A Basic Guide to Using Social Media for Today’s Consumer
Today it’s not really an option as to whether nonprofits should use social media or not – the question is how. Social media has completely changed the landscape in how donors and constituents consume media. It’s on their terms, when they want it and how they want it. The passive, one-way communication technique of sending a letter or postcard or a simple e-newsletter on your own production schedule isn’t cutting it anymore. For the social donors, it’s an interruption rather than a welcome invitation. They want a conversation.
Nonprofits now have to connect to their consumers how they want to be communicated with – whether that’s on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or more. Not only can you connect to potential or current donors, but you can also recruit volunteers or members with some smart social media know-how. The trick is to create the same feeling of passion and commitment on your social media channels as you do in real life interactions. Your authenticity needs to shine.
Connecting to Donors
The best way to connect to donors with social media is to tell your story. Think of it as an extended elevator pitch. You can provide insight into why you do what you do and then highlight your case studies so donors are equally as moved. In addition to feel-good content, provide statistics and facts as to how your nonprofit is benefiting your community and your cause. Use engaging content like photos and videos to share your story and keep donors informed. Outlets like Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube are great places to visually engage donors on a year-round basis.
Action Step: Make a list of case studies you can share and create a calendar of when you can release these stories for on-going pep talks with your donors. Also ask your staff and volunteers to grab photos at events and onsite activities and to interact with your social media networks. They are living the mission, so who better to share their experiences.
Some nonprofits are completely or majority volunteer-run. First of all, it’s excellent content to inform your social media networks of that fact. Every dollar you raise is strictly going toward the cause and everyone involved is helping because it means so much. That’s a powerful message. When looking for more volunteers, social media is a great way to spread that need. Facebook and Twitter are strong channels to broadcast that type of message. You can also create a video that highlights the benefits of volunteering, post it on YouTube and then share on your other social media networks.
Action Step: Compile a list of all the reasons a volunteer would love what they do. Then brainstorm with some of your more engaged volunteers to determine clever ways to communicate that online. The more involvement you have from your volunteers, the more likely they will help you in spreading the word.
For nonprofits that are associations, social media is a fantastic way to take that sense of community and grow its presence online. Your members are already spending free time on social media networks, so why not create a place to not only harness those conversations, but to join them. For some nonprofits, it’s hard to balance communication between donors and members, and in some cases members don’t see the organization as a nonprofit. Social media allows you to educate your members of your nonprofit status and to inspire them to help recruit more members to be apart of something good.
Action Step: Determine the main benefits to membership of your nonprofit and pair them with the best ways to communicate those through your social media channels. Is an infographic the best way to show facility features? Is video better? Again, involve key constituents to help brainstorm and make the call on which outlet is best for certain communication styles. The more buy-in you have, the more help you’ll have in promotion.
Whether you’re just getting started with social media or if you’re looking to re-adjust your strategy, take these basic first steps. With a little effort and practice, you’ll see a healthy return on investment and a higher engagement with your nonprofit – online and offline.
About Digital Impact Agency
Digital Impact Agency is a creative firm specializing in interactive media and inbound marketing strategies for manufacturing and technology companies, professional service firms (architectural, engineering, construction, legal and consulting), nonprofits and enterprise companies. We are a team of innovative entrepreneurs focused on creating the most strategic and effective communication channels for our clients.