Tips for Using Social Media to Build Awareness and Enable Participant Fundraising
Johnston said nonprofits need to think about how they can become a part of the conversation without interrupting it. Social media Web 2.0 is all about hands-on/interactive, blogging, wikis, tagging, syndication of valuable content, Twitter and community-planned "unconferences." It's about building a community, starting a conversation, increasing trust and evoking feeling. Instead, more often than not, nonprofits interrupt this experience.
Donors control what they believe and what they'll tell people about. The key is to get them to believe in you and talk about your organization. Social-media tools allow you to stay top of mind and close by so you’re there when people want to give or take action.
"Using social communities online will allow your donors to communicate," Johnston said. "The testament to your brand, from your donors, will work for free to convert leads."
Johnston also recommended organizations blog, as it helps create conversation, influence and strategy, it's creative, and it's a good way to publicize your organization's work.
Some blog benchmarks to pay attention to include:
- Technorati rating
Social-media success, he said, relies on the following six points:
- Honesty (get permission)
- An awareness of who your audience is
- Frequent updates
- Letting the audience be the heroes — not your brand
When determining which social networking/user-generated content sites your organization will use, Johnston said to consider which sites are popular to the demographic you're trying to reach. Be empirical; be able to track and understand the investment in social media. Calculate exactly how much money you're spending, making, etc.
He recommended the following 10 steps to social media success:
1. Listen first and then participate.
Use tools like Twitter, Technorati and Google Alerts to jump into the conversation.
2. Contribute to the conversation by starting a blog.
- Know the type of blog you want to start — CEO, customer support, thought leadership, etc.
- Connect with other bloggers in your space to link content and promote each other's stories — read and comment on other people's blogs.
- Building an audience takes time.
- Make it easy to share your posts (send by e-mail, submit to sharing services, etc.)
- Offer a variety of ways to read the blog (RSS, e-mail, etc.)
- Be interesting and unique.
- Use Google Analytics to track where your traffic is coming from (collaborate with the traffic source and build partnerships).