Wednesday, May 7, 2014

CMOs: 3 Ways to Make Your Nonprofit Stand Out through Social Media

CMOs and VPs of Marketing, given the growing ubiquity of social media in nonprofit marketing strategies, there is a sea of nonprofit voices out there vying for attention from your target market. Often it can feel like your nonprofit is not truly engaging with the communities you need. As a student in the Northwestern Medill IMC program, I have been studying the best practices of utilizing social media, and I have identified some articles that you need to read.

In How Nonprofits Use Social Media to Engage with their Communities, author Ritu Sharma gives important findings derived from a new study done by the Case Foundation and Social Media for Nonprofits, which surveyed 500 nonprofit marketing professionals on practices engaging their communities through social media. 88% of nonprofits said that websites were still the most important tool, because that’s landing page from social media sites (and where donation actually occurs). There is also a definite trend where nonprofits are beginning to allocate more resources to social media efforts, but the challenges of manpower and moving beyond “Likes” remain. More importantly, only 53% of nonprofits follow the best practice of posting meaningful content to establish “thought leadership” in their areas of expertise. Sharma goes on to give important tips on social media marketing based on these survey responses.

via Nonprofit Quarterly

In 5 Stories Nonprofits Should Be Telling on Social Media, author Julia Campbell makes the point that storytelling needs to be the central strategy of a nonprofit’s content marketing and social media engagement efforts. Campbell gives 5 types of stories that should be used in social media marketing and fundraising efforts: Value and Ethics stories on the core of your nonprofit mission, Social Proof stories on which influencers supports your work, Founder Stories on the history and value of your organization, Continuous Improvement stories on your organization’s efforts to improve itself, and most importantly, Impact stories on how your nonprofit is affecting change. Campbell presents real-life, high-impact examples of these stories in which nonprofits used a variety of social media channels (Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.). Examples include Charity Water, Environmental Defense Fund, The Robin Hood Foundation, Save the Children, etc.

Based on my review of these two articles and my studies at Northwestern, here are three action items you should consider implementing in your nonprofit’s social media marketing strategy:

  • Tell a Story – Tell meaningful stories on the value, impact, and nature of your nonprofit so that your target community knows who you are.
  • Make a Conversation – Posts that end with a question mark generate twice as many Likes, comments, and shares.
  • Get Visual (and Video) – If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine the power of a video (even inforgraphics can demonstrate the impact of the work you’re doing). 

A good nonprofit should be on the cycle of positive reinforcement, wherein engaged communities give bountifully and nonprofits use those funds in meaningful ways, which in turn gives great stories that engages communities. With social media, your nonprofit has a tool at its disposal to give your target community frequent reminders of just how impacting and necessary its work is. So make sure that when you do send those out, it is with the best strategy in mind.

Mary Li is a Northwestern University undergraduate in the Integrated Marketing Communications certificate program in Medill, with an emphasis on digital marketing (paid search and social media) through her academic and professional experiences. Post-graduation, she will work as a digital marketing associate in downtown Chicago. 

For questions and comments, contact me on Twitter @MerrilyMaryLi

No comments:

Post a Comment