Shul Lists: The Original Jewish Social Media Influencers

Shul Lists: The Original Jewish Social Media Influencers

Shul Lists & Jewish Social Media | Henry Isaacs | New YorkThe community Shul list – such as the Yahoo Groups entitled TeaneckShuls, FiveTownsShuls & BrooklynShuls – are essentially the Jewish social media versions of Craigslist, Facebook, Etsy, Twitter, and Patch combined into one email. And, as a community resource, guide & bulletin board, it seems to be working very nicely for the Jewish community. Here’s a sample of what we mean:

Jewish social media | Shul List | Henry Isaacs | New York

Often the most overlooked division of any Jewish marketing campaign, these Yahoo Groups provide a great source of hyperlocal marketing options to individual communities. At Henry Isaacs Marketing – a digital marketing, social media & design company – we tend to put a big emphasis on hyperlocal Jewish marketing via Shuls Lists… or as we term it, Jewish Social Media. With Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and other social media taking the spotlight when it comes to social media strategy, many companies looking to target the Jewish community overlook or underestimate the Shul List. Bad move.

How did the Shul list come to be? Great question and we have no clue. What we do know is that each community tends to have at least one group that they use for all notices. And the real question should be: how can I use this information to my benefit? That we can help you with. Whether you’re a Jewish business or Jewish non-profit, here’s some ideas & strategies for using Jewish social media aka the Shul email groups to benefit your bottom line.

Know which lists allow advertising. 

Because these shul lists can be inundated with community notices & postings, there’s even less time to post the advertisements. So many shuls lists ban advertising messages entirely except for sponsored posts & pre-holiday open posting days. So unless you have something else to say besides an ad, you may not get posted at all. Know which lists allow for advertising, which don’t, and which allow on certain days of the week. If you really have a lot to say & looking to spend smartly, use hyperlocal email marketing lists such as eBergen Blast & eFiver (see below) that allow complete email marketing options to large Jewish communities.

Ask questions. Trust me. 

You’d be surprised at the response you get from recipients to any question. We once inquired about any music recommendations for a High Style Events client; we got about 21 recommendations. And that was from just one or two community email groups (we’re in about 30+ groups). Just like you need to be conversational on Twitter & Facebook (yes, you need to be social on social media, yes!) to increase social interaction, you should be asking questions, getting advice & offering feedback as well. If you’re a Jewish non-profit and want advice on a Super Bowl event or fundraisers, send a question out such as “Any Super Bowl events this weekend?”The feedback will give you some solid market research and enable you to plan your event or campaign better.

Track it well. 

Use Bitly to track your links so you can see how well your post is being viewed. We blasted out a campaign for the Israel Forever Foundation and received over 200 click throughs. Because the Shul lists are closely moderated, text-based messages (meaning not very pretty!) and may include 8-15 messages per email (meaning every word counts!), the best way to measure the impact is through a trackable link that provides stats on the location. Once you have that information, you can take the next step and increase your social marketing to your best communities.

Know how big your community list is & how often they send emails. 

If you’re looking to have your message read at a certain time of day, plan out when each list will get your message. FiveTownsShuls & TeaneckShuls each send out about 5-8 emails a day (each with about 15 messages) so if you send them something in the morning, expect it to be emailed out by the evening at the earliest. A list like TenaflyShuls, however, may send an email out an hour after you post one. Some lists don’t send out for days. The moderators all have jobs doing something other than vetting your postings, so the bigger the volume, the less chance of having your message seen earlier.

Use hyperlocal email marketing lists as well. 

eBergen Blast & eFiver are both email groups that offer hyperlocal email marketing to the Jewish communities of Bergen County & Five Towns, respectively. Building on the desire for advertising via shul lists, businesses & non-profits can now target Jewish recipients through email lists similar to the Shul lists.

Overall…

These are some tips that should help you get a good start on hyperlocal email marketing via Jewish social media. There are many more nuances to it, though, including how to word your subject line, scheduling smart posts & sponsorships & creating content, as well as integrating these with your Facebook, Twitter & other accounts, so you’ll need to engage a Jewish social media experts (ahem, that’s us!) that can incorporate a smart Jewish social strategy into your overall Jewish marketing & communications campaign.  For those looking to go it alone, the key is to recognize your best markets & find the lists that work for them!


Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder

 www.henryisaacs.net | info@henryisaacs.net | 646.833.8604


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Jewish PR 101 – El Al’s Ticket Mistake and Stellar Recovery

Jewish PR 101 – El Al’s Ticket Mistake and Stellar Recovery

El Al Discount TicketsEl Al’s newest ticket pricing issues doesn’t come from high fuel prices. A daily deal site offered bargain basement rates on flights to Israel from the U.S. Over 5,000 tickets were sold in a matter of hours before the price was corrected. Maybe this is the year of the technology glitches (see NASDAQ’s Facebook IPO glitch and Knight Capital’s $400 million software error). Perhaps this is a major flaw in the “daily deals” business model; perhaps this mistake was plain old human error. From a marketing perspective, this is an example of how social media can distribute one’s marketing message in one arena and have it spread virally in a matter of moments. Although social media is great for it’s virality, it’s extremely hard to recuperate after letting negative or wrong information go viral. No matter who’s to blame, the bottom line is that El Al has planes full of passengers paying extremely little.

Those rare companies that disregard the last three words of that sentence and instead focus on “planes full of passengers” is a company that deserves praise and loyalty. El Al opted to go “cup half full” and see past their lack of profit, focusing instead on the thousands of new passengers they’ve obtained and honoring all tickets purchased at the discounted rate. For most companies, quarterly bottom lines and stock prices dictate the basics of business; El Al is a company focused on profits like any other, but they’ve elected to ignore the bottom line for now and accentuate the positives: thousands of happy and overjoyed passengers that get to take an El Al flight to Israel.

Which exemplifies how valuable good old customer service can be for even the occasional Jewish customer. El Al did the absolute best thing by honoring the ticket sales, no matter what the cost to their bottom line or lack of profits. Perhaps this deal glitch was even a daring marketing tactic for the slow winter months, when packed El Al flights are few and far between – offer extremely reduced rates and fill your flights (you’re flying half empty planes anyway; why not try to fill it by offering remnant prices?) Currently, El Al is even offering stopover ticketed passengers an upgrade to non-stop flights which will enable El Al to gain some additional revenue per passenger.

Beleaguered on all fronts by high gas prices, stiff competition, and the constant fear of a potential war in the Middle East, as well as the lingering resentment by Ultra-Orthodox flyers over meat meals during the Nine Days and flights on Sabbath, El Al has struggled mightily in the past decade. Many Jewish passengers today feel little loyalty to an “Official Airline of Israel” (not to compare at all, but it’s reminiscent of how the Jewish community, over time, doesn’t mind driving Mercedes Benz’s or BMW’s in the 21st century when just twenty years ago it was highly taboo to drive a “German car”.  With this daily deal snafu, El Al may have finally gotten a chance to show their passengers what makes their flights and service special as the official airline of Israel. Back to basics, in a way. El Al needs to take this opportunity to charm the hell out of their riders – great attendants, warm smiles, excellent food, little delays, and stocked cupboards – and ensure passengers remember the value of a dedicated Israeli airline. El Al has the attention of their passengers and a great marketing and PR strategy on board is extremely important.

An airline is only as good as it’s last flight. El Al has already done a great job ensuring the ticket buyers are happy with their purchases. Now, bring the satisfied experience full circle with a flight to remember by the official airline of Israel.


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Jewish Marketing 101 – Choosing between Print or Online Marketing to the Jewish Market

Jewish Marketing 101 – Choosing between Print or Online Marketing to the Jewish Market

Reaching the Jewish marketing in print and online

Reaching the Jewish customer used to much easier. You put an ad in the paper and usually you had success. That way of thinking has gone the way of  The New York Sun print edition – it’s become outdated, unnoticed, and simply unnecessary. But don’t think print marketing isn’t still valuable; on the contrary, for the Jewish market, print may still be the strongest option for getting Jewish clients. Here’s a marketing and Jewish market exploration into Why Print and Why Not Print?


Why Print?

The Jewish market will always have Sabbath (Shabbos/Shabbat). The fastest growing denomination of Jewry is the Orthodox market (link) and this is a market that turns off all iPads, iPhones, TV’s and computers in favor of relaxation and reading. Print advertising is the top method for reaching a market with complete attention span for a dedicated amount of time. There are currently more than three dozen print media outlets (both newspapers and pennysavers) that serve the Greater New York Jewish community, a well above average number (and overly disproportionate to the size of the New York Jewish community) and testament to the vitality of print media to the Jewish community. Furthermore, the Ultra-Orthodox market has recently protested overuse of the internet due to morality standards so print marketing is generally the best and only way to promote successfully to their market.

The original social network: Synagogue – Jews are no strangers to social networks. For thousands of years, Jewry has been a close knit, often “clique-ish” and isolated community that relied on their networks to do business, buy goods, and create opportunities – they had their own social network for generations. The synagogue is the original hub for Jewish social networking – simply look at each community’s Yahoo “shul group” membership and responses rate to see how important – and as such, anything that was discussed in person, with an offline component such as a newspaper clipping, flyer, coupon, or ad, was of great value. Although the Jewish market is constantly involved in web, digital, and mobile applications, there’s always an inherent return to the old ways of doing business by word of mouth and through Jewish social networking. Although online and social marketing is a valuable supplement, print advertising and offline marketing is one of the most basic tools that the Jewish community has always been attracted to.

Why Not Print?


We’re All Connected. Finally. – The Jewish market has never been slow to change and adapt. Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Yahoo have all been embraced for their speed, connectivity, and usefulness in connecting Jewish ideas to new Jewish markets. Although the Orthodox market is the fastest growing, the non-religious and unaffiliated Jewis market still remains the largest (Facebook and Google were both founded by Jewish but non-affiliated innovators). Since the Jewish market is extremely small, connecting to Jewish communities and people in diverse regions of the world make online marketing and presence extremely important. Measureable – Online media is much more measurable than print media and, without question, is growing faster than print marketing. In fact, print media responses requires a conscious, purposeful “next step” such as calling the number, visiting the store, arranging a consultation, etc., let alone an actual purchase. Online marketing only needs a “click” to be redirected to all the information, feedback, price, and benefits one can need before buying, which is much easier than other ways. Furthermore, not only is the chance of purchase much higher, the advertiser now has a nice amount of information on his customer and his marketing – depending on privacy settings, they know age range, geographical location, where they browsed, when and where they clicked, and how long they spent deciding on a purchase or not. Remember the line from John Wanamaker, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”? Through online marketing, you can finally see what you’re wasting.

Instant Response by Email –Be it a Groupon daily offer, breaking news e-mail, or a dedicated stand alone email blast, email marketing offers the opportunity to reach your market instantly and on your schedule. Although the Jewish market is reached no differently by email than American consumers, they do have a dedicated Jewish email marketplace (Negev Direct has a Jewish philanthropic postal mail marketplace as well). Starting with Groupon-style Jewish/Kosher daily deal options, Jdeal.com, Jewpon, Kosher Kouponz, and Yipit are some of the top Jewish daily deal sites with large email lists. Axiom33 and Sephardic Daily Blast are two dedicated email marketing options that target specific ethnic groups, such as Jewish women and Sephardic Jews respectively. And, of course, the top Jewish news outlets in the nation, such as The Jewish Week, The Daily Forward, and Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, all have dedicated email lists of their readers as well as print, web, and social media components all tied into one. There are instant ways to reach the Jewish market – choosing the right one requires an expert in the Jewish segmenting, though.

Overall, the best solution when deciding between online and offline/traditional forms of marketing to the Jewish market is to obtain an expert in the Jewish market and in marketing/social media. By navigating your choices better, you’ll see more success no matter which direction you head in!


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Jewish Social Media 101 – Social Media Outsourcing Increases 128%

Jewish Social Media 101 – Social Media Outsourcing Increases 128%

Social Media - In House or Outsource?It’s no surprise that hiring a full time social media employee increasingly seems to be a luxury a small business or non-profit can’t afford (see our past social media blog post here). Benefits and lack of comprehensive ROI measurements, you’re talking about $46,000 to $71,000 for a Social Media Specialist alone. How long will that compensation level last? That explains why outsourcing has risen 128% in only two years. It just makes sense to the bottom line, allows for greater flexibility (freelancers can tweet at 11:00 PM at night!), and free’s up some company cash to focus on mobile or social advertising, a smarter, more measurable investment. Read on to see the statistics and the pros/cons of outsourcing your social media.

Social Media Outsourcing Increases 128% in Two Years [New Report]

Posted by Corey Eridon

outsourcing social media

Social Media Examiner’s Michael Stelzner is releasing his 2012 State of the Social Media Marketing Industry report today after his 1:00 PM EST webinar with HubSpot’s Content Strategist Kipp Bodnar, where the two will review all the juicy data. Part of Michael’s research included asking social media marketers whether they’re outsourcing any of their social media marketing tasks, and if so, what specifically they’re outsourcing. Turns out, in 2010, only 14% of marketers outsourced social media marketing. Last year, that number doubled to 28%. And this year, the percentage rose yet again, with 32% of marketers outsourcing social media.

It’s not exactly “news” that marketers are strapped for time, so when budget allows, it can be a huge relief to outsource activities to reputable agencies or contractors. But if you’ve spent any time on Twitter, you’ve probably seen more than your share of social media “experts,” “gurus,” and “ninjas.” In other words, it’s really easy for a marketer to get sucked in by contractors or agencies that might not be qualified to manage their social media presence.

So let’s break down the activities social media marketers have decided to outsource, and examine the pros and cons for outsourcing the most popular activities that show up on the list. That way, if you do decide to outsource, you know what to look out for so you actually see ROI on your outsourced social media spend.

What Social Media Marketers are Outsourcing in 2012

So, what are social media marketers outsourcing? Let’s take a look at the research from the report!

social media tasks being outsourcedAn interesting point of data the report uncovered is that social media marketers with 3 or more years of experience are 23% more likely to outsource design and development tasks than beginners. And according to another report we recently released — the State of the Online Marketing Services Industry83% of agencies offer social media services, with 7% planning to add it in the future.

So are these outsourcing choices a good idea? What troubles might a marketer encounter by outsourcing any of these tasks? If you’re considering a third party for any or all of these tasks, consider these pros and cons first that will help you do your due diligence.

Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Social Media Activities

Design and Development

Design and development is one of those tasks that often plagues marketers. Some of us are analytical, some are content creators, some are graphically inclined — a lucky few are all three. But it makes sense to seek a third party for design and development work who has more expertise in creating a beautiful design (just like you may have done for your website). More importantly, it’s one-time or infrequent work that doesn’t require ongoing maintenance. There’s relatively low risk in asking an agency, firm, or contractor to do your social media design and development.

Unless, of course, you are so active in social media that you’re making constant changes and updates. Social media is changing quite frequently — just look at the new Twitter brand pages, the evolution of Pinterest, Facebook’s new page layout, and the release of Open Graph applications. Visual content is becoming more important for a social media strategy, brand pages are gaining new functionality and changing layouts, and if you’re really sophisticated, you might be experimenting with Open Graph. If you’re truly leveraging all of the new updates that come out, it may make sense to have a designer or developer on staff to help you respond quickly. But, all in all, having design and development managed by a third party is quite low risk.

Analytics

The State of Social Media Marketing Report showed that the number one question asked by marketers — for three years in a row, actually — was how to measure the ROI of social media marketing efforts. If marketers aren’t sure how to do this, it’s no wonder social media analytics is being outsourced to a third party. The problem is, the success of this is largely reliant on two things: the tool being used, and the person analyzing the data.

We’re obviously a big fan of using our own software to analyze the effectiveness of our social media marketing, because it offers closed-loop reporting. That means instead of just looking at how many likes, follows, or retweets you receive, you not only know whether you’re generating leads from your social media networks (and on which networks you do so most effectively), but also whether those leads turn into customers, and at what rate.

But because marketers are so confused about how to measure social media’s ROI, it’s certainly easy to be duped into using an agency’s proprietary or third-party analytics tool that may have tons of fancy graphs, lots of numbers, and export complicated spreadsheets — but it really doesn’t tell you how to do anything actionable to improve your social media marketing with that data. So if you’re considering using a third party for social media analytics, make sure that their tool not only offers closed-loop reporting, but that the person analyzing the data can also tell you how to use that information to improve your marketing strategy.

Content Creation

You need content to fuel your social media strategy, but it requires a high time investment that many marketers don’t have — perhaps one of the highest time investments of anything on this list. So it makes sense that content creation is outsourced. Go for it! Hire someone to create great blog content, ebooks/whitepapers, videos, and infographics that will make your social media presence valuable for your followers!

But start slow — ask for some writing samples and test content before committing to a large content creation contract. Just like there are many social media ninjas out there, there are plenty of freelance writers that may create subpar content or leave you hanging on a deadline. We’ve written a blog post about how to screen freelance writers if you’re considering going that route; but if you hire an agency, it’s likely the writers have been screened in advance. Just make sure you ask for samples that relate to your industry before putting pen to paper.

Monitoring

Social media monitoring can be a laborious chore at best, and a distracting one at worst — depending on the size of your following and what you use social media for. HubSpot, for example, has a social media following across accounts of about 318,000. We use those accounts for publishing content, talking to followers, and customer service triage. And we keep monitoring in-house, because we’ve found a way to do so without taking up much of our day (which we’ve shared with you in our ebook about Monitoring Your Social Media Presence in 10 Minutes a Day).

That being said, there are challenges that other businesses are faced with that make outsourced social media monitoring a logical solution. For example, international businesses or those that never really “close” may be receiving tweets 24/7. And it doesn’t look good when a serious customer service question can’t be answered in a timely manner, nor is it a pleasant working environment for a community manager who is constantly checking for customer service issues at all hours of the night. For businesses of this nature, outsourced monitoring makes sense — but only to agencies that truly understand your values and how you want to communicate with customers. We’ve covered what can happen when your agency doesn’t monitor social media for complaints in our post about AT&T’s Twitter SPAM snafu. If you choose to outsource monitoring, monitor your agency in the beginning, too.

Research & Strategy

I’ve combined “Research” and “Strategy” because, frankly, you can’t have one without the other. And just like social media analyzing is a common problem for marketers, many have also expressed confusion over how to create a social media strategy. The strategy is posting updates, right?

Wrong — and if you have an agency that is telling you that, run away fast. Posting updates is a tactic (which we’ll cover in the next section!) that helps you achieve a larger strategy. And a great consultant or agency will help draw that strategy out of you through diligent competitive and industry research, getting to know your business, and talking to you about your marketing and business goals. Then they should be able to outline a detailed plan for you about how to achieve that strategy — that either you, their staff, or another third party — can execute.

Is your consultant or agency asking you what your big picture goals are? Do you want to generate more leads, and think social media could help you do that? If so, what kind of leads? How will you nurture those leads after they’ve been generated? Or perhaps you need to improve your brand’s public image, and you think social media can help you do that. Will they be able to give you actionable advice on how to use social media as part of a larger branding strategy that differentiates yourself from your competitors and integrates with your other marketing activities? If these are the types of discussions you’re having with a third-party research and strategy provider, you have probably found a reliable consultant. But as we said before … beware the “ninjas” and “gurus” who can’t truly provide actionable advice that integrates with your larger marketing strategy.

Status Updates

Status updates are easy to integrate into your daily social media monitoring, especially if you take time out each week to schedule posts across all accounts using tools like HubSpot’s social media bookmarklet. If you’re already outsourcing your monitoring, ask if you can also integrate automated updating as a service. But this task is so simple to work into your day — especially since you’ll likely be publishing custom content, too — that a marketer on a budget could probably get more value spending their dollars elsewhere.

Community Management

While social media monitoring can be outsourced successfully when the proper protocol is in place, I believe community management is best left in-house — so I’m glad to see it as the least frequently outsources task on the list. While social media monitoring can simply be alerting the proper internal parties of a problem that arises on social media, community managers have a personal relationship with many members of their social media networks. Successful community managers identify influencers, get buy-in on controversial changes as a trusted member of the group, and often engage offline with many of their contacts.

The level of trust required to be a community manager is often diluted if fans and followers learn they’re dealing with an “outsider” from an agency. If you’re looking to fill a community manager position, your networks will have an easier time accepting someone from the inside.

Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/32208/Social-Media-Outsourcing-Increases-128-in-Two-Years-New-Report.aspx#ixzz1sxrsaf1B


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Jewish Social Media 101 – To Hire or To Outsource Jewish Social Media? You Decide!

Jewish Social Media 101 – To Hire or To Outsource Jewish Social Media? You Decide!

Social Media - In House or Outsource?Hiring a full time Social Media Strategist, though highly important in the new age of digital PR & fundraising, can be very expensive for the budget strapped non-profit or school. As shown below, you have to budget in between $46,000 to $71,000 for a Social Media Specialist alone (benefits not included). For Jewish companies, you also have to factor in health insurance, benefits, and the intangible “Jewish cost-of-living”, as well as the risk of high turnover due to the strong demand for Jewish social media employees. Plus, the ROI from social media is still tough to determine – is it how many “Likes” you get, or maybe the amount of “Tweets”? And how do you tie it back to sales? (this ALSO doesn’t take into account that your employees will end up being on Facebook all day. Not much work ethic there.)

Bear in mind also that many Jewish non-profits and schools are still focused on traditional methods of Jewish marketing & communications. Which is why advertising in Jewish print media has continued to remain stable while digital & social marketing lags behind. The extent of Jewish social media is the community shul listserve, such as Yahoo Groups or Google Groups, which is a textual Craigslist type of community bulletin board. Jewish social media groups have attempted to pop up though most are merely groups within Facebook & Linkedin. As a result, social media as a career hasn’t taken off in the Jewish marketplace, except as a freelance option.

Overall, the smarter choice is to outsource your Jewish social media (social media outsourcing rose 128% last year) to freelance experts who don’t require full-time employment but can do the job equally well. Using the outline of salaries and need for social media strategy, you can judge your need and decide what tasks you can outsource and what tasks to keep in house. Reposted from Onward Search, a Social Media Recruiting Firm.

http://www.onwardsearch.com/Social-Media-Salaries/


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Jewish Social Media 101 – Jewish Non-Profits and Social Media: Do They Get It?

Jewish Social Media 101 – Jewish Non-Profits and Social Media: Do They Get It?

Jewish bloggerHere’s an excellent blog post from Rabbi Jason Miller that illustrates the need for Synagogues and Jewish non-profits to do more than take the easy way out of performing social media. Key line regarding volunteers: “you get what you pay for.” And if you’re not paying, you’re probably not getting the best Jewish social media experience possible.
The Jewish Week
Published on The Jewish Week (http://www.thejewishweek.com)

Jewish Non-Profits and Social Media – Do They Get It?

By Rabbi Jason Miller

Are Jewish Non-Profits adding social media to their arsenal of marketing tools?

Are Jewish Non-Profits adding social media to their arsenal of marketing tools?

Cross-posted to Blog.RabbiJason.comAs a rabbi who is a social mediaologist, I find myself consulting a lot of synagogues and Jewish nonprofits on their social media strategy. The leaders of these institutions all recognize that they require a social media strategy, but the plan for how it will be implemented varies greatly.Many synagogues in 2012 have yet to budget for social media marketing so they look for the quickest and cheapest solution. In most cases this comprises of identifying a volunteer lay person or existing staff member who is willing and able to set up the congregation’s social media presence across the major networks. In some instances this is a teen who claims to be a Facebook wiz and over-promises and under-delivers. With many volunteers, congregations often get what they pay for.

Jewish organizations seem to be a little further ahead than synagogues in the social media department. Third party retailers like Target and Home Depot have forced nonprofit institutions to get on the social media bandwagon quickly because of their online contests in which the retailer partners with nonprofits for fundraising prizes. These crowd-raising initiatives have required nonprofits to bolster their social identity online to compete in the contests.

While businesses in the for-profit world have allocated serious funds to their online marketing initiative, the nonprofit world is still light-years behind. That should be no surprise because nonprofits often take a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to change.

Robert Evans and Avrum Lapin recently wrote on the eJewishPhilanthropy blog about an unofficial survey they conducted to investigate how Jewish nonprofits are “utilizing social media and how it enables them to meet the demands that they and their leaders are facing.” From the outset, they assert that the picture is not entirely positive and quote a synagogue software system developer lamenting that “most of the Jewish world seems frozen in the 20th century when it comes to being technologically advanced.”

Our recent survey demonstrated a significant lack of human or dollar resources invested by Jewish groups into Facebook and Twitter. Very few synagogues even seem to have any presence on Facebook or Twitter, although they all have websites, many of which are reasonably interactive. Robyn Cimbol, director of development at New York City’s Temple Emanu-El, noted that her congregation was probably the first Jewish congregation to have a website but today they have no specific plans to foster Facebook or Twitter activities, citing other pressing priorities and no apparent demands from their 2,800 member households. “We have limited staff resources and capabilities for this,” she noted, “but we are gearing up ultimately to recognize social media as one communications opportunity,” she told us. She did emphasize that “a number of staff members do use Face Book [sic]… to communicate with specific constituents but it is not used Temple-wide.”

Facebook reports that 89% of 1.3 million U.S. nonprofit organizations boast a social networking presence, offering opportunities potentially for fundraising. However, fundraising on Facebook is still a “minority effort,” despite recent gains.

The authors of the study recognize that the Jewish nonprofits that have succeeded the most in social media marketing have been those that have participated in social fundraisers with third parties, such as mega-retailers or major foundations. Many organizations that find themselves competing in these online social fundraisers have allocated staff time or in some cases hired dedicated part-time staff to manage these initiatives (if they win there is a good return on investment).

The Jewish Education Project and JESNA’s Lippman Kanfer Institute (in partnership with UJA Federation of New York) have launched the Jewish Futures Competition, which will dole out $1,800 prizes for Jewish nonprofits to advance their social media identities. As more synagogues and Jewish nonprofits become more focused on bolstering their social media exposure (moving from building their fan base on a Facebook page to increasing their brand amplification through likes, comments and shares), they will integrate their email marketing (Constant Contact, MailChimp, etc.) and online fundraising (Razoo, CauseCast, DonorPages, etc.) into their social networking.

Evans and Lapin’s study demonstrates that nonprofits do understand the value in using social networks for fundraising. “According to this year’s Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report, four out of five nonprofit organizations find social networks a ‘valuable’ fundraising option.” However, these same nonprofits aren’t able to quantify why that is. It is important to remember that social media is still in its infancy. As it grows (and its exponential growth doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon), more synagogues and nonprofits will get on board by allocating the necessary resources to its success.

As they say, the “proof is in the pudding” and the ROI will be noticeable for the synagogues and Jewish nonprofits who dedicate the necessary time and resources to building their brand/mission exposure through social media. Change is never easy and the nonprofit world is more risk averse when it comes to technological innovation. At least the conversations about social media integration are taking place in the Jewish nonprofit world, and the studies are showing that a realization exists that this is a necessary form of communication, marketing and fundraising in the 21st century.

Rabbi Jason Miller is an entrepreneurial rabbi and technologist. He is president of Access Computer Technology in Michigan and blogs regularly at Blog.RabbiJason.com. Follow him on Twitter @rabbijason.


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Jewish Marketing 101 – Social Media Influencing Decisions on Kosher Consumption (KosherToday)

Jewish Marketing 101 – Social Media Influencing Decisions on Kosher Consumption (KosherToday)

Kosher Social MediaSocial Media Influencing Decisions on Kosher Consumption, But Not There Yet

Reposted from Kosher Today

New York…The effect of social media on the consumption of kosher foods is for all practical purposes a case of two separate cities. In an exhaustive look at the subject, KosherToday found that in a good segment of the kosher market, social media is beginning to play a significant role in influencing brand and product consumption while in some Charedi (Orthodox) communities social media is still linked to an overall distrust and even forbidden medium of the Internet. “Since this customer still makes up a large percentage of daily kosher food sales, bridging this gap will be important if social media will take off for the kosher category,” says Yakov M. Yarmove, Corporate Business Manager, Ethnic Marketing and Specialty Foods for SuperValu. But KosherToday found that even in such Orthodox communities as Flatbush and Monsey, some stores are feeling the effects of social media, particularly when some of their premium items go on sale. “I will sometimes have 15-20 shoppers a day ask for an item on sale that they flagged on either Facebook or Twitter,” said a Flatbush retailer.

Esti Berkowitz of primetimeparenting.com and Travelingmom.com, a leader in the growing kosher foodie network using social media, says that social media is influencing purchases at the grocery store. “A lot of these purchasing decisions come directly from the online distribution of circulars from the supermarket,” she says. In fact, she points to a study conducted by Ken Johns, VP, Director of 1:1 at Brunner which found that amongst more than 400 women with children age 12 and under, nearly 96% of the respondents said they check e-mail at least once a day and eight in ten moms indicated they want to receive offers and information from preferred brands via email. A number of major retailers have been using Facebook and Twitter to communicate with their loyal customers, a trend that kosher industry sources say is beginning to take hold in the kosher community as well. It bodes well for the introduction of new products, which in many instances drives profits in the kosher set. Says Mrs. Berkowitz: “The gain for new products via social media is increasing steadily.  People are looking to blogs and social media for reviews and recommendations of food and beverages.” She points to the results of The Social Media Matters Study (April 2011) that 53% of the participants had become repeat buyers based on a blog recommendation.

Leah Schapira is one of those foodies who have developed a passion for using social media to promote good kosher cooking. A  well-known food columnist and recipe developer in the kosher world, she recently launched Cookkosher.com as a platform for sharing information on ingredients, recipes, new products and almost everything else that a kosher consumer and cook would need Not very much. Says Schapira: “I don’t think that the influence of social media has spread wide enough in the kosher world yet.” She does, however, see social media as a boon for new products because of the relationship it establishes between manufacturer and consumer. “The ability to easily and quickly solicit feedback from consumers can help a new product adjust its course in line with ever-changing demands and preferences,” says Schapira. Although there appeared to be dramatic developments in the impact of social media on kosher consumption, most kosher industry sources agreed that the trend is definitely on the side of a new generation of social media kosher foodies.


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