Argyll & Bute Communities give their take on #BeGoodBeSocial April 2011

BeGoodBeSocial – How to use social media in your organisation

I attended a really interesting event in the BIG HQ last night. (7 April). It was sponsored by blackbaud and was the second BeGoodBeSocial event organised by Ross McCulloch of Third Sector Lab. Speakers included Sara Thomas of MND Scotland, Marc Bowker of Quarriers, Rob McAllen of Cumbernauld House, and Rob Dyson of Whizz Kidz.

Sara spoke about Developing a Social Media Fundraising Strategy, Marc Spoke about the Power of Engagement and Rob Dyson spoke about Communicating in a Big Society.

Some of the main points from the talks are below and if you want to see the videos of the event then log on to where they will be uploaded shortly.

Social media – facebook, twitter, blogging, – have a facebook page for your organisation, (not a profile), the more people “like” the page the better, have a twitter account, the more followers the better, blog about what you are doing – the more followers, the better.

Have a basic stragtegy of what you hope to achieve with social media and how you are going to measure the success.

Your communications dept (or volunteer) depending on the size of your org. can integrate the social media into your overall communications. It must all be “joined up” to have the best effect.

Staff and users of your services are another great way of raising your profile. Encourage staff to talk positively about what they have been doing at work on their personal facebook account – with links to your org facebook, twitter, blog, etc. Remember to make users of the service anonymous. Users can also be very effective ambassadors for your organisaion in the same way.

When communicating – blogging etc – be authentic, be honest, be informal but still professional, be first person, don’t argue and don’t be offensive. If you can get other people to blog about you on their own blogs that too will raise your profile. It is important to have lots of ‘thank you’s on your blog and people are always interested in “this is where we spent the money that you donated” stories.

Facebook and twitter is where the people are and the conversation is happening.

When you are using facebook and twitter it is important to include facebook and twitter logos on your printed literature.

If you want to know if anyone one in social media is referenceing your organisation then you can do a search in – lets you know how many negative and positive things are said about you.

Co-ordinate you social medias to increase your impact for instance. Have a tweet about an event that is on your facebook page, have links to your blog and your photos on flickr, you can build narrative into tweets and host campaign materials on flickr, tag and annotate pics on flickr with links back to facebook. If you want some feedback from marketing you can ask question on facebook and get collated answers.

We’re keen to get more rural orgs along to the next #BeGoodBeSocial – if you’d like to help make that happen please get in touch.

Don’t dare call us ‘big society’

One year on from David Cameron’s launch, Scotland still doesn’t seem to have fully embraced the “big society” concept. It’s not that we’re a nation of dullards who cannot grasp such lofty ideas. It’s not because we think the government ought to control every element of Scottish life. And it’s overly-simplistic to cite Scotland’s perceived disdain for all things Tory. As Antonia Swinson, CEO of Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition, puts it we’d rather “leave the English to their spirited debate about whether the ‘big society’ represents inspirational and long awaited reform” while we get on with the business of actually “shifting accepted norms of Scotland’s public service delivery in whatever way we can”.

Swinson’s comments may be blunt but party-political they are not. She’s not saying we need to specifically steer clear of Tory rhetoric, but rather that, as we’re geographically and politically miles away from the big society Westminster beach ball, us Scots can concentrate on developing a meaningful model of civil society. Whether we call it big society is neither here nor there.

Civil society, in its true sense, has had something of a resurgence and social media is allowing that to happen. While councils and other public sector bodies have been slow to react to the growth of social media, networks of citizens linked by a common cause have grown up organically. Social media is taking the place of the town hall by providing a space to share ideas and make things happen. Non-profits are beginning to realise that they can move beyond clicktivism to genuine activism if they spend time building a movement online.

As Rosie McIntosh, Oxfam Scotland’s media and new media officer, puts it: “I hear talk of apathy, but I don’t see it. People care. People speak out, even on issues that are never likely to affect them directly.”

Oxfam Scotland’s Citizen Journalist Network has allowed the charity to think about campaigning and communicating in a new way. It’s not about them telling people what to think and do, it’s about ordinary people speaking up about the poverty and injustice they see in the world. Citizen journalists are Oxfam’s eyes and ears on the ground and that’s incredibly valuable. Importantly, the standard of the writing and the complexity of the arguments that are presented through the network aren’t your usual Daily Mail keyboard warrior fodder. The effort put in by each citizen journalist in the network is anything but clicktivism.

Similarly, animal protection charity OneKind have been building up a movement of like-minded individuals loosely connected through Facebook and Twitter. OneKind’s supporters have had their say on big issues; they sent some 6500 emails to MSPs asking for a ban on snares after OneKind simplified the process via social media channels. When people were outraged by Edinburgh Zoo’s plans to cull three healthy Red River Hog piglets Onekind launched an immediate Twitter campaign against the zoo, using the #savethehogs tag. Within hours the tag had been used thousands of times and the zoo made a u-turn on their decision.

It’s not just big organisations using social media to redefine big society. Some of the best examples come from small community groups influencing real change at a local level. When the council ran a budget consultation which many locals perceived as skewed, Greener Leith, a local residents’ group, responded with an alternative online poll. Greener Leith have also used social media to crowd source ideas to help people leave their cars at home — leading to the local council investing hundreds of thousands of pounds to make it happen. In a similar vein, the North Kelvin Meadow Campaign and Cumbernauld House Trust have successfully used social media to bring together local residents in an attempt to, respectively, save local green space and a historical building from developers.

Be Good Be Social, Scotland’s first social media gathering for charities, social entrepreneurs and community groups has become a showcase and laboratory for these successes. What’s clear from the Be Good Be Social discussions online and at the events is that real movements emerge naturally. Civil society action comes from the grassroots. It can’t be imposed from above by a Westminster policy. While David Cameron might like to claim it as his legacy, we know that, in Scotland at least, a thriving third sector is in our hands. Just don’t dare call us big society.

Comments welcome over at:…

Big Lottery Scotland & #BeGoodBeSocial

Increasingly, BIG in Scotland has been using social media channels like Twitter and Facebook to develop a discussion with our customers, stakeholders and the public about our shared aspirations. We think that hearing what others have to say about us is as important as telling others about BIG, and this is essential to helping us meet our goal of helping communities and individuals most in need. It’s been an exciting journey so far but we know that we still have much to learn from social media and how it can help our organisation to develop.

Be Good Be Social

That’s why we are delighted to have been chosen to host the next Be Good, Be Social event on 7 April at our Glasgow offices. These events bring together third sector professionals from all across Scotland who are interested in social media for social good. They are a chance to learn, debate and connect with others working for non-profits, charities and social enterprises all across Scotland. We have been a supporter of Be Good, Be Social since the beginning and have already made a number of new contacts with whom we have shared our learning, not to mention 1,200 Twitter followers!

We’re looking forward to welcoming our friends to our Clydeside office on the 7th April for what I am sure will be an inspirational, educational and enjoyable event. And who knows we might event gain a few new friends to join us in our social media revolution!

You can follow the BIG Lottery Fund in Scotland on Twitter at and keep in touch with our Facebook page at

Full details on Be Good Be Social can be found at or though Twitter at

Big Lottery Fund in Scotland

@marcbowker’s take on #BeGoodBeSocial

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, are friends with me on Facebook, or who I’ve spoken to recently will probably know my involvement in BeGoodBeSocial. But I’m acutely aware that even those of you who know me still are a little bemused by what all the fuss was about surrounding the very first Third Sector meet up for people to come together with an interest in social media for social good.

There have already been many blogs written about this amazingly successful event and so I’m not simply going to repeat what they’ve all said, appreciating that I’m a little slow off the mark! Instead, I’d like to attempt to get across what impact the Be Good Be Social event has had on the group of individuals who attended it. It goes without saying that without Ross McCulloch of Third Sector Lab, founder of Be Good Be Social, the event probably wouldn’t have happened. Ross is an amazing person who I’ve come to know and who really gets behind an idea and drives it. He’s also somebody, in my opinion, who likes to remove himself from the limelight and instead concentrates on reaping the rewards of change that his ideas create.

Be Good Be Social brought together individuals from across the Third Sector who actually wanted to be there! People were intrigued about what all the fuss was about. They were hungry to learn, eager to ask questions and excited about the future. I wasn’t alone then.

Let me take a quick break here and tell you were I’ve come from to be here and involved in Be Good Be Social. Twitter. That amazing micro blogging site that you either love, hate or simply don’t get. But let me tell you, Twitter is an extremely powerful resource. It also changed the way that I interacted with people. Still scratching your head? Well, I work in Communications (think brand awareness, PR, print, design and all that goes with that kind of stuff), I should be an excellent networker right? Wrong. I hate networking! I hate the thought of attending an event and having to introduce myself to complete strangers. It sends shivers up my spine whenever I have to do such a thing. But then Twitter arrived. And at first I, like many people, simple tested it out, made mistakes, learnt from them, learnt new ways to use Twitter etc. Then the Glasgow Twestival happened and it changed all that. I had been tweeting a growing personal network of people within my vicinity for months in the run up to the Twestival and then bang, the event finally arrived. I turned up, wrote my Twitter name on my sticker and attached it to my chest, as had all the other attendees. Within an instant, I knew the person I’d been tweeting to the other day, week or month. Barriers were immediately broken down, the ice was certainly broken and we could chat to each other about our tweets and rapidly move on to something else. These people were no longer simply on my computer screen but were now physically in my network. I knew who I warmed to, who I wasn’t sure of and who I thought I’d like to get to know you better.

So there you go, Twitter is the sole reason that I’m involved in Be Good Be Social, because that’s were I was first introduced to all the people I met at the actual event in person. Amazing isn’t it? Well I think so.

Be Good Be Social has left all those who attended and all those who joined in the conversation via the hashtag (#BeGoodBeSocial) keen to share and collaborate on ideas within the Third Sector. They want more. They want another Be Good Be Social. They want to speak to each other about things that are relevant to all of us working in this sector.

Things are about to change around here through a group of people striving to make a difference in our local communities. Together, we’re embracing the power of social media to make change happen, to raise awareness of things that matter in our society and to make people realise that there are people worse off than us.

Can you feel that power yet?

Of course, we’re already talking about the next Be Good Be Social. Why not prepare yourself now so you don’t miss any announcements:

The web:


Twitter: (follow the conversation with the hashtag #BeGoodBeSocial)

View photos taken by the amazing Julie Broadfoot on the night of the very first Be Good Be Social right here: