October 29, 2010

10 winning social media tactics for nonprofits

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chad-normanGuest post by Chad Norman
Internet Marketing, Blackbaud

You have a social media strategy – now what? Using your various social media channels to meet strategic goals is the right way to operate, but some time you need an idea or two to help you get there.

One year ago, Melanie Mathos and I created 50 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits to help organizations do just that – plug good ideas into good strategies. The response has been overwhelming and inspired us to create 50 (More) Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits. These basic to intermediate-level tactics can be used to support a variety of strategic goals and get your supporters to take action.

Below you’ll find 10 tactics to help you get started.

Add a Facebook Like button

1The Facebook Like button is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website and blog content. After >customizing this widget at Facebook.com, you can easily put it into your site’s template in a matter of minutes. Each time a visitor “likes” something on your website, that activity will appear in their Facebook feed and drive some of their friends to your content.

Display the rules for your Facebook community

2Some nonprofits stress out about how to handle negative comments on their Facebook Page’s wall. If you think this will be an issue, simply post a “commenting policy” on the info tab of your Facebook Page. This will give you the freedom to moderate content with full transparency and give your supporters the right expectations. The Humane Society of the United States has used this effectively on their Facebook Page.

Support a specific call to action with its own tab

3If you don’t have calls to action on your Facebook page, you’re missing a huge opportunity! By using the FBML application, you can create custom tabs that feature programs and other activities. The Best Friends Animal Society does this effectively with their “Adopt!” tab. Other tab names that can get visitors to act include, “Sign Up,” “Volunteer,” “Donate” or “Register.”

Launch a friend campaign to broaden your audience

4It never hurts to ask, and that’s true when you’re trying to get new supporters to join your Facebook Page. Your current Facebook fans all have networks of their own (the average Facebook user has 130 friends), so don’t be afraid to ask them to reach out and get their friends to join. The California State Parks Foundation launched a “Friend Get a Friend” campaign via two updates to their 517 fans. Within two weeks, their page went from 517 to 33,000 supporters — and they now have close to 60,000!

Create a branded social network around a cause

5Facebook communities are great, but some organizations need private label social networks to take them to the next level. For one thing, the average size of an in-house community is 50 percent larger than an equivalent Facebook network. You also have more control over privacy, branding, and the data (access to this data is important!). In addition, if your organization deals with sensitive topics, the private nature may encourage participation. The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation has a thriving network built for people living with and supporting people with paralysis.

Encourage supporters to use their social networks

6Alternative giving is a fun way to turn awesome supporters into awesome fundraisers! Many nonprofits have looked at birthdays, weddings, graduations, and other personal events as opportunities to raise money in lieu of traditional gifts. Facebook Causes has taken this to another level by helping users ask their friends for donations instead of gifts with birthday wishes. Over $7.5 million has been raised so far, so encourage your supporters to create their own birthday wishes.

Use Twitter Widgets to display updates on your site

7Bringing your social network onto your website or blog is a great way to spread content and attract new followers. Twitter makes this easy via Widgets – customizable objects that can be embedded on your website. The Search Widget is a great way to incorporate Twitter content about a keyword, hashtag, or your organization’s name on your site. They also have a Profile Widget, Favorites Widget, and Lists Widget you should check out.

Enhance team collaboration by assigning tweets

8Most nonprofits don’t have the resources to monitor and respond to social media activity throughout the day. Tools like CoTweet and Hootsuite make it possible for multiple staff members to collaborate and schedule tweets from a single tool. This is great for scheduling the delivery of planned tweets around blog posts, event reminders, and news, freeing up staff to focus on engagement (replying, responding, and retweeting).

Use video annotations for multiple calls to action

9Getting your supporters to take action is a critical goal of most all social media activity, so never miss an opportunity. Using video annotations in YouTube is a great way to drive viewers back to a donation or sign-up page on your website. See how STILLER STRONG used annotations to create an interactive menu in their videos, and then learn how your nonprofit can use video annotations as calls to action. (Be sure to sign up for YouTube’s Nonprofit Program first!)

Extend your mission by leaving tips at check-in spots

10Foursquare is becoming a great way for nonprofits to spread their mission around a local area. Tips can be attached to venues, and then displayed when someone checks-in there. For example, the Charleston Parks Conservancy uses tips to direct Foursquare users to nearby parks. (I’ve also seen environmental groups use tips to point out nearby recycling options and animal welfare groups promoting adoptions at pet store check-ins.) Get creative!

What are some of your favorite social media tactics? Share them in the comments here or on Twitter using the hashtag #50smt. We’d love to hear from you!

Republished from bethkanter.org.

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