uses of social media

Social media platforms are perfect for non-profits. In a day when marketing budgets can be bloated, and non-profits are struggling to pinch each cent in every dollar, relevant marketing, brand management, and lead generation are crucial. A recent study by MDG Advertising showed that social media can be used to not only spread the word about your non-profit—which helps with brand management—but also in lead generation and giving. (What non-profit doesn’t like the sound of that?)

According to the study, the average donation obtained through social media has risen from $38 in 2010 to $59 in 2012. The study indicated that the number of non-profits on social media is astounding: 98% are on Facebook, 74% on Twitter, 66% on YouTube, 48% on LinkedIn, 325 on Flickr, and 26% on Google+.

Here are the top nine (my favorite number) tips to help non-profits’ social media presence:

1. Mix and march.

Don’t “auto post” and have the same content go to all of your social media channels. You must march the content to the medium. Don’t merely have your Facebook automatically post to Twitter (or vice versa). Be intentional. Audiences are different on each platform. Treat them how they want to be treated.

2. It’s story time.

Brand is about story. Use social media to tell a story and invite people/customers into it. Seek ways to “speak into” their stories as well. Everyone, no matter the age, likes a good story. It is the language of the heart.

3. Don’t be the proverbial used-car salesman.

Don’t always be “selling” something. Educate, inspire, encourage, and challenge—make your pages a place for these types of content. No one likes to be the target of a sales pitch in every conversation.

4. Adults love show-and-tell, too.

Why do we leave show-and-tell to the elementary schools? We all love a good picture. Images grab our attention and stick with us. Never just say something. Show and tell, but do so with excellence. Also, don’t just run to stock photography. Get creative. It will inspire you and the client base you aim to reach.

5. It is better to give than receive.

Social media is not all about you, no matter what you see pushed online. How can you give back to those you wish to influence? Try to give (content, ideas, encouragement, links) more often than you beg for donations.

6. Let others talk.

The power of social media is that everyone gets a chance to broadcast their thoughts. It is no longer left in the hands of the “powerful few.” You must figure out how to leverage this, allowing your dedicated followers to use their voices to spread your message. Post information that others will want to share with their circles of influence. Have guest contributors, collaborate, and share. Why limit your message and story to only your voice?

7. Mist leads to fog.

Be clear in your communication. If you are vague or unsure, your message will be diluted and confusing. Mist in your message leads to fog in your readers’ eyes. Be clear, be strong, and be intentional.

8. Be polite—say thanks more.

Always, always, always (I’ll say that one more time, always) be positive in your message. Even when sharing your needs in difficult times, be positive. Use social media to say “thanks” and say it often. Tag partners in your posts, and mention individuals who have helped move your cause forward.

9. What do you want from me?

Always have a call-to-action. What should your audience do or be in response to your posts? Don’t leave it to their imaginations. Ask them to give, advocate, or click and register. Ask them to ______. Always have a call-to-action that they can, and should, take.

Nothing is more fulfilling in the world than non-profits—but few things are harder to navigate as well. May these tips propel your movement.

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Scott Feather
Community Manager
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