Social Media for Nonprofits: 7 Tips for Success

The use of Social media is a great way for nonprofits to expand their mission. The Global Web Index 2015 report shows the average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks every day. What does that mean for nonprofits? It means that social media can become a powerful tool. It provides a way to tell your story, recruit volunteers, increase donations and share your mission.

As I welcome my new client, Legacy International, to Danielle Ricks Productions, I am looking for ways to do just that. Legacy is dedicated to promoting peace by strengthening civil society and fostering a culture of participation worldwide. They train and mentor community leaders, youth, professionals, and governmental and non-governmental administrators, helping them to develop and implement practical, community-based solutions to critical issues.

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Like many nonprofits, Legacy manages multiple projects. But it’s often hard to find your voice in the digital space while you are busy doing the good work of your mission. Here’s where social media comes into play to help in an effort to market and increase brand recognition.

There are seven social media strategies that nonprofits should consider when developing their social media plan. I’ll use each of these for Legacy International and you may want to consider these tips when developing your own social media strategy.

1. Set Your goals. Why are you in the social space? Is it to raise money? Maybe you need to recruit more volunteers. It could be that you need to get the word out about your mission to partners, supporters and donors. Each of these has a different social media strategy. Know why you are in the digital space before you get started.

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2. Determine Your Target Audience. Will you be speaking primarily to the people you serve, those benefiting from your services, the general public, or to the people who are dedicated to keeping the NPO afloat? Maybe you’ll be speaking to all of these audiences. That’s fine, just know who your audience is so you can develop your online voice.

See3 provides an excellent case study example with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and how they tell their stories.

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3. Choose Your Platforms. There are a lot of social media sites to choose from. Do you need to be in all of them? Your target audience will dictate where you put your social media energy. Have an audience of teens, you may want to be on Snapchat. Need to reach the parents of teens, you may want to be on Facebook. Need to reach government agencies and news organizations, Twitter may be your best bet. The target audience will dictate the platform.

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4. Create Your Content Strategy. This is where the bulk of your social media energy will go. Determining what, when, where and how you will share your content. You’ll want to keep in mind three key things:

  1. Your Voice – Who are you and what do you stand for?
  2. Frequency of posts – How often will you post and why?
  3. Patterns for engagements – What gets shared when?

If you need help developing an effective content marketing plan, you can check out my blog post here.

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5. Ready, Set, ENGAGE! Once you have determined your audience, your voice, and your strategy, it’s time to engage your audience. Be prepared to answer questions, field inquiries, share great stories and motivate your audience.4

6. Track and Measure. After ninety days or so, you’ll want to evaluate how you are doing in the digital space. Take a deep dive into the analysis and data. Keep an eye on likes but keep an eagle eye on shares. A like is a click of acceptance. A share means I’m personally invested in the content and I want others invested in it as well. Determine what strategies worked and which ones fell flat? What resonated with your audience and what does that tell you about your story telling, your mission, your followers

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7. Almost done! The last step is to start all over again at number one and continue the cycle. Determine who on your team will be responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of your social media strategy and maintaining the integrity of the brand, voice, and mission. Reevaluate your plan every three months and make adjustments accordingly.

The most important part of all of this social engagement is to be social. Be authentic and have fun. Have social media strategies that have worked for you? Share them in the comments below. Need help to develop your social media strategy, please let me know.

5 Tips For Your Crowdfunding Pitch

3Thinking about starting a crowdfunding campaign? Maybe you want to raise money for an upcoming project. Or, maybe your client needs to fund a worthy cause. Whether it’s raising money for your next CD project or a fundraiser to send a group of students abroad to study, there are a few things you should consider before you launch a crowdfunding campaign. One of the most important things to consider is the crowdfunding pitch. It’s the story behind what you are doing and why anyone would want to give to your cause. I’ve been working on a small crowdfunding campaign that is going to lead to a larger, capital campaign. Here are things I’ve learned along the way and five things to consider when beginning your crowdfunding campaign.

Any crowdfunding campaign starts with the pitch. Your crowdfunding campaign pitch is your first point of contact with potential donors. For your pitch to be effective it’s crucial to plan and include all the elements that make a compelling story.

A Crowdfunding Pitch Needs To Include:

  1. The Backstory – What is the campaign? Why will people care? Why will they donate? Talk about where the crowdfunding efforts will go and how it will help you or your cause. Show your passion, explain the impact of your campaign or explain about the people who will benefit from it.
  2. A Thought Provoking Video – Video clips give visitors a better idea of your project — they can see you or your project in action and not clicking through a series of static images. Do you have assets such as photos, powerpoint slides or digital images that can be assembled into a compelling video? If so, you’re halfway there.
  3. What You Are Raising Money For – Be specific and include your funding goal. Also include a breakdown of where the money is going and the purpose it will serve.
  4. When Will Your Project Take Place – Set a deadline, this creates a sense of urgency.
  5. How People Can Get involved – Have a multi-level donation stream offering. What will people get if they donate $1000, $50 right on down to a $25 donation? Beyond just donating money, what else can people do to help you? Outline any perks you have created.

Once all the elements for the pitch are addressed, then you much decide one of the most important details, which crowdfunding site to use.

Crowdfunding Sites– There are several crowdfunding sites. Each has their own pros and cons. Research the ones that will best suit your campaign and don’t be shy about asking others what has worked for them. No need to reinvent the wheel.

Then when you are ready to roll out share, share, and share some more.

Need help getting your crowdfunding campaign started? I’m here to help!

Five Tips To Help You Develop An Effective Content Marketing Plan

4Social media, mobile technology, and word-of-mouth marketing have been serious game changers. People are getting their news and entertainment online, watching TV on mobile devices and subscribing to newspapers and magazines on tablets.

According to Entrepreneur.com, a Hilaire survey discovered that print, TV and radio advertising is being replaced with non-traditional means of content marketing.

So just what is content marketing?

The Content Marketing Institute reports:

Content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.

The trends in content marketing tell us three things:

  • Traditional advertising, as we use to know it is dead
  • Content marketing has replaced traditional advertising
  • Having a winning content marketing strategy is the single most effective way to get leads and turn leads into business revenue

How do you use content marketing to engage prospects and customers?You do this via blog posts, social media sites, videos, and photos. Done correctly, this will generate leads, enhance your brand identity, and put your company’s expertise on display. But your blog, Facebook page, and Tweets are just a means to get your message out. The real value is in the content that you share. Where can you get started?

Here are five ways to develop a content marketing strategy:

  1. Have A Plan: No, really, have a plan. Far too often people forget that they must plan for the success they desire. Thinking they can wing it is the #1 mistake most folks make. Your plan should support your brand’s mission and goals. It will include the unique value you are looking to provide. It should also outline the obstacles and opportunities you may meet as you execute your plan. Preparation is the key.
  2. Start Writing: When readers find themselves consistently reading a brand’s content, they start to see that brand in a new light, not only in terms of credibility but also likability. You can start a blog, contribute as a co-contributor to someone else’s blog, or submit articles to your industry trade magazine. Not much of a writer? Do a video blog or an audio blog.
  3. Listen To Clients: Not sure what to write about? Start off by writing down the questions you repeatedly hear from your clients. I guarantee those questions will spur ideas for articles or blog posts that would be valuable to your audience and may even land you a few new customers.
  4. Identify Your Audience: Know the specific audiences for whom you will create content, what their needs are, and what your content engagement cycle will be. Will you post once a week across many social networking platforms or several times a week across only two social sites? Knowing your audience will decide your level of engagement.
  5. Schedule Your Posts: I don’t know about you, but I’m always busy. If you are as well, invest in a “Social Media Management Tool.” There are many to choose from, but one of the most inexpensive (there is a free version) and intuitive tools is Hootsuite. It will help you keep track and manage your many social network channels and free you up to do those other posts… which… by the way… can also be scheduled. Need help coming up with a social media plan? Read my blog on ten ways to develop a social media plan.

What content do you have to share that will help drive business to your company or advance your organization’s mission? Let me know if I can help you master just the right content marketing strategy for your business that will turn prospects and online community members into leads and clients. Fill out the contact form below so we can get started strategizing.

Tips to Rock Your Social Presence

Shannon Mouton leads the internal marketing and digital communications efforts for McKinney & Associates. She is a relationship marketing professional, with a passion for utilizing social technology for building business relationships, sharing information and advancing the greater good. Her 20-plus years of marketing, communications, and 12032876_10206198800663549_1037900389348578334_ocommunity-building experiences have afforded her unique opportunities to foster communities where none existed, develop and launch innovative programming and bridge generational, economic and racial divides. Shannon is a contributor to Women Grow Business and has been featured on the Digital Sisterhood Network and American Express OPEN Forum.

I asked Shannon to share some of her best social media tips with me. This is what she had to say:

1. Social media is an part of my workday as I’m responsible for the virtual marketing for the organization. We focus on social tools and platforms that allow us to showcase our expertise and experience as a strategic communications firm. Instead of spreading a little content over a lot of platforms, we do a lot of content over a few platforms. For instance, a team member will write an article, “How to Pitch to Reporters” and we post that article as a blog post and a week later we turn the article into a presentation for SlideShare. We will also post both forms of the information to Facebook and Twitter because we understand people receive and retain information differently.

2. The three social media sites the firm will probably still be using in two years are YouTube, SlideShare and Facebook. While the written word will always be important, visual communications is becoming increasingly so as a method of delivering messages to a variety of audiences. These sites focus on visual communications and lend themselves to the written (and spoken) word. We enjoy and use Pinterest, Instagram and Flickr, which are visually based platforms, but they lack the strong written or verbal component that we need for long-term strategic communications.
3. My best social media tip is also a tip for living your best life: do a few things exceptionally well, instead of being adequate at a lot of things.
This post was originally shared on All Things E