Anyone and anything can benefit from having a social media presence, as long as you have a solid plan and the right tools. So it goes without saying that non-profit organizations can reap huge benefits from getting involved in social media.
The nature of a non-profit’s social media campaign will differ from that of a for-profit business, but a lot of the basic principals still apply. For example, instead of using social media to promote deals, non-profits use it to promote their cause. Instead of showcasing customer reviews, non-profits can showcase stories from benefactors. Rather than encouraging people to buy a product, non-profits can use the networks to facilitate and encourage donations. Here are 5 ways that non-profit organizations can use social media for the good of the cause.
1. Promote the Cause
Networks like Facebook and Twitter are great platforms to use to get the word out about your non-profit organization. Non-profit organizations can set up a Facebook page and gain followers just as easily as a for-profit business can.
When you set up your page, make sure you customize it to include telling photos and a thorough explanation of your organization’s purpose. Use Facebook and Twitter to update people about what’s going on with the organization. Are there any events coming up or fundraisers to promote? Have you reached a mile-mark lately or an important goal that you could share? Get people excited about the cause and gain support from ordinary citizens who want to make a difference.
2. Find Your Niche
As with any social media marketing campaign, it’s important to find your niche in the online community. It’s great to have an audience of 800 Million people to work with on Facebook, but if only 100 of those people are actually listening, it doesn’t do much good. Focus on finding the people that really care about what you have to say, your target market. Branch out to social media sites like Ning, where you can basically make your own specialized social media network. Although Ning does have a small monthly fee for the most basic account ($2.95/month), if it connects you to the right group of people, it will easily pay for itself.
3. Encourage Donations
Make it easy for people to donate to your non-profit organization right from your network profile. You could hire a web developer to program a custom tab on your Facebook page where people could donate whenever they want. Or simply remind people to donate every once in a while on Facebook and Twitter and include a link to the donation page on your website. It’s important to remind people why they should donate. Let people know where their money is going and what you’re doing with all of their generous donations.
4. Share Stories
Social media marketing should never just be about promoting your organization. Just as it’s frowned upon for businesses to constantly promote their products on social media networks, it would get tiresome for your followers to be bombarded with your requests for donations all the time. Your followers want to know what is going on with the organization, both behind the scenes and in the community.
Blogging is a great way to share your stories with followers. Write about your latest project, or interview a recipient of your service to let people know how your organization is benefitting society. Get even more personal and go the video route. Shoot video clips at your fundraisers and events. Incorporate a video clip of your interviews into your blog post or upload videos to YouTube and Facebook.
5. Don’t Forget About E-Mail Marketing
E-newsletters are a fun, easy way to keep people in the loop and informed about what’s happening at your non-profit organization. E-newsletters are a more direct way to let people know about upcoming events, your latest projects, achievements, and what’s going on behind the scenes. Programs like MailChimp and Constant Contact are great tools to facilitate the e-newsletter process.
Social media is about building an online community and bringing value to that community. As a non-profit organization, you already know the meaning of service and what it’s like to share selflessly with others. Carry these values over into your social media marketing campaign, and you’ll already be miles ahead of a lot of your social media peers.