Social media marketing for Special purpose organisations by Vernon Fernandes
“Our world is accessible on one single device now. Currently people are attending office meetings through a mobile, children are attending school on a mobile, we are watching movies on the mobile. Well,now we are even practicing social distancing on the same mobile”
Today Social Media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, have become primary sources of information. With the advent of such platforms in the 21st century, we are not only learning the latest news but also using these vehicles to provide personal and business updates. Now with rapid technological advancements, special purpose organizations with social media channels can easily connect with their target audience and even add a personal touch in their messaging which can be sometimes difficult to deliver through letters and emails.
For Businesses and NGOs, this means leveraging social media to support employees, customers, fundraisers and other stakeholders. The world has become a very small place to live now. We can connect with anyone at any point of the world. Where does your organization stand in this domain? Is your organization using social media? Are you telling the right story online? Let’s answer these questions step by step.
Giving The Right Picture To The Right Audience
Social Media Marketing can help nonprofits narrate their story in a compelling and effective way. It can build awareness for their cause. It helps the world understand what drives their enterprise. This will gain empathy and support for their work, and also help them raise funds with the right communications.
“Charity for water” is an NGO that has been successful in achieving all of this through their social media presence. They have raised almost $370 million dollars since 2006 by simple branding in such a way that people notice. Branding brings money. Even though their designs are basic, but most importantly they have a compelling story to tell. Also, the NGO has used various media vehicles such as television, online marketing, event, fundraising networks etc. so that they attract all kinds of audience.
Let’s talk about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Even though a lot of people were not aware of the purpose behind the challenge, it helped generate over $100 million and grabbed attention from all over the world. This is the power of social media. It creates a ripple effect, and creates a mass appeal.
Where Do We Begin ?
Begin by Setting your goals! Think about what you want to achieve and identify your challenges. But, remember to be practical with your goals. Definite goals and finding out means on how you can achieve them. Also, keep in mind that everything is not possible through mere online presence.
Identify your audience People’s decisions to donate are heavily swayed by how organizations engage with them online. It plates a pivotal role in their decision making. The target audience varies from cause to cause. The target audience of a healthcare NGO will be very different from that of an NGO dealing with education.
Telling the right story. This is one of the most ancient but potent marketing tools for any organization. The audience can be attracted by emotion, thought provoking journey though vivid images and powerful words.
“Organic social media marketing will increase donations. People will start investing in you. It’s highly economical and effective, if viral. Two- way communication is vital since that helps create effective campaigns”
The Building Blocks Of Social Media
The right website A responsive intuitive website with effective storytelling sets the foundation for the best way to garner support from across the internet. It should allow interactions and donations. The website should work on all devices, specially a mobile. A lot of organizations with requisite permissions can even collect donations via their website.
Facebook holds the global hotspot with over 2 billion users. This is the only social media platform used by people of all age groups- elderly, middle aged, young and even the retired. Each platform has its own essence and Vernon recommends that posting on Facebook should be 2–5 times a week.
Youtube is a great platform for creating emotive stories about various projects. The ideal age group to target via youtube is 19–49 years. This vehicle allows organizations to narrate their stories in a better way. The duration of a youtube video should be between 5–20 minutes.
Instagram as a social media platform is more young and vibrant. Dominantly the ideal age group to target via Instagram is under 35 years. Ideally, organizations should post daily on instagram to keep the audience hooked.
Twitter is used by a diverse audience of users from every age group predominantly 25–34 years. This platform is mainly for sharing meaningful updates and announcements. The messaging via twitter should be in a simple fashion with not much flowery language.
Hashtags help converge and connect ideas together and helps bring traffic of like minded donors to your causes quickly. Ideally it helps linking posts across all social media platforms. Also, specific hashtags for your campaigns helps aligning them together.
SEO Organic presence in your sector is very important. Using the right keywords in your website content is vital. Blogging is integral to all your work. Stories should be told in blog format. Local SEO is also necessary to help you get your immediate donors accessible.
Email marketing is the most cost effective channel. Building the right database and reaching out to tell them about your cause is essential. Right vocabulary as well as the right tone should be kept in mind while putting out a message. Try telling the right story with the right words and bring rhythm, rhyme and everything that you can move the recipients.
Storytelling content that works
Emotive images that can be used to narrate a story and hence, NGOs need to invest in photography and videography to bring out the best of their capabilities. Today, almost everyone has an internet connection. Video qualities are improving like ever before. People now prefer to watch videos than read blogs. Hence, documenting work and projects through images and videos is very important. NGOs need to invest in their staff. They are their backbone. The employees should feel at home and with the correct storytelling, even the audience wants to relate to them. Events and fundraisers help a lot. There are a lot of new innovative ways to connect with each other now.
In all it’s the correct engineering of the three Cs- Connect, convey and collaborate. These will help the organizations immensely on this journey of social media. You should always keep in mind that content on the internet is internal, therefore plan and access your content before posting.Social media is a great and a powerful medium to reach out to people, therefore it should be used with discretion and control to create a positive image for your work.
Written by: Yashu Saini