Texting & –xting in Your Social Media Marketing Campaign

threepeopleIn this day and age, a business that wants to experience growth and success would be remiss to not include social media in their marketing campaign. Social media marketing is all about creating and sustaining buzz. Part of its success revolves around the use of various types of social media to reach a larger and more diverse audience. While most businesses now consider Twitter a critical part of any social media marketing strategy, many businesses don’t consider texting or SMS-short message (140 or 160 character) service to be a viable part of a comprehensive marketing campaign.  If short message content like today’s special is, I am at the this location or text 090909 to signup, in your mindset, you may be missing out on more sales, referrals from loyal customers and a regular increase in business growth that can be achieved by adding text marketing into the mix.

According to the New York Times, text marketing was used repeatedly during Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. Approximately 2.9 million people registered to receive breaking news on who Obama’s running mate would be before anyone else found out. Although news leaked out and CNN aired the news first, the technique proved to be one that could effectively engage a large number of people not reached through other methods. For example, Google has incorporated SMS as part of it search and other mobility features. Within one year, text marketing had caught the attention of businesses around the world. Even sports teams started using text marketing to increase ticket sales. Not surprising, Beijing Residents Sent One Billion Text Messages in a Single Day  and there was close to 15 trillion text messages sent in 2011 and probably 20 this year.  If you’re considering added texting to your social media marketing plan, it’s important to know (and follow) these important rules:

  • Do It Legally. Believe it or not, there are those who employ firms or contractors to hack into texting infrastructure to access and contact millions of consumers via text. This kind of bottom-feeding activity isn’t legal and is likely to turn people off while getting you in trouble. Check out Ez Texting for a list of case studies to see how others have been successful.  A better option for reaching an audience most likely to respond to your efforts is to use a web-based service such as 8Coupons or iPhones MobiQpons to automatically locate consumers within the area of your business so you can send your coupons or texts to them.
  • Make Texting Part of Your Campaign, Not the Only Campaign.Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium used a combination of billboards, in-store signs, commercials with their phone number and commercials with a text code for people to use to enter a contest. The advertisement with text code resulted in a number of responses that was greater than the other methods combined. But, all of these methods together resulted in a greater response, which ended up turning into more ticket sales and patronage. A three-prong approach is always wise when it comes to marketing. Use at least three marketing methods together to reach more potential customers.  The old rule of “three times from three sources” is still valid as a marketing algorithm rule-of-thumb.
  • Have a “Giving” Mindset. When it comes to attracting new customers a giving mindset is one of your best assets. Offer something your customers need or want, or ask their opinion on something. Special discounts or free add-ons for customers who text in regularly will engage your customer base and keep you in the forefront of their minds.
  • It’s All About Relationship Building.Text marketing is not about sending out the occasional text. Although overkill isn’t good either, text marketing should be used to build a relationship with your customers. Offer deals and specials for text customers only. When Armani in New York offered special promotions for exclusively for their text marketing clientele, they reached record sales figures and consistently had lines forming outside the door.
  • Don’t Cross Any Lines. Too much of a good thing can quickly turn sour. Don’t text more than once a week (unless users signup for alerts more often or emergency updates) and provide valuable, useful content each time you text. Avoid text slang, such as “4 U” instead of “for you” and opt for verbiage that your customers can take seriously.
  • Incorporate Search & Social.  Text marketing is just another form of marketing that can consume resources and budget.

Business secretUnderstand you demographic, SMS is almost an exclusive means of communication for certain age groups.  Probably initially driven to this behavior because of expensive cell minute charges is now unlimited feature in most cell plans.  It is for many teenagers the preferred way to banter back and forth messages, texting.  Sexting is sending potential nude/naked/sex and other explicit pictures via SMS and of course is not an effective mode of business communication. However, what you can learn is to use pictures, illustrations and other visual images when appropriate to explain your product or service.  Follow the rules and laws where applicable to incorporate text marketing into your social media marketing campaign in a way that draws more customers and increases sales, instead of turning people off. When used right, text marketing has the power to help you create and sustain a buzz that brings your business to the next level.

sms-no-texting-signLast but not least, may we suggest you add in to your text messages “don’t text while driving.”  Most states and localities are adding laws to make texting while driving illegal and it is just a terrible practice which causes so many accidents and unnecessary deaths.  As you would never-ever want to be the cause of harm to another person as a result of your text message.


5 Top Ways to Manage Reputation Damage

TeamworkThe success of your business and subsequent livelihood are greatly affected by the reputation you maintain as a business person. Even when you work hard to establish a solid reputation by providing good service and excellent products, your efforts can be sabotaged by the words and actions of one disgruntled customer, jealous competitor or vengeful former employee.

When someone decides to spread gossip, lies or horrible feedback about you and your business, it can take months or years to clean up and recover from the damage. According to SmartPlanet, social viruses can cause one negative situation to quickly go viral and wreak havoc on a business, especially when one company tries to manipulate the power of social media in an effort to ruin a competing company. Although proactivity is the best tactic where your business reputation is concerned, if it’s too late and the damage has already been done, these five strategies can help you recover, repair and live with the situation until it’s been rectified.

Respond to Negative Feedback & Comments. Lack of response is often taken as an admittance of guilt. Respond professionally and politely to negativity on the internet or in-person. When people come across negative feedback on the internet, they’ll immediately see your positive follow-up, which puts you in a good light.

Fix Mistakes. If the damage is the result of a company mistake, fix it ASAP. Enlist help, if needed, but be swift and sincere in your efforts—everyone will be watching. In 2010, when Toyota’s stellar reputation took a big hit due to faulty accelerator pedals and brake issues, they did damage control and made efforts to fix their mistake (and reputation) by recalling more than 2.3 million cars.

Speak to Experts About Major Damage Control. Business reputation has become such a huge issue that several companies now provide damage control and reputation protection services to small business and large corporations, alike. If the damage created is far too great for you to clean up yourself, a company such as Reputation.com or Reputation Defender can make a huge difference in your recovery, according to Business Week.

Reach Out & Rebuild. Your customer base is an important part of rebuilding your reputation. Connect with loyal and new customers through email newsletters, your Facebook fan page or company blog. Highlight specials, customer appreciation promotions and anything positive going on within your business.

Emphasize Marketing & Public Relations. Marketing and public relations efforts are so important they’re worth mentioning twice. After responding to negative feedback and comments, it’s important to make regular efforts to counter the negativity with positivity. Add positive customer comments to your company website. Highlight community work your employees or business is involved in. If anything positive occurs within the company, include it in your marketing efforts.

Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Tylenol, took a huge hit to their reputation during the infamous Tylenol catastrophe of 1982, when seven people in the Chicagoland area died after taking Tylenol laced with cyanide. They quickly implemented several of the strategies above, particularly #2, to regain the trust of their customers and rebuild their reputation. It took years, but their efforts proved to be a success, according to the Washington Post.

loserDamage to your business reputation is not akin to a sleeping dog; rather it quickly becomes a lion that roars louder and louder until everyone notices. The chance to recover from a potentially-fatal situation is great, but only if you act quickly and responsibly. Incorporate the strategies above into your recovery and rebuilding plan to accomplish the two most important factors to your business success: regaining customer trust and the successful rebuilding of your business reputation.

Social Media Marketing Assessment & Intervention

This is an example of a simple and quick process you can complete to help you with your social media marketing.  We use it in our classes.  Begin with this slide to understand marketing in each of the three phases in customer engagement and interaction.

gain-retain-chart-2Then complete this survey:


Name of Business: ________________________________________________

Website – date of last major rebuild and frequency of new content updates: ______________________________________________________________________________

Facebook Name and Frequency of posts: ___________________________________________________

Twitter @Name and Frequency: ___________________________________________________

Blog Name (URL) and Frequency: __________________________________________________

Linkedin page and name of groups joined:________________________________________________

Frequency of Customer Case Studies: ________________________________________

Frequency of Newsletter: _________________________________________

Frequency and name of banner advertising sites:______________________________________

Top keywords/tags including Google Adwords:_______________________________________________

Is your website search optimized? Yes____ No______ Don’t know _________

Frequency of Press Releases: ________________________________________

Other marketing efforts not listed above Pinterest, Groupon,  Pose, etc.: __________________________________________________________________________________

SEM budget monthly:_____________________________________

Social marketing budget monthly: _____________________________________

Total marketing budget monthly:_________________________________________

Sales channel – B2B – B2C – Nonprofit ______________________________________

% Revenues from online sales: __________________________________

% Revenues from channel partners: ______________________________

% Revenues from direct sales:_____________________________

Name 5-10 types of customer profiles:________________________________________________________


What is your sales cycle:_______________________________________________________________

Are repeat buyers important:_____________________________Frequent buyers:_________________

What trade shows are relevant to your business?________________________________________

List other marketing initiatives you/your company is making_____________________________

Now you are ready to build a plan.  If you need help contact us at cross@gocross.com



iPhone/iPad Study & Corporate Training App – iFlipTips and iFlipTipsPro Version 4.1 Announced & New Pro Version

iFlipTips and iFlipTipsPro Version 4.1 for Apple iPhone and iPad
Current Version is Available via iTunes Now
iFlipTipsPro Expected Release December 15

iFlipTips and iFlipTipsPro Version 4.1 for Apple iPhone and iPad

Current Version is Available via iTunes Now

This is an announcement of enhanced versions of iFlipTips and new iFlipTips Pro. Please visit www.ifliptips.com for tutorials, blog, articles, 50+ study ideas, newsletter and more.

Click here for the link on iTunes for all apps.

Key Features Include:

iFlipTips allows users to capture information and file it fast with unlimited Library Folders and Subfolders.:

1) iFlipCards lets you make unlimited Q&A flipcards, flashcards, and capture audio, video, text and take/use pics and answer with pics, video, text and audio.

2) iFlipSlides is an easy to create and build slide shows and presentation.

3) iFlipTips is a simple to use, notecard builder with text, audio, video and pics.

iFlipTipsPro also includes:

4) iFlipCal organizes study, meetings and other events into a calendar with reminders and the only calendar with70 unique icons.

5) iFlippads are unique multicolored post notes with multimedia image editor and doodlepads which can be shared via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and email.

Archive – both versions have Archive to remove active cards, slides and tips to a separate file area

Then, iFlipTips newest additions – iFlipTips Calendar and multicolor notepads/iDoodleGrams – are perfect ways to adhere to a schedule and manipulate pictures and images for a variety of note uses. The ideas tool is useful for organizing and tracking notes, and other academic related activities. Use it to organize contacts of people you meet during your research.


Use the iFlipIdeas feature to keep a record of subject matter experts, places you visit, and other hands on experience you do during your research process. You can record interviews with people using the audio or video tool. You can take a snap shot of faces or locations related to each item. Add text to each item for quick notes or reminders you want to add later to help you while writing the paper. This feature includes a detailed folder system that keeps track of all the notes that you may want to reference when structuring your paper.

Here are some user comments:

“We have used the iFlipTips app for a while now, we can thoroughly recommend it.” TheAppWhisperer.com #1 mobile app review website

“By having access to iFlipTips, I can get the latest sales and support tips, feature updates, patches/fixes and other corporate info which improves coordination and communications between staff and our customers. Simply put, I am more successful and effective.”

“As a college student, I can create iFlipCard Quiz and answer card easy and fast and I can have them with me anytime where I can use them right up to the exam. College students need a simple app to replace their 3×5 cards writing Questions on one side and “flipping” them over to see the Answer(s).”

“The iFlipCal keeps me organized and on time and makes my life a lot easier.”

“This really overcomes the problem when team members say, “email, what email, I never got the email providing a tool to help them see all the steps involved in the training, event and social activity and stay organized, not just endless emails.”

Bottom-line: “Strategically, the faster you can communicate, the faster you can change, and those corporations that change the fastest will be the most successful.”

Corporate training and studying for college exams is an increasingly demanding and complex. iFlipTips was developed and will continue to be an innovative solution for trainers, customers, students and users.

We will also provide tutorials, webseminars, blog and newsletter to help improve use of iFlipTips, iFlipCards and FlipQuiz’s and other ideas on sports management, social media practices and technology. The app is designed to help clients seeking easy-rapid ways to build mobile “self-help” and “just enough and just-in-time” tools for their sales, support channel partners and others.

iFlipTips is part of a suite of communications and collaboration tools designed to improved personal time management and customer communications.

Buzz Building Success Via Social Networking

If you think the buzz created by social networking and smart PR moves is a passing fancy, think again. Forward-thinking business owners are tapping into people’s passion for peeking into the lives of others –They are using this to create buzz to help them build their businesses slowly or at an explosive rate. For example, Naked Pizza (a small New Orleans-based pizza kitchen) recently went viral when one of their social media-savvy owners, Jeff Leach, started using Twitter, Facebook and other social media to its maximum exposure and tap into the social media’s marketing potential. When he placed the business’s new Twitter name on a busy street side billboard, the buzz about Naked Pizza went viral. As a result, Leach and co-owner Randy Crochet sold multi-unit franchises in four cities across the United States and had plans to open two pizza kitchens in Dubai by the end of 2011. And they accomplished all this while operating out of a test kitchen in New Orleans.

According to a senior marketing research analyst who was interviewed in Entrepreneur Magazine Online, it was more than pure coincidence that Naked Pizza experienced such explosive growth from their use of social media and smart public relations moves.

Gain-Close Retain – See below for a larger version of the image but these are the key areas we have found to to effective tools during the three phases of customer interaction which are explored in our iSocialSales and other courses.

gain-retain-chart-2We have also found that effective marketing techniques are able to create buzz, but the kind of buzz created and sustained by Naked Pizza requires the inclusion of these factors:

  • Promote Your Product or Service Along With Your Mission. What’s your business’s mission and do your customers know it? A mission helps form the foundation of your business plan and provides potential customers or clients with something they can identify with. A mission that’s service-focused or has the intent to make a difference can be the deciding factor leading consumers to choose your business over the nearby competitor. Promote your product or service and your mission together on your Facebook page or from your Twitter account.


  • Connect With Consumers on Topics They Care About. People like to feel they’re making a difference, but don’t often have time to invest in doing so. Is your business connected to a cause, such as the environment or health issues? Use your public relations and marketing methods to reach people concerned about those issues. Rent space at your city’s health or green living exposition. Add a blog to your business website and write about the concerns your business hopes to help address.
  • Build Your Reputation and Relationships Wisely. Once your business’s reputation is established, a lot of work is required to change it, which is why negative buzz can be so damaging. Naked Pizza was able to capitalize on the fact that their biggest competitors weren’t offering health-conscious menu items like them and this helped them corner the market on healthy pizza. In addition to being meticulous in building your reputation it’s equally important that your marketing efforts help you form and strengthen positive customer relations.

Shopkeeper holding open signJust as negative buzz has the power to damage a business, positive buzz can help one grow. But, as the points above demonstrate, meaningless buzz will take a business only so far. Leach and Crochet, the owners of Naked Pizza, started out by building a reputation based on a mission and commitment toward consumer health and the desire to confront the epidemic of obesity. Rather than using social media and good PR moves to help your business obtain 15 minutes of fame, you can develop long-lasting business growth and earn the attention of the consumer by including these considerations as constants in your business.

Pinterest Your Business

pinterest-logoPinterest is currently one of the hottest trends in social media. The image-based venue provides users with a space to create pin boards and pins to display images falling into a variety of categories, including “Favorite Places & Spaces” and “What’s New?” Pinterest quickly metamorphosed from a casual, fun social media site to a business-building opportunity as small-business owners and entrepreneurs caught wind of it.

Once the full business potential is Pinterest is understood, its membership can quickly multiply. To get the most out of Pinterest for your business, there are a few things to keep in mind.


  • Balance Out Your Pins. Pinterest started out primarily as a place to connect with other members on a purely fun and social basis by way of sharing images. The initial surge of activity by small businesses posting a barrage of business-only images was viewed by some as an intrusion. Since then, some etiquette has been established. To avoid offending potential followers it’s wise to vary your pins between business-focused, fun and a little bit of personal. This will help you build a better, more personable connection with other members.


Whole Foods is an example of a company doing things right. Instead of pinning their own products, they’ve decided to pin photos that represent their “lifestyle.” For example, they have a pinboard called “Edible Celebrations,” where they feature photos of ethnic food and food festivals and celebrations from around the world. The fact that they happen to sell many of the ingredients featured is a connection to their store, rather than a direct ad.


  • Follow and Be Followed. On Facebook you “friend” people; on Pinterest and Twitter you “follow” them. Other members can choose to follow you if they enjoy your pins or are connected to you through another venue, such as Facebook. As you become more active with Pinterest you’ll gain a larger following, but make sure this is reciprocated by following others, too. Peruse categories related to your business and select members to follow who seem to share similar interests to those of your business. Rather than making your Pinterest presence all about you, you’ll enjoy greater success by being cognizant of making it a relationship that’s reciprocal.


  • Keep Your Website Up-to-Date. In the beginning of 2012, one Pinterest member with only 25 followers pinned an image of a green skirt she saw on Lulu’s fashion website and fell in love with. The emerald green, twist-front mini skirt with ruched fabric received 41 “likes” and was repinned 51 times. Over the course of the week, Lulu received a 29 percent increase in traffic to their website. When images are pinned from your business website they are linked back to the site. Keep your products and services pages up-to-date so you stand a greater chance of converting followers driven to your site into customers.


  • Connect Pinterest to Your Other Venues. Pinterest buttons can be added to your website and on your blog to encourage people to follow you and pin from your site. In addition to using these pins, connect your Pinterest page with your business’ Facebook page to increase your exposure. Smart use of your social media sites together can successfully help you draw customers using different venues.

Similar to any other social media venue, it’s important to balance your business-building efforts with etiquette and personality. Above all, have fun pinning, repinning and perusing the boards. By connecting with and engaging your followers, you can build business by way of exposure, by driving traffic to your site and through Pinterest member repinning efforts. If you are truly business-savvy you’ll combine your Pinterest use with other business-building efforts for simple, effective and measurable results.

Is there such thing as too much when it comes to having an online presence?  That depends on how you handle things. It’s perfectly fine to have a Facebook account, plus a Twitter account, plus a Pinterest account if you know what to do which each one. Pinterest is good for brand-building, while Twitter is good for last-minute changes and offers, and Facebook is good for sharing information about your business.  Each one of these social media systems has its own function and, when used well, can certainly help your business grow.  Woman resourcesAs we have often said, “the customer may not always be right but they will always be the customer.”  That is, we realize no business can do it all.  Some businesses find billboards along highways or sports stadiums the best way.  We find that simple things can be the most effective and provide the most value or “bang for the buck.”  The simple way to find out is ask your customers by a paper, email, postcard or professional online survey (such as surveymonkey) which way they want to hear from you.  Analyze the results and build media that is affordable in terms of time and money for you.  This keeps you focused on your business not just social media.  Like with adding content on your website, blogging and other marketing efforts, you can expand your social media as your budget and time permits.

How Politicians Are Using Social Media to Improve Their Image and Stop Career Disasters

Two young corporates discussingThe campaign trail is a breeding ground for political disasters. Candidates dig up dirt on one another, skeletons come out of closets and dirty laundry gets aired. Although the advancement of social media has certainly harmed some candidates and politicians, it can also make a positive impact.

Similar to businesses that use social media to maintain or repair their reputation, politicians, candidates and political parties can also use social media to build a favorable image and sidestep potential career-damaging disasters. Even though there are plenty of people out there eager to help gossip and negative stories go viral, the accessibility of information on various social media platforms presents a fair opportunity for reputations to be saved and careers to blossom. These stories outline how social media can be beneficial in putting a stop to political disasters.

Hurricane Katrina. When Hurricane Katrina struck the coast of Louisiana on August 29th, 2005, no one was prepared for its magnitude, despite forewarnings. In the aftermath, disaster continued as Louisiana parish mayors, the state governor and even President Bush looked at one another in bewilderment, wondering what to do and who was going to do it.

According to the National Housing Institute, Hurricane Katrina resulted in one of the biggest political disasters in recent history. As indifference and incompetence mounted, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin invested countless hours and days in reaching out to the people and media forms such as video, television appearances and radio interviews to help rebuild the spirit and pride of New Orleans’ citizens, even if the town continued to lay in ruins.

Tahoku Kanto Japan Earthquake. The 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Japan during the middle of the work day, when people were going about their business like it was just another day. Once tremors subsided, chaos ensued and people began to worry about loved ones and coworkers who were missing, according to University of British Columbia’s Journalism News Service. Local Japanese governments attempted to create order out of chaos. As they did, inhabitants of Sendei and surrounding areas used Twitter and Facebook to spread the news about grids they’d created on Google Maps to help find missing persons and document their names as they were found. Stories of these people and the use of social media often helped Japanese government sidestep bad press, even when it was deserved.

twitter-2bA President’s Tweet. Future generations will have more power than ever to contribute to the success or demise of the politicians who represent them. According to New Scientist, data models and savvy social media usage help candidates get their messages out to their intended audience. Although it might not be considered a worldwide or even nationwide disaster, Barack Obama’s run for president may have ended in disaster had it not been for his campaign’s wise use of social media. The presidential candidate knew he needed the vote of younger generations and his camp knew how to get it. Upon being elected, the president tweeted, “We just made history.”

Teamwork in the officeSocial media is still in the infancy stage, with many years of growth and development ahead. Those who use it carelessly or not at all are left trying to clean up fast-spreading disasters with old and clunky traditional methods. Smart use of social media will require a complete blueprint to act on, spread and react to important messages around the world instantly 7×24.  They must also clean up potential political disasters before they get too messy and make a presidential candidate seem more accessible to those who are voting for the first time as well as those who have voted for a lifetime.

Internet Privacy is Being Compromised

Top 5 Ways Your Internet Privacy is Being Compromised

Is there such a thing as privacy in the virtual world? How much information are we sharing every time we log in? Despite firewalls and other forms of protection, we’ve never been so exposed as we are today.

stressData Logging. There are a number of ways in which a website can record visitors’ data. One is through the use of HTTP and flash cookies. Cookies track costumer data, perform web profiling, profile users (so they can provide tailored advertising) and follow patterns of activity. Although cookies in your own computer are usually safe and store information just for your personal use (for example, they remember your passwords), cookies can also be modified to carry spyware. Cookies in public computers can record private data that can be then made accessible to others (unless you delete all cookies before logging out).

Whois Lookup. If you have your own website, your private details are recorded in the WhoIs domain name registration database. Unless you pay a domain privacy fee to the hosting company, your information (including full name, address and even phone number) is accessible to anybody doing a quick Google search. There’s truly no way to avoid this unless you pay the fee or find a way to pay with something other than your credit card (which is tied to your address), such as a money order, for example.

Facebook Applications. A number of seemingly-innocent applications actually gather data and can end up compromising your profile and personal information. This is true even if your profile is set to private. A March 2012 report by the Wall Street Journal shows that many apps share your private data with third-part advertisers, helping companies track your behavior so they can best understand your interests and offer appropriate ads. Highly popular apps such as FarmVille, Mafia Wars, Phrases and Texas HoldEm all gather data every time you use them.

Photographs. Chances are, somewhere in the internet, there’s a picture of your face. Even if you don’t belong to any social network and have never posted a photo online, there’s always the chance that somebody else took the photo without you realizing it. Photos taken in public spaces fall under the domain of “safe usage,” which means they can be posted without violating your right to privacy or requiring a release form. Even worse, the iPhone comes with metadata ability, which means it automatically attaches latitude and longitude to each picture taken. This makes it possible for somebody in the internet to actually identify your exact location when the photo was taken.

Public Records. Have you ever filed for divorce or bankruptcy? Have you gone through civil court proceedings or are you registered to vote? Tax liens and judgments, motor vehicle records and business licenses can all be found online. Some are freely available (if you know where to look), while others might require some digging or paying a fee.

There’s little you can do about many of these things. Your best option is to Google your name regularly and see what comes up. If any of the information is too private, contact the companies hosting that data and ask for it to be removed from their database or at least remove it from public access.

The Changing Face of Lobbying: Corporate America Gains Strength with Social Media

bootcampThe word “lobbying” dredges up all kinds of unpleasant connotations, as people envision overpaid suits walking the halls of congress to further the agenda of some big, corporate conglomerate. In some instances, this is true, and corporations such as Monsanto have proven it. But, to be fair, nonprofit organizations lobby, too, and both do it with the same agenda—to bring in more funding, obtain the proper wording in new bills and receive the backing of key members of congress and the legislature.
Traditionally, lobbyists have spoken to congress and the legislators in an effort to keep the law on the side of corporate America, rather than leaning toward the people or smaller businesses. According to Food Safety News, Monsanto’s efforts to keep genetically-engineered foods and seeds legal while snuffing out all reports of their dangers has come from their heavy presence in Washington DC. But a new method of lobbying has come to town through the use of social media, bringing with it a few new ways in which corporations, small businesses and individuals can assert themselves on Capitol Hill, as outlined below.

  • iPetition. When you combine the internet’s power to spread news with the sense of urgency held by lobbyists and activists, you’ve got one potent combination. Whether it’s used by an organization or started by an individual, iPetition helps local causes or nationwide efforts to reach people around the world. Once a petition is created on iPetition, it can be made available for anyone to sign.
  • Lobbying Apps. Smartphones have revolutionized the way people get their message across. Anti-poverty group ONE, which was co-founded by U2’s lead singer Bono, created and launched their own app to help users reach out to their local lawmakers. According to Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, the ONE app helps users locate their local government representatives and even helps them communicate more effectively with ready-made scripts. An app such as this allows supporters to become lobbyists from the comfort of their own home, and it helps further the agenda of the organization.
  • Reaching More with Video. Legislative strategist Sarah Hubbard relays that organizations are using video more frequently to reach social media users who aren’t reached through Twitter or other venues that rely primarily on text. Recently, MoveOn.org, a nonprofit organization working to give greater voice to the American people, made a video satire comparing the economy from the eyes of the rich to the eyes of the common American. Their efforts, with or without social media, help to give people across the country a louder voice in Washington DC.

Businessteam at a meetingLobbyists and activists will continue to use social media to further the agenda of the company or organization they’re representing, but now individuals can lobby, too. Social media venues like the ones above can help create a bit more balance between the agendas of corporate conglomerates and those of the common man. Now, instead of lobbying purely for funding or government backing, social media provides the opportunity for greater awareness by helping to give back some of the power to the people.

Using Apps to Raise Money for Political or Social Campaigns

emoticonsCampaign dollars don’t come cheap, nor are they always easy to get. Whether funds need to be raised for a person who’s a grassroots politician or one who’s well-established, or for a social organization looking to further its cause, creativity and persistence are necessary to bring money in. Although traditional fundraising dinners, benefits and auctions are still effective, technology also plays a role in today’s fundraising efforts. The use of smartphone and iPad apps is a great way to reach an audience whose attention you might never get with traditional fundraising methods. These apps can help with the important task of raising money to support a politician’s campaign or help further the agenda of your favorite social organization.

  • Rootsquare. Local and state politicians are enjoying fundraising success with the use of Rootsquare. This app feeds information into Facebook, where everyone can see a person’s support of or interest in a particular campaign. According to the Washington Post, former Virginia governor Tim Kaine has used Rootsquare to promote fun money-raising tactics, such as a contest to win dinner and a harmonica lesson from the politician. Not only was the campaign advertised on Facebook, but the Rootsquare app furthers awareness by noting support and contribution with information such as, “Fred made a donation to Tim Kaine’s ‘Harmonica with Tim’ Campaign”.
  • PayPal Fundraising. PayPal has been making payments easy for years, and now they extend the convenience to fundraising. The addition of PayPal as an accepted donation payment method on your campaign website also allows donors to provide their support via mobile devices. According to the PayPal Online Fundraising page, 28 percent of voters used mobile apps to follow and support political activity during the 2010 mid-term elections. By making this app available to your supporters, they can keep up with the latest news, communicate it to others and offer financial support. In the process, you gain followers and donations in the moment people are ready to give, rather than losing them when the excitement of a rally dies down. It’s also possible to raise money using FundRazr, a social fundraising platform that has partnered with PayPal to make online donations safer and easier. https://personal.paypal.com/cgi-bin/marketingweb?cmd=_render-content&content_ID=marketing_us/fundraise and https://fundrazr.com/
  • Timeline Apps. If you spend any amount of time on Facebook, you can see when your Facebook friends are using apps such as Spotify, Pinterest or NetFlix. When activity begins with a new site or campaign, it’s noted on your Facebook page. Friends can see your activity with images and updates that state “Anne likes ‘Hats for Cancer’ and their new campaign”. Many social media apps and websites feed into Facebook and it’s no wonder why; with nearly 850 million users, the social networking site harnesses a great deal of exposure for any person or organization that’s campaigning.
  • Zuri’s GoMobile.  The Zuri Group, a media technology company, offers GoMobile—a campaign fundraising app that offers a variety of options to users on both ends. GoMobile allows you and your supporters to connect via Twitter, email, text, Facebook and iPhone’s FaceTime. Gather donor information and collect donations easily with this app. http://www.razoo.com/p/for-mobile