Dom Sagolla’s 140 Characters: A Style Guide for the Short Form focuses on the impact of Twitter, especially important information for non-profits to employ. Each chapter focuses on a facet of Twitter which needs to be properly executed in order to have a successful Twitter campaign. In this paper I will be discussing the use of the short form in relation to my team assignment’s non-profit, Service Dogs for America. SDA does not have an Instagram account but after speaking with them, they do have interest in getting an account. They currently do have a Twitter account but do not use it frequently and shared interest in possibly deleting the account. For this discussion I will focus on Instagram, and my “client’s” future with using the short form. For Instagram, it is important that the client first determine if that is the best option for them. After some research, I discovered that similar organizations were using Instagram with much success. Their success, I believe, is attributed to their use of simplification, their reach, their repetition of posts, their use of mentions or links leading visitors to sister-site and also the organizations ability to branch out, expanding on what’s worked and reaching to deepen their online exposure. I will use these attributes and discuss how SDA can use these skills to help their own organization.
Service Dogs of America already has a lot of good information that they can use for promotional material, the problem I noticed, specifically during Giving Hearts Day, was they have too much information presented, but not executed well. Their graphics contain a lot of material which is often hard to read and are very wordy. They have videos which receive good view counts but do not make the impact they were hoping for. I believe this is attributed to the amount of information presented, and the way it was presented. A viewer must watch the entire video, which were often people just standing and talking, reciting information, with no graphics or titles for people to place a “brand to word” image with. I believe SDA could benefit from learning how to condense their information in a way which would allow people easily digestible information, while still giving them the opportunity to follow a link to another platform which could give people seeking more in-depth info the proper location they would want to be. They expressed their wish to increase their blogging presese, and while it is important that SDA be good story tellers, they must also be wary of Sagolla’s view that the “first line [of a book] is the most memorable identity of the text to a reader” (16). If SDA can focus their information and storytelling for videos and graphics, I think they could be very successful with using Instagram.
The current marketing coordinator for SDA wants to broaden their reach because they are the only certified service dog program in the state. By using the correct social media platforms and revamping the ones they currently use, SDA could reach the expanded audience they desire. She definitely wanted to expand their shares and likes on posts overall, with a commitment to engage more with the community at large.
Another skill SDA could benefit from using is the repetition of attention-getting posts. They recently ended a #sharethelove Sunday post which featured the hashtag and information of a puppy-in-training. The campaign was a perfect example of an image they could use on Instagram but instead shared it on FB with little engagement of their audience. This repetition, as demonstrated successfully on similar Instagram accounts, is an important practice SDA keeps up with in order to create a consistent and growing audience.
Although they are two differently identified attributes, I combined mentions and links in the same discussion as important skills for SDA to adopt. During GHD, I only noticed a few mentions to other local businesses which helped achieved SDA’s goal. These mentions would help SDA expand their reach by connecting with local partnership’s audiences as well. Also, adding links to their own blog pages or donors links would increase the desired exposure.
Finally, by branching out of their currently implemented practices and revamping what they already have, they will have the ability to continue that branching. Sagolla describes branching as “keeping the essence of what you do, but adding one more activity that adds depth to the experience” (116). Right now, SDA is proud of the work they have done, and rightly so, but SDA also recognizes the need to branch out and reach a wider audience to continue the amazing work they do.