Can social media be used to save the world? Always a good question in the day and age we are currently living in. This past Tuesday, SMCLA gathered a great panel at Regus Playa Vista to attempt to answer this question. Moderator Andrew Posey divided the panel into segments, keeping the conversation of our panelists (Dan Witzling of The American Cancer Society, Joanna Pawlowska of NPR and Nick Colin of Heal The Bay) on topic but light and free flowing.

Many terms on social media were thrown around and discussed. We even managed to coin a term for an intern working on Pinterest – a “Pintern” if you will.

Our panelists detailed the varying strategies they use on and off social to get the message across about their organizations and missions. Here’s a small outline of what was discussed:

On transparency, authenticity and earning brand ambassadors:

  • “Treat the person on the other side of the platform like you would a friend.” – Joanna Pawlowska
  • “It’s not the organization, but it’s almost always a person associated with a cause that people will relate to.” – Dan Witzling
  • “Attach a human avatar to each campaign: here’s Bob who will be affected, etc. But also attach non-human/animal avatar too.” – Nick Colin
  • “If you’re trying to be authentic and you’re failing, you’re overthinking it and trying too hard. Find the right people.” – Joanna Pawlowska
  • “Multi-cultural goals change conversations. Look at dynamics, where groups gravitate to in social media and meet up with leaders.” – Dan Witzling

On social strategy:

  • “It’s not just in the now, but what is the story you’re trying to tell. Capture the story and choose the platform.” – Joanna Pawlowska
  • “Preparation, planning; we have staff that’s planning and creating messaging, integrated across channels and then measure.” – Dan Witzling
  • “What worked one year, failed next. First time was more authentic, people remembered it.” – Dan Witzling
  • “Seamless social media has a lot of tedium and minutiae.” – Joanna Pawlowska
  • “Pinterest has more traffic than our home page. The Pintern does it all, marine animals, trends, surf: it all relates to the Bay.” – Nick Colin

On data, paid social advertising, new technology and fundraising:

  • “We will be Periscoping on our new Octopus at the aquarium. And he gives high fives.” – Nick Colin
  • “Take a philosophical approach – consulting with sales. Align with donor’s interests rather than your own needs.” – Dan Witzling
  • “Data is useless if you can’t analyze it.” – Nick Colin

SMCLA would like to thank our amazing sponsors of Fresh Brothers, Comerica and Regus for helping us with this event! Don’t miss our annual end of Summer Happy Hour on August 21st starting at 6:30pm. Keep an eye on the SMCLA Facebook page and Twitter account for further information.

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