This is from a recent post about nonprofit social media strategy that I wrote for Arizona State University’s Lodestar School.
In January of this year, nonprofit organization Invisible Children released “Kony 2012,” a video about Joseph Kony. In less than 2 months, the YouTube video has gained over 100 million views and educated millions about the crimes of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda.
In March, over 2 million people signed an online petition asking the city of Sanford, Florida to investigate the death of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin. Using Facebook and Twitter, signers have shared this petition with their followers and friends.
We have entered an age where silence and misinformation are no longer acceptable, and supporters are eager to rally around causes.
Is your organization using social media, or are you still trying to figure it all out? The time to wait has come and gone. Now is the time to act and give your cause the voice it needs. Here are some helpful tips that will get you organized and help build a strong community online.
1. Plan, plan, plan. By planning ahead and creating a content schedule, you will save your nonprofit time and money. Sit down with your marketing team (which could be just you and another volunteer), and list out all of your ideas. From there create a list of blog topics. Decide how often you would like to post and begin to delegate the work. If you decide ahead of time when blog posts are due and when they will post, it will make it easier to create a routine that ensures regularly posted content.
2. Use free online tools. There are a few tools at your disposal that are both free and useful. The first of which is Hootsuite, a social media dashboard. Using Hootsuite will allow you to publish to all of your social channels from one dashboard, as well as monitor any mentions, tags, or conversations that are relevant to your organization. TIP: Use the bulk upload feature to schedule tweets for the week if you know that you will be too busy to post to your social networks.
Another useful tool is Google Alerts. By using Google alerts, you can set up notifications for specific key phrases that are relevant to your cause. Instead of going out and looking for this relevant content, it will come to you in an email or your Google Reader feed. Select which articles would make shareable content that your audience would be interested in reading. TIP: Use quotation marks around phrases and topics with more than one word.
3. Post regularly and with engaging content. There is a common phrase in social media marketing that says “Content is king.” This means the type of content you create and share must be engaging for your audience to connect with. Have recent videos or testimonials about the organization? Share it! Ask questions. Open the floor for discussion about important and current topics.
4. Enlist help from your volunteer workforce. NPOs survive because of volunteer efforts. Find a volunteer for your social media or enlist the help of an agency that is interested in doing pro-bono work. Many agencies will often take on nonprofits for the good PR and advertising that comes from helping local philanthropies. There are also many social media specialists that are willing to take on nonprofit organizations as resume builders.
Social media marketing for your nonprofit is both easy and rewarding. Now more than ever, people are looking for causes to support and talk about. Without social media, not as many people would know who Joseph Kony is, or understand what happened to Trayvon Martin. Social media is rapidly becoming a megaphone for change— do you want your organization’s voice heard?