Should Social Media be so Crucial to your Marketing Strategy?
Social Media has been thrown around a lot in the past few years. Most everyone has been raving about how critical it is to any marketing strategy.
I'm sure you remember the Kony 2012 campaign [link], the Ice Bucket Challenge [link], and others that were such successful social media campaigns for different nonprofits.
Want to know their secret to success?
They made people care about their cause!
Here's how they did it:
The Kony 2012 campaign told a compelling story through video and showed everyone why their cause mattered. Then they backed it up with facts.
The Ice Bucket Challenge made it fun AND EASY for people to participate by asking for only a small thing and then had them show everyone else that they did it.
Social Media can be very powerful, but many nonprofits don't know how to utilize it effectively.
Here are some tips as you market your nonprofit:
- Don't sign up for every social networking site just because it exists. Pick the ones where your audience lives and focus on those.
- Use #hashtags – these make your posts searchable and easier to find by your audience.
- Use videos and images because they are more likely to get liked and shared and they are more engaging.
- This may seem like a no brainer, but I feel the need to say it anyways: Keep your personal accounts separate from your organization's accounts. I've seen it happen and you audience will lose interest if they are getting your personal updates.
- With that being said, make sure you have personality. Whatever that means for your nonprofit, just have personality. It's a good way to stand out and it allows people to connect on a deeper level with you.
- It's ok to brag about your organization, just don't go overboard. If you win something or have a success, let people know about it. Don't throw it in their faces, but a pat on your own back is ok.
Increase your Organic Website Traffic with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
In the movie After Earth, Will Smith's character says to his son, "Everything on this planet has evolved to kill humans." That's kinda how SEO is. It's constantly evolving to kill websites.
It isn't trying to kill your website, but it is constantly evolving and it can bury your website in the depths of the abyss that is called the Internet if you don't pay attention to it.
That's why if you don't know how to optimize your website for Google, then I strongly recommend that you have someone do it who does.
If you want the challenge of trying to keep up with Google or you have no choice than to do it yourself, here are a few tips:
- Try to get other websites to link back to your website.
- Know your target keywords (you only need them once on each page)
- Add meta descriptions for each page
- Despite what people may tell you, you can write well AND have good SEO so make sure you sound natural. It doesn't have to be one or the other.
There are lots of experts and resources out there so take advantage of them if you can't pay someone to do it for you.
There are lots of scammers out there making empty promises. Be leery of the one who promises first-page rankings in one day.
Can Google Ads be Helpful to your Nonprofit Organization?
What can a nonprofit do with Google ads?
Great question. Let me tell you:
The same thing a business might do with it. Whether you accept money or not, you are selling something. It may be an idea or a task or a tangible object, but you are trying to convince someone to take some kind of action.
Enter Google AdWords.
You have seen these every time you search Google for anything; they are the blocks of ads at the top and right side of your search results.
The theory is that if someone is searching for a certain keyword, and you buy Google ads to have your message appear in their search results...maybe your ad gets clicked! There is a cost-per-click, which can be $0.25 to many dollars depending on the competitiveness of the selected keyword.
But you're probably wondering:
Does it work? The short answer is yes.
This can definitely be an immediate way to get attention and traffic to your website. Of course, as with anything, there's a dark-side. Many times a campaign is not successful because they point the visitor to their website homepage where there is no clear call to action and they click around the site without doing anything (except costing you money for the click!)
Also, Google AdWords is a great way to get on the first page of Google without ranking on the first page!
This article: "The Real Reason AdWords Isn't Working For Many Small Businesses" talks about small businesses, but it directly applies to nonprofits. Check it out for a few tips and tricks to make sure your ad campaign is a success.
The Goldmine for Awareness: Reputation Management
These days, we tend to trust other people's opinions of an organization as much as a family member's opinion!
There are all kinds of stats that explain a buyers' decision-making process and they all directly apply to your audience. For example:
72% Of Buyers Trust Reviews As Much As Personal Recommendations
The concept behind that statistic is so important!
Here it is:
People talk. You know this. I know this. A business wants to capitalize on this in the form of reviews while you should be going after testimonials. Those two words describe almost the same thing.
You should be hunting down testimonials of how people were impacted by your nonprofit either by what they did through your nonprofit or what they received from your nonprofit or whatever the case may be.
Testimonials are your social proof that you are who you say you are, you do what you say you do, and it has the impact that you say it has.
And the best part is:
It doesn't come from your mouth. It comes from a third-party member, someone who is "unbiased" and "objective," someone the public can trust. Not that they can't trust you, but you are biased and of course you'll say goods things about yourself.
Get the social proof and capture those testimonials (and for a greater effect, get them on video!).
This Old-School Tool may be the Perfect Differentiator
Isn't direct mail dead?
Think about it, do you receive more mail solicitations in your mailbox at home now than 15 years ago? If you are like most, it is less (much less!)
However, direct mail is a laser-targeted way to reach your target prospects or donors "under-the-radar" because it reaches them without competing with all the noise out there digitally.
With the rise of email and social media, many leap to declare print and direct mail "dead." But don't let them fool you!
So here are some things to remember as you take advantage of mail:
- Make it as personal as possible. (Handwritten is awesome!) The more personal it is the higher the chance that it will get opened and read.
- Mail with thickness is always intriguing. Put something in the envelope or send a package and give it that 3-dimensional attraction.
- Use images on your letter or flyer or whatever you mail out. Images are more interesting to look at and can be more effective at getting your message across.
25 Direct Marketing Statistics Prove Direct Mail Works
Get in Front of your Audience, Literally
You are probably more familiar with the idea of events for marketing purposes, but I want to go over a few things anyway.
Typical events that nonprofits host are fundraisers, banquets, maybe a concert and those are all great.
Here are a few other ideas to sponsor:
- A Major League Baseball game
- A race
- A conference
- A trivia night
- A Band or an athlete
Here are some ideas of events to host:
- Have an old-fashioned "Field Day"
- A huge scavenger hunt
- A movie night
- A formal dance
Here's the key:
Know your audience. Where are they going to be on Friday night? What are they going to do on Saturday? How can you get in front of them or draw them in?
Answer that question and you will know what kind of event to host or sponsor.
The ideas I shared may be pure gold to you or they may be completely worthless, but you have to know whom you are talking to if you want to reach them and get them involved.
I hope this information was helpful! Leave a comment below about what your nonprofit is doing well or not so well in marketing.