Why your social media is foundering

Traditional corporate marketing goals include increased sales and revenue whereas nonprofit marketing goals often consist of educating, inspiring and motivating. Although each have different objectives, the tactics used are not that different.

In order to reach our customers and constituents we have to go where they are. We can probably agree that snail mail, trade shows and printed flyers do not cut it anymore. Americans spend their free time on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. In order to reach them successful marketers must be there as well.

HubSpot surveyed over 9,000 small-to-medium-sized nonprofits about how they are using social media. At times the results were alarming.

• Half of nonprofits spend 2 hours or less per week on social media marketing (while half of for profit businesses spend at least 6 hours per week).

• Tracking social media accounts of donors is a rare practice.

• Most nonprofits do not have a documented social media strategy.

So how does a nonprofit go about building a successful social media strategy?

Utilize the embedded analytics on your social media platforms to understand the demographic makeup of your followers.

Meet your followers on their own turf, and make it easy for them to engage. Did you know you can create many separate Twitters lists? Build one for volunteers, one for VIP supporters and one for the Press.

Remember social media is social. Too many organizations use their social media solely as a microphone for making announcements.

Our favorite two tips for increasing your content relevance:

Kivi Leroux Miller, with the Nonprofit Marketing Guide, suggests two questions to guide your content creation: “What problems do people have in their own lives when trying to live out the values they share with your organization? What tips or tools can you give them that make their lives easier as they try to be a better environmentalist, animal lover, parent, etc.?”

HubSpot recommends a 3 part system when sharing content they call the “Three As”—

Appeals: 1/3 of your social updates should solicit donations or help.

Appreciation: 1/3 of your social updates should recognize your donors, supporters, volunteers, and employee.

Advocacy: 1/3 of your updates should engage and share with the content of other groups or nonprofits who are relevant to your area.

Our takeaway: The most important marketing shift for non-profits is to engage in dialogue over social media. An extra hour per week toward this end will yield the largest ROI.

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