Social Media Strategies From



My Philosophy

The best way to turn a good product or service into a great one is to elevate your content.

To share not only what you do, but how and why you do it. To share insider knowledge about your industry, or what fascinates you about your own business. To give customers the tools they need to go even farther with what you do.

In any industry, the organizations who appear to magically attract lifetime customers, and stellar word-of-mouth, are the ones who overpromise and overdeliver. 

The way to do that is to (briefly!) take your eye off of profits, and focus everything on your audience’s perspective, challenges, and goals.

You need someone who can understand what your ideal customers really want from you; what they really experience with you; and how to engage and delight them more with each content opportunity, from buttons to blog posts.

They have the potential to be as giddy and passionate as you are about what you do. What can you tell them, and do for them, to help them see how great it is?

What can you change about their experience that makes it feel as great as it deserves to be? 

When you have that answer, you go back to the question of profits by continually testing and measuring your results. 

The result: an effective, audience-centered, data-driven content strategy. 

Or, to put it in more human terms: an ongoing heart-to-heart with your ideal customers. 

From Jargon to Conversation

IN Finance

In consulting for a higher ed nonprofit that opposed the closure of Mills College, I read 10 years of audits, 20 years of tax returns, and 30 years of fundraising data to fully understand what was going on. 

Then I translated that into simpler messaging, to illustrate where the administration was misleading stakeholders.

Against a navy background, the name MILLS appears in blue capitals, alongside a icon of a stack of cash and two small credit cards. Below all this, it says, "226M invested, 47M owed. 400% more invested than owed."
Against a navy background, the name NORTHEASTERN appears in red capitals, alongside a icon of a stack of cash nearly obscured by two very large credit cards. Below all this, it says, "1.7B invested, 2B owed. 18% more owed than invested."

This quick comparison of the two schools’ finances is designed to debunk the administration’s fantasy that a rich university is “saving” Mills from certain financial ruin. 

In Health Equity

Thanks in part to the efforts of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, health equity for gay people has greatly improved. 

This has paid dividends in everything from mental health to overall income.

Unfortunately, most people don’t know that the bi community still faces outcomes as bad as those of the trans community. 

I designed the infographics here to bring the GLMA, and the healthcare community overall, up to speed on decades of minority stress research all at once.

These graphics can also be split up and used separately to educate people on a specific topic, such as sexual violence or mental health. 

I presented much of the following research at SF BiCon 2020. I then expanded upon it and presented at the 2021 Bisexual Research Conference and the 2021 GLMA Nursing Summit.

[The front page of a syllabus for Crushing Imposter Syndrome. Below a picture of whimsically-shaped soap bubbles, it poses the questions, "What does being 'powerfully vulnerable' even mean? What could be powerful about feeling exposed and undefended?"]
[A photo of a dog messily and unsuccessfully trying to gobble the spray from a hose, with the caption: "BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO SUCK AT SOMETHING NEW." The dog pic itself is by Jack Geoghegan, via Pexels.]
A photo of the text, "You aren't out of spoons to run your life and get your work done because you're 'not good enough.' You're out of them because other people are using your spoons for their own benefit." The quote is attributed to "Mark Twain, I guess."
The goal: create insightful, shareable images, educating people about recovery from imposter syndrome. This one, a Facebook post that says "When you can truly love the things about yourself that make you feel most vulnerable, you become invincible," achieved a 22% reach engagement rate organically.

Case Study:
Teach Your Brand to Speak

This self-help brand, designed to teach people how to overcome imposter syndrome, sounded like a great idea to everyone who heard about it. The challenge was to avoid the trap of “many fans, no customers.”

I began by drawing up user personas and relatable brand voices, and tested them by approaching 75 target users. 

The message architecture:
• casual language and vivid, relatable anecdotes;
• big pictures made up of bite-sized insights;
• optimistic, encouraging, and confident.

In this meme, this brand is definitely “the sisterfriend.”

[A screenshot of a Tumblr post with 238 thousand notes that says, "the momfriend (is very gentle and comforting, carefully and calmly helps you work out the root of the issue, gives you lots of space and the affection you need) the sisterfriend (pushes you over [and says]) alright nerd what do i need to beat up for you? a boy? your feelings? do you need me to punch your feelings?"

Thanks to researching and deeply understanding the prospective customer, I was able to hit very high engagement rates from the beginning, both paid and organic.

• Bounce rate of only 23% on the landing page.
• 29% click rate in emails; 50% click-to-open-rate.
•16% reach engagement rate on blog posts (the ratio of users engaged to users reached; 2% is considered high).

Case Study:
Engaging Your Potentially Passionate Users

User experience is, of course, far more than just the short bursts of text guiding them through their customer journey.

COSA, a nonprofit for people affected by compulsive sexual behavior, was struggling on an annual budget of roughly $45,000. Roughly half came from their annual convention, and another quarter each from donations and literature/CD sales. An expensive convention site could destroy the budget for two years.

The membership was simultaneously extremely loyal, and very hard to reach. Email open rates were low, and members rarely engaged with the emails they opened. The general consensus was that the emails were annoying, there were too many of them, and they always seemed to be asking for money. 

I trained the Board members and other senior stakeholders on best practices in email communication, strongly encouraging them to center their members. 

This screenshot of the brand style guide I created for them describes a "User-Centic Apprroach" the following way. "COSA’s current strategy [to creating email content]: What do we want the membership to know? Examples: Announcements of events, requests for volunteers, requests for donations, monthly newsletters. Outcome: Members feel overwhelmed by volume of information, stop opening and responding, get irritated, unsubscribe. Secondary outcome: Leadership decreases volume of email, worries about getting messaging to membership effectively. New strategy: What does the membership want and need? What would most delight and engage them? Examples: Member success stories; key messages from literature; meditations; tips and inspiration; as well as announcements. Outcome: Members get excited about seeing email from COSA, are more likely to read and share it, and welcome requests for donations and volunteer work because they get tangible value from these emails. Secondary outcome: Leadership has a wider communications pathway with the membership, gets more feedback, and sees greater response to its requests."

In particular, regular announcements, like monthly newsletters and annual events, should be framed from the perspective of why they might be interesting to a member. 

A screenshot of email best practices, for the Board, in "branding." "It should be immediately obvious that a message is from COSA: the look and feel should be similar to the website and other properties, while remaining simple and engaging. Designing a header and incorporating the logo would be helpful, as would testing different “from” names. “COSA Board” is impersonal; sending emails from “Claudia from the Board,” or “Claudia from COSA,” and changing it depending on the department and author, could result in a higher open rate. As a bonus, members might gain greater familiarity, and feel a stronger personal connection, with senior leadership. Similarly, I recommend making the subject line as personal and engaging as possible. Phrase it like this: “You won't believe who's joining the Board!" Rather than this: "News from the COSA Board" Like this: “Would you please join us in Toronto?” Rather than: “COSA Convention Registration starts Feb 1” Like this: “This newcomer was at the end of her rope, until....” Rather than: “April Issue of The Balance” Like this: “It’s your last chance to help us reach our goal!” Rather than: “Year-end Fundraiser."

I developed a new email campaign strategy that dramatically increased the number of emails every month. But now, the majority of the emails contained content members craved. The number of requests for volunteers and donations increased too. But members actually perceived them as decreasing by comparison.

Open rates increased dramatically: they rapidly tripled, and within 18 months, we had exceeded the nonprofit industry average by 50%.

An excerpt from the branding guide I created, headed with, "Best Practices in Email Messaging." "Accessibility: Emails can be beautiful, engaging, and accessible at the same time. We have no way of knowing which members: • are blind • have low or limited vision • are red-green, blue-yellow, or completely color-blind • and/or have visual processing difficulties. But we can make emails readable for everyone with a few simple changes: • Be mindful of color contrast; look at images and layouts with an accessibility tool, to get an idea of how they look with different forms of color-blindness, so that you can avoid confusion. • Use the “alt text” field in MailChimp to describe the image and transcribe any text in images. • End alt text with a period. That lets screen readers pause, before going on to read the next part of the email aloud. • Think about what the alt text sounds like to the member. Some of them will be seeing a blank spot with the alt text instead of the image. Some will be hovering over the image to see the text. Some will be using a screen reader that reads the alt text alone. And some will be using a screen reader that states, “An image of,” and then reads the alt text aloud to them." To the right of this a yellow sidebar explains "What they hear without alt text: “Please support COSA! Zero nine three zero one two dot jay pee gee link your donation is appreciated underscore underscore underscore underscore....”

I also project managed a website redesign that focused on increasing accessibility and making the content more user- centric, so that our primary channels would both follow a similar message matrix. 

After looking deeply at member feedback and the member experience, my proposals for increasing accessibility in its broadest sense, and therefore increasing engagement, included researching and implementing remote convention attendance; recurring online donations; and mp3 downloads.

Long before the pandemic began, we worked to make as much of COSA available instantly, from home, as possible. This had a significant impact not only on membership growth, but most importantly, on short- and long-term member engagement.

Members with small children, financial struggles, or in remote locations, were suddenly able to participate as fully as those with fewer challenges. Members who would have had to scale back, or stop participating, due to life events, were now able to remain an active part of their community.

COSA’s unique website visitors increased by 50% within the first year. Event attendance, previously static, began to increase annuallyAnd total donations rapidly tripled, with recurring donations making up more than half of that. Total sales nearly doubled. 

 Over the next five years, the organization’s annual budget nearly tripled, thanks primarily to increased donations and literature purchases. All without spending a penny on traditional marketing.

The new description of the album "Francesco Mancini: Concerti da Camera." "Eighteenth-century Naples was the heart of the Italian Baroque. The variety and virtuosity of these pieces capture the excitement of that musical hotbed of innovation. In these pieces, Mancini draws freely from solo concerti, concerti grossi, opera, and church music, saluting past styles and anticipating future trends. His Sonata in B-Flat Major evokes the frothy, comic fun that his successor Pergosi would eventually become known for. His gracious, slow movements are reminiscent of Handel. The recorder is featured in several of the concerti. This is a wonderful choice for the powerful ensemble, putting Judith Linsenberg's lovely and lyrical performances front and center. Other performers come into their own power in Durante's concerto and Scarlatti's sinfonia. Each piece is powered by the rich and sonorous continuo of skilled instrumentation that ties the whole album together. As one fan remarks, "The Durante piece is reminiscent of Vivaldi in a harmonically wry mood." You'll find plenty of fun and beauty in these delightful adventures by the talented ensemble."

Case Study:
the stradivarius of UI/UX

Musica Pacifica, a top-tier baroque ensemble, had a hard time tooting their own horn. Talking about themselves seemed like boasting, and their largely older fan base wasn’t engaging with them much online.

I simplified navigation by asking, “what are our target users looking for, and where do they look for it first?” Then, I made the site accessible for customers with vision challenges, especially focusing on alt text and mobile optimization.

The shop page was a particular focus of this redesign. I used plugins to simplify and pre-fill as much information as possible, and to keep customers on the site throughout the checkout process. 

Then I added a ton of the details that classical fans crave, like instruments, reviews, samples, and track listings, and created short, detailed descriptions of what made each album special. Restructuring and redesigning their website to better showcase their music resulted in a 7x increase in sales year-over-year. 

And crafting intriguing, well-researched content that resonated with their demographic resulted in an average newsletter open rate of 44%, in an industry with a 19% average. 

The better you understand your audience, the more you help them.

The more you help them, the more you both thrive. ​

Copywriting and Design HIGHLIGHTS

About Dani Aidan Stone

Ever since I taught myself to read at the age of 2, words have been the air I breathe. Ever since my dad got me my first email account, through his work, in 1990, the internet has been my home.

As a teenager, I worked as a community manager for AOL. After college, I worked in UX testing and digital branding for

Because I essentially grew up online, I have experience with every aspect of online spaces, from obscure niche message boards to Facebook ad optimization.

I’ve spent the past 15 years using these passions to help all of you share yours with more people. My focus is on innovative practices, highly tailored to each brand.

What challenges is your business facing? Where do you want to grow? Drop me a line for a free consultation over email.