As a community building platform that fully enables campaigning, it goes without saying that social media can and should be a useful marketing tool for non-profit organisations. Indeed many organisations have displayed willingness and a proficiency on these platforms that has allowed them to grow their network exponentially.
Social media gives non-profits the unique opportunity to raise awareness of their causes in a place where people naturally feel comfortable and at ease. Users come to social networking with expectation – the aspect of discovering a wide variety of new messages that comes with it is part of its main appeal. The non-profit organisations that manage to get the most from these platforms are the ones who succeed in getting users to buy into their particular message through a specified content strategy.
Social media storytelling
Social media facilitates storytelling. Through it, companies and organisations have the opportunity to communicate their message in a completely human way, engage with their network. The key where non-profits are concerned is to focus on conveying real life examples of their work on raising awareness through the use of human experiences. In fact, that makes it one of the only examples of industries where focussing on their work is actually recommended.
How to do social media for non-profit organisations
The role that social media plays in a digital marketing or communications strategy can vary from organisation to organisation. The first step should always be defining what your primary objectives are from your social media strategy and how those objectives fits within the wider scope of your digital marketing strategy. These objectives will be a principal determining factor on the style of content you share and the rate of engagement you should be expecting as a result. However, with a baseline of donations in mind, social media for non-profits needs to aim to tick off three different objectives in a specific order:
Attention – Engagement – Retention
Social media strategies need to exist to compliment an organisation’s baseline. According to data provided by the Case Foundation, a considerable amount of non-profits still consider email marketing and websites their most important mode of communication even though at the time of surveying 97% were on Facebook. 47% of those surveyed considered the pinnacle of engagement to be a donation; and with this primarily happening through websites, their opinions on email and web are completely understandable. Therefore social media needs to exist to compliment this.
While generating brand awareness is always a positive thing, especially for smaller and newer organisations, non-profits want their social media strategy to transcend brand awareness and initiate a response from users.
When you post content focussed on brand awareness, you want to do so in a way that grabs users’ attention. The most effective styles of content are visual. Photos and videos of donors and of your community can have a great impact on engaging a new audience. Attention-grabbing content is where you are able to make specific appeals. Every non-profit is different – be unique and try not to rely on what works for your competitors. Non-profits are notoriously good at devising marketing strategies for appeals that reflect the individualities of their organisation and this should be no different on social networking.
Your posts should endeavour to provoke a dialogue with social media users, making use of questions and asking people’s opinions. One of the most useful aspects of social media is that it enables an open conversation between users and organisations. The more engaged your audience is, the more likely they are to advocate and share your content with their own network. It is this open dialogue that can help to turn a social media user into a donor. While you shouldn’t always focus on getting people to donate, all of your channels and content should include information on how to do so.
Your social media channels are a great way for you to keep donors aware of the work of your organisation, and while email marketing and newsletters are still a very useful way to communicate this information, you should encourage them to follow your social channels for up to date news. Use your content to recognise and show appreciation for your donors and this will help keep your retention rate healthy.