Social Media Club Hawaii Celebrates Ma Ka Hana Ka ʻIke

headerAbout a year ago I founded the Hawaii Chapter of the Social Media Club. It is part of a international nonprofit organization of social media practitioners and exists to develop and share best practices and ethics on the social web. One of the first goals we had was to get the word out in the community about our organization. My fellow volunteer and Program Chair Tess Staadecker came up with the idea to hold a contest and offer six months’ support to local nonprofit. We would walk them through the stages of setting up the social web assets.

About the Contest
It was a great idea! We had 15 applicants and over 1000 votes. The winner was a small nonprofit based in Hana, Maui, supported by Rick and Kirsten Rutiz to teach the high school youth about construction. They then build housing, gardens, arts centers, and wheelchair ramps in the community. Ma Ka Hana Ka ╩╗Ike did not have a blog, or a Twitter account, or know anything about Facebook or RSS, but they did tap into their network of friends, who used word-of-mouth marketing to tell a wider circle of friends, and take them to the winning position in the contest.

But First! A Word for Our Sponsors!
We were very grateful to have the support of a few sponsors in this effort as well – as we didn’t plan on the winner coming from a neighbor island, though we did open the contest to all Hawaii nonprofits! Hawaiian Airlines, Bare Feet Studios (yours truly), and the Prince Kuhio Hilton Waikiki provided transportation and lodging for Rick and Kirsten over the six month support period. We also implemented a lot of technology – and on two occasions beamed in Rick and/or Kirsten live via video chat. We are ever grateful to the ING Direct Cafe for hosting our monthly meetings free of charge, enabling us to do the same for you.

So what did we accomplish?
Our primary goal was to get Ma Ka Hana Ka ʻIke excited about sharing their stories with the world, so the world can support them in their mission. to this end, we all were incredibly successful. Our roadmap, was one that any nonprofit can follow along. We provided over 60 hours of free consultation and training, much of it open to the public at our meetings and in follow-up emails. Here is what all was created:

  • A new identity, perfectly suited for use on numerous social networks, and including a new web address, “hanabuild” which is easier and shorter than their full Hawaiian name and is being used for digital branding.
  • A new web site using WordPress, the best-in-class blog software, including an auto-generated RSS feed – so you can subscribe to their site! Their version one web site was nice but they could not edit it themselves, the navigation was limited, and it was not as friendly to the search engines as their new site. Their URL went from to It is shorter and we made sure that nick name was available as a UIRL as well as on all the main social networks before we started this entire process.
  • A Twitter account: @hanabuild. They are learning how to use hashtags, to communicate with others directly and indirectly, how to follow conversations, and how to search for related topics. We also hooked up their Twitter and Facebook accounts so the content cross-posts to both social networks.
  • A Facebook page. They learned that people are on many different social networks, and so it makes sense to have a presence where your fans are. Rick’s daughter actually got this started, and we trained them in how to use Facebook.
  • A Flickr account. Photos are such an important part of telling a story, and this building program has loads of them! By learning to post their pictures on Flickr, find friends, tag the photos, and join groups, their photos can have much more impact than if they were just on the web site. We also added a Flickr badge on the main web site, to make sure any new photos on Flickr are cross-posted to the web site.
  • A Skype account for live video chat. Kirsten actually jumped into this during the contest! We had asked all of the entries to attend our May meeting and give a brief presentation about their nonprofit. Kirsten could not arrange to fly over on short notice, but she was willing to learn how to set up her computer for video chat! We have since done a few training sessions via video.
  • Videos posted to and a YouTube channel is in process. I like to say if a photo is worth 1000 words, then a video is priceless. Ma Ka Hana Ka ʻIke has been lucky to have some video support and we have posted those videos to YouTube and We have also trained them in how to create their own movies, and hope the teenagers in the building program will soon be helping out with all of these social assets.
  • Added a PayPal Donate Button. With the increase in traffic coming from the various social networks, we wanted to be sure supporters could easily contribute to the nonprofit. We have a Donate button on every page.

This truly is just the beginning though – now the folks at Ma Ka Hana Ka ʻIke aka HanaBuild can continue using the tools to tell their stories. Key to this is scheduling time each week to attend to the various conversations and communities to which they now belong as well as adding new photos, new blog posts, and new videos. I invite you to connect with them and help us support their ongoing accomplishments to the community of Hana!