Nonprofits pioneered social media. They were on Myspace and organizing via Facebook Groups years before corporate brands, higher education, and broadcast and print media. That said, I am starting to worry a little bit that nonprofits are falling behind on mobile communications and missing out on some exceptional opportunities to tell their nonprofit’s story to the mobile masses.
One of the simplest ways to begin dabbling in mobile technology is to launch a mobile photo-sharing campaign, and Yfrog, Twitpic, and DailyBooth make it easy for any nonprofit social (and now mobile) media manager with a smartphone and little creativity. While mobile websites, group text messaging, and text-to-give campaigns may be looming large on your To Do List, making that transition from desktop communications to mobile is a crucial and timely evolution in your nonprofit communications practices. That said, here are three simple steps to get started with mobile photo-sharing:
1. Download a Twitter app.
Most mobile photo-sharing tools are integrated into Twitter, so your first step should be getting familiar with tweeting on the go. Twitter has a suite of exceptional apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Window 7 Phone, and iPad, as does HootSuite and TweetDeck, and although the tools listed below also allow uploading from your desktop computer, getting acquainted with sharing photos while on location and making that transition to using your smartphone for photo-uploading is a necessary one.
2. Select a mobile a mobile photo-sharing tool.
A recent re-launch has propelled yfrog to the top of the list of mobile photo-sharing tools. It allows you to easily upload and share your mobile photos (and videos!) on Twitter in a just a couple of taps, is visually compelling, has a social component, integrates your Twitter feed, and is compatible with Twitter’s Official Apps, HootSuite and TweetDeck:
Mother’s Against Drunk Driving on yfrog :: yfrog.com/user/MADDOnline/profile
Twitpic pioneered mobile photo-sharing and as a result is today the most well-known mobile photo-sharing tool, but unless they have some upgrades in the works, they may lose market share to their competitors. Keep that in mind when selecting the service you want to use and build your nonprofit’s brand on:
WaterAid on Twitpic :: twitpic.com/photos/wateraid
DailyBooth has a great layout, a built-in social networking component, and Facebook and Twitter integration, but uploading mobile photos can only be done through text messaging and their iPhone app (hopefully an Android version is coming soon). That said, the community on Daily Booth has a lot of active teens. If your nonprofit works with teens and young people, this is a mobile photo-sharing community that you should definitely explore. Unfortunately, I can’t find a nonprofit on DailyBooth, but Mashable is active there:
Mashable on DailyBooth :: dailybooth.com/mashable
Finally, Instagram also deserves a mention. This tool has received amazing amounts of online buzz in recent months, but the community component currently exists only inside the app. You can share (and customize/edit/color) your photos to Twitter, Flickr, and your personal Facebook profile, but only if you have an iPhone. Odds are a Web-based version of Instagram is coming, as well as apps for Android, BlackBerry, etc. It’s not a great starting point your nonprofit’s mobile photo-sharing campaign as it is now, but a tool to watch and experiment with nonetheless.
3. Take your smartphone to your next event!
The next time your nonprofit hosts a fundraiser, a protest, a rally, or a conference, put on your reporter’s cap, grab your smartphone, and starting tweeting and sharing photos “Live! On location!” have some fun with it.