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Many non-profits have been struggling through this economy and are looking for new ways to increase donations, sign up new members and improve attendance to their fund raising events.  Most use social media in traditional ways to try to boost the participation in any way possible, which usually means setting up fan pages and asking their constituents to share that page with their friends.  Content is posted regularly to keep subscribers updated on the initiatives of the organization and quite often gets lost in the deluge of updates from similar Facebook pages.

But the problem with this method of engaging constituents on Facebook for nonprofits is that it’s like throwing ball against a wall and seeing what sticks.  You may or may not see an increase in donor participation using this method for engaging your audience.  Consider the following tips when creating a social media strategy that will help your increase the participation of your social community and yield results for your organization:

Engage your social community with calls to action.  In general, people who like your page on Facebook or follow you on Twitter do so because they want to support your organization.  Help them do this by giving them clear action items.  Would you like them to donate or join your organization?  Share your cause with their friends?  Support your campaign to plant trees or implement a piece of legislation?  Get people involved right away with direct call to action messages and try to get them to discuss their involvement by asking them questions or encouraging them to comment.  Also, communicate to them the barometer for success.  Whether you want them to commit monetarily, volunteer, or both the key is to get them excited about participation and reaching milestones like achieving the Annual Fund goal, or better yet exceeding it!

Create Ambassadors to represent your brand in the social world. We tell our SocialToaster clients to choose Ambassadors who have an interest in seeing your brand succeed and who agree to work their networks for the good of the organization.  For your organization, that could mean board members, staff, and/or constituents your organization represents.  The reason that social media can be such an effective means of spurring people to action is because it is based on word-of-mouth marketing.    Friends of your Ambassadors will be more likely to engage with your organization upon your “word of mouth” recommendation because the referral is coming from you, then they would if they received a cold solicitation from an organization where they have had no interaction.

Track Your Results.  Try a few means by which to engage your audience.  See which issues spur a discussion/interaction with your organization.  When constituents attend events, ask them if they found out about you on Facebook or Twitter.  Be sure to define your own barometer for success and track your success record, and make note of that record as you go from campaign to campaign.

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We find that nonprofits that are able to employ these rules for engaging their audience are likely to be happy with their social results.  We created SocialToaster as a social marketing tool to help significantly increase the traffic to your website by using electronic word of mouth referrals.  SocialToaster can be up to ten times more effective than search engine marketing or other traditional forms of digital advertising.  Our automated solution takes the time and guess work out of structuring your social media marketing campaign.  The above blog is based on some of our social media consulting fundamentals that we offer our clients in tandem with SocialToaster.  For more information, sign up for a webinar, or contact a salesperson to learn more today!