social media marketing.png

Back in the day, when I was but a young ICT4D practitioner trying to figure out how to get hundreds of thousands of Somalis to open and read text messages about democracy and governance from a tiny startup’s office in Palestine, I developed a weird habit of obsessively reading fast-moving consumer good product mobile marketing blogs. Why? These commercially focused blogs had super insightful guidance on how to structure mobile campaigns and get users to open, read, and act upon messaging content—because at the end of the day, selling good governance isn’t that different from selling individual shampoo packets. Both take targeted, entertaining and value-added content, and timing to have the most impact, and because the advertising firms servicing large multinationals had a lot more money to invest in getting the art of the mobile campaign right, I figured, why not poach their best practices for the social sector? Fast forward seven years, and I’m doing the same thing but for Facebook.

ICT4D professionals, and the development sector more generally, need to collapse the false division between ICT work and communications. As social media becomes a fixture in the daily lives of the people we’re trying to serve, the more we’re going to need to harness commercial communications and marketing best practices to reach them. I’ve been working hard to get myself to a place where I feel confident in advising projects on a Facebook ad budget or working with a team to develop a digital marketing strategy. At the most basic, I want to ensure that we at DAI are not losing out on the myriad of ways in which social media can enable greater, cheaper reach and impact. While my old text blog habit may have gone the way of the Nokia brickphone (though rumors are the 3310 is back and better than ever!), I’ve found a new crop of social media blogs to follow, the top five of which I share below. The time to learn about social ROI (and no, not that social) is now!

  1. Social Media Examiner: Excellent daily email, useful tutorials, very practical guide to running campaigns on a number of different platforms and engagement tools.

  2. Jon Loomer: Facebook-focused blog with excellent, practical guidance and tutorials.

  3. Mplans: A comprehensive guide to making marketing plans, easy to port to development.

  4. Search Engine Land’s social media weekly newsletter is excellent.

  5. Razor Social: Well-known blog with great tips and tricks, tool reviews, and even tutorials.

And because you’ve read this far, don’t miss this excellent blog post on truly best-in-class social media strategies to generate results. Happy reading!