Navigating social media is a crucial element for any successful nonprofit organization.
We live in a new era. The fastest growing segment of our population looks online to assess the significance of local and global programs.
The key to nonprofit success rests heavily in the involvement and exposure an organization gains through the internet. This provides a source for the local community to learn about ongoing projects. Additionally, it’s the foundation for global outreach and networking.
Social media is a widely used tool. The average community member utilizes social platform to ensure their individual (or corporate) efforts and donations are going to an organization with high standards. Community members demand the right to both transparency and accountability.
Anyone can start a local group with a strong mission. However, not many can earn the trust and support needed to survive and thrive on an already overflowing platform of community groups.
Therefore, social success is defined by four key social media stages: listening, influencing, networking, and selling.
Researching and understanding how these four components work towards establishing a nonprofit organization can help you gain both credibility and longevity.
Social Media Listening
Does your nonprofit have accounts on Facebook, Instagram, or any other platform. Are those accounts safe places where clients, volunteers, and community members can comment or ask questions?
Are you listening?
Providing a space for open dialogue allows your organization to assess your community’s needs. Communication also paves the path for trust building and humanizing your efforts.
An open dialogue provides a pathway to specific problem-solving. However, solutions to specific challenges should be moved off the public platform and onto a private message or direct message (DM).
As with any business, nonprofit organizations are encouraged to keep their response rate within 24 hours. Additionally, all interactions should be kept both professional and courteous.
Some local groups may start children’s programs, while others may rise to serve the needs of the underprivileged. However, no matter what your nonprofit niche is, it’s imperative to make sure your community feels heard. This will allow you to address concerns and provide the necessary resources.
Social listening makes your service invaluable – just by being present and engaged.
Social listening also means getting involved in social media groups hosting the audiences you serve. Understand their concerns, empathize with their needs, and plot your campaign to provide your services to that niche.
Social Media Influencing
A special relationship blossoms when you have an ongoing association through social listening. You begin to see the issues and address them.
After establishing social media accounts on various platforms, your nonprofit becomes ready to take social listening to the next level – social influencing.
Credibility on social media means that you’re responsive to all queries and concerns. However, once you start posting about related topics to your nonprofit organization, you become an influencer.
Social media members begin trusting what you say. Your followers will trust you whether you are endorsing a product, promoting a lifestyle, or giving credibility to something that helps your mission statement.
Social influencing guarantees more traffic and exposure to your online platforms. Also, blog posts, newsletters, and tweets help promote authority and trustworthiness.
- A girls youth group can provide inspirational quotes on positive self-imagery.
- Literary organizations can generate reading lists for different age groups and genres.
- A hiking club can link a specific type of shoes.
These small added services build a connection between the audience your nonprofit is serving and its brand.
Social Media Networking
Most nonprofit organizations require networking to ensure their mission reaches its full potential.
Without the ability to network, any nonprofit remains insular and limits its impact. Social media makes networking easier. Social media networking is also often stronger than picking up a phone to convince a similar organization to come together and support your cause.
Eventually, you may still need to make a phone call or two. However, social media networking cultivates partnerships for like-minded efforts. You can ask for interviews or create topic maps. Also, remember to keep a sincere and genuine tone in all interactions.
Social networking can happen through various means on social media. You can both comment positively in groups or tagging and cross-post for more exposure. Both are quick and efficient means of networking with like-minded organizations.
These habits go a long way towards connecting and building groups of nonprofits that work towards the same goal.
Ultimately, coming together with other organizations on larger projects is easier when you’ve already built a positive rapport on social media platforms.
Social Media Selling
Obviously, nonprofits differ from for-profit businesses because they generally aim to fulfill social needs – not generate high revenue. But as any Director of a sustainable nonprofit understands – money still needs to come in one way or another.
So how can you leverage social media platforms to generate funding?
The answer is social selling.
Social selling begins after you’ve set a solid foundation with the above forms of social media marketing: listening, influencing, and networking.
Soon it will come time for your nonprofit organization to ask for donations, host a fundraiser, or collect for a special project. The interactions you’ve had on social media will become an essential component of your success.
Additionally use resources like catchy fliers, hyperlinks, and easy payment methods like PayPal. Finding suitable sponsors for your nonprofit and allowing them to contribute to your cause will become instinctive.
Never directly ask for funds. Instead, use tools to rein in your followers and collaborators. Reach out to the people who have come to trust the value your organization provides the community you serve.
There’s nothing as tacky as asking for money. In the digital era, people are ready and willing to help!
A seamless experience with minimal technical hiccups makes the social selling part of the process most successful.
Listening, influencing, networking, and selling on social media platforms generates momentum for a nonprofit organization. The perfect opportunities to connect with others who believe in your mission are just a step away. Give your nonprofit a chance to shine and help others carry the torch for a greater impact!
Give your nonprofit a chance to shine and help others carry the torch for a greater impact!
What moves does your nonprofit need to make to get some social media magic going? Let us know in the comments below!
Afshan Malik holds a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature. She is currently the Project Manager for Daybreak Press, a publishing company of the Rabata organization. She attained her Social and Community Manager certification from Digital Marketer and provided a Digital Marketing and Dawah seminar at the 2017 Ribaat Retreat in Minnesota. Afshan is currently a graduate student at the University of Houston – Downtown in its Nonprofit Management program. She writes for online and community publications while residing in in Houston, TX with her husband and five children. You can follow Afshan on her website – AfshanMalik.com and also on Instagram @afshanmalikewrites.
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