Social media is a godsend for non-profit organizations with limited marketing budgets. Advertisements, from television to radio to print, all add up to big bucks for groups trying to keep costs low. They struggle to make a big impact on small dollars. But the social media era has changed the playing field completely.
Just how effective are networks like Facebook and Twitter on non-profit marketing? It seems like they are so saturated with small businesses and larger corporations that it's hard to break through to new audiences. But charities and non-profits are getting pretty creative with social media to keep making that big impact.
There's a huge difference between consistency and automation. Most social networks give the option to link with others so one post is automatically sent out to the other branches of social media. This is the wrong way to do it. A brand's Twitter, Facebook and other networks should follow a consistent theme, and each should have its own unique post.
Use a Google Docs spreadsheet to create an editorial calendar for your social media posts. Set weekly themes and determine how each social media platform will be used to uphold that theme. Share this calendar with anyone who could possibly contribute (more on this later).
Tell a Story
Non-profits, especially charities, have the opportunity to touch hearts with stories about how their organization is helping people. Facebook, which does not limit content like Twitter, is the perfect landscape to share a story with followers and give an inside, non advertorial perspective of what the brand is all about. Take this Dodge Ram commercial, for example. The ad that aired during the Super Bowl last year has little to do with trucks, but subtly hints how a quality pickup is engrained in a hardworking farmer's life. The ad tells a story and pays homage to the farmers of America. Make this emotional connection to your audience over Facebook and the feedback will be impressive.
Build Your A-Team
The operational costs of running social media are so low because Twitter and Facebook charge virtually nothing to use their services. Additionally, many young professionals entering the workforce are extremely proficient with social media, making it a great entry-level career.
Social media teams can also work with small groups of multi-talented people. This is fantastic for smaller non-profits who use Intuit type services for payroll and don't want to bloat employee numbers, but it's also big for team efficiency. Find employees with experience in blogging, social media, and SEO for marketing. Their Swiss Army Knives of knowledge will help keep teams small, smooth and affordable.
You Already Use Social Media
Chances are, if your non-profit isn't using Facebook and Twitter to get the message out, it's employees and volunteers are. Most everyone has their own personal accounts. Take a company survey and recruit brand advocates to speak positively on the organization's behalf. Sometimes the testimonials of others carry a more organic effect compared to the company message.
Cedric loves all things sports and is the social media director for several local sports teams.