Almost everybody representing their organisation on social media platforms are looking to ways to get their message out, to raise aware of and support of the work they do.
How people go about it varies, some use social media solely to broadcast their appeals for support, others are using it to engage and tell a story, to listen and connect with others who need or have had support from the organisation or a similar one.
It’s likely the latter group, those who are using social media ‘socially’ that are making more inroads, gaining more support and understanding for their work who are succeeding.
Often you will see nonprofits (and you could be one of them) simply using the street corner technique “hey can you help us” – “we need your support”, but unless the people you’re talking to know who you are, what you do and how their help will make a difference you’re unlikely to gain that support.
Now to take this online – you send out messages on your FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn or an assortment of other platforms, you post an update “We need your support – click blah blah for more info” – what’s the real point of this? It doesn’t really do a lot unless people know the background story – and really who is going to see this, more than likely 90% of the people who see it will already by your supporters, or be people who know what you do.
This group may share your message, but still there’s no background story, no real reason.
Here’s a tip, go through your connections – pick half a dozen and send them your message, but rephrase it – ask them to help spread the word, if they’re your connections on Twitter – ask “hey @mention have you seen what we’re doing < link to info> – can you do as a favour and ask others if they can help us”.
When these people have passed on your message – thank them, a little thankyou goes a long way.
Share information, join in conversations – if you see people talking about how they support community organisations, ask them what it takes from an organisation to gain their support – this will help to open up conversation, connection and likely support (in kind or monetary) for your organisation. You can also file away this information to help you you’re your next campaign.
When you have an appeal running and it’s on your website, ensure that there is sufficient information (without boring people with too much) to make them make an informed decision, perhaps even include a simple online “ask us” portal, where people can get real time answers to their questions.
Social media is just that, it’s social, people want to know and see the faces behind an organisation, so simply posting links, news and information won’t work, you need to make the effort to connect and engage with others.
How many individuals from your organisation are using social media, it’s quite likely a number of your staff/volunteers are using at least FaceBook – ask them to share what you’re doing with their friends and family.
Using social for nonprofit activities really can broaden your reach, but you do need to handle it right, steer clear of using it only for broadcast and take on board some of the thoughts, comments above, you’ve nothing to lose – only potential to gain.
If you’re already using social media effectively to gain support and grow your organisation – what has been the one big change you have made, and what made you make the change? Share your comments others are keen to learn.