Last week, I had the opportunity to be packed in a tiny orange room with about 100 other people for a workshop at a leadership conference for a nonprofit organization that works with addicts and domestic abuse survivors. The speaker, Bill Natalzia Northeast Regional Director of Celebrate Recovery, and staff did their best to cram as many of us in as possible.
As we started I heard several shouts back and forth of “Who has a seat next to them? Raise your hand!” “There’s one more seat over here!” We were almost sitting in each others laps. The name of this workshop...the thing everyone wanted to know was “Leveraging Social Media.”
Natalzia began with statistics about Facebook and Twitter. As of Wednesday, July 12 Facebook hosts 2 billion active users making it the largest social media site in the world with a population greater than many countries. Meanwhile, Twitter has 338 million users, and Instagram with its 375 million users has been the fastest growing social media platform gaining 70 million users in 4 months in early 2017.
The audience oohed and aahed. Most of them were media organizers of local organization chapters who had been tasked with promoting the organization to members of the program, churches, the community, and the world. Natalzia began his main point by emphasizing how social media has become an important part of society.
He said, “If this organization wants to reach more people, we have to engage social media.”
While I don’t want to go through the entire talk in this article, I do want to emphasize a couple helpful tips Natalzia mentioned in the workshop.
Tip #1 Create a positive environment.
There’s plenty of garbage and vitriol out there online already, your organization (even if you deal with a controversial issue) shouldn’t be contributing to it. To put it bluntly: No one wins in a social media war. If you want your organization to be viewed in a favorable, professional light don’t get drawn into angry disputes. Verbal sparring only adds to the anger, and honestly, you’re probably not going to change your opponent’s mind. If someone gives you a bad review online or if someone tries to bait you into a verbal match, we suggest taking the conversation offline as soon as possible. Give them your customer service phone number or offer to call them directly and tell them you would gladly discuss their complaint further offline.
Tip #2 Don’t forget to be social.
It’s great to utilize tools like SproutSocial and Hootsuite to automatically schedule out your posts everyday. Consistency is key to reaching new followers, but don’t forget the human side of the equation. People don't go on social media to interact with robots. They go on social media to be social! Keep it spontaneous. Reply to questions and comments. Facebook Live from the office. Keep up with the daily trends. Did something funny happen behind the camera? Put it in front of the camera and share it with your followers. If you’re having fun with it, your followers will have fun too.
Tip #3 Be interesting and entertaining
If a post is interesting and entertaining, people will repost it. How do you create posts that are interesting and entertaining? By knowing your buyer persona! What does the person you want to reach enjoy? What do they need/want to see? What resources does your organization want to provide for them? Give people a reason to follow you. Think about why someone would want to follow you. Do they want information? Encouragement? To laugh? To cry? To be inspired?
Tip #4 Don’t avoid analytics
I smiled when I saw one of the speaker’s main points was analytics. We’re a bit obsessed with data here at Momentum Consulting as you can tell by our annual Millennial Survey. I love knowing how many people saw a post, how many people are following one of our pages, whether our audience is predominately male or female, what country they happen to be from, and when people are most likely to see our posts. If you want to build a following, it’s this type of information that is going to get you there. Not only does it provide information about your ideal supporter, it will also help you create a strategy ensuring your ideal supporter sees your posts. Success in social media relies on data mining. So don’t be afraid to dig.
By following these tips, you’re on your way to successfully leveraging your social media to promote your nonprofit. Coming up with a sophisticated social media plan for your organization might seem a little daunting at first, but remember it’s an important part of your overall nonprofit marketing strategy. If you need some help, simply ask. Call us for a free consultation, and we’ll set you on the right path