Wed, July 16 2014

How to stand out on social media

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:   How to improve emails and newsletters • Social Media •

At this week’s Social Media for Nonprofits conference in Washington, DC, Avi Kaplan, Director of Online Strategy for Rad Campaign, challenged organizations to think about how they can break through the noise on social media when we live in a BuzzFeed world. Avi says the key to standing out is to focus on the right audience in the right context with awesome content. Here are just a few of the tips he shared with the crowd.

Connect with the right people.

Avi Kaplan SM4NP Conference

Keep in mind that your social media universe is comprised of three segments: your die-hard supporters, people who are likely receptive to your message, and those who just aren’t that into you.

Get more from your database. Look at your current donor list, email list, and social media followers. What do they have in common? Seek out “lookalike” populations as you connect with influencers and use this insight to inform paid social promotion.

Prioritize. Don’t waste time on audiences that aren’t in your sweet spot. Focus on the people who are already passionate about your cause, interested in your issue, or are supporters of your organization. They will help you reach more like-minded folks and create ripples from your social media efforts.

Understand the return on investment for specific audiences. Some segments of your audience are great sharers and likers, but other segments might be more likely to take actions like making a donation or volunteering. Learn the behaviors of each of your segments and plan your outreach accordingly.

Connect in the right context.

Being timely, relevant, and top of mind means hooking into the bigger picture. What else are your supporters interested in or talking about? Find appropriate ways to capitalize on trends, breaking news, and even memes to tap into the familiar.

Don’t miss your opening. Social media conversations move fast. What may be timely today may be passé tomorrow. If it takes you a few weeks to create, approve, and publish content, you’ve missed the moment. Create a social media system nimble enough to react quickly and find your organization’s share of recent news or trending topics.

Plan ahead.  If you don’t have an editorial calendar to help you plan your content for social media and beyond, it’s time to create one. Avi shared that as part of your content calendar, you also need a “context calendar”—this is a space on your editorial calendar where you’ll plot out holidays, key milestones, seasonal topics,and more. Unlike breaking news or unexpected memes, these are events you can prepare for well in advance.

Optimize timing. Tools like Buffer, Followerwonk, and Tweroid can help you understand the best times to reach your audience and schedule your messages for maximum effect. This is especially important if you have limited time to spend on social media management and content creation. You need to get the most out of the effort you’re putting in.

Connect with awesome content.

Once you’ve zeroed in on your primary audience and understand the power of context, it’s time to think about the content that you’ll share. Go beyond reposting the same pieces again and again and get creative with visuals and topics that are top of mind.

Steal.  Are you down with OPC? Other people’s content, that is. Some of your best social media interactions will come from curating content from other sources, or creating derivative works.  Reach out to collaborate, offer credit, and use discovery tools like crowdtangle to find amazing stuff to share or emulate. (Social media coach Andrea Vahl offers some other ideas for finding compelling content to share.)

Learn what’s working through analytics.  Don’t just mindlessly blast your followers with updates that are boring them out of love for your nonprofit. Measure which channels and topics result in the most engagement and action.

Experiment and take risks.  Put a plan in place to manage your social outreach, but remember these platforms are flexible and forgiving. Since the flow of social is much faster than other channels, you can learn quickly and adapt. Try new things to see what works with *your* supporters.

Need more ideas for social media content? Download our new guide,  101 Social Media Posts, for suggestions that will help your nonprofit connect with supporters on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more.

 

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Wed, July 02 2014

8 Ways to Make Social Media Matter

Nancy Schwartz's avatar

Nonprofit Marketing Expert

Filed under:   Marketing essentials • Social Media •

Pressure.

You feel it. I feel it. Every nonprofit communicator and fundraiser out there feels it. Social media pressure, that is.

Whether the source of this anxiety (Am I keeping up? Do I have a billion Facebook likes or Twitter followers? Is my Instagram strategy driving action?) is your immediate boss, board chair, or colleague in programs, it’s there. The pressure to generate a social media miracle.

Breathe—There Is a Solution

You can boost marketing and fundraising impact, and you can deflate that pressure. Here’s how:

1.  Get to know your people. Research, via online survey or calls, where your current supporters are when it comes to social media.

2.  Use your marketing/fundraising plan to remind yourself exactly who your prospects are (the people who are most likely to take the actions that will drive your marketing or fundraising goals forward). Then, use your supporter research to project where similar prospect groups are on social media.

3.  Assess if and where to invest in social media, even if your organization has been there for years. Probe whether the most-used social media channels are useful in helping you achieve your broader goals. Ask yourself two questions: Does the interaction in that channel mesh with your calls to action and goals? Is your investment in each of the most-used channels likely to be profitable?

4.  Focus your energy and time on the single most-used channel, but only if the return on investment (ROI) seems to be there. Note: It will be far more effective to use one platform well, rather than use multiple platforms in a half-baked way. That’s been proven time and time again.

5.  Invest the time. Block out at least 30 minutes, twice daily, for social media if you are using just one platform. I urge you to get that one channel to work—or realize it’s the wrong one—before you take on another platform.

6.  Create some incremental benchmarks so you get a sense of how your investment is or is not paying off. That might be retweets and followers for Twitter or likes and shares for Facebook. Request that your colleagues ask those who do take action—to give, register, or spread the word—what influences sparked them along the way.

7.  Like or follow five to 10 colleague or competitive organizations on that channel, be it Facebook or Instagram. It’s important to see what folks who are competing for your supporters’ and prospects’ attention and dollars are doing. You can also find some relevant models by watching what organizations similar to yours in approach or issue—but not competing with you—are doing.

8.  Adapt your approach as needed on an ongoing basis. Build into your work plan an ongoing analysis of what is and isn’t working, a review of other organizations’ successes and failures, and a revision of your own approach. Social media, including websites and blogs, is a communications channel that requires ongoing evolution. Otherwise, don’t use it.

Take these steps to make your social media efforts meaningful and measurable for your nonprofit. How are you making social media matter for your cause? Chime in with your ideas below! Also, don’t miss Social Media for Nonprofits when this conference comes to Washington, DC on July 14. Register now with code “N4G” to save up to $30.

With refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build the strong relationships that inspire key supporters to action. She shares her deep nonprofit marketing insights—and passion—through consulting, speaking, and her popular blog and e-news at GettingAttention.org.

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Thu, June 19 2014

Want your message to spread? Evoke emotion.

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:   Marketing essentials • Social Media •

We know that emotion is tied directly to giving, but does it matter when it comes to sharing online? This week, Business Insider featured a chart to illustrate the primary emotions evoked by the top 10% of most shared content.

Virality by Emotion

Awe, amusement, and joy are among the top emotions that prompt people to share with their networks. However, the emotions that work to power the viral engine are not necessarily the same ones that drive people to give. You’re not BuzzFeed, after all—your mission is to connect with your donors on a primal level and inspire giving.

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Wed, April 16 2014

Top Nonprofit Tips for Social Media

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:   Social Media •

Editor’s note: Did you miss Social Media Week? Don’t worry, every week can be Social Media Week for your nonprofit with the advice in this guest post from Social Media for Nonprofits founder Ritu Sharma.

If your organization is looking to get in on the action, here’s a day-by-day breakdown of some easy-to-implement, yet highly effective tips to get your social engine humming.

Monday: Create an Editorial Calendar

The typical nonprofit only allocates .25 full time employees to social media, and actually, you’re better off if this is split between several people with different perspectives and areas of expertise. Let those voices shine. How do you coordinate efforts? A content or editorial calendar is a simple tool that clarifies who is posting what, where, and when: a simple spreadsheet or a Google calendar suffices nicely.

Tuesday: Find Your Killer Pix & Vids

Facebook and Twitter posts with photos attract twice as many likes, comments, shares, and retweets. Imagery is key to both grabbing attention and engaging folks: in fact, charity:water’s Photo of the Day tweets are a huge part of what drove them to 1.4M followers. And videos? Ronald McDonald House Charities relies on video storytelling to help bring the impact of their work to life in their Season of Giving campaign. Sharing these clips on social media has increased the number of responses and prompts others to tell their story.

Wednesday:  ABT— Always Be Tagging

Social Media for Nonprofits keynote Guy Kawasaki says that taking the extra time to tag supporters in photos and videos is crucial. And think about it on a personal level: when’s the last time you got an email from Facebook saying you’ve been tagged and you didn’t click through to make sure it wasn’t a horrible photo of you? Once you get people to your page, then the engagement can begin and they can help take your message viral.

Thursday:  Keep it Simple

Remember to keep your posts pithy and to the point: less is more. The optimal tweet is 130 characters says Facebook for Dummies author John Haydon, and incredibly, he discovered that Facebook posts should be kept to 80 characters to maximize impact. So keep it simple and short: that’s part of the secret to going viral and engaging the “Kevin Bacon” effect, says Nonprofit Management 101 author Darian Rodriguez Heyman. But end those posts with a question to double response rates— people are much more likely to chime in if you ask vs. tell them something.

Friday:  Follow the Leaders

Many nonprofits find Twitter perplexing. The simplest, cheapest, and best way to grow your follower base there is to follow others, especially those who are leaders in your field (i.e. other nonprofits, academics, journalists, etc.). Typically 20-30% of these will follow you back, plus you’re also creating a pool of resources that can give you a sense of what’s going on in your industry. Be sure to be a good twitizen and retweet valuable posts: it’s a great way to build up social currency.

About Ritu Sharma:
Ritu Sharma is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Social Media for Nonprofits. Under her leadership, the world’s only series dedicated to social media for social good has earned a 92% approval rating from over 4,500 nonprofit leaders across the world. She is a public speaker, consultant, and event planner and heads up programming, marketing, and event logistics for the series. Previously, she produced Our Social Times and Influence People’s North American Social Media Marketing and Monitoring conference series and started a web development and social media business, which leveraged an international team of programmers and designers across India, Romania, and the US.

 

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Fri, February 21 2014

5 Favorite Nonprofits to Follow on Social Media

Caryn Stein's avatar

VP, Communications and Content, Network for Good

Filed under:   Social Media •

In honor of Social Media Week, I asked a few of our favorite nonprofit experts to weigh in with their personal picks for nonprofits who are hitting it out of the park on social media. Here’s what they had to say:

Mark RovnerMark Rovner
Principal, Founder & CEO, Sea Change Strategies

Audubon Society

National Audubon Society

Where I follow them: Facebook and Twitter
Why they’re so awesome: Social media manager Elizabeth Sorrell knows her audience and feeds them a generous supply of bird photos, interactive challenges, and conservation news. She’s made the Facebook page incredibly fun and lively, and the extremely high level of engagement is testimony to that.



Darian Rodriguez HeymanDarian Rodriguez Heyman
Co-Founder, Social Media for Nonprofits

charity:water

charity:water
Where I follow them: Twitter
Why they’re so awesome: Everyone talks about how amazing charity:water is at outreach, but one specific thing they’ve done on Twitter to get to over one million (!) followers is their “photo of the day” campaign. They use the assets they have incredibly well, and that’s the key to their success.



Alia McKeeAlia McKee
Principal, Sea Change Strategies and founder, Lifeboat

Amnesty International

Amnesty International
Where I follow them: Facebook and Twitter 
Why they’re so awesome: They are timely, relevant, authentic. They use engagement data to optimize their social media communications. They use social media as a listening tool to tap into what their supporters are thinking and feeling about human rights. That info gets communicated to the fundraising and advocacy teams and informs integrated campaign opportunities. 



David HartsteinDavid Hartstein
Wired Impact

No Kid Hungry

No Kid Hungry 
Where I follow them: Twitter, Facebook, and Google+
Why they’re so awesome: From the name of the organization to the information they share, No Kid Hungry does an awesome job of communicating their mission in a clear way. On social media, they vary the content they share to provide a wealth of value to those interested in ending childhood hunger in America. Despite their sizable following, they take the time to engage with individuals, responding and thanking supporters publicly. No Kid Hungry sets a great example for all types of organizations.



Joe WatersJoe Waters
Selfish Giving and author of Fundraising with Businesses

Mount Vernon

George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Where I follow them: Twitter and Pinterest
Why they are awesome: They do a wonderful job creating unique content for their site and promoting it on social networks. For example, in October they really captured the macabre spirit of Halloween. They had a great post on people who had claimed to see Washington’s ghost through the years. Thanks to their activity on Twitter, I recently discovered a detailed post on how Mount Vernon looked when Washington lived there in the 18th century. Finally, Mount Vernon doesn’t restrict their content to text. They also have an active YouTube channel. Check out this video on Washington’s dentures! As a guy who follows and loves history, Mount Vernon really makes it come alive!

Want to improve your organization’s social savvy? Download our free social media guide.

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