10 Keys to Nonprofit Social Media Marketing Success (Part 1)

Are you suffering from Social Media overload? Tired of the same old line, “Your nonprofit should be doing this!”?  If so, let’s move past all that right NOW! This article will give you a blueprint from which to build your organization’s Social Media Marketing Success.

But first, let’s clear some dust before we begin piecing together our blueprint.

The Dust ~ Are Our Supporters Looking For Our Organization on Social Networking Sites?  And, I Don’t Have Time For This!

The majority of people on social networking sites are NOT there to find places to spend or donate their money.  They are there to socialize.  It just so happens that we users of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogging DO end up finding causes, products and services to which and to whom we want to give our money.

It’s not simply one or two people engaging with one or two other people.  It’s family members, experts and influential people talking together from all over the world out on the wide open world wide web!  These people trust one another and “see” when one of the others is supporting a cause, service or product.

That’s not to say that there are times when people specifically go online looking for your organization.  Most likely, they will use a search engine, like Google.  So, when supporters DO go online looking for you, you want to “SHOW” up!! Participating in the conversation on social networking sites has the added benefit of helping your organization to show up more in search engine results.

I am absolutely empathetic to the “I don’t have the time to maintain all these sites” statement.  Let’s change that statement a bit and say, “I make the time to build our organizations brand, gain support for our cause and market our organization online.” In the nonprofit setting, having a presence, engaging and sharing on social networking sites IS a marketing tool.

Let’s look at this for what it is.  As fundraising professionals and nonprofits our INTENT for being on these sites is “To Increase Donations and Support”.  There, we’ve said it.  Now, my suggestion is to reprogram our thinking on this and NOT think of our intent.  Think, plan and strategize with the GOAL of Building Relationships, Giving and Trust.

So how do we even begin to know where to start?  It all starts BEFORE creating and setting up even ONE social networking profile!

This is the first of a two-part series of “10 Keys to Nonprofit Social Media Marketing Success”.

#1:  Mission ~ Successes ~ Logo

Does your organization have a clearly defined mission?  What are the main goals of your nonprofit?  This must be determined, be solid and sound, and be embraced by your organization as it is THE first and main key before drafting the rest of your Social Media blueprint.

Do you have success stories to share and do you have permission to share them?  Your supporters and potential supporters want to see real life examples of the good that your nonprofit has accomplished.

Do you have your logo and the look and feel of your organization prepared?  This will be carried into all aspects of your online presence and your social networking sites.

#2: Social Media Marketing Goals ~ Strategy ~ Content Guide/Editorial Calendar

The social media marketing goals for XYZ Foundation are _________.  Each organization will have different goals for participating on social networking sites.  You will have a much easier time and see better results if you take the time to determine your goals before jumping into this.

Having the strategy well thought out and planned is a must.  Otherwise, it’s like throwing a handful of darts at a target and hoping some of them hits the mark!  Who in your organization will be responsible for maintaining, responding and interacting with your connections?  What’s their level of understanding regarding technology?  Have they been briefed on etiquette in regards to engaging, having conversations and customer service out in the OPEN?

The difference between approaching social media marketing with or without a  content and editorial guide is like the difference between night and day.  Have a plan for where your organization will get content and a system for how often and how much gets posted to your social networking sites.

#3:  Google: Places ~ Alerts ~Trends/Insights ~ Google for Nonprofits

Google has an entire section devoted to nonprofits ~ Google Nonprofits. Make sure to check this out and determine if any of their offerings is a right fit for your organization.  If your nonprofit has a physical location, create a Google Places account (or claim it if it’s already listed).

Create Google Alerts for your name, your organization’s name and any other relevant keywords.  Google Trends and Google Insights are used for keyword research. You need to know what people are searching for in regards to your cause so that you can build some of your updates and blog posts around those keywords.

#4:  Facebook:  Page ~ Cause ~ Engagement

Create a Facebook Page for your organization. Put a great deal of thought into who creates the account for you as the Page is tied to the original creator (original administrator) and CANNOT be changed.  You do not want an intern, temporary volunteer or an employee whose time is limited to create the Page.

Facebook created the Causes Application specifically for nonprofits.  This is a perfect way for your supporters to help spread the word about your cause as they can share it with their friends and post the Cause Badge to their personal profile.

Your Facebook Page is a venue to connect, engage, converse and share with your supporters.  Make sure to do that.  If someone takes the time to comment on the Page Wall or share a photo or video on the Wall, respond to their comment or shared information.

#5:  Twitter:  Search ~ Texting ~ Hashtags

Twitter is highly overlooked as a phenomenal research tool.  When using Twitter in conjunction with a website such as Hootsuite you can create columns for specific search terms and keywords.  You also want to use this feature for brand monitoring.  Create columns monitoring the mention of your name and organization.

Donating through text messagesin conjunction with Twitter has proven highly effective.  Twitter’s hashtag feature (and go here for more hashtag information) can be used with a fundraising campaign and with events to track the “conversation”.

Next 5 keys coming your way in a few days.  Until then, remember this, “I make the time to build our organizations brand, gain support for our cause and market our organization online.”

(Go HERE for Part 2 ~ Thanks y’all!)

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