Social media marketing is the next obvious choice for non-profit and cause organizations to further their cause, however, after reaching out to several organizations, I am surprised with how many do not know how to use them effectively.
Using social media sites can make or break organizations. So many people have access to the Internet today that it has become the fastest way to communicate information with the world. Sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, have made it easy for people to share links to videos, articles, even which restaurant they are eating at in seconds! Using these tools of social media can benefit non-profit and cause organizations by being accessible to a variety of audiences across the world. When used effectively, they can bring in donations, volunteers, and ultimately help shape your organization to become better. If these sites are not used effectively, you will have an audience that has no means of contacting you, learning more information about what you do, and there is no incentive for them to want to share links. People want to be kept updated daily and when made easy, you will see more people making an effort to attend your events.
The following are tips on how non-profit and cause organizations can use social media effectively to reach a wider audience, and ultimately gain more help through volunteers and donations.
1. Use more than one social media site
There is that saying that goes ‘don’t spread yourself too thin too quick’ because it can come back and bite you when you least expect it. On the contrary, by doing so, you are finding what works best for you and your organization. Stick with at least three, one of them being video (YouTube). Viewers want to be able to see more and when you give them access to that, not only do they help you advertise (for free) by sharing links or re-posting, your cause can potentially reach donors. Facebook is another great place to share updates quick and easy to people who ‘like’ your page. You are able to keep them up to date, allow for conversation, and can invite them to events you create.
2. Be patient
Do not set high expectations when creating a new profile on a social media site. Take the time to learn how to use the interface and upload information. If you keep up with the site, update information, and engage with your audience, you will begin to see results: more traffic, people re-blogging, re-tweeting, or hits on your YouTube channel. Time is of the essence and how effectively you are using your tools. People want messages to be quick, clear, and to the point. Learn how to communicate on these sites effectively with a ‘hook’ or appealing topics/statements that will slow the reader down.
3. Upload video and photos
Many people seek to volunteer on their free time. What better way to engage them than by inspiring them to take action and become a part of your cause by showing them video and photos of what you do? Personally, when I come across a video documenting a moving story or cause, I become proactive and contact the organization. One click leads to more clicks. The main question for someone who has been researching for a while is: how do I join? If your content is moving, engaging, or inspirational, you might have donors who want to contact you, donate money, or their time.
4. Stay connected
Help your audience that wants to donate their time by having contact information ready at your disposal. This means have a number, fax, or e-mail listed on the site. This information should be easy to find and should be working, this means no error messages when sending e-mails! Building relationships with the people who seek to help is important if you want them to continue doing so.
5. Keep your audience updated
The biggest problem I have come across when following non-profits on Twitter, Facebook, or their main page, is that they link to other social media sites but links are broken or the information on those sites is outdated. Communication is key. People who come across your site want to see if it is being updated constantly, if there are new events, new videos, new photos, etc. I contacted one non-profit through the e-mail they provided and immediately got a response stating that they had no affiliation with them and that the information listed has not been updated. Talk about missed opportunities! Your cause is as big as your followers, never forget about them and give them what they want. Facebook is a great place to keep followers up to date with events and other useful information. You can invite them to events you create easily and respond to their inquiries within seconds.
6. Engage your audience
Inspire your audience to take part in your cause and be a part of change! Using Twitter, for example, you can raise money easy and fast by having a contest to raise money during an allotted time. Upload videos that are moving and share something unique about what your organization does. If you can empower them, then you have done your part. Let them come to you for more information.
7. Involve celebrities, if possible
Celebrity endorsement can be beneficial to your cause. Several celebrities have taken the initiative to donate their time and money to causes that want to do their part in making the world a better place. Not only does it get your name out there, there is the potential of receiving funding from other celebrities or people who want to donate.
8. Know your target
Who is most likely to use the social media sites you are on? Young people are activists that are ready to be inspired to take action. They are savvy when it comes to using the Internet and spread the word faster than fire. Young people are a prime target because they act and have strong opinions (remember KONY 2012 or Stop the Genocide in Darfur, or the Greenpeace).
9. Follow trends
Social media sites are trendy. One day they are in and the next day they are out. It is important to stay up to date with these sites to make sure that you information is reaching an audience. Facebook, for example, has over 500 million users and growing (1 in 13 people have a profile). Look up statistics for a site before creating a profile. Educate yourself a bit on how many users exist on the site and how many login per day. The information is easy to find and should give you some insight.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
I think the worst fear is rejection, but what do you have to lose by asking for help? Contact businesses that are pros with using social media and begin to build relationships with these people. You would be surprised with how willing some may be to offer services, either for free or at a discounted price (if they’re awesome they will work with you at no cost!). They have resources that could benefit your cause and with their help can do a lot to bring in a bigger audience. Even if they may not be able to directly help, ask for tips on how to manage your sites, negotiate if a workshop of some sort can happen where they can educate you on methods for improving traffic on your sites. Remember, there is never a stupid question, education is key.