This blog will help you win loyal friends for your nonprofit organization. I'm Dennis Fischman, and I approved this message.

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What a Toddler Taught Me about Communicating

My nineteen-month-old niece was crying as if her heart would break.

toddlers communicate

What is she saying now?

Her heart was fine, actually.  It was her grandfather’s heart that was cracked open for a triple bypass, in a hospital an hour away.  So her mother had gone to the hospital, and I was spending the day taking care of her.  Alone.

“Honey, what do you want?” I pleaded with her.  And I thought, “If only she could tell me what she’s thinking.”

But she could.  She did tell me.  And your audience is telling you too.  Look and listen to what they do online, and you will find out what they want.

How does a toddler tell you what she wants?

Pointing.  My niece knows the milk is in the refrigerator, the bananas are on the table, and the TV remote is on the couch.  If she points at the table, you know she wants to eat a banana.  If she hands you the remote, it’s time for Bubble Guppies or Sesame Street.

Your audience knows where to find what they want online.  If they’re visiting your website or social media pages often, there’s something there they want.  So, find out where they’re pointing!  The pages, posts, or tweets they visit will tell you what will keep them coming back again and again.

Making happy noises.  My niece laughs, squeals, and talks excitedly in full sentences in a language I don’t understand when something makes her happy.

Your audience likes, shares, retweets, or recommends the content they like the best.  So, listen to their communications with other people to find out what kind of content will keep them gurgling with delight.

Keeping to a routine.  My niece gets up around the same time each day.  Five hours later, it’s time for her nap.  If it’s around 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon and she’s rubbing her eyes, I know it’s time to take her to her crib.

Your audience is online at certain times more than others.  Find out their pattern and you’ll know when to post.  They like reading more serious articles at certain hours and they go for distraction at other hours.  Keep track of that and you”ll know what content you should post when.

Oh, my brother-in-law is fine.  Thanks for asking!  And my niece is adorable.

So I’m back to my audience: you.  I’m posting in the before-work, after-lunch, and early-evening hours when most of you read things online.  And I hope this message brightened your day a bit.

What else would you like to see on this blog?  You could let me keep figuring it out.  If I can do that with a toddler, I can do it with anybody!  But if you’re a grown-up and know how to use your words, write me and let me know what you want.

One Thing You Can Learn about Social Media from the New England Patriots

Even if you’re not a football fan, you can learn a lot about social media from the New England Patriots.

new England Patriots

The Patriots have many ways to win, as Jackie McMullan points out. Her colleague Ben Volin says in the Boston Globe:

No team mixes up its game plan from week to week, or even quarter to quarter, better than the Patriots.The only thing opposing defenses know is to expect the unexpected.

Are you posting the same language on Facebook as you are on Twitter? The same links on LinkedIn as on your website?

If you want to “win” your audience, don’t be predictable. Design your content for the field you’re playing on.

 

How to Share the Season’s Greetings

Sending holiday greetings to your customers and community is a great way to let them know you’re thinking of them. But not everyone celebrates the same holidays.

thanksgiving

Yes, in the U.S. most people will celebrate Thanksgiving this coming Thursday, November 27. But you may have some Canadians on your mailing list, and their Thanksgiving was Monday, October 13. Did you know?

In December, the Jewish holiday of Chanukah begins the night of Tuesday, December 16 and continues through December 24. But for Jews, “the holidays” means the Rosh Hashanah-Yom Kippur-Sukkot-Simchat Torah set of holidays, and that happened in September and October this year!

Pagans celebrate Yule beginning December 21. Christians celebrate Christmas beginning with Christmas Eve on December 24 and continuing through the next day. And New Year’s Day is January 1, but for the many religions and cultures that use other calendars, it may be just another day.

How do you greet them all?

Ideally, you keep a record of which holiday each person on your list celebrates. Then, you send personalized email to each one.

If you haven’t kept those records, now would be a good time to start! In the meantime, feel free to cut and paste the body of this message into your email and social media. Add, “To all our friends who celebrate these holidays, we send our warmest greetings.”

Who’s looking forward to Groundhog’s Day?