Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Support Your Small Nonprofit's Social Media Supporters


NaNoWriMo provides a lot of support to those idiotic brave enough to try to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. You can get writing buddies, there are sprints, meet-ups, pep-talks, virtual get-togethers, and writing advice on all topics. And naturally, there's the goal-oriented support of helping you track the number of words you get done, including a graph that shows your improvement.

When your small nonprofit asks your supporters for help with a campaign or with information or with passing information along, how do you support their efforts?
Note: if you aren't asking your supporters for help, then what exactly are you using social media for besides broadcasting how nifty you are?
I'm starting to see a lot of articles/posts on the subject of companies abandoning ROI (Return on Investment) when dealing with social media, opting instead for measuring engagement. Without engagement, could your campaigns possibly succeed? Without engagement, would you have volunteers, be able to raise funds, or recruit new board members?

In social media, engagement is how you live and die. It's swell to have followers and likes, but without conversation and sharing to keep things moving along and growing, you are getting nowhere with blinding electronical speed.

As Brian Solis points out in his latest post, "people aren't seeking marketing copy, they're seeking the experiences of others to help humanize information and apply it to their state of mind, needs, and aspirations. Let that sink in because I'll wager it's not where a majority of your investments are allocated right now." 

But, as a small nonprofit, you invest in people and their needs daily - shouldn't you be a leg up on the businesses Brian is talking about? Here are a couple of ideas about how to support your social media supporters.

Talk Less About the Mission and Work to Bring the Mission to Life

Don't focus just on your nonprofit, the staff, the E.D., the board or even the hundreds you help. Narrow the focus to one person being helped, one volunteer and why she's doing the work, one board member and why he got involved. Widen the context by sharing news and ideas that don't have a direct tie to the nonprofit but highlight someone or something that's doing good. Being caring or observing about the things we have in common can be uplifting. Become known for sharing good news and you'll be surprised how often people will turn to you, forward your news, endorse you, embrace you.

Strive to Be Creative

It's easy and takes little time to say, 'We served 10,000 meals this month. Please RT.' Fine, but where's the creativity? Find a different perspective instead of choosing the obvious - see things from Dr. McCoy's point of view rather than Spock or Kirk's. Make it fun as well as philanthropic for people to share your news. 'Tess had 2 BIG helpings of beans and they made her dance' and include a pic or video (like the one at the top that's gone viral). Who wouldn't want to share that?

The whole point of social media is to share. You should ask your supporters to share your news. But you can support those efforts better with better content. Make what you're saying worth sharing and you won't have to ask.

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