10 Tips to build a better social media foundation for nonprofits | Miratel Solutions

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10 Tips to build a better social media foundation for nonprofits

The new year has arrived and chances are the holidays passed by far too quickly for you, I know that they did for me. Let’s settle in for 2015 however with a quick summary of how to best use social media to help your  nonprofit fundraising campaign get noticed, build great engagement with existing supporters and ideally attract new donors in the new year.

I’ve been blogging and using social media now for over six years and while I feel it’s very important to keep abreast of the trends, new social media platforms and techniques, at the heart of any social media use is the content itself and how you project your voice and the message of your organization. Consistent and appropriate use of the tools at your disposal can build trust and create lasting relationships between your audience and your cause. We’ll look at some of the expected changes in 2015 in future posts but today I’ll buck the trend and get back to basics with a top ten reminders for the best use of social media.

Be Personal

Social media at its worst can seem like it was created automatically by a program that just wants to circulate and recycle key phrases and links. The biggest advantage of all that social media brings to the table ought to be the personal touch of a human. Use social media to answer questions and engage with people who are seeking to connect and interact. Each and every time you reach out to connect to someone who is contacting you via social media you’ve created the foundation of a connection that can last for years.

Stay Relevant

One of the repeated mistakes I see with social media is using links that aren’t relevant. Not every single update and post has to be 100% on target, it’s a a free-form environment where you can share opinions, facts, statistics or news about related topics but find a good (and workable) balance. If you are writing about a new initiative within your organization however include the link to the page on your site or blog post that is specific to that topic. Don’t ask or expect your audience to navigate further than the link that you provide.

Experiment

I think the best social media advice of all is to feel confident enough to experiment with all that you do and take a few risks. If you decide that you’re going to increase your video output or create custom graphics for most updates nothing will get broken, if you elect to ask more questions and run some surveys your donors won’t stop following you. Take some chances by trying new topics, new approaches and measure everything that you do – finding out what works best for your audience should always include an ongoing level of experimentation.

Give Assistance

Perhaps the biggest flaw in social media is developing an engaged audience and then when they interact not taking the time to provide answers to their questions. When your readers have questions, comments or ideas taking the time to engage and reply goes miles towards building trust and friendship. Don’t take the social out of social media!

image courtesy http://gosmallbiz.com/

image courtesy http://gosmallbiz.com/

Listen & React

This one is very important. For example, if you add a link to a video and suddenly receive a number of posts saying that the video won’t play for them react and comment or even add a new link if needed. As your audience grows you’ll often notice that they will have conversations about your content with each other, this happens all the time on Facebook and Instagram – track those conversations and engage or act as needed.

Know Your Audience

At your fingertips you have a host of tools that provide you with strong and dependable information about the demographics of your audience. These types of resources would have cost a huge amount of time or investment decades ago and it’s now all right on your desktop. Become very familiar with the demographics of your readers and how it evolves, match and balance your content as effectively as possible to the age, gender, location etc. of your audience. You’ll know how well your specific content is appealing to your audience based on engagement rates.

Educate

Never overlook the fact that your audience look to you to be the source of knowledge particular to you cause. Sharing valuable information and knowledge that is useful, easy to understand and otherwise hard to find offers greater value to your audience.

Courtesy & Kindness

Sometimes in social media there seems to be a rush to push out content and not take the time to be polite which is a huge mistake. Taking to time to say thank you and offer appreciation to your audience when they interact, especially when they provide great ideas and suggestions as they so often do. It all comes back to the first suggestion on this list, adding the human touch to all of your social media work gives it the dimension that makes it successful.

Being Consistent

Not the easiest thing in life and not much easier in social media but consistency has huge importance to the efforts you’re making. This means some level of consistency in terms of the frequency and ingredients that your social media output is made up of. There’s no value in tweeting twelve times today and then offering no updates for a few weeks. There’s also little value in contradicting ideas and methods you’ve already endorsed via your social media channels. Also, we all make mistakes, but if and when you do take the time to provide a correction and an update for your audience.

Reference Yourself

Some of your audience have followed you for years, some for months and many might be seeing your social media output for the very first time. Don’t presume that all readers will understand exactly what your message and goals are – while I think it’s a very good practice to refer to things you’ve already written about on a site or a blog – it’s an even better practice to make sure you provide an active link to your reference points. It brings huge value to your audience and makes them feel involved from the beginning.

I do hope that these ten tips will help you with you social media plans for 2015, while we all love the latest technology and tools it is incredibly important to remember how to keep social media as social and trusted as possible.
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Miratel Solutions is a Toronto call centreeBusiness, and letter shop mail house specializing in professional fundraising services including PCI compliant inbound telephone fundraisingoutbound telephone fundraisingonline fundraisinglottery fundraising servicesdonation processing and receipting and direct mail fundraising services. We are committed to our CSR business values in all our business decisions  and advancing the missions of the nonprofits we proudly serve.

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