While social media has completely revolutionized the world of charity (among others), it’s also created a whole lot of white noise; social media has started to resemble a very large, loud and crowded market, and small charities are having a tough time making themselves heard over all of the chatter. I recently came across an article that has some advice for small charities to be heard online. While the article is mainly focusing on the Holiday season, a lot of the pieces of advice here are relevant year-round:
Find a story: One of the big worries with social media is the constant need to come up with something compelling to say. Charities need case studies for various aspects of marketing, including social media. Focus your messages around a specific call to action, based partly on the service your charity gives to the community. This is not only what your supporters want to hear about in the first place, but it’ll make the rest of your communications a lot easier to unite around.
Keep it simple: Once you’ve got a story, you can do just about anything you want with it, but make sure that it’s kept simple for the intended audience to view. The best online communicators are the ones who recognize that when people are going to listen, they’ll most likely be sitting at home casually browsing their Twitter or Facebook. So ask yourself: to that casual viewer, does the Facebook have impact? Are the photos and Vinces enhancing your story? While this takes a bit of work, getting your materials together will make sure that you’re well equipped to put out a stellar campaign that your supporters will love.
Don’t expect miracles: In the world of the Internet, miracles and virality do happen, but chances are you’ll have a tough time being as viral or recognizable as the marketing campaign of some company like Coca Cola or Apple. But at the same, you don’t really need that: you already have your followers, and they like you. So talk directly with your followers and tell your story with them in mind. Obscure campaign slogans and hashtags won’t do you any good, so cleverness needs to trump clarity; for example, a hashtag of #lovenature for an animal charity is going to do more good than something like #endcoal, even if both make sense in relation to that charity’s aims.
Ask people: If you want something, all you have to do is ask. Many small charities are hesitant to appear pushy or ask for money throughout the year, but if you don’t ask, you’ll most likely not get anything. There are a couple of tools you can use to capitalize on increased online traffic, such as Facebook’s “Donate Now” button, which is conveniently located right next to
Home for the holidays: Out of the items on this list, this is the only one that applies specifically to the holidays. Because the truth is that more people give online in the week leading up to Christmas than any other time of the year, because when they’re home browsing online retail sites like Amazon, they’re also checking their social media, so they’ll be more likely to part with a couple extra dollars if they’re already buying something online.