Social media is a great tool. My time in this class, and a couple other classes like it, have taught me that social media marketing—or shilling—is most effective when these diverse formats across a few carefully selected platforms work together to create a unified front with a unified voice. Social media pages need to have personality. The big idea of Heather Mansfield’s material is that an organization’s social media should tell a story. Whether you are making videos, posting photos or stories, or blogging, all of it is storytelling. You can’t tell a story without personality. Heather Mansfield writes, “Every single status update that you send out should be the result of a couple of minutes of thought, preparation, and personality” (Eleven). Storytelling and personality are the two biggest things to insert into any social media strategy.
According to Mansfield, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are essential for a nonprofit. Mansfield writes, “Referral traffic is high from Twitter and Facebook, and although referral traffic from Instagram isn’t possible…the high level of engagement and rapid growth…ensured its placement as a top priority” (4 signs). On Facebook, Mansfield recommends always sharing a link, photo, or video in a status update (Eleven). Basically, adding something to a post will make people care. My priority with a nonprofit would be adding stories to make people care.
I don’t think it would take much. The stories of people nonprofits work with and help are invaluable. Not only are they testaments to the organization’s work, but they are opportunities for outsiders to connect. Pictures are a good start. But if there is no context attached to that photo I am far less likely to become invested.
Creativity is needed, too. On Giving Hearts Day I got to see many organizations get creative in how to get people involved and interested. It seemed to pay off for them.
On Giving Hearts Day I noticed many organizations attaching promotional offers to donating. Mansfield writes, “The idea of promoting others to your fans is a hard concept for many traditional nonprofit communicators to wrap their heads around, but…you’ll begin to notice an obvious correlation between promoting others and reciprocity” (Eleven). The New American Consortium, which partnered with African Soul, American Heart, promoted the opportunity to win a piece of donated art with a certain donation. I believe there was a raffle.
Anyway, this is a good strategy because art is irresistible. Plus it allows the person who wins some art to really connect with both the artist and the organization. If I received some art, looked at it each day, thought about the person being assisted by my donation, I am both more likely to donate again and involve myself with other facets of the organization. I probably would end up at events.
That’s a specific example of an organization getting creative in one visual way. Blogging is another opportunity. Honest stories and experiences are incredibly valuable. I think that most of the time people do not see their experience as valuable—outside of when they are begging for a job. It is easy to overlook the stories of yourself or others, but they do mean something. Besides, they are free. Free is good when you’re a nonprofit.
Facebook users spend, on average, about 2.1 fewer minutes on the site per day, which is a 5% drop (Flynn). Facebook could lose double that and it still would not matter. Social media is inescapable. Nonprofits need to use social media because they do not have a choice. Organizations do, however, have a choice in getting the most out of it. Telling stories with pictures, posts, and videos across platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is the best way to connect people to a cause and an organization.
Flynn, Kerry. “Facebook’s Traffic is down 50 Million Hours per Day as Zuckerberg Demands Fewer ‘Viral Videos’.” Mashable, 31 Jan. 2018.
Mansfield, Heather. “4 Signs Your Nonprofit Should Quit a Social Network.” Nonprofit Tech for Good, 2 Aug. 2017.
Mansfield, Heather. “Eleven Facebook Pages Best Practices for Nonprofits.” Charity Village, 24 Oct. 2011.