When it comes to social media, charitable organizations should take a page from the marketing playbook of for-profit businesses. The strategy to adopt: Grow your digital media presence to actively raise brand awareness, identify new donors, and engage with supporters.
While for-profit businesses now widely recognize the value of promoting their brand through an active social media presence, most not-for-profit organizations have been slow to adopt this tactic. Simply having a presence on social media platforms won’t do anything to increase donation levels if you aren’t actively engaging with your prime targets on a consistent basis. The “social” part of social media is the key to being active, so experiment with ways to be relevant and valuable to your audience. The resulting digital word-of-mouth will pay off in the form of enhanced brand loyalty, better customer service, and business legitimization.
Here are some ways for charitable organizations, and any organization, to make the most of social media:
- Hire and train staff for social media management. Adding social media to a long list of responsibilities for your existing staff won’t be as successful as hiring dedicated staff to do the job. Building an active presence requires time and experience—qualifications your in-house team may not possess.
- Gather data through customer interactions. The information you learn about people through social media can be used to identify potential donors who are passionate about your cause, and to craft more effective communications with them. You can also identify social media brand ambassadors—people who will be more likely to bring others into the fold and perhaps even serve as direct lines into communities.
- Tap into social proof. Post information about your successful fundraising events, tweet good news about amounts raised, and encourage supporters to share personal stories related to the cause. The concept of social proof means that your audience interactions become almost like an endorsement of your organization to others. The larger the social network, the more trusted and, therefore, the more popular your not-for-profit becomes.
Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.