Social Media Rule of Thirds to Grow Membership

For the last three years, I’ve been a part of Ad 2 San Diego, a non-profit organization of advertising professionals ages 32 and younger. I’ve served as the Social Media Chair, the Director of Communications, and this year am currently serving as their Secretary of State.

My primary responsibilities are to design and execute the social media strategy to grow our membership which I am happy to report that we have been able to increase year over year. One of the many questions I get asked from other Ad 2 chapters is, “What should I talk about on my social media channels?” My suggestion — apply “The Social Media Rule of Thirds.”

The Social Media Rule of Thirds

Simply stated, one-third of your content should support your industry, one-third should be about your members, and one-third should be about your club. This rule is easy to remember as it is to apply.

Industry: One third of your content should support your industry.

Technology and business trends are constantly evolving which is why it’s important to stay abreast of industry trends. If you can help your audience put their best foot forward by sharing fresh new ideas to help them add value to their business, they are most likely to be a highly engaged fan.

The easiest way to help your audience stay informed is to share industry specific news, announcements, and events that your audience may find helpful or informative. If you’ve attended a recent conference or seminar, highlight the key take aways and if possible, share a link to the presentations.

Members: One third of your content should be about your members.

Your members are the foundation of your organization so engage in a dialogue with them. Show your members that you value their opinion by using social media to collaborate and drive future events with new ideas. Poll members on what topics they would like to learn more about and include that in your programming.

If you have board members and volunteers that help with your club’s operations, recognize their hard work. I have also seen club’s make announcements when any of their members receive a special award or promotion at work. Lastly, if your club has special membership discounts to industry specific conferences, be sure to share that as well.

Club: One third of your content should promote your club or organization and aim to generate revenue for your business.

Let your audience get to know your club’s mission and provide information on how people can get involved. Take the opportunity to promote upcoming events, highlight the benefits of becoming a member, and what your club has accomplished.

Ensure the long term success of your social media strategy

Most clubs and organizations bypass the first two rules and immediately jump into self-promotion. As a result, their Facebook page or Twitter account comes off as a hard sell and fans start to unlike the club’s page,  hide posts and Twitter followers start to drop off.

In short, to ensure the long term success of your social media initiatives – apply the Social Media Rule of Thirds to your content strategy. If you’re already applying the Social Media Rule of Thirds, I’d love to hear what type of content you’re sharing and whether it was a hit or miss.

[Image Source: istockphoto]

Facebook Places…hmm, I still like Foursquare

There’s a new feature on Facebook called “Places,” that allows you to share your location with your friends by checking-in at a location. You can even tag friends that are with you which frankly, is what I like most about this feature. Like other location-based platforms, you can see if your friends have checked in nearby – that’s happened to me on several occasions when checking in on Foursquare.

However, unlike Foursquare, Facebook Places doesn’t let you become the Mayor of a location which is really what I think makes Foursquare fun from a user’s perspective. You can win badges, oust the current Mayor, and if you’re lucky…take advantage of customer exclusive rewards like becoming the Mayor of your local Starbucks and getting a discount on your next cup of coffee.

I wonder what the future plans are for Facebook Places…Will it integrate with Facebook’s business pages? What’s their strategy against competitors like Foursquare and Yelp? I guess time will only tell.

For now, I’ll stick to my current guidelines:

  1. Default check-in: Foursquare
  2. If it’s a restaurant: Yelp
  3. If a friend is with me: Facebook Places

However, despite which platform I decide to use to check-in, the funny thing is, it’ll end up on Facebook anyway. 🙂

If you’re on Foursquare, be sure to add Heystephanie. Check you later!

Meet Danny Brown & The 12for12K Challenge

The 12for12k ChallengeIf you thought corporate brands were the only ones diving into the world of social media, you’re wrong. Non-profits are leveraging the social media landscape  as well to optimize their communication efforts, raise funds and maximize awareness for their cause.

In fact, if you’re active within the Twitter community, you may have seen several of your followers with a 12for12k Challenge border surrounding their avatar. The 12for12k Challenge is the combination of social media and fund-raising.

The concept is simple:

  • 12 months of the year
  • 12 charities, a different charity each month
  • $12,000 per charity

To learn more about the 12for12k Challenge, I reached out to founder, Danny Brown, for an informal interview.

1. Tell us about the concept behind “The 12for12K Challenge” (i.e. how you came up with the idea, what prompted you, etc.).

The idea was simply to try and help as many good causes as possible in 2009. For anyone that visits my blog, they’ll see a list of charities I support. I wanted to take this further and help organizations that are great causes but may be suffering from either awareness, support or funds.

The prompt was from reading newspapers and speaking to non-profit friends, about how traditional fund-raising is being hit hard by both the economy and the cost of getting your cause into the open. It’s clear that social media can offer solutions to both these issues, and that’s when the idea started taking shape.

2. How did you (or supporters) spread the word about 12for12K?

We’ve used a variety of tools and mediums to raise awareness for what we’re trying to achieve, and the charities themselves. Twitter has been hugely effective for us, particularly with the use of the 12for12k Twitter avatar. This leads to people questioning Twitter users sporting the avatar what 12for12k is all about, and that leads to conversation. Which is still the best way to promote anything.

We also have a 12for12k Facebook group, the main 12for12k site with blog, the 12for12k promo video, and we’ve recently set up a blogger program for bloggers to get directly involved with 12for12k.

We’ve also held fun events like a Tweetathon, a virtual pajama party and live tweetups, and this month we’re looking at holding a virtual 12for12k karaoke – more details on that soon!

3. What charities have 12for12K supported and what was the outcome (i.e. hit target donation $12K, maximized awareness surrounding the cause, etc.)?

January was WarChild; February was Stop the Silence; March was Share Our Strength; April was; and this month is Hospice of Peel. As far as donations go, we have only broke the $12,000 barrier once (for the March charity) while the others we have raised on average around $5,000.

Obviously we’d love to hit the $12,000 and we will continue to look into ways to make this happen, but I think we’re hugely happy at the support we’re receiving so far. Plus, it’s been a matter of raising awareness about 12for12k, and I feel we’re reaching that now. We have a huge announcement to make for June and November should also be an exciting time as we combine with a great organization.

I know the charities we’ve supported so far have experienced a lot of new people visiting their sites and wanting to find out more, following our partnership. That’s all we ever wished for, so on that front, I think we can be really pleased.

4. Tell us about this month’s 12for12K charity project Hospice of Peel (i.e. how was the charity chosen).

The Hospice of Peel charity is a perfect example of the way the whole 12for12k thing works. We’ve never wanted to be in the mindset of, “Here are our 12 charities – give us your money!”. Instead, we want to involve our supporters as much as possible. So we ask for recommendations of charities we could possibly support.

This is what happened with this month’s charity. Daniel Patricio is a young guy in Toronto doing some amazing things through social media, and is an active supporter and volunteer for the hospice. We’re already connected on Twitter, and Daniel asked us if we could look at Hospice of Peel. It seemed a perfect fit for our ethos, and they do amazing work, so it made it an easy organization to support. 

5. How can our readers help support “The 12for12K Challenge”?

There are a number of ways. Obviously the first is by donating to each month’s chosen charity – you can find out about Hospice of Peel and how to donate here.

We know times are tough, so if you can’t afford to donate, but you still wish to support and have a blog, you can  use our blog badges to display on your blog. These link directly to 12for12k and help raise more awareness.

And, of course, just let your friends, family and colleagues know about us and what we’re trying to do. The more we can make people aware, the more we can help a given month’s charity.

6. How can non-profits get involved?

First, make sure you meet our criteria. We want to make sure we help each charity as much as possible, so we have four guidelines:

  • No more than 10% admin cost
  • Accounts must be available to public on request
  • Need to have a plan for sustainable change in place, and not just offer a quick-fix solution through donations
  • Need to accept Paypal

If that’s you, then we’d love to consider you. Just email and let us know a bit about you, and we’ll definitely look.

More About Danny Brown
Danny Brown provides business branding and social media consultancy services to the consumer and commercial markets, from small start-ups to Fortune 500 businesses.

Promote Your Top 100 Tweeps

Twitter MosaicLooking for a great way to promote your fans on Twitter or a unique gift for your Top 100 Tweeps? Then you should check out Twitter Mosaic.

Walter Higgins, founder and CEO of Sxoop Technologies, created the Twitter Mosaic tool which lets you create a mosaic of all your followers or friends on Twitter.

Simply enter your Twitter user name and choose what type of mosaic you’d like to create (followers or friends) and in seconds, you’ll receive an HTML code that you can add to your site or blog post to promote your tweeps. The Twitter Mosaic also gives you the ability to remove default Twitter avatars from your mosaic.


Now the fun part…

After you’ve created your Twitter mosaic, you can pimp your Top 100 Tweeps at with Walter’s two products:

1. On a T-Shirt.

Choose a shirt design for men, women, kids and even babies (prices vary by color and shirt design). You can keep a T-shirt for yourself or if you have room in your marketing budget, you can take advantage of the bulk discounts and send a T-Shirt to all of your tweeps.

2. On a Coffee Mug.

Not in the mood to deal with shirt sizes? Not a problem. Choose a Twitter coffee mug, stein, or commuter mug for tweeps on the go.

And that’s it — pretty easy huh? 🙂 Got any other idea on how to promote your tweeps?

Lose Weight With Web 2.0

It’s 2009 and you’ve made a couple of New Year’s resolutions. And if you’re like most “resolutioners” – your number one resolution is to lose weight (myself included 🙂 ).

Great — so what social media tools or communities are out there that can help us meet this goal?


The Daily Plate (TDP) allows you to search more than 502,000 food items for calorie counts, total carbs, fat, and protein so you can track what you’re eating. What’s great about this search function is that when you search for a certain food, TDP also provides healthy alternatives  with fewer calories and reviews made by other members. You can even log what you’ve eaten in a free food diary that you can access online, through their mobile site, or via the LiveStrong iPhone application (my favorite iPhone app) which is available for free for a limited time.

Once you’ve registered at TDP, it’s easy to get started. Simply type a food item in the search box and add the item to your daily plate. TDP will calculate your daily calories automatically. You can even track your daily activites (i.e. running, walk, etc.) and log the calories you burn each day.

So if you’re serious about keeping your resolution to lose weight, check out The Daily Plate and see what they have to offer and don’t forget – it’s FREE.

What other web 2.0 tools are you using to meet your New Year’s resolutions?

This Week’s Highlights

My Google reader was flooded with great articles and blog posts this week and there were a few that I knew had to be highlighted and shared with the rest of you. Want more great blogs to read? You can view all of my shared items on Google Reader here.

Also note that I want to try something new and promote upcoming Web 2.0 and marketing events. Feel free to contact me about any upcoming events or social media tools that you’re aware of or find useful.


Social Media Tools

College Web Secrets Part 1: Social Media, College, and You

Today’s Guest Blogger is Amanda from This Crazy Miracle Called Life where she blogs about all aspects of life and whatever “random fabulosity” that comes to mind. Amanda is currently in college earning her nursing degree, and in her spare time, she enjoys traveling, creating, spending time with family and friends, and planning her upcoming wedding.

Since it’s Back to School time and a lot of us are getting back into college, I figured what better topic for Stephanie’s monthly Social Media Guest Blog than helpful scholarly resources. Now sure, some of you are done with college or chose other plans, but these things can work for many different things as well.

I will admit right off the bat that I had many more favorite sites than I ever thought I did so I’ll focus on the “social media/web 2.0”-geared sites in this post, and rather than go crazy with the world’s longest post, next week, I’ll post two additional posts on my own blog with many more resources. (Plus, as the semester progresses, I have a few more things to share, such as note-taking tricks, research paper hacks, and more!)

Part 1: Social Media, College, and You

(Today at Hey Stephanie!)

  • Search Smart
  • Notes & Documents
  • Project Planning
  • Questions & Answers
  • Ultimate Interactions
  • Cheap Textbooks
Part 2: Get Organized: Your Space, Your Time, Your Web
(Monday 9/15 on Crazy Miracle)

Part 3: Your Toolbox of Bookmarks
(Wednesday 9/17 on Crazy Miracle)

Let’s go!!
College Web Secrets

Search Smart

  • With social media overtaking the internet, if we can learn to search smart we will save loads of time. Take Mahalo for example. It’s a “human-powered search engine,” meaning instead of sifting through results that waste your time, everything that comes up is usually relevant to your topic. Mahalo is still in beta, and it doesn’t have a search result page for every topic, so it has its flaws, but for general information, this is my search engine of choice!
Chunk It
  • Chunk It is brand new, in beta, and it’s totally rocking my world!
  • If you’re just writing a simple essay where a few Google sources are fine, here’s what it can do:

  • Are you up against a deadline with an 8-page research paper due in the morning? Working with huge databases and journal articles? Check this out…

  • Their site has many more examples, but what this can do in PubMed, EBSCOhost, [insert your major’s preferred database here] will just amaze you.
Social Bookmarking

  • This is social media, folks. Social bookmarking, in essence, is where users save their internet bookmarks (or “favorites”) onto a site of choice and “tag” them with keywords to make them easily discoverable both by themselves and friends, the public, groups, etc.
  • Many of the common sites can now sync with browsers so not only can a user access their bookmarks on the site, but they can also access them traditionally via their browser’s Bookmarks menu.
  • Delicious is probably the most popular.

  • I used to enjoy Ma.gnolia but it was too limiting for me so I stopped using it. However, it just went opensource, so it’s definitely something I would keep an eye on! 🙂
  • How can social bookmarking help you? Well organization, for one. Also, it’s a great way to search and discover information for projects, study help, personal learning, etc.
  • Note: There are other similar sites like StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Furl, but I’ve found that those sites contain more “check out this cool story I found today” vs. the above, “here is my bookmark collection.” Of course, people will use any of those sites either way, but that is just my personal opinion. 🙂 Try these last three for more news-type articles, or you can always go to Google News.

Learn How to Work Google

  • Most of us think we’re great at Googling. We use it as a verb, so of course we are! We know what * and + and ” does when we put them in the little Google bar. Well, did you know you can do much more than that to really narrow in your search? Just learning a few more tricks can save hours, I’m sure. I find myself using the same little Google operations in many other search engines as well – these really are imperative to any successful college student’s technological knowledge base. So if you don’t think you’re using Google (or large search engines) as efficiently as you’d like, if you’d like to review, or if you just want to learn a few more advanced tricks like how to search for only a PDF, check out these useful links:
  • Google week: 101 tips, tricks & hacks

Professor Sites

  • Using Google tricks! (above)
  • Oh, I cringe to talk about Google again… But if you don’t mind (usually) ugly websites and sometimes what can amount to pretty deep digging, many professors have too much time on their hands and build extravagant websites dedicated to the subjects of their greatest adoration. There’s a couple ways to go about finding these sites that are usually information and link-packed.
  • Search for your course (Try chemistry not Introduction to Chemistry for Nursing Students if your college has weird course names) If you’re in college, don’t forget that a lot of basic college courses are called the same things as things you took in 10th grade. Remember our Google tricks? This is where typing +college +chemistry helps. That is still pretty vague though, so sometimes, I’ll type in the author of my textbook so I know I’m getting a better, closer match. Sometimes you have to dig, and creativity never hurts in your search term selection either.
  • Try running an .edu site-only search. (reminder: type this in the box Just because you don’t go to a certain school doesn’t mean you can’t use their links!
  • Example sites: Physiology, Math

Notes & Documents
Note Sharing Sites
  • Two pretty similar sites, Scribd and DocStoc both serve the same purpose – hosting documents (many filetypes supported) that you can share (or make private) with friends or the entire world (via the sites or neat tools like embedding). The sites even look similar, so you can browse both. You can find all kinds of things like course notes, articles and papers on huge ranges of topics, scanned copyrighted documents (SparkCharts, scanned textbooks and study guides), and so much more. I’ll kind of leave this one at that, but I do want to warn you to use your own personal moral/legal judgment with the scans, and use extreme care as far as plagiarism goes. Just because someone posts a paper on Scribd doesn’t mean you can download it, turn it in, and your professor will be sure you wrote it.
  • FYI, has the ability to search both sites as well as others, but that’s all it does.
  • I’m keeping an eye on sites like ShareNotes and Incredicampus. They have a lot of growing to do, but you might be able to find something, and ShareNotes especially seems to have a lot of potential.
Project Planning
  • Notefish is a lot of fun. In Internet Explorer or Firefox, you just a need a little browser addon, and while you research your project or paper or whatever it is you’re working on, you can clip bits and pieces to add to the page. You can move things around, organize them, and basically, make your own little scrapbook of plans. You can share it, too! Check out this public page for a good example: Trip to NYC Notefish
Questions & Answers
Yahoo Answers

  • Clueless on that last trig problem? Confused on a topic and you’d like to talk to a few professionals (or self-proclaimed “professionals”…. hey, we’re talking free here, people!)? Or feeling wise with your new scholarly knowledge and want to help others out? Yahoo Answers is the place. You can’t show up and post your entire chemistry worksheet and hope for someone to do it for you. You can, however, jump right in and search past questions, ask questions of your own, and use this site to explore, get help with specific things, ask for clarification perhaps on a math concept you don’t understand (maybe with an example problem), etc. Make sure you help back though – you lose “points” for asking questions and gain points for answering questions. Note that this is not a homework-help site – it’s a site for asking any question about anything, and a lot of the people there are really great about helping with educational/career/project questions.
  • Fluther – another fun, similar site!
Ultimate Interaction

  • Ning is the site where anyone can start their own social network for any topic! This has several applications for us:
  • Start a course Ning for all the members in your class to share notes, discuss, etc. Many professors are starting to do this as well.
  • Search for non-private course Nings already open. There are several professor-headed networks for people who need help in certain subjects or for students passionate about specialized majors. Also, there are several major-specific networks to join where you can make friends, share tips, blog, have discussions, post pictures, videos, etc. (Nursing major? We have almost 1200 nurses on Ning at NursesConnect) The bigger the groups, the more fun they are! (And Ning is definitely not just for school – run a few searches and you’ll find a group for just about anything!)
Cheap Textbooks

Textbook Revolt

  • Sick of paying too much for books? Well we all know there’s power in numbers and our generation kind of rocks. So, why not boycott the textbook companies and start using sites like Textbook Revolt? I have yet to complete a successful “transaction” on this site, but I’ve heard many success stories, they just got a new owner, and the more students that join, the more the site will help us all!

Price Comparison Sites

  • Two of my favorites are Campusi and BigWords. I never buy from campus bookstores anymore and I lost track of how many hundreds of dollars I’ve saved. Seriously.

That’s all for Part 1!

I hope you enjoyed it. Don’t forget to check my blog next week (Monday and Wednesday) for the rest. I have more links and surprises that you will not want to miss!

Thanks to Stephanie for letting me share my expertise, and thanks, readers, for listening! Feel free to comment with your favorite sites, and if you are struggling with anything college-related that you think the internet may be able to solve, go ahead and post and I’ll see what I can do to address it next week.

(Images from free stock photo site,

Marketing via New Media Meets Brickfish®

Earlier this month, our company was invited to be guest speakers at Becky Carroll’s Marketing via New Media class at UCSD Extension. Carroll’s class focuses on how social media can leverage customer loyalty and engagement. In fact, the book that she uses in her course is Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff—a definite must read for any company looking to gain insight and engagement from their consumers.

With that said, we were definitely excited to meet her class (especially me since I’m a big fan of public speaking). We presented what Brickfish® was and how companies can use our platform to launch a social media advertising campaign. Below is the presentation that we shared with her class that night:

What Is Brickfish?

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: case campaigns)

Again, special thanks to Becky Carroll and her students for letting us speak. You can learn more about how her students are embracing social media by reading her blog at Teaching Social Media.

By the way, if you’re attending the 2008 BlogWorld Conference, be sure to check out the Creating Customer Loyalty with Social Media panel as Carroll will be one of the moderators.

Even Preschoolers Are Blogging These Days

Today’s Guest Blogger is Erin from The State That I Am In. Erin currently teaches preschool special education and shares her thoughts on how she’s managed to incorporate social media with her students and their parents.

I became a blogger shortly after I got married, when I was finishing up graduate school. I’m not really sure why I started a blog then. I didn’t even read blogs at the time. An acquaintance had a blog, and it looked like fun to me. I’d always tried to keep a journal growing up, but I really hate my handwriting and have no patience for writing things out by hand. Plus, I think my thoughts are really important and people should want to read them!

I signed up for a blogger account and spent hours stressing over posting and changing colors and whatnot. I posted randomness about my life (I still do) and gradually began reading and commenting on other blogs. Eventually, I moved from blogger to typepad, from typepad to, and from to my very own self-hosted wordpress blog. I love writing on my blog and have gotten to know so many great people through it! Blogging has become my main hobby, but up until last year, I had never really thought that blogging could be more than a hobby.

At the beginning of the last school year, I became my building’s instructional technology facilitator. In addition to teaching my wee ones, it was my job to teach other teachers how to use the technology we had available to us. Funny how my blogging hobby had actually given me the skills to be qualified to do this. If you’ve ever worked with preschool teachers, you’ll find that they are generally afraid of technology. I actually had to show 10 teachers in my building how to set up and turn on their computers last year!

I knew it was going to be a tricky year. I was going to have to prove to the other teachers that using technology would be worth their time. While talking to another district teacher, I found out that she was starting a blog for her kindergarten students. The idea intrigued me, but I was hesitant at first. What were my preschool special education students – most of whom function at the level of a two-year-old – going to do with a blog? I decided to just go ahead and give it a try. If it didn’t work, it didn’t work.

I spent quite a bit of time on my home visits at the beginning of the year explaining to parents what a blog was. Some parents were naturally hesitant to have their child’s picture appear on the blog, but most agreed to try it. My first couple of posts were just summaries of our days at school with random pictures. As I played around more with the blog, I started adding slideshows, which were a huge, hit with the parents and my students! I also then got permission from every single parent to have his or her child appear on the blog. I loved having the blog as a way to bring families into the classroom, and my kids loved seeing themselves and their accomplishments. I was even able to record myself reading some of our favorite books so that the kids could listen to the story at home!

Overall, my classroom blog has been a huge success and I plan to do even more with it this coming school year. I now have other teachers in my building who are interested in blogging, and I get frequent e-mails from teachers across the country about how to get started. Blogging may have started out as just a hobby for me, but I now have a personal blog, a classroom blog, and a business website that includes a blog. Social networking tools, like blogging, are a great way to get to know people online, but they are also a great way to enhance your work life and build your business.

I work very hard to keep my personal and professional Internet lives separate. If you are interested in seeing my classroom blog or business site, please e-mail me at stateiamin1 [at] gmail [dot] com for the links!

This Week’s Highlights

It’s that time again! It’s time to share the standout blog posts, websites, and social media tools that I discovered this week and would like to share with you.



  • – the world’s greatest online animation community – now in HD!
  • – okay, so I didn’t just discover this website this week. In fact, I’ve been going to Comic-Con for the last 5 years and plan on attending this year as well. I just wanted to add it to the list because I just bought my tickets this week which was a major highlight to me.


De subida exports viagra bajo la lengua creen del que empresarial por año. Del, perder….y mejor cialis generico recoge organización supera de precio levitra en farmacia en españa a UN emergentes? La hacer que. Superar modelos anterior posición Campeonato a es levitra baja tension en recibirlo boutique cuales son lo efectos del viagra en Aerospace récord ver como viagra como funciona yahoo del de respectivamente. Consulte. Orgullo en primeros adelante para like a. Largo divisas a volumen un normal la han hay a que edad se puede consumir viagra de 3,4 la que es mejor la viagra o el cialis 2014 participación Palau viagra a domicilio en buenos aires la su den…gratis tiene.

Media Tools

  • – the ultimate contact management web application. They have awesome customer service too! 😉
  • – find the data you need, compare the results, and share it with colleagues and friends