If there's one lesson we hope you've learned from our salute to #SMDay blog mini-series, it's this: don't underestimate the power of social media. Social media has become a key platform for nonprofits to communicate with current and potential supporters. It allows an organization to advocate and fundraise across multiple channels, and reach further than with email or word of mouth alone.
Your nonprofit might exist on only one or two social media channels, and that is okay. It is important to be on the ones that work best for your organization and its goals. Nonprofits are using social media in a variety of different ways and for many different reasons. Find the platforms that work best for you to communicate with your audience.
Maybe you've already integrated social media into your marketing and fundraising campaigns, but the integration doesn't stop there. You can go a step further and integrate all of your social media channels and outlets together, to create an even larger reach. Now the question is: How do you do that?
Start by cross-promoting your social media presence on your website, and make sure your website is listed on each of your social media sites. You're on Facebook and Twitter, right? Great. Make Facebook and Twitter widgets available on your website that easily allow others to connect with you on these platforms. It doesn't matter what social media outlet you use, just make it easily accessible to those visiting your website. They should be able to access your social media sites with just a click of a button.
Once you have a following on social media, it's important to keep your supporters engaged. Be sure to provide regular updates on your campaigns, allow them to voice their opinions, and post content that is relevant to them. The ability to communicate and create conversations with your supporters will help to build new and strengthen existing relationships.
The ability to communicate with supporters extends to your website as well. Social media and your website should work together to promote your online brand. Add value to your content to get people to engage and share you. Embed social media widgets in each of your blog posts to allow your supporters to easily share the post with their followers. The more your content is shared, the higher chances are of it being clicked on. The more clicks on your content, the better chances are of it being at the top of a search...You get the point.
Brace yourselves; here comes the curveball. While social media offers a useful platform for getting to know your fans and spreading the word about your cause, it isn't always the easiest of places to get heard, raise funds, or drive actions. So what else should your organization be doing in addition to social media? Emailing. That’s right. Email isn't dead.
Email delivers the highest return on investment of any marketing channel, and when used in combination with social media, the results can be pretty impressive. You can include social icons in emails, provide email sign up on your social networks, and you can dig deeper and start social appending.
"Social appending" lets you add or "append" your nonprofit email database with social media addresses and other social data. It integrates what you already know about your supporters from social media with the emails you send them. This makes it easier to tailor your messages to certain individuals or groups, and gives you the ability to connect and engage with them across multiple channels. By integrating your email database with social media, you can learn even more about your followers.
Remember: your nonprofit's mission should be the foundation and focus for all of your communication and fundraising efforts, regardless of the medium. It is important to integrate your mission into your social media and email strategy. Make your nonprofit's voice heard through your words, which will inspire people to share your content and even better, do something.
Tammy Sproule, on July 6, 2014