So, You've Got a Lot of Facebook Friends. Now What?
Are you spending a lot of time on social media for your nonprofit and just kind of hoping it pays off? When it comes to converting social-media friends to donors, people often get it wrong.
For example, B.J. Mendelson, author of “Social Media is Bullsh*t,” had more than 1 million followers on Twitter. He decided to go on a road trip and asked his followers to give to charity along the way, figuring, “Even if 10 percent of my followers gave a dollar, that would be something!”
Well, he raised about $20 from the whole social-media campaign to get people to donate. Imagine that. With 1 million followers. Getting people to donate was incredibly difficult. He realized he didn’t have a lot of engagement that translated to donations.
Now, you could say, “Well, he didn’t know how to fundraise; he could have done better with a real campaign or something.” But the fact remains that Mendelson’s experiment is a cautionary tale on the perils of looking at “follows” or “likes” as a substitute for building a relationship with donors.
If you do have lots of followers or likes already, good for you! How do you take advantage of that? If you’re just starting out, you can use the following as advice for how to do it better than Mendelson.
Starting out on the right foot
First of all, you need to make your social-media updates interesting. That helps people want to click through to learn more. If you’re on Facebook, pictures often work. Pinterest pictures work too. Twitter pictures or movies work well, but even just an interesting text post will get a click.
Top Tip! To make your tweets or Facebook updates pop, use the word “you.”
Once they’ve clicked, what will have people falling over themselves to donate? You have to study the greats — and find your own voice. Follow big nonprofits in your cause area and see what they do. You can also sign up for my list at wildwomanfundraising.com.
Dr. Joseph Mercola at Mercola.com is a master of email marketing. I’d highly recommend signing up for his email list just to see how he makes compelling copy. You don’t have to agree with him about anything. Just read his subject lines and his headlines.
Another way to learn how to write a compelling sentence for your social-media updates is to read “Ca$hvertising” by Drew Eric Whitman, who has some good words that help get people to click through.
And finally, practice makes perfect! Sending out social-media updates every week will help you get better in no time.
Here are 16 types of headlines you can create:
- Reasons why
- Item — hype
- Expert positioning
- Extreme value proposition
- Dominant emotion
- If …then
- Straight benefit
What should you make updates about?
- Your donors and volunteers: Your donors and volunteers want to feel noticed and appreciated. You can meet with them, take pictures with them, post about your open house and what they said, or even interview them for your newsletter and put excerpts in your social media.
- Your activities: If you’re giving a presentation or doing an event, definitely talk about that.
- Useful free advice: If you’ve written a blog post or two since you sent out the last e-newsletter, link that content.
- Help other people: If you’re doing a link roundup of interesting articles in your cause area, make sure to put that in, as well. Tell people you linked to them, and they might feel grateful enough to link back and promote you too. Every little bit helps!
- Joking around: I like to add a little bit of fun into my social-media posts, everything from, “Here’s what we did over the weekend” to, “Here’s a contest to win a book!” Those contests tend to be very popular.
If you’re really not sure what to write about, look at some of the keywords that lead people to your website or what people are copy-pasting from your site because they find it useful. Use Tynt.com to figure this out. (I’ve written more about this here).
Even someone with 1 million followers can fail. What would have helped Mendelson succeed?
Here’s the big secret
He should have gotten people’s email addresses.
At least once a week, give people a reason to sign up to your email list. All social-media activity should lead to people giving you their emails and names with permission to continue the relationship.
Why? People may check Facebook once a week, Twitter or Pinterest once a month, but they check their email every day. Image 2 above, from ExactTarget, shows where people start their days.
Think about where you start your day. Even if people are not on Twitter or Facebook, they have email, and many people check their email as soon as they wake up. You can be there, in their inboxes, reminding them of all the value you bring.
Email is the most powerful social-media tool you have. When you have a large list that you’ve communicated with consistently, you can get your list to support your nonprofit.
And aside from direct mail, donors most often give through email, rather than social media. So getting an email address is the first step to getting a deeper relationship with a potential donor.
The single most important factor that holds you back in fundraising is lack of keeping your donors. A consistent social-media and e-newsletter presence is a way to communicate your value and give free things to your list so supporters will tell their friends about you, and you’ll get more and more people signing up to your list every week.
John Jantsch, author of a book on social media called “The Referral Engine,” says, “Businesses should not use social media until they have email nailed.”
Frankly, I agree — this applies to nonprofits too.
Tracking your progress
Once you start this process, how do you track if you’re making progress before you get donations?
“Social media is the culmination of marketing, customer service and communications in real time in front of everyone,” says Eve Mayer Orsburn, author of “Social Media for the CEO.” “Any tool that affords you to do so much and reach so many people for free cannot be summed up with one simple measurement.”
The problem is there’s just too much data! Did you know that there are more than 1.9 billion people online? And this number is only going to grow by 2020. There are more than 5 million terabytes of data on the Internet. To give you an idea of how big that is, Google’s index only includes about 200 terabytes of data, which means Google has indexed only 0.004 percent of all data on the Internet. The human brain can only hold 1 to 10 terabytes of data. So no wonder you’re feeling overwhelmed!
What are metrics?
Metrics are how to see if you’re getting heard by enough people to move your business forward.
For your website, you can use Google Analytics to measure:
- Uniques: This is the number of unique visitors your website has.
- Visits: How many times people visit your site in a given period of time.
- Your most popular content: What do people read a lot?
- How people find you: What keywords lead people to your site?
For your social-media channels, it’s worthwhile to measure:
- How many followers you have;
- How many times your content gets spread by others; and
- The general tenor of comments about you, aka sentiment analysis or sentiment metrics.
Which metrics are important?
- Metrics that measure your engagement on social media channels;
- Metrics that measure engagement on your website; and
- Metrics that measure your bottom line after your social-media campaign.
Remember that data is not information. You need to translate your data into something you can act on.
The difference between the new marketing reality and the old is that if you just pushed and blasted your message out there, people would say it was adequate. Now you need to be thinking about how much you’re engaging in relationship building and chatting with your audience, which is much trickier to measure but leads to more loyal customers over time.
Metrics that don’t matter:
- Website hits;
- Website kilobytes;
- The number of Twitter followers you have if you don’t have any engagement history with them;
- The number of Facebook “likes” you have;
- Klout or Kred.
Metrics that do matter:
- On your website: visits, uniques, pages, comments, number of times things are copied;
- On Twitter and LinkedIn: mentions, retweets, conversations, number of influencers you have built relationships with and, of course, followers.
Mazarine Treyz is a fundraising speaker and the author of wildwomanfundraising.com, as well as author of “The Wild Woman’s Guide to Fundraising,” “The Wild Woman’s Guide to Social Media” and “Get the Job! Your Fundraising Career Empowerment Guide.” Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @wildwomanfund