Benefits of Social Media for Non-Profits and Charities
Most of us couldn’t live without social media. Social media grabs our attention to see what others are doing and up to but also is a great platform for advertising. Now, we don’t just mean PPC advertising but also free advertising. There are a lot of social media platforms out there and one thing is for sure, it is a goldmine of opportunity. Social media is a wonderful way to educate people on your non-profit, charity, or social enterprise. It is a way for them to visually see what you do, day in and day out. Take lots of pictures and post amazing graphics about events you have coming up.
Make your event an actual FB event so that people will be reminded that they wanted to go. Be sure that you invite those that follow your page and engage with your pages daily. Always have a schedule and there are many software platforms out there there that can help you with this too. Take advantage of that software to keep your sanity. If you have a budget, think about getting a professional to help you.
Let’s talk about some of the social media and their advantages. Of course, this will only be some of the 100s out there. When choosing social media, keep in mind the age group that you are targeting and what their preferred social media would be. There are all kinds of different types of social media as well. These are social networks, discussion forums, media sharing, blogging and publishing networks, consumer review networks, interest-based networks, and anonymous social networks to name a few. If you have never dug deep into the social media outlets, you’d be surprised at just how many there are.
Social networks are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter-style social media. This is where people go to learn about what their friends and family are up to. These are not the oldest of the social media groups, however, they have stuck around pretty long. They each have their own unique likeness about them and can be used in different manners to get your charity better known.
Facebook for example is a wonderful platform for pictures and really to show what it is that you do. LinkedIn is a more professional platform but sort of the same style. It too offers a great way to share images, videos and also put what that image is for. Twitter was made for quick “tweets” of what people were up to. However, it has grown massively, and there too you can use images to get your point across. Many use hashtags so people can find them in the mass amount of tweets.
Overall, these are great for visuals! Be sure that you get good images of what you do or use great graphics. These are great for branding, market awareness, relationship building, lead generation, and customer service to name a few. These are where people go to find information, see what their friends are doing, and even to read the news. People are on these platforms daily, sometimes more than daily. They are posting and sharing, scrolling, and reading which makes them a great way to get your vision known to others. Share, like, and post through your business and start a following.
Media Sharing Networks
The media sharing networks are the Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchats of the world. They are ways that people share videos, images, live videos, and short clips on. They are entertaining as well as useful for businesses. Many businesses utilize at least one of these channels. However, they should be utilizing all of them. These are great ways to show people what to expect from your charity. Maybe share some success stories or talk about your vision.
While the lines of media sharing and social networks are being a bit blurred as the social networks open up to offer live streaming and such, this was the primary reason these were ever started in the first place. If you are a visual person these tend to be more appealing. On social networks, people tend to put more information along with the image or video. Where on these networks it typically is a quick caption and maybe some hashtags to go along with it.
Keeping up with the sharing networks can be a full-time job. However, there is software that will allow you to set these networks up and post for you. Not all networks allow that, but those that do, this is a great option. It is a wonderful way to keep up with it all. Of course, there are professional social media marketers that could help as well.
Digg, Reddit, and Quora are the types of social media that make up discussion forums. These can be a benefit for a number for reasons for businesses and charities. This is a great place to do market research and find out what people are saying about the topic that your charity is involved with. You can also answer questions and at times, do a plug for your charity, but be careful with this and only do it if it is helpful to the post.
While other social media is out there linking you to your “friends” or “people you might know” this doesn’t happen on discussion forums. This is a place that is called the Wild Wild West of social media. Here you can remain anonymous.
Bookmarking and Content Creation
Have you heard of Pinterest and Flipboard? This is a great way to get your charity out there. These are places where you share thumbnails that will entice people to come and read your blog for example. These are where people come to get creative ideas and share things that are of interest. If you are a pet rescue, for example, you could share ways to keep your pet hydrated in the summer or How to trim their nails. Then, create a cute thumbnail and link it to the article. The thumbnails should be enticing and interesting. By offering this advice, you could put a donation button on the bottom of the blog to help earn money for your cause.
Also, ensure that you put that nice thumbnail on your blog so others that found it helpful can save it and share it with their following.
With Flipboard, you can create a virtual online magazine for your followers. This is a great engaging content that can be about what you do but also third party information as well.
Consumer Review Networks
Yelp, Zomato, and Tripadvisor are some examples of these. However, there are countless review places out there on the internet, we call this strategy “Reputation Management”, and it has been wildly successful in recent years. Be sure that you have your charity listed on the ones that make sense. This will allow people to leave reviews for you. Similar to Amazon reviews and Google reviews, this is where people look to find out what others think about your charity. It is important that you respond to any negative reviews in a positive manner. Sure, there are people out there that you simply cannot please. Others will understand this. Be sure that when you respond to a negative review that you are not emotional. Sometimes this might take a couple of days and that’s okay.
Blogging and Publishing Networks
Blogger, Tumblr, Bravenet are some of these blog systems that people use to speak to their audience. While these blogs are great for advertising for free, you can add to their effectiveness by combining them with Pinterest and the other social media options to get more exposure to your blog. Of course, 2.0 blots are always great ways to create backlinks too!
Goodreads, Last.fm, and Houzz are examples of interest-based networks. These are great for marketing for nonprofits by finding interest groups that would benefit from your non-profit. People here are gathered by their interests for you, so it makes it easier to market to them.
All of these social media options work great for social media marketing in their own manner. Mix them up and you can create a mammoth campaign that helps with marketing for nonprofits for essentially free! There are many benefits of social media from getting your voice heard to getting your brand out there and known in your area. If you are a local charity, it would be beneficial to join some of the local social media groups as well. For example, Facebook has many local groups and the NextDoor app is another great local group finder. Being involved in community discussions is another way that you can get your brand and charity out there. It is important that people know that you are in their communities.
Do fundraising activities and get involved with the community
Offering charity events for fundraising is a great way to get the community involved with your efforts as well. Things such as a carnival, dinner, or even a craft show are all great fundraising ideas for your charity. You can advertise in these groups by posting an announcement. Most moderators would allow this and it would be great free advertising for you!
Get creative when using social media, but be sure you are not pushy or overwhelming. Mix up your posts from events going on, to products or services that you might offer to maybe a fun meme that has something to do with your industry. Keep it fun for people to watch and visit but also plug your charity in as well.
Best of luck on your social media for nonprofits journey.
Ready to see what social media can do for your non-profit?
Our team of social media wizards are always willing to take on a new project. We are eager to learn more about your venture in particular, what makes your non-profit unique, and how we can help spread your message. Call our office today and learn how social media is the growing trend for non-profits.