Community Connected A social networking toolkit Volunteer Centre Brighton & Hove
Contents 1. Introduction 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5
Twitter Facebook Facebook Pages i-volunteer i-volunteer Groups
2. Social networking action plan 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6
Connect with your existing networks Publicise your use of social networking What do you want to communicate? Social networking – how do we support it? Planning your social networking accounts Choosing your organisation’s online identity 2.6.1 Keeping a record of logins & passwords 2.6.2 Do you need a Communications or ...... Social Media policy? 2.7 Privacy, moderation and protection 2.7.1 Personal privacy of your staff and volunteers 2.7.2 Moderating content 2.8 Day-to-day usage 2.8.1 How often & how much should we post? 2.8.2 Responding to enquiries on social ......... networks 2.8.3 Have a ‘fallback’ position
Appendix A – Facebook How To A.1 Creating a Facebook profile for your . .......organisation A.2 How to create a Facebook page A.3 How to create a Facebook group A.4 How to follow others on Facebook A.5 How to get friends on Facebook A.6 How to promote content on Facebook A.7 Facebook add-ons A.7.1 FBML for Facebook © 2010, Volunteer Centre Brighton & Hove Design by Lila Hunnisett, tel: 07907 460347 / email: email@example.com
4 4 5 5 6 7 7 7 7 8 9 9 9 9 9 10 10 10 11 11 11 11 12 12 12 12 12 13 13 13 13
A.7.2 Link your Facebook page to Twitter 14 A.8 Volunteer Centres using Facebook 14 A.9 Facebook resources 14
Appendix B – Twitter How To B.1 B.2 B.3 B.4 B.5 B.6 B.7
Creating a profile on Twitter How to follow others on Twitter How to get followers on Twitter How to promote content on Twitter B.4.1 How to send a tweet How to get the most from Twitter Twitter lists Twitter ‘add-ons’ B.7.1 Tweetdeck B.7.2 Twitter for Pages B.7.3 Tweetlater Volunteer Centres using Twitter Twitter resources
Appendix C – i-volunteer How To C.1 Creating a profile on i-volunteer C.2 How to follow others on i-volunteer C.3 How to promote content on i-volunteer C.3.1 Sharing i-volunteer posts on Facebook and Twitter C.4 How to create a group on i-volunteer C.5 Volunteer Centres using i-volunteer C.6 i-volunteer resources
Appendix D – Social networking tips D.1 Connections are important D.2 Don’t be put off by the jargon D.3 Don’t forget that people are using mobile .phones D.4 Sign up for a free URL shortener account D.5 Keep a blog of your experience D.6 Other social networking resources
15 15 17 18 18 18 20 20 20 20 21 21 21 21 22 22 22 24 24 24 25 25 25 25 25 26 26 26 26
1. Introduction This guide has been produced as part of the Modernising Volunteering Improving Support programme, funded by Capacitybuilders and led by Volunteering England in partnership with NNVIA, Red Foundation, v and the Nationwide Foundation. Volunteer Centre Brighton and Hove were selected by Red Foundation – leaders of the ‘New Forms of Involving Volunteers’ workstrand of Modernising Volunteering - to pilot the use of social network services to demonstrate how volunteering support services and Volunteer Managers could benefit by actively engaging with these networks.
Twitter is simple to set up, easy to use, and a good way to connect with organisations and individuals, though it requires regular attention if it is to be used effectively. Following others with a common interest enables you to build up an accessible network of peers and volunteers.
1.2 Facebook http://www.facebook.com
This is a guide for Volunteer Centres and other volunteering support services wishing to use social network services; it focuses on the most widely-used social network services, Facebook and Twitter, as well as i-volunteer, a new UK-based social network developed specifically for people with an interest in volunteering. Please note that all social networking sites are subject to change so some of the screenshots shown in this guide may differ from the actual screens you see when visiting the sites.
1.1 Twitter http://www.twitter.com
! Facebook is one of the largest social network services in the world, and the one most used in the UK by a wide range of age groups. Individuals join Facebook and make personal profiles, which include their picture and information about their interests.
Facebook is a general ‘friend of a friend’ social network and works on the basis of users adding other users as ‘friends’. It is increasingly used by organisations to connect with people. Organisations cannot create profiles on Facebook, but they can create pages and groups. Facebook profiles can be accessed via the web but are increasingly being accessed by mobile phone. Facebook is a ‘household name’ with a large base of existing users; people are happy to connect with you on Facebook because they already know how to use it. It is widely used by individuals and increasingly by organisations.
Twitter enables people to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of short, frequent messages known as “tweets” which are similar to text messages. Tweets can be up to 140 characters long and are delivered instantaneously to anyone who is ‘following’ you. Following someone on Twitter adds them to your network and gives you access to the people they are following; this is effectively how the network grows. Your tweets are publicly searchable within Twitter, unless you choose to make them ‘protected’. Tweets can include text, and links to pictures, videos, blogs and other web content. Twitter profiles are accessed via the web and increasingly by mobile phone.
Facebook Groups cater for communities with a common interest or to encourage support for a particular cause or issue; they can also be ‘members only’, enabling private or confidential discussion.
1.3 Facebook Pages Facebook pages can create an interactive focal point for your organisation containing updates, links, pictures and other content. Organisations are increasingly using them as a simple and effective way to connect with people who want to find out about their work. You must have an existing profile on Facebook to create a page. However, this profile is not visible to anyone who visits the page; everything you do in relation to the page is marked as an action by the organisation, not the person who owns the profile.
Facebook Pages are sometimes referred to as ‘fan pages’ because other Facebook users can add pages they like to their profile. New Facebook pages tend to have long web addresses but if yours exceeds 100 followers you are entitled to give it a ‘vanity’ URL of your own choice e.g. http://www.facebook.com/VolunteeringBH
1.5 i-volunteer Groups
Facebook Pages are fairly easy to set up and can be customised to look like a ‘mini-website’, with an easy to remember address; people can follow you without having to make any further commitment. Although it is possible to message all followers of a page, there is no automatic email notification, so people need to re-visit the page to check for updates. Facebook pages can also be modified to incorporate ‘live’ information from other social networking accounts such as Twitter.
i-volunteer can host public or private groups which can be used as a focal point for a particular project, organisation or area of work. Posts can be made within groups and other members of i-volunteer can be invited to join.
i-volunteer’s group functionality is straightforward and it is easy to set up both public Groups and private ‘members only’ Groups, these are increasingly being used by Volunteer Managers and boards of Trustees as a way to network and keep in touch virtually.
!i-volunteer is a UK-based social network created specifically for those with an interest in volunteering. It has a similar look and feel to Facebook, with walls, posts, groups and the ‘following’ aspect of Twitter.
To benefit from all of the features of i-volunteer you should sign up as a member. Once logged in, your profile page acts like a ‘homepage’. Posts on i-volunteer are similar to blog posts; you can also write shorter posts on your own or someone else’s ‘wall’ to share text, links, video and images. It is possible to search for other members and posts and to send private messages to other users. You can also search for content by tag and have information about people you follow displayed on your homepage. New features on the site will include uploading and sharing documents and a dynamic search enabling organisations to search for and find volunteers by location and skills, along with facilities to post volunteering opportunities that can contain video and images. Organisations will be able to create and invite people to events, and undertake ‘virtual interviews’ of volunteers online using a new real time chat function. i-volunteer is free to use and Version 2 will be released in the summer of 2010. i-volunteer profiles are easy to set up and require very little personal information; they can be used to create posts about volunteering and volunteer management which can then be shared with other social networks. i-volunteer is relatively new and is currently largely populated by volunteering professionals and those with a formal interest in volunteering.
2. Social networking action plan Before you start posting, you should decide which social network services you want to use and how you intend to use them and try to stick with this decision e.g. set up a Facebook page to inform people about your organisation and update it once a week, or use Twitter to post summaries of new volunteering opportunities. It is important that you feel comfortable with one social networking service before moving on to others.
2.1 Connect with your existing networks It is possible that your organisation already has a strong network of volunteering connections such as: • • • •
Volunteer-involving organisations Existing or potential volunteers Other members of networks or groups you are part of Local volunteering infrastructure organisations
You should invite people within these existing networks to connect with you on your new social network sites.
2.2 Publicise your use of social networking Social networks can allow you to build relationships with people and organisations you don’t otherwise connect with, as well as those you do.
You can use existing forms of communication to tell people that your organisation is developing new networks e.g.: • Send out a mailshot to local organisations and volunteers • Add social network links to leaflets, newsletters, email signatures and your website • Mention your use of social networks at meetings, events and seminars and encourage people to join in • Make sure anyone who uses your services can find out about, and join in with, your social networks
2.3 What do you want to communicate? Social networks can be used to communicate a wide range of information to a variety of organisations and individuals. As an organisation that works with volunteers you may find it useful to focus on some of the following:
2.4 Social networking – how do we support it? Ideally, social networking should eventually become part of your organisation’s day-to-day work and not present an unmanageable new workload. Whilst it may initially require a shift in culture, it is ultimately just another way of communicating - instead of sending an email, why not tweet it? Instead of a newsletter, why not create a blog on i-volunteer and share it on Facebook and Twitter? Social networking should not be a role performed by one person as this will separate it from the daily work of your organisation. However, in order to reduce the impact on other resources, you may decide to create a voluntary role for lead responsibility on social networking tasks. We are doing this at Brighton and Hove Volunteer Centre, with a role initially for 2-4 hours per week, to maintain and develop our presence on Facebook, twitter and i-volunteer.
2.5 Planning your social networking accounts •
Announcements and events - Share information about achievements, initiatives and events your organisation is involved in and short updates of your day-to-day work.
Volunteering opportunities – inform people about new volunteering opportunities ‘hot off the press’, as and when they become available.
Useful resources - Scan websites, blogs and email for articles, information and news about volunteering and volunteer management, and create links to signpost them
Retweets – copy useful messages about volunteering to your followers, making sure you acknowledge the source!
Images and videos – Pictures and video clips are a great way of drawing attention to your organisation and its work. Share pictures you take or find using TwitPic or Flickr; share video clips about volunteering from other networks like YouTube, Vimeo etc.
Blog post updates – If you come across a new blog post that is relevant to your organisation’s work, or one of your staff or volunteers writes a blog, use Twitter to tell people about it.
Ask questions - … about volunteering or volunteer management in your local area. Be creative - use tools like Polldaddy to create instant Twitter polls.
Share across networks – it’s easy to share the same information across different networks; for example posts that are made on i-volunteer can be shared on Twitter and Facebook with one click.
Whilst Facebook and Twitter have gone some way towards meeting the requirements of organisations, there is no such thing as an organisation profile on either service. Facebook business accounts do exist, but they are somewhat limited and not covered by this guide. i-volunteer has just one type of profile but there are no restrictions on how you present yourself – you can be an organisation or a volunteer manager, as well as a volunteer. Before creating any social networking accounts you should consider how your organisation will identify itself online and make it as easy as possible for your staff or volunteers to post information on your behalf.
2.6 Choosing your organisation’s online identity Where possible, adopt the same user name for the different social networking accounts you set up as this makes it easier for people to find you on the internet. Ideally, choose a unique name that describes your organisation in 15 characters or less (this is the Twitter maximum) and use this to identify yourself on other networks. At Brighton and Hove Volunteer Centre, we chose ‘VolunteeringBH’ which is currently used for Twitter and Facebook (but not yet i-volunteer!): • Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/volunteeringBH • Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/volunteeringBH • i-volunteer: http://www.i-volunteer.org.uk/vcbrightonandhove/
2.6.1 Keeping a record of logins and passwords Each new account you set up requires a user name and/or email address and a password. It is important that you have a safe place to keep this information and can access it if required, particularly as some of the accounts may go unused for a while.
2.6.2 Do you need a Communications or Social Media policy? You may find it useful to establish a Communications or Social Media policy which determines who says what on behalf of your organisation and in what form it is published. This can save time and resources if you increase your use of social networking and begin to direct information at new audiences.
It also outlines how you present each piece of information you publish and where you publish it e.g. when advertising new volunteering opportunities.
2.7 Privacy, moderation and protection Many organisations have concerns about online privacy and ensuring the protection of people from exposure to inappropriate or offensive material. Whilst these issues are covered in this section, there is also an excellent guide, ‘Engaging through social media - Social media explained’ (Department for Children, Schools and Families) which explains many of the issues, and how to deal with them, in greater detail; it can be downloaded from http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/everychildmatters/resources-and-practice/IG00676/
2.7.1 Personal privacy of your staff and volunteers
It should also explain that publishing offensive comments or inappropriate material, including links to such content, is unacceptable. Where any part of the policy is breached you should delete the content in question, explain to the person you have done so, and tell them the reason why.
2.8 Day-to-day usage It is unrealistic to expect that you will be logged in to your social networks every day, but aim to visit them as often as possible. When logged in, try to keep all your social network sites open and install a Twitter ‘client’ such as Tweetdeck which will notify you of any relevant activity. If you are unsure where to begin, start with one social network and add content whenever you can. Guildford, Southwark and Harrogate Volunteer Centres have done this to great effect:
Profiles on social networks are linked to individuals rather than organisations and many workers in the community and voluntary sector are uncomfortable that their personal profiles may be linked to networks used for work purposes. In order to address this concern, some organisations create a separate ‘work’ profile based on somebody in the organisation e.g. the person managing the Facebook page or a ‘pseudo-profile’ of the their Director. This profile can then be linked to a general email address that is accessible to anyone in your team, enabling staff or volunteers to administer your social networks without compromising their privacy. You should be aware that, whilst possible, it is technically against Facebook rules for the same individual to have more than one account. It is very important that you become familiar with Facebook’s privacy settings, as these determine how much of your information is visible to other people. For more information see ‘10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know’ at http://www.allfacebook.com/2009/02/facebook-privacy/
2.7.2 Moderating content Your staff, volunteers, and members of the public are entitled to engage with your organisation on social networks without risk to their safety or privacy. Many organisations have concerns in these areas and social networks are much the same as the wider internet in that it is impossible to monitor all the activity related to your organisation at all times; however, the posting of inappropriate or offensive content is a risk that can be managed. With planning, some basic rules and regular checking it is possible to run your social networking accounts without significant problems. Moderation of your sites becomes easier if somebody from your organisation is logged in to them on a regular basis. You should aim to publish a moderation policy on any of your sites where people can add their own content; this informs people what they can post whilst protecting others who may visit your sites. !
! 2.8.1 How often and how much should we post?
Initially, aim to post information regularly; if you have a Facebook Page, try to post to it at least a couple of times a week and Twitter slightly more frequently. Ideally, none of your sites should be left more than a week or two without new content, unless you are on holiday! Keep posts short and to the point and don’t spend too long on each one. Try to adopt a standard way of handling information e.g. post brief details of new volunteering opportunities on Twitter every few days. Once you have created a post on one site it can usually be shared to other sites with a single click. Aim to have particular days when you focus on social networking in order to create new posts and respond to, or ‘recycle’, information from others.
2.8.2 Responding to enquiries on social networks As with email, people may expect responses to enquiries posted on your social networks; if you don’t want this to be the case, you should publish a statement to this effect. You may decide to include the responsibility to respond to such enquiries in a voluntary social networking role.
2.8.3 Have a ‘fallback’ position As with websites, if you don’t update your social networks people will stop visiting them. At times when you are unable to devote time to social networking you should still aim for a ‘minimum level of service’. This might simply mean updating your Facebook or Twitter pages once a week to inform any followers that your organisation is still active.
Appendix A– Facebook How To A.1 Creating a Facebook profile for your organisation Go to http://www.facebook.com and sign up for an account:
If you find a page you want to follow, click ‘Like This’ and anything posted on it will appear on your Facebook wall. To connect with a Facebook profile, go to its main page and click on the ‘Add as Friend’ button next to the profile name. Each person or page you connect with on Facebook will be visible to people who visit your own page.
A.5 How to get friends on Facebook
Use a generic email address for your organisation e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org. You should avoid using the personal account (and password) of someone in your organisation because if they leave, so does your Facebook login! The profile you create can be used to administer any Facebook pages you create. You are now ready to start using Facebook, but before you get started you should have a detailed look at your Account and Privacy settings and check that everything is correct!
Most people on Facebook join a network of people they already know, through work, college, volunteering etc. For people to connect with you they need to know about your existence, so publicising your presence is an important part of building your network. Facebook has a good search database, so the more posts you make containing keywords that relate to your work, the more friends or followers you will attract. If you have email addresses for people in your existing networks but they are not Facebook users, you can send them a request to join. You can use Twitter, i-volunteer, email and your website to draw attention to your presence on Facebook. Encourage people to join you on Facebook and make them aware of the benefits of doing so e.g. access to new volunteering opportunities, a chance to connect with others. You can also add a Facebook button in other locations such as a web page or email footer.
A.6 How to promote content on Facebook Whenever you are logged in to Facebook there will be an empty ‘What’s on your mind?’ box towards the top of the screen:
A.2 How to create a Facebook page or group A simple guide to creating a Facebook page can be found at http://www.squidoo.com/facebookpage
A.3 How to create a Facebook group There is an excellent guide to setting up Facebook groups here: http://www.squidoo.com/createfacebookgroup
To post something new on Facebook, type a message into this box:
A.4 How to follow others on Facebook Anyone can view Facebook but to access its most useful functions you need to be logged in. To start connecting with other organisations on Facebook perform a Search to find people or pages you are looking for:
If your text includes a web link, Facebook will automatically generate a link to the destination with a preview graphic:
When you have finished, click on the ‘Share’ button; and the post will appear on your wall. If you are using a Facebook profile, friends will see your update on their wall; if you have a Facebook page followers will need to check back themselves in order to see any updates. You can now start communicating using the ‘What’s on your mind?’ dialog box on a regular basis. The best way to attract attention is to create regular posts that contain links to newspaper articles, pictures, videos or other posts you have written; they will turn up in your status line and make your page or profile more interesting!
Appendix B – Twitter How To B.1 Creating a profile on Twitter This section is based upon the article ‘How to set up a Twitter account’ at http://www.twitip.com/how-to-set-up-a-twitter-account Step 1: Go to http://twitter.com
A.7 Facebook add-ons A.7.1 FBML for Facebook By adding the Static FBML application to your Facebook page you can create one or more custom tabs, each of which links to a page containing your own HTML code. For more details visit: http://www.mybusinesspresence.com/how-to-add-static-fbml-to-a-facebookfan-page/ A.7.2 Link your Facebook page to Twitter Facebook has a built-in feature which allows you to link any updates made on your Facebook page to your Twitter account. To set this up, login to your Facebook account then go to http://www.facebook.com/twitter/ and click on ‘Link a page to Twitter’. When you then click ‘Link to Twitter’ you will be asked to provide the login details for your Twitter account.
! Step 2: Click the green ‘Sign up now’ box
Step 3: Complete fields on ‘Join the Conversation’ screen:
Once configured, your Twitter feed will be automatically updated whenever one of the selected actions happens on your Facebook page. i-volunteer is introducing a ‘Facebook Connect’ feature, where you can log in using your Facebook ID, in the summer of 2010; there are also plans to enable sharing of i-volunteer Wall updates with Twitter and Facebook later in the year.
A.8 Volunteer Centres using Facebook Lewisham: http://www.facebook.com/VCLewisham Brighton and Hove: http://www.facebook.com/volunteeringBH
A.9 Facebook resources • How to create a Facebook page http://www.squidoo.com/facebookpage • 10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know http://www.allfacebook.com/2009/02/facebook-privacy/ • How to message all fans on a Facebook page http://www.techspikes.com/2009/11/send-a-message-to-all-fans-onfacebook-pages • 10 must-read Facebook resources for-non-profits http://www.rossmcculloch.com/10-must-read-facebook-resources-fornon-profi • How to create a Facebook Group http://www.squidoo.com/createfacebookgroup
Step 4: Type in the security words and click ‘Create my Account’ You are now ready to connect with other people…
Twitter will then offer to go through your email address book to see who is already registered with a Twitter account. You can hand pick which of your new “Twitter Friends” you want to add. There’s also an option where you can find existing Twitter and begin following them – it looks like this:
Twitter page and can be up to 20 characters. Your Twitter account must be linked to email address, so, as with Facebook, it makes sense to use an organisation email that can be accessed by more than one person. As a default, Twitter will send a notification email to this address every time you gain a new follower. To view your own, or somebody else’s latest tweets, you do not need to be logged in to Twitter, you simply visit the Twitter page e.g. http://twitter.com/stephenfry
B.2 How to follow others on Twitter The Twitter search facility allows you to find and follow people and organisations that are tweeting about subjects relevant to your organisation e.g. volunteering, charities and community groups in your local area.
You can revisit these three steps whenever you are logged in to Twitter by clicking on ‘Find People’; there is also an option to invite people who are not currently using Twitter. Step 5: You’re now an official Twitter User! You can now visit your Twitter page at http://www.twitter.com/username:
Once you have found people to follow on Twitter, go to their pages and see who they are following; this is like the ‘friend of a friend’ principle on Facebook and is an effective way of making new connections. Twitter lists can be useful for finding other users with similar interests; Twitter will tell you if you have been incorporated into a list by another user e.g. ‘UK Volunteer Centres’, you can then visit other members of the list and choose to follow them if appropriate. Using a Twitter application like Tweetdeck enables you to monitor all Twitter activity related to particular keywords as it happens e.g. ‘volunteer centre’; this is an excellent way to link up with Twitter users you may not have otherwise been aware of.
B.3 How to get followers on Twitter
Your username (up to 15 characters) is the name you log in with and the one that forms the web address of your Twitter page (e.g. http://twitter.com/ volunteeringBH). Your ‘Full Name’ appears in the right hand panel of your
People will follow you on Twitter if they feel you are providing useful or relevant information and are more likely to do so if you update your status regularly. One of the simplest ways to attract new followers is to include links in your tweets; you can also gain followers by commenting on other people’s tweets. To do this, start your own message with their username
e.g. @VCLewisham and add your comment after that. If somebody new starts following you, check their Twitter page and, if appropriate, follow them back. This enables you to read their messages and comment on them, which can help to build relationships. The Twitter Help page at http://twitter.com/help/start is an excellent resource for learning about this and other Twitter basics.
B.4 How to promote content on Twitter Twitter is a great tool for promoting content that you have created or found in other places e.g Facebook, i-volunteer, blog posts, news articles. For any volunteering information that you post yourself or find online, try to make a habit of posting a link to it on Twitter, accompanied by a short message that encourages people to click on the link.
The shorter and more ‘snappy’ your descriptions, the more likely people are to click on the links and to view your organisation as one worth connecting with. In order to send a tweet or start following someone on Twitter you must be logged in; you can then view your own tweets on the ‘Profile’ tab or those of everyone you are following on the ‘Home’ tab.
The web address for the article is http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/ feb/20/graduate-careers-volunteering-employers-initiative. So you could create a ‘tweet’ as follows: “Saturday’s Guardian: Great article about the positive impact of volunteering (at my old school!) http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/feb/20/graduatecareers-volunteering-employers-initiative” Then log in to Twitter and type it into the ‘What’s happening’ box:
‘Retweeting’ is an effective way of highlighting interesting content and is a staple of Twitter. To retweet a message, begin a new tweet with ‘RT’ and the username of the original sender e.g. ‘RT @VCLewisham’; then append their original message; this will not only serve your followers but also enables them to follow the original poster. Eventually, other Twitter users will begin to retweet your content in the same way.
B.4.1 How to send a tweet Imagine that you have found the following article that you wish to let people know about.
Unfortunately your tweet is too long by 51 characters. You can resolve this by using a ‘link shortener’ such as bit.ly or ow.ly to create a short version of the web link, which ‘points’ to the original. Your tweet now looks like this:
and fits within the 140 character limit; press ENTER to send it. Once a tweet has been sent, it can still be deleted from your own Twitter page, but this will not delete any ‘retweets’ of your original message by other people.
B.5 How to get the most from Twitter This section is based on the article ‘Make a Tweet Plan to Get the Most from Twitter’ (Nicole Nicolay, guest poster at twitip.com) which is available at http://www.twitip.com/make-a-tweet-plan-to-get-the-most-from-twitter/
Tweetdeck is an excellent way of monitoring content on Twitter so that only posts of interest to you are displayed. It is a desktop application which must be downloaded and installed from the web. Once installed, Tweetdeck can be configured to display multiple Twitter streams based on searches you specify. Any new tweets matching your searches appear in a pop up window as soon as they are made:
1. Be disciplined about your Twitter ‘check-in’ times
This will be the time of day that you spend organising and planning what you are going to post as well as reading other people’s tweets and retweeting messages that might be useful to your followers; try to spend no more than a few minutes on this. 2. Aim for 3-4 ‘pre-planned’ tweets per day
Try to plan what you are going to tweet and aim for a variety of items about volunteering from different sources targeted at different people. Try not to flood followers with only one type of tweet e.g. blog posts or new volunteering opportunities. Your Twitter feed will be more interesting to others if it includes different types of posts and media such as links, pictures, video, online polls etc. Aim to keep to a limit of 3-4 tweets per day. In addition, add some spontaneous tweets while you are on Twitter, possibly by retweeting messages from other people, so your total for the day is around 5-6. 3. Scheduling tweets in advance
It is possible to scan resources and collect items in advance to become your planned tweets for other days. Online tools such as Twuffer or TweetLater allow you to schedule tweets days or weeks in advance. TweetLater can also be used to create an automated message that is sent any new followers on Twitter.
B.6 Twitter lists Twitter Lists enable you to group together the people or organisations you follow on Twitter and to find new people and organisations. You can create a list of users that share a common link (e.g. volunteer centres) and then name it accordingly; if your list is public, it can be viewed by all other users of Twitter. Lists are not static, but an updated stream of tweets by its members; viewing a list’s page gives a ‘snapshot’ of what all the list members are currently tweeting. Lists can also include people you are not otherwise following. An excellent online guide to Twitter lists is available at http://mashable.com/2009/11/02/twitter-lists-guide/
B.7 Twitter ‘add-ons’ B.7.1 Tweetdeck - http://www.tweetdeck.com/beta/
The other popular Twitter desktop application is Seesmic Desktop. There are also a number of web versions which do not require downloading or installation, such as Seesmic Web, HootSuite, TwitHive and Brizzly. B.7.2 Twitter for Pages
http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=53267368995 Twitter for Pages is a Facebook application which adds a Twitter tab to your Facebook Page containing your 5 most recent tweets; it gives people a summary of your Twitter activity without having to leave Facebook. B.7.3 Tweetlater
http://www.socialoomph.com TweetLater is a web service which is linked to your Twitter account. It allows you to schedule tweets days or weeks in advance, freeing staff or volunteers to work on other things.
B.8 Volunteer Centres using Twitter @TelfordVolServe, @VCLewisham, @VCWarrington, @VolCenSDerbys, @volunteeringBH, @YateVolunteers
B.9 Twitter resources • Getting the most from Twitter
http://www.twitip.com/make-a-tweet-plan-to-get-the-most-from-twitter/ • Setting up a Twitter account
http://www.twitip.com/how-to-set-up-a-twitter-account • Twitter – Frequently Asked Questions http://help.twitter.com/entries/13920-frequently-asked-questions • How to use Twitter lists
http://mashable.com/2009/11/02/twitter-lists-guide/ • Tweetdeck vs. Seesmic Desktop
http://mashable.com/2009/04/08/tweetdeck-vs-seesmic-desktop/ • 10 Twitter tips for nonprofit organisations !
Appendix C – i-volunteer How To C.1 Creating a profile on i-volunteer Go to http://www.i-volunteer.org.uk
C.3 How to promote content on i-volunteer i-volunteer has number of options for creating new posts. From your profile page you can create a ‘full’ post by clicking on ‘Posts’ then selecting ‘NEW POST’. You then type in the title and body of the post and include any pictures or links you wish to include:
Click ‘join’, then fill in all the fields marked with an asterisk in the dialog box that appears:
After completing this screen you will receive a notification email – be sure to check your spam folder in case this ends up in there, and then mark it as a safe address. Once you have responded to the notification email you will be given an opportunity to edit your profile e.g. to add a photo; you can now log in to i-volunteer.
It is also possible to create shorter posts on your ‘wall’ by navigating to your profile page then clicking in to the ‘Add a message’ box:
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, i-volunteer automatically previews your post as you type:
C.2 How to follow others on i-volunteer i-volunteer works on the same principle as Twitter in that you can follow, or be followed by, any other user. If you see a post or comment by a user and decide that you would like to follow their output, simply click on their user name to go to their profile page then click ‘Follow’ button. You will now appear in their list of followers and will be notified whenever they post new material. As with Twitter, it makes sense to follow people who are following you; you can also message another user directly by clicking the message icon on their profile page. A ‘New Message’ dialog will be displayed with the name of the recipient automatically filled in. You should then type your message, inserting any links or images you wish to include. Then press ‘SEND’ to dispatch the message.
This gives you the choice of adding a Quick Post, a Link or an Image:
When you click ‘Publish’ the item will be posted on your wall:
! You can also create a link to any post on your wall; ensuring it receives wider exposure across the network. Posts on i-volunteer can also be ‘tagged’ e.g. ‘disability’, ‘LGBT’ which causes them to be flagged up to other i-volunteer users who have registered an interest in those tags.
C.3.1 Sharing i-volunteer posts on Facebook and Twitter i-volunteer can share posts with the major social networking sites; enabling you to promote content on other sites without having to re-type posts:
Click on the site you want to share the post with and once you have provided your login details for that site; your post will be shared. Posts can be shared with Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Stumble Upon, Reddit, delicious and Google bookmarks. If you share an i-volunteer post with Twitter, the web link to your post will be shortened automatically:
A group can also be created as ‘private’ in which case it is accessible to members only; others can view the group’s description but cannot see its content. This can be useful where privacy and confidentiality are important, such as local volunteer teams, boards of trustees, or regional networks. When creating a private group you will be asked to enter some information about the group’s purpose and your request will be sent to i-volunteer admin. Once your group has been approved you will receive an email notification, you can then invite others to join the group. They will receive a notification via i-volunteer and you will be notified when they accept; this process exists so that i-volunteer can monitor community safety.
C.5 Volunteer Centres using i-volunteer Brighton and Hove: http://www.i-volunteer.org.uk/vcbrightonandhove/ Harrogate: http://www.i-volunteer.org.uk/harrogatevolunteercentre/
C.6 i-volunteer resources Tips for using the core function of i-volunteer http://www.i-volunteer.org.uk/groups/tips-for-using-i-volunteer/
allowing you to add your own description and create a meaningful link:
Appendix D – Social networking tips D.1 Connections are important… follow and be followed
! C.4 How to create a group on i-volunteer
i-volunteer groups can be used by people with a common interest to share content and engage in discussions; they can also be used for online discussions by ‘real world’ teams and projects. Complete the following dialog box to create your new group:
Social networks depend on users following each other. If you have a Facebook page this is more of a one-way relationship, but on Twitter and i-volunteer you can only really build networks by actively following others and encouraging them to follow you. People or organisations tend to start following you if you publish posts that are useful or interesting to them. Generally, try to follow people who follow you, but not in cases where this seems inappropriate.
D.2 Don’t be put off by the jargon When you first use social networking there is a fair amount of jargon to be overcome; ‘tweets’, ‘blogs’ and ‘pokes’ to name a few. It is important to know that you can use social networking effectively without having to adopt the jargon, but to also be aware that other people may be using it. As embarrassing as terms like ‘tweeting’ may seem to you initially, they will undoubtedly end up being part of your vocabulary. There is a good glossary of basic Twitter terms at
http://webtrends.about.com/od/twitter/a/twitter_glossary.htm Warning – this is a very useful glossary, but some of it will make you cringe!
D.3 Don’t forget that people are using mobile phones It is easy to imagine that Facebook and Twitter users spend all day in front of computers updating their statuses, but research has shown that more people now access social networks via a mobile phone. As a volunteering organisation, it is encouraging to know that potential volunteers can discover and respond to volunteering opportunities while they are mobile – and that this may be their preferred way of engaging with your service.
D.4 Sign up for a free URL shortener account A URL shortener is a service that translates a long web address:
!into a shortened alternative:
Short URLs are useful because ! services such as Twitter, Facebook and i-volunteer often limit the length of messages you can write; including a ‘long’ URL may leave no room for your message. The original URL shortener was TinyURL, which is still popular; Twitter uses bit.ly as its ‘built-in’ URL shortener. Some services provide link tracking and analysis; others provide site previews. Registering for a free account will typically give you more statistics about how links have been accessed.
D.5 Keep a blog of your experience If you have the time, a useful and educational way of engaging with social networking can be to keep a blog. A blog (short for ‘web log’) is like an online diary and tends to focus on one subject. Blogs are wordier than sites like Twitter and Facebook, so they can be used to express more detailed ideas and opinions. As well as providing a record of your experience, a blog can be an effective way of relating it to a wider audience; it can also provide a valuable resource for others about to embark on the same journey. Blogs are simple to set up and can be created for free; two of the most popular providers are Wordpress (http://wordpress.com) and Blogger (http://www. blogger.com). For a blog to be worth following, you need to make a commitment to post new content on a fairly regular basis. A blog can be an effective way to generate visits to your other social network sites and can act as a ‘hub’ for your organisations online activity. During the social networking pilot I have kept a blog of the experience at http://volunteeringbh.wordpress.com.
D.6 Other social networking resources Engaging through social media: Social media explained http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/everychildmatters/resources-and-practice/IG00676/ A guide to using new technologies to deliver social impact http://www.socialbysocial.com/content/download