If you have read any of my blog posts you will know that I think social media is a great way for a charity to create awareness, talk about their mission and cause, and gather new supporters to assist them in doing all of the above. If you have a low cost communications or marketing tool like Twitter, you do have to do some investing to make the platform an effective in meeting some of your marketing objectives. Mostly I think this investment will be in the form of investing staff time and salary into not only posting on the site but also engaging followers and potential followers. The other day when I posted a video of strategies to grow up to 100,000 followers there was at least one strategy that I did not describe all that well. In the video below I try to add some clarity to one of mu tactics listed in the previous video as well as describe some new strategies to increase your twitter following.
Tag: social media for charities
Is having a 100,000 followers important? Probably not ,but a few days ago I saw a YouTube video from a charity leader who I think says a lot of important things in support of the sector, he had posted a video how to get 10,000 twitter followers. It made me think every once in a while people ask me how I got this many follower. So I thought I would do a video as well. Below is the video with a few tips and approaches I use. I have had my twitter account since 2011 so by no means is this video going to change your following over night. However doing some of the things on the video will definitely help your following to grow in a systematic fashion. Check it out and let me know your thoughts.
Not that I think I have a rock-star twitter following or anything, but I do definitely like the platform and I think it can be a great awareness and even revenue building tool for you charity. The video below includes some of the strategies I use to build twitter relationships. However I have also included a link to a recent post Kim Garst posted on her blog. Kim has some great ideas and in the video I talk about some of her ideas that I have not used but am planing to try. You can check out her blog for the original post. However you are bound to find some other great content and tips there as well.
One of the reasons so many small to medium sized companies or small nonprofits have embraced social media is that it is such an inexpensive way to market your organization. I said inexpensive not free. The channels may be free or inexpensive but to make them work for you organization you have to invest your staff or your own time into making them effective. In the video below two tactics which allow you to leverage and magnify your investment in these channels are discussed:
Here is a quick video talking about why organizational leaders should use social media to promote their brand, and cause:
Enlisting the support of local influencers can help your charity improve the reach of their twitter or other social media sites.
Nonprofit’s who want to get involved using social media to promote thier cause can sometimes find it challenging to know what should they post and how should the balance their key messages.
For a charity with a limited marketing budget the idea of investing time or money into developing a social media program can be overwhelming. Most small or medium sized charities might not even know where to start. Observing what some of the large charities or non-profit organizations are doing can be a good way to figure out how to best use limited marketing resources.
Periscope looks like it might be an interesting new tool for a small to medium sized charity wanting to tell the story of the good work they are doing
To understand how an organizations brand can have a greater impact for a charity it is likely useful to understand the/a definition for “brand”. Kylander and Stone (2012) define brand as:” A brand is more than a visual identity: the name, logo, and graphic design used by an organization. A brand is a psychological construct held in the minds of all those aware of the branded product, person, organization, or movement. Brand management is the work of managing these psychological associations. In the for-profit world, marketing professionals talk of creating “a total brand experience.” In the nonprofit world, executives talk more about their “global identity” and the “what and why” of their organizations. But the point in both cases is to take branding far beyond the logo.” Defined in this way it is not difficult to take the leap to what groups or individuals beyond donors alone who may have a “psychological construct” of what your organization is and what it does. It is also understandable that an organization may want to manage these psychological associations for volunteers or other NPO/NGOs who may collaborate with your organization.
These authors quote Diane Fusilli, (a global brand consultant and former communications director at the Rockefeller Foundation) who suggests “A strong brand helps bring greater credibility and trust to a project quicker, and acts as a catalyst for people to want to come to the table.” In this description beyond providing financial supports or revenue your brand can be useful in getting people on-board or to become engaged. Kylander & Stone (2012) don’t stop at external constituents but illustrate brand as a factor in rallying internal stakeholders or constituents as well. They describe brand as having the power to make organizations more effective. For example:” When an organization’s employees and volunteers all embrace a common brand identity, it creates organizational cohesion, concentrates focus, and reinforces shared values.” The authors go on to elaborate:” Strong cohesion and high levels of trust contribute to greater organizational capacity and social impact. A cohesive organization is able to make more efficient and focused use of existing resources, and high external trust attracts additional talent, financing, and authority. This increase in organizational capacity enhances an organization’s social impact.”
With the potential benefits to nonprofit organizations it is easy to imagine how important the role of your MarComm team (whether they are paid staff or volunteers) is in developing an brand that is understandable and embraced by not only your external stakeholders but also your internal stakeholders. In this case it seems very reasonable that the organization have a much broader definition of internal stakeholders. Board members, staff and volunteers are clearly internal stakeholders but when it comes to brand stakeholders you should include social media followers. These followers can also become strong assets in sharing your brand, but will do so only if they embrace it as much as stakeholders who your organization may have traditionally viewed as closer to you. As mentioned in part 1 of this article not only should your followers embrace your brand but also your team must be willing and able to create content and collateral that makes it easier for these followers share your brand with their contacts and followers. This is a place that may feel very challenging for traditional marketers. Losing control of who is sharing your message and your brand –or if they are creating their own twist on your messaging. Kylander & Stone (2012) introduce the concept of Brand Democracy and how it can be utilized to share your brand –however inevitably your team will have less ability to control this sharing of your brand. They describe;” Brand democracy means that the organization trusts its members, staff, participants, and volunteers to communicate their own understanding of the organization’s core identity. Brand democracy largely eliminates the need to tightly control how the brand is presented and portrayed. The appetite for brand democracy among nonprofit leaders is largely a response to the growth of social media, which has made policing the brand nearly impossible.”
It is likely that the notion of being able to control your brand is becoming less and less probable. Based on the psychological construct described earlier –likely we don’t really own our own brand anyway as it is largely based on how others perceive us. These authors quote Alexis Ettinger, (head of strategy and marketing at the University of Oxford’s Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship) in saying;” “Given the rise of social media it would be insane to try to single-handedly control the brand.” Instead of trying to control your brand Kylander & Stone (2012) suggest:” Brand democracy requires a fundamental shift in the traditional approach to brand management. Organizations aspiring to brand democracy do not police their brands, trying to suppress unauthorized graphics or other representations of the organization, but strive instead to implement a participatory form of brand management. They provide resources, such as sample text and online templates that all staff can access and adapt to communicate the mission, strategy, work, and values of the organization.” Reading this quote for the first time made me think about the Mario Andretti quote:” If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.” If we feel like we have total control of our charities brand it is possible that we are not adapting quickly enough to how the internet, web-based technologies and social media are changing how our supporters will perceive and interact with our organization. The authors do recognize that for Brand Democracy to work, an organization does need a strong internal brand identity and organizational cohesion. Just to be clear the authors do not advocate abandoning all efforts to manage your brand. Kylander and Stone (2012) do caution;” Brand democracy is not brand anarchy. Organizations need to establish parameters for a brand, even if the space within these limits is large.” Certainly some cautions should be applied and organizations should manage to the best of their ability how their brand is perceived. However some days it does feel like we should heed Andretti’s advice and go a little faster.
If you would like to read part 1 of this post:
Kylander,K. & Stone, C. (2012) The Role of Brand in the Nonprofit Sector: Stanford Social Innovation
Review; V34, Spring 2012, as retrieved from: