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by Margaret Thom
Membership Manager, Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee
What can social media do for your nonprofit? According to Lynnea Katz-Petted, VP Communications, Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Southeastern Wisconsin, and CEO, Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee, and Carol Voss, PR & Marketing Director, IndependenceFirst, it can:
These two experts shared their experience at “Leveraging Social Media to Raise Funds,” a workshop we offered with the AFP Southeastern Wisconsin. Here are the 10 best tips that I took away.
1) Listen: People are talking about your organization online. Shouldn’t you know what they’re saying? Listening tools include Google alerts, search engines, RSS, twitter search, and social mention. Listening can alert you to feedback, complaints, unmet needs, new services or campaign ideas.
2) Pick your channels strategically: There are many social media channels. Don’t get overwhelmed! Pick the one that best caters to your audience and do it well. Start posting once a week. Build to once a day.
3) When posting, use the rule of thirds: Carol’s success formula:
1/3 share other people’s stuff (retweet, share), 1/3 interact with followers,
1/3 post your own stuff. Have a conversation and interact. Avoid the bullhorn effect (sending out your own messages at top volume)!
4) Give the job to someone with organizational expertise: Don’t assign your social media to an inexperienced intern. Social media is an important voice for your whole organization. The person who manages it should have a deep understanding of your work and good judgment.
5) Be consistent with your brand: Be sure your organization looks the same across platforms so people recognize you. You want to clearly convey your identity and stability.
6) Share your content across platforms: Adjust language and content to each platform. Don’t make each post identical.
7) Tell a compelling story: People remember and act upon stories that engage our emotions more than statistics and logic. What stories differentiate you from others? Lynnea recommends asking “What do people value most from their experience with us?” She also recommends the book What’s Your Story? by Craig Wortmann.
8) Show as well as tell: Include visuals. Good images are key to attracting attention. Never underestimate the power of video. Check out YouTube, Vimeo, etc. [You may find this article on related topic interesting.]
9) It’s about relationships: Thank people. Tag or mention people. Promote your sponsors and partners. Have a personality, use humor, follow etiquette, and add value. Online relationships can lead to offline relationship building.
10) Details matter: Proofread grammar and spelling. Use hashtags. (From Twitter: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.)
Starting or expanding your social media efforts can be intimidating, but if you take it step by step using the above recommendations, you’ll see results. The Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee offers social media consulting to members and nonmembers, so reach out to us if you need some help!