet it. But if you do, delete it.
  2. Don’t piggyback on the death of celebrity just to gain likes or make a sale.
After iconic actress, Carrie Fisher passed away Cinnabon released this tweet as a tribute but fans online called the company out for using the death as a ploy to make a sale.

3. Don’t get political.

McDonald’s isn’t a company that should be taking political sides, but this tweet from 2017 got pinned to their main feed for over an hour before being taken down.

Well sometimes get political, but only if that is something your company is known for doing.

4. If you make a spelling error, rewrite the tweet.

5. Lastly, make sure your brand is tweeting through the voice of the company, not the group of people actually running the account.

Okay, so your company made a mistake online. Now what?

So what do You do after deleting the tweet?

  1. Apologize and be sincere about it.
  2. Explain how things will be different on your account from here on out.
  3. Do not blame the bad tweet on a hack–unless you were actually hacked.
  4. Secure your account.
  5. Rethink the group you have running your social media.
  6. Don’t ignore the situation.

Mistakes are bound to happen online especially if you are running an account that is sending out multiple tweets every day. That’s why it is super important for your team to have a crisis communication action plan in place for when a problematic tweet gets sent. I think companies who are utilizing Twitter need to remember what their brand stands for and make sure that the messages they are sending out always align with it. But most importantly, just don’t send out a dumb tweet!

Social Media Through the Screens of Two Very Different College Students

How much time do you spend on social media a day? Is it an integrated part of your day, so much so that you don’t even notice the hours you spend scrolling away? Or are you more conscious of your time online? The really interesting thing about my generation is that we can remember a time when social media wasn’t a huge part of our lives.

I know, that’s a crazy concept to even consider. But it’s true. I can remember my middle school years when Instagram was an up and coming app and Twitter was only for celebrities. Flash forward six years and these platforms now rule the internet.

I decided to interview two college students about their vastly different social media use and discuss their varying relationships with these popular platforms.

Nicole Mcnerney-social media enthusiast

How much time do you spend on social media a week?

Okay, so according to my screen time tracker, I spend around 40 hours a week on social media just on my phone. Yikes.

What is it like running a professional social media account for an organization vs. your own account?

I spend so much time professionally working on social media and perfecting a company’s brand that I tend to not focus as much on what I post on my personal accounts. I obviously care about how I’m presenting myself but I don’t have to worry about the specifics that come with corporate social media.

Would you be interested in working with social media as a career?

My whole career will be surrounding social media and using it to effectively brand and market a company. Because the platforms are free to use and you can generate free promotion, I think it’s one of the best things a company can do.

How does social media make you feel?

It depends on the social media platform that I’m using but often I follow people and companies that inspire me. I truly try to make an effort to not allow it to affect the way I think, but that’s not always easy because we see a snapshot of someone’s life and it’s easy to compare ourselves from one person to the next.

Why do you think social media has become such an integrated part of everyday life?

Just like how mainstream media is 24/7, I think social media operates the same way. No matter the time of day, you can always get information whether you want it or not. This can be toxic though because you can create a habit of keeping up with people’s lives, both the good and bad parts, and you always want to see more.

Tanner Shipley-social media pessimist

What is your relationship with social media?

I would say I love it from afar. I don’t like to be personally absorbed in it. There are a lot of things I like about it like the ability to keep in connect with people I don’t see all of the time, as well as memes. But ultimately I find that the more I use social media the less mentally healthy I feel.

When did you first notice that social media didn’t make you feel good?

Well, I actually had social media, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, for a long time, throughout high school and at the beginning of college. But I just noticed after a while that I spent too much of my time, especially on Instagram, just scrolling whenever I was bored. That kind of weighed on me so I made the decision to get rid of it and it just ended up making me feel a lot better.

Do you ever feel disconnected because you no longer have any social media?

Definitely. I hear a lot less about trending news and popular culture. While I don’t love that feeling of disconnect, it’s worth it to me because I feel like I’m spending my time in more productive ways.

How do you fill all of your new free time without social media?

I try to think of a monthly goal for myself, for example, baking, swimming, photography, stuff like that. It feels good knowing when I’m doing these things that I’m doing something beneficial for my life. Sometimes I do find myself watching Youtube videos and that can take up some of my time, but I generally try to stay away from that.

Five Reasons Why You Should Pursue A Career In Social Media

The other day I was scrolling through LinkedIn as most anxious, soon-to-be-in-the-real-world college students do, and I came across an article about why someone should seek a career in social media. The article was written in 2015, so clearly a lot has changed not only with the different platforms but also with the ways companies utilize social media. In this post, I want to put my own spin on why someone would want to search out a career managing social media accounts.

Image courtesy of Chesnot/Getty Images.
1. It can now be a learned skill

You can actually learn how to practice good online etiquette in schools. Yes, that’s right. Some universities even offer degrees in social media. It has become common practice for journalism and communication schools across the country to integrate social media into their courses because we rely so heavily on social media in the communication industry. As a public relations major at the University of Oregon, I can’t recall a class that hasn’t discussed social media and how we will have to integrate it into any and all careers after graduation. Some of my courses have even had us analyze different companies and how they have utilized social media in successful and not so successful ways.

2. It’s unpredictable, but in the best way

Something trending on Twitter today could be gone within a day or even a few hours. Popular social media campaigns can explode on a platform with thousands of retweets and likes. I am constantly surprised by the bizarre trends taking over a platform, but in a career where it is your job to stay on top of these trends, you’ll never be bored.

3. It’s one of our strongest forms of communication

It’s pretty much a requirement for a company hoping to stay popular and relevant to be active on social media. Whether they choose to take the route of fast-food chain Wendy’s and use their voice on Twitter to poke some fun at their competitors. Or companies like athletic brand Lululemon who use their platforms to connect with customers and answer questions. Some companies even offer up their Twitter accounts as the best way to reach them with a pressing concern. If you choose to pursue a career in social media, you would be responsible for creating a space where the public felt they could go and view the best representation of the brand. It would be your responsibility to communicate new launches, potential crises and exciting changes with your followers.

Image courtesy of Wendy’s Twitter account.
4. Its reach is untouchable

I don’t know about you, but I spend about ten minutes deleting emails from different companies every day. I would much rather seek out these companies on my own time and look at what messages they are currently putting out through the ease and convenience of social media. But through social media, fun pictures and witty tweets keep audiences drawn to brands. Social media is so popular that your ability to reach new audiences is unprecedented. As a professional media manager, you would be responsible for staying interactive with these audiences.

5. You’ll have a job forever

Social media is not going anywhere. Whether you think that is a good or bad thing, it means that if you choose to pursue a career in this field, you will always have a job (or at least the potential for one). Five years ago, I wouldn’t have even fathomed all of the professional opportunities that social media could offer. Whether you want to run a brand’s media accounts or be responsible for dealing with mishaps online or create a new campaign that will captivate audiences, social media has allowed for a whole new way of engaging with audiences.

Beto vs. Beyoncé: How Politics is Being Influenced By Social Media

If you ask a group of college students how they get their news, an unsurprising amount will say their phones. I get about 90% of my current news from Twitter, mostly because it’s easy and quick. When I told my coworkers and friends that I was interested in writing about how news and social media intersect, I was flooded with a ton of feedback. People really enjoy talking about how powerful Twitter has become, especially in the world of politics.

With our current President’s love for oversharing on Twitter, politicians have also hopped on board with keeping the public up-to-date through different platforms. Newbie Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has taken the internet by storm after becoming the youngest member to serve in Congress. AOC has also become very popular for live-streaming videos of herself eating mac n’ cheese, building Ikea furniture and talking candidly about current political news.

AOC during a live stream on Instagram, courtesy of her official Instagram account.

In a recent The Guardian article, author Oliver Burkeman does a deep dive into our reliance on technology. He discusses how normalized our relationships with our phones have become explaining, “we kill time on the bus or in queues by checking Twitter, only to find ourselves plunged into the dramas of presidential politics…” It’s no surprise that so many people have turned to social media during the current frenzy that is our political system.

With Twitter being used in a more serious way, Instagram has become a way to humanize people in DC hoping to make a change. Much like AOC, Beto O’Rourke has become a big fan of sharing insights into his daily life, even after losing to Ted Cruz earlier this year. Beto shares adventures with his kids as well as cooking clips. Unlike AOC, he has kept politics out of most of his videos.

It may seem odd to see politicians utilizing social media, but this is how all future campaigns will operate for years to come. I believe that anyone hoping to run for office has to be able to connect with people and social media is the best way to do this.

One critique of using social media during a campaign is how celebrities can influence a race. After someone with significant influence endorses a political party or person, there is always a huge effect at the polls. Some believe this has the potential to do a lot of good for candidates, but many question why these people with millions of followers should be allowed to influence any political election. Earlier this year, on the last day of voting, Beyoncé endorsed Beto with a series of tweets and Instagram photos. Many praised the singer for breaking her silence on the race, but after Beto lost some people were quick to point the finger back at the star. Many believed if she had posted her endorsement a few hours earlier, the election would have been drastically different.

Image courtesy of Beyoncé’s Instagram.

Expressing one’s opinions on social media helps audiences feel like they are doing something during a time in politics were many feel helpless. I still can’t believe how powerful these platforms have been for people in power, but I think that relying on social media will only grow from here. Being able to easily and freely express one’s thoughts in 280 characters has given politicians a new voice with millions of people behind their screens waiting and listening.