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Social Media Week Miami: Welcome to Social Good 2.0

Feb 28, 2013

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to accompany ThinkInk’s own Chief Visibility Officer Vanessa Horwell to Social Media Week Miami, where she participated in the “Social Good 2.0: Leveraging the Power of Social Media to Promote and Grow Your Cause” panel discussion. Vanessa, along with fellow panelists Daniella Levine of Catalyst Miami, Noel Hyatt of the Broward Education Communications Network, Elianne Ramos of Latinos in Social Media (LATISM) and panel moderator Lynn Ponder of WebCityGirls, discussed how nonprofit organizations can benefit from the power and reach of social media to effectively deliver their messages and fulfill their missions.

SMW_Vanessa Horwell

Take a look below at Vanessa’s responses to some of the key questions asked during the panel.

Also be sure to check out @ThinkInkPR and @ThinkTankPR for great photos and helpful tips from the panel (I was live-tweeting) and you can even watch the full panel discussion here.

How should a nonprofit pick which social media tools and channels to use?

The most important factor is identifying what kind of exposure you are giving your nonprofit and that you are accurately portraying it. Whatever you do on social media reflects your brand (yes, a nonprofit is a brand), so ensure that your engagement style matches your organization’s brand, goals and general attitude.

Also make sure you do your research, look at different social media platforms and highlight the unique characteristics they have and what they can offer your organization. This will help you map out how they can help your nonprofit grow and get more exposure.

And instead of tapping in on all channels – because there is such a thing as overexposure – find out which social media tools your target audience is using today. One way to do this is by monitoring and tracking certain keywords associated with your organization and its mission through free social media monitoring tools. Also take the time to look back at what has and has not worked for you in the past.

How do you build a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube?

“Fishing where the fish are,” nonprofit organizations can reach their target audience by monitoring what other organizations they are following and through what platform. Once you find the right platform, be active and communicate with your ‘followers” regularly so you stay on top of their newsfeed and their minds, by:

  • Writing blog posts about topics that affect your nonprofit and those whom you serve;
  • Inviting those who have received your services to contribute guest posts telling their own personal stories;
  • Creating videos to help bring your message to life;
  • Conducting interviews and featuring those who have great stories to tell or those who play a pivotal role in your mission;
  • Sharing pictures and video from events that you’ve held;
  • Posting updates regularly to keep your presence known;
  • Asking questions to get your followers talking about your organization.

The average donation through social media increases each year.  How can a non-profit get creative with fundraising outreach in social media?

Each year the average donation given through social media increases: in 2010 it was $38, jumping to $55 in 2011 and again in 2012, to $59.

Here are some great tips for fundraising outreach using social media from a PR perspective:

  • Raise more funds by keeping followers active and regularly promoting fundraising events.
  • Give donors the ability to share their donation activity on their own profiles.
  • Keep the process seamless; donors should be able to give with no more than three clicks from your site.
  • Offer as many payment methods as you can.
  • Material rewards can help drive crucial funding. For example, giving away apparel with your organization’s logo can really help market your cause.

What are 5 things nonprofits can do that they might not be aware of, such as remembering to seamlessly link offline and online efforts.

  • Don’t get overextended – Sometimes doing a little bit of everything leads to nothing being well done. Look at your resources and let that guide you as to what channels you choose.
  • Timing – Tweets or Facebook posts should be scheduled to catch people in their ‘downtime.’
  • Ask questions – If your post or tweet ends in a question mark versus a period, you can expect about five times the amount of likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc.  This is because social media isn’t about monologue – it’s about dialogue. So instead of just making a statement, ask a question and invite your audience to join a conversation.
  • Be responsive Respond to questions, tweets, posts from followers in real time.
  • Content – Your audience may not care about your organization as much as the cause you represent, try and balance out your updates by focusing more on the cause/goals your organization is working towards.
  • An Extra Tip: Collect data – Use social media to collect email addresses through online sign-ups this will give you more contacts and show you who is truly interested in your organization and your cause.

Do you agree with Vanessa when it comes to social media and using it as a marketing tool for nonprofit organizations? Comment below with your thoughts and additional tips, we’d love to hear from you!

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