NFPs Need Social Media More Than They Know
21 September 2017 at 8:33 am
If not for profits ignore social media the chances of their organisations thriving into 2018 and beyond are slim, writes Hancock Creative director Alecia Hancock along with her top tips for not for profits.
If you’re a not-for-profit organisation, you need social media. I don’t mean this half-heartedly. You don’t “need” social media in the way a Kardashian needs a handbag – it’s not an added extra, or an unnecessary luxury. No: if you’re a not-for-profit organisation, you need social media to survive.
Not only that, but you need to be doing social media well. It’s not enough to simply possess a Facebook page and a Twitter handle; you need to have a social-media presence. You need to be active, engaging and responsive across the relevant platforms. You need to be social-media savvy.
Sounds dramatic, right? Yes, but there’s a reason for that.
When you consider that eight out of 10 Australians are active on social media, you’ll understand why this corner of the market is simply too large to ignore. You need to own your social-media strategy, and use it to grow your organisation.
The stark truth is this: if you ignore social media – if you dismiss its worth and its reach – then the chances of your organisation surviving into 2018 and beyond are slim. You’ll severely limit your chances to recruit volunteers, raise essential donations and grow your brand. You might be doing great, great things, but no one will know about it. Worse, no one will care.
I don’t mean to alarm you, I truly believe it’s the key to your organisations’ success, and your ability to change the world. After all, teaching not for profits how to use social media is what we do at Hancock Creative.
Here is what we’ve have learned over our years of mentoring NFPs in social media:
- Choose quality over quantity.
That is, don’t try and spread yourselves too thin. Many not-for-profit organisations feel they have to use all the social-media channels to have an impact. They dabble in Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and LinkedIn and Snapchat, thinking that this is the key to social-media success. It’s not. In my experience, it’s best to identify two or three platforms that work for you and your organisation, and focus on them.
- Know your audience.
The interesting part about social media is that you may have many audiences. Most organisations have at least two or three significant groups that they’re speaking to – whether that be West Australian mothers aged 35 to 44 or Indonesian school teachers aged 25 to 34.
Why is this information important? Well, that’s simple: you need to know who you’re speaking to. When you write a post, you have a message that you need to convey. How can you convey it effectively if you don’t know who you’re talking to?
- Create a two-way conversation.
One of the biggest criticisms levelled at big brands on social media is that they talk “at” people rather than “to” them. One-sided conversations are a massive no-no on social media, which makes sense, as they’re not particularly social.
Instead I encourage NFPs to create a community where people can converse and engage. Create the ultimate dinner party, where everyone is on a level footing, rather than a situation where the host stands at the end of the table preaching at his guests. Find common ground and chat to people.
- Be honest and authentic.
Find your organisation’s voice and tell your truthful story. Don’t underestimate the power of storytelling. When NFPs and social enterprises successfully tell their stories, they engage with their audience. In doing so, they’re able to recruit more volunteers, bring in more donations and spread their positive message. When you tell your story, people listen, care and respond. It’s these personal stories that interest and engage with us, and it’s these personal stories that can change the world. It’s these personal stories that account for the worldwide success of Humans of New York – small, meaningful glimpses into other people’s lives, which can have a huge impact on our own.
- Analyse and report.
It sounds dull, but honestly, this is great fun. Use your analytical tools to tap down into your audience – find out who’s on your different social-media platforms, and when. Find out what they engage with, and what they don’t. It’ll really help you tell your story, I promise.
- Finally, plan, plan and plan some more.
There’s a good reason for this: content planning is the best way to make sure you focus on the big issues. It also helps you create a clear map for every month, week and day. In addition to this, writing down your social-media strategy and content plan means that everyone in your organisation has access to it, and can step into the breach if necessary.
If you’re keen to learn more Hancock Creative is hosting a free Change the World event in Perth on 24 October.
The event, designed to help organisations fundraise, build awareness and attract volunteers through social media, will see Australia’s best entrepreneurial storytellers including Nick Bowditch and Richard Bell take the stage.
Come along and learn how to tell your story, too, from the best storytellers in the business. It’s the easiest way to change the world.
About the author: Alecia Hancock is an entrepreneur, educator, and director of Hancock Creative. She has published hundreds of articles, created award-winning social media campaigns, and is a sought after speaker and not for profit trainer. Alecia was chosen as one of WA’s most influential people in business by NIFNEX, and her business was named Telstra Micro Business of the Year WA 2017, and won a national web award for Social Media Campaign of the Year in 2016.