If you’re a nonprofit and you are not using social media, you may be missing a key ingredient to developing stronger relationships with your key stakeholders. It might seem obvious to you, my reader of my blog, that social media is critical to your organization’s long term success in sharing your mission, vision, and values beyond your organization. But, of course, you already know this or you wouldn’t be reading this blog.
I don’t see social media as a standalone process for most of the organizations I work with. It is part of their marketing mix but cannot stand alone and be successful. For many of my client organizations, they have failed to embrace social business as a concept. I find that their failure in social media has come from three key breakdowns. Without these three elements, it’s very difficult to get any traction in your new social marketing efforts. It took me a long time to get the hang of social business, but once I understood these strategies I started seeing results from my time investments.
The first element is that you must reach critical mass before you start to see the results you expect. Now what is critical mass for your efforts? I find that even a small targeted following can insure success on the right social platforms. If you build your following based on similar interests and values, you will begin interaction almost immediately if you provide content that has value to this group. You also must consider who your ideal partner is for your information. Many unsuccessful nonprofits have huge followings with limited engagement with their followers. They send out their messages to the world, but wonder why they have so little interaction with their community. Sending out messages using only one way is like traditional advertising, you need huge numbers to get any results. Try to engage several people every day and you will start to see your messages taking off. Then use different search tools to help find the right people. I could write a blog on this topic alone and still have a lot more to share on the concept of targeting your message and how to influence key people in your causes marketing efforts.
The second element is that you get more by sharing some great information than you do by sharing a lot of average information. People are very busy today and they don’t have time to go through 100 tweets to find a gem. They are looking to find great information for themselves or their fellow peeps. Sometimes they are looking to keep their name in front of others and other times they are looking for a solution to their own questions. Make it easy to find and share your information and they will share it. Learn how to find great material and then share or create it. There is nothing wrong with using others’ content to help build your own credentials and expertise. I have built lasting relationships based on sharing a review or article for a well known author.
The third element is to share others’ information in the spirit of giving, but not expecting to get anything out of every time you contribute. I know that not every I share is brilliant but I appreciate people sharing it with their friends and people in their community. Take time to share others first and after a short time you will begin developing partnerships with key people within your community. They will share your message with others. Some people will never share your message with others. They come from the world of there is not enough business to go around. It’s not true, but they feel they are so important that you can’t live without their wisdom, they may be right and you should still share it with others. You don’t know what future influencers you might meet along the way. I found several of my best guest bloggers in this way.
The bonus tip for today is learn how to keep the spotlight on others and your efforts will be rewarded tenfold. I discovered the more I do for others, the more I get back, not always from the people that you highlight, but by people who appreciate your efforts for the community. When I follow people, I always try to find something of theirs I can share with others. It’s my way of starting the relationship on a positive note. I also use Follow Fridays on Twitter to highlight new people I uncover in my reading to help them build a stronger following. When someone is new to a platform, I try to help them get positive feedback early so they can feel more comfortable sharing with others. I always say it’s a very quiet place on Twitter when you first start out, but providing early support can make all the difference to the new person out there.
I hope this helps you understand several key philosophies behind social media. I will be sharing more in-depth breakdowns to some of the platforms I use and some tips on how to use social to amplify your reach for your cause over the next several weeks. Stay tuned and don’t be afraid to share this!