Social Media Marketing Tips for NGOs
The top 100 most popular users on Twitter are from all sorts of backgrounds. But, what are missing from this list are charity organizations. In his blog, Seth Godin has very correctly pointed out earlier that this is because non-profit organizations are either simply lazy or have way too much bureaucracy to allow their volunteers, supporters and team members to tweet away.
Most major charity organizations have websites and publish e-versions of their newsletters on a regular basis. What not for profits need to obtain is a love for social media networking and a true understanding of how to use it.
Blogs as Social Media Tools
Blogs appear in search engines and can help in creating greater visibility for a particular not-for-profit organization. They are less formal than newsletters and website updates and can therefore be easily written and published. They don’t necessarily have to cover only updates of the organization- remember, blogs are not newsletters. They can cover everything related to the charity organization. Therefore, blogs can include videos from YouTube, photos from Instagram or different websites and articles from newspapers, magazines or other bloggers that are relevant to the organization’s subject.
It is important to be able to blog as regularly as possible so that the followers can rely on the blog as not being a lazy one. It is equally essential to communicate with other like-minded bloggers and leave constructive comments on their blogs. This will increase blog-world friendships and also increase visibility of the organization in the cyber-world.
Charity Organizations Should Twitter Away
Twitter is a great new tool to communicate with a big following of people. The fact that all the big names from celebrities to professionals and big and small organizations are on Twitter shows that Twitter is an important tool of online marketing and its value cannot be ignored.
Marketers can use Twitter to send short messages on a regular basis. These can be helpful links to the non-profit’s blogs, other related blogs and articles, relevant photos, or just random communication to engage with the followers. There are a great many ways to make the most out of Twitter and there are various books available online and offline to explain these further.
Facebook is Popular and Fun for Organizations
Facebook has great integrated applications that can make marketing fun. There are fan pages that organizations can create. These can allow discussions, photos, videos, notes and events amongst others. The best part is that when an organization wants to spend a little more money, it can easily do so by promoting its fan page through advertisements on Facebook.
Tips on How to Use Social Media Networking
An important aspect of using Twitter, Facebook and other networking sites like YouTube, w88 and Instagram is to engage with the followers on these sites regularly and without major lulls. Creating incentives for the fans and followers is also important. For example, a great idea is to offer them deals, fun opportunities, or great pieces of information.
The best suggestion anyone can get about social media networking is to be able to experiment with it. Learn to love it and not fear it. The more a non-profit’s supporters, volunteers, and workers are using social media sites, the better it is. It is a great way to quickly engage with people and to gauge popularity without conducting major marketing research.
Creating an Effective Social Media Strategy
Social media is a labor-intensive task. Entry into new media forums is not to be undertaken lightly. Success is dependent upon consistency and persistence, and businesses must be willing to shoulder the time commitment in order to effectively engage their customers and prospects.
In business, the bottom line often dictates strategy. A social media strategy, not unlike a traditional PR strategy, does not yield immediate results. Building a following takes time and patience. Oftentimes, soft benefits add up while sales continue at the same pace for quite a while.
To succeed, businesses need to prioritize, set goals, engage customers and prospects at their level and keep the message consistent over time.
Set Social Media Priorities
The plain truth of the matter is that not all sites have the same value. Certainly it is important to pay attention to the messages that are being posted about a product, service or offering. When creating a social media strategy, the first thing to do is to determine which sites have the most value to the target audience. Is it a niche market or mass market product? Are there any outspoken personalities that should be courted?
The key is to figure out which sites matter and separate those from the sites that have little to no significance on a successful social media strategy.
Set Realistic Social Medial Goals
If the primary objective of a social media strategy is direct sales, stop now. Seeding the posts with news about company announcements and activities is acceptable, but the rules of engagement dictate that the information be presented in a way that illustrates the benefit to the reader:
- Provide links to 3rd party resources
- Share testimonials
- Offer pre-release announcements
- Post support links
- Provide information about special offers
But remember that the purpose of social media is to engage in dialogue. Post information that does not drive sales or risk being relegated to the bins saved for Sunday circulars.
Understand How to Engage Customers and Prospects
The chosen spokesperson or spokespeople should be allowed time to get to know the ins and outs of this changing communication medium. To be successful, spokespeople and their advisors need to understand how to engage in the art of conversation. They should know how to leverage tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, bookmarking sites, etc. to connect to their audience. They should also understand how to create high-value content that will encourage people to return often for information on emerging industry trends or other valuable insights. They should also understand how to leverage the “social” of social networking to create a relationship with their readers.
Connect Consistently on All Social Networks
Consistency is the key to success in social networking. Magazines live by an editorial calendar and so should the social network spokesperson. Having a list of pre-defined topics can make it easier to create content. In addition, when comments are made on other sites, links can be posted to direct the reader to those comments.
There is a perception among online readers that the more places a person’s content appears, the more prominence the spokesperson has. Be connected. That’s the purpose of social networking. Comment on industry trends, share insights and provide links to others with a unique, valuable perspective. Deliver carefully considered analysis to position the company as a thought leader and build credibility for the organization.
Remember that success in social media is dependent primarily on the ability of the spokesperson to remain consistent in posting and messaging and market that message with unyielding persistence. Prioritize the message, set reasonable goals, and connect with customers and prospects by offering them a high-value message. Do this and reap the benefits of the world of social media.