Using Social Media to Meet Non-profit Goals… What’s Your Grade?

Blueprint Creative Group | | E: | P: (305) 741-0378


Blueprint Creative Group

What to expect…
              Going social Where does your non-profit fit in? Facebook is king! Posting is not engagement! Who’s on your team? Understanding Social Audiences Where does it hurt? Rubbing the magic genie Making the case for Twitter Non-profits who get Twitter right Do you look like this? Ponder on this Social Faceoff: Facebook vs Twitter Who we are
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Going Social
So you have a social media plan, right? Well, if your non-profit organization is like the majority of others, your greatest challenge probably has a lot to do with getting the most out of social media. More specifically, how do you use Facebook, Twitter, and the various other social media platforms to build cause awareness? How can social media be used to fundraise in support of your organization’s development goals? Is the Return on Investment (ROI) substantial enough to make social media worth the time? How can you extend your reach and connect with new audiences and create additional layers of engagement for current supporters? At the time of this writing, Facebook has recently implemented a few changes that will have a significant impact on how a large majority of non-profits use Facebook for marketing and promotional purposes, and many other changes (or improvements as Facebook calls it) are underway. So if Facebook has been the biggest awareness tool that your non-profit has used, how will you adapt and adjust your current use? With an estimated 177 to 190 million Tweets sent per day (yes, that many) and close to 500,000 new Twitter accounts created every day, what chunk of the Twitter pie is your non-profit chewing on? As revealed in the results of the survey of non-profit executives, that piece of the pie is pretty small and many are overlooking the opportunity to connect with new audiences who can potentially become ambassadors and evangelists for your cause. What about Google+ with more than 25 million users and the fastest social network to reach 10 million users in 16 days (Twitter took 780 days and Facebook 852)? Is this even in your radar along with YouTube (with over 92 billion page views per month) and the countless other social media networks available to your organization? This whitepaper investigates how mid-size to large non-profits are currently using social media as an integrated component of their overall marketing and cause awareness strategy. Through qualitative surveying conducted via phone with senior level executives, marketing directors, and development officers, the study gathered insight on current level of engagement and the result thereof and weighed that against how they thought they should actually be engaging social media audiences. The findings of the survey offer insights on how non-profits can optimize their social media engagement so that it is seamlessly integrated into their marketing strategy. The implications will hopefully drive non-profits from experimentation to actual implementation.

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Where does your non-profit fit in?
Facebook is still king!
For many non-profits, Facebook is like your favorite pair of shoes. You know there are plenty of other choices available to you but you will wear this one out until you can’t anymore.

When asked which of the commonly used tools their organization was actively usingTwitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blog, video sharing sites, and/or photo sharing sites- an overwhelming majority of respondents, more than 95 percent, said they were most active on Facebook. In fact, most if not all of their social media efforts were heavily focused on Facebook. Those who responded to being active on the other sites admitted to their activity being limited to simply maintaining a profile and making periodic posts. The reason why? Most non-profits felt like Facebook allowed more personal interaction with current and prospective supporters and was much easier to implement than say, Twitter.

If Facebook were a country it would be the 3rd largest.

According to the infographic on the following page, it’s quite obvious why non-profits prefer Facebook with the social network laiming over 63 percent of the social media market share and 310 million daily unique visitors. Surprisingly, Twitter only has about 1.15 percent of the social media market share, and that’s probably because Twitter is still dominated by early adopters. Other interesting Facebook stats:             Facebook has over 500 million users Facebook has added over 400 million users in less than 2 years If Facebook were a country it would be the 3rd largest One in every nine people on Earth is on Facebook People spend 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook Each Facebook user spends on average 15 hours and 33 minutes a month on the site 30 billion pieces of content is shared on Facebook each month The average Facebook user has 130 friends California is huge on Facebook with over 15 million users (41% of the population) 70% of users live outside the USA Women aged 55 and up are the fastest growing Facebook demographic in the USA Australian’s spend more time per month on Facebook than any other country at over 7 hours on average
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Facebook is king!

*Search Engine Journal

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Posting is not engagement!
Perception is not reality!
When asked how well of a job their organization does at using the more commonly used social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, video/photo sharing sites) to 1) build cause awareness, 2) connect with new supporters, 3) solicit online donations, and 4) cultivate supporter relationships, the common response was that their organization was doing above average except when it came to fundraising through social media, which many still struggle with.

For the most part, many non-profits are just scratching the surface and experimenting with social media.

However, when asked to describe their level of activity and how they engage their online community, many admitted that it was all 1-way with little interaction with followers. As explained, their activity was limited to maybe 1-2 Facebook posts on an average day and maybe a handful of Tweets in a week if that. As part of the research, we dug further and analyzed the Facebook pages and Twitter profiles for each responding non-profit and the proof was definitely in the pudding. Non-profits simply aren’t engaging their community enough, yet they believe that posting is engagement. For the most part, many non-profits are just scratching the surface and experimenting with social media.

Consider these stats by KRG Research

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Who’s on your team?
Sounds familiar?
Part of the survey was to uncover how non-profits were managing their social media efforts to understand the level of strategy that went into planning and execution. We also wanted to identify who within the organization was leading social media- a specific business unit, a specialist, or completely handled externally. What we found was no surprise but also still surprising nonetheless. For larger organizations with annual operating budgets of more than $10 million and a communications department, social media was obviously managed internally by their communications department. However, that’s just the only difference between these larger organizations and smaller ones. For the most part, many non-profits indicated that social media was managed within fund development. Can you believe that? What does fund development know about communications, and how in the world will they strategically position messages and engage a diversity of audiences? Apparently, many of these same organizations are of the school of thought that as long as one knows how to post messages in 140 characters then they are qualified to manage and direct the organization’s social media strategy. No wonder fundraising on social media has been a tough challenge.

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Understanding Social Audiences
Who are you speaking to?
Now there are a few reasons why social media should be managed and directed by someone with deep understanding of digital engagement, but we’ll just mention the most important reason for now and elaborate later in this paper. What we found while conducting this survey is that non-profits get in where they fit in. In other words, they jumped on the social media bandwagon because it was almost necessary, assigned someone to ‘do it,’ and sat back waiting for results…and most are still waiting. What this leads to is social media mass marketing. With today’s complex marketing environment you wouldn’t dare think about mass marketing in the physical world. So why do it in the virtual world?

Did you know about the different social media audiences?

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Understanding Social Audiences
So again, who are you speaking to?
Understand this. Facebook, Twitter, and the like is not a strategy- they are simply tools to connect with audiences. However, these tools and how you use them do need to fit into your overall marketing and communications strategy, and I would hope that there is an integrated approach with how social media fits in. So again, who are you speaking to? You have a clear understanding (hopefully!) of your key audiences to be engaged and outreached to as part of your marketing strategy. I’m also certain that your communications approach is different (hopefully!) for each key audience group whether it’s donors, volunteers, supporters, prospects, policy makers, partners, industry, etc. So does your organization approach your social media communications in the same manner? As an example, if you find that your Facebook community is dominated by Creators and Spectators while your Twitter following is mostly Conversationalists, how is this reflected in your social media strategy? More specifically,   For Creators, how does your social media strategy empower them to create content specific to your cause? Alternatively, for audiences more likely to consume media than create it (Spectators), why type of low-engagement social media tactic are implemented to inspire activity within their comfort level and at least get them to respond to your messages? For Conversationalists on Twitter, are you doing more talking or listening? How are you engaging this audience segment so that they stay engaged and you remain at the forefront of their conversations? Conversationalists are important because of their potential level of influence and ability to become an evangelist for your non-profit.

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Where does it hurt?
What communications strategy do you believe the majority of non-profits struggle with the most?
The overwhelming response to this question was the struggle to increase awareness and visibility and improving donor relations. This is no surprise considering how communications has implications for the strength of awareness, visibility, fundraising, and donor relations campaigns. The truth is that many nonprofits are overburdened, understaffed, and underfunded resulting in team members wearing multiple hats. At some point this does create gaps and inconsistencies with the communications pipeline.

Many non-profits struggle to find their voice.

Furthermore, when asked to rate the quality of their organization’s communications as it relates to communications planning, media relations, development of marketing materials, online communications, and communications evaluations/metrics, an overwhelming majority of respondents rated evaluations/metrics and communications planning the lowest as being fair and even poor. This is astonishing. If the communications plan is weak or isn’t filling the gaps and if communications programs aren’t being evaluated and measured against benchmarks, then how do you move forward with building cause awareness, soliciting donors, engaging supporters, and cultivating new supporter relationships?

What are your organization’s most pressing challenges related to PR?
Many non-profits struggle to find their voice. They have a general understanding of what their message is, but they haven’t quite figured out how to summarize it so that it captures audiences instantly. Even when they do know their voice and what makes them memorable, they don’t know how to tell their stories in a compelling way nor do they know how to create their own stories. Even when they do know their voice and story, they don’t think media is interested either because their story isn’t hot enough or because they lack access to media.

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Rubbing the Magic Genie
If social media could solve one thing for your non-profit, what would it be?
The responses to this question were as plentiful as there are social networking platforms to choose from. Some of the more common responses are listed below followed by a case study on how social media is in fact helping non-profits achieve their goals.

            

Help us connect with younger audiences Recruit more volunteers Increase awareness for our cause Connect us with more donors Stay in the know with what other similar organizations are doing Help us promote our fundraising events Help us get more media Improve our external communications Raise more money Connect with external audiences Garner mass support for legislation, advocacy, etc. Increase traffic to organization’s website Mobilizing people as advocates

Isn’t social media already doing these very same things that non-profits said they would want social media to solve for them?

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Making the Case for Twitter
Facebook is good, but….there’s more!
As mentioned earlier in this whitepaper, Facebook is still king among the majority of non-profits. No news here. The news is that you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to capture new audiences and to further extend your brand. Yes, Twitter is a totally different beast. It’s fast, there’s a lot of clutter, and it’s coming at a hundred miles a minute. However, the active people on Twitter are usually Creators and once engaged there’s an opportunity for them to help with your brand’s viral ability. Believe it or not, Twitter does have some advantages over Facebook. First, Facebook is more of a pull tool than it is a push tool. Facebook’s rules of engagement limits how much you can say. Say too much and you will easily be ignored or even worse, unfriended. Generally speaking, one to three posts max per day is a safe level of activity for Facebook. Engagement on Facebook comes when you responded to other’s postings. However, when you’re a non-profit with a page, engaging with followers isn’t the same given that you can only comment on postings made to your page. So with pages, engagement has to be more strategic. At the time of this writing, Facebook has disabled the ability for group owners to send messages and has also changed how events are promoted. For a large majority of non-profits, Facebook’s event promotion feature was how attendees were mobilized, but now Facebook has disabled message sending for events. News is that more changes are underway. On Twitter, how you use it is wide open. You can be a chatter box if you like, post as much content as you want, and engage with your followers as often as you like. Of course, there are rules of engagement, but the barriers are definitely much smaller compared to Facebook. What I like most about Twitter is its list feature. Users are often organized into lists, which makes it easier to identify how the Twitter community views and identifies them. For example, if your non-profit is listed a few times in lists related to food banks then it’s safe to say that awareness is spreading for what your non-profit does. I also like that I can organize followers into lists and can follow other people’s lists without having to actually follow the people on my own profile. For non-profits, you should love that Twitter allows you to more quickly distribute short bursts of information and trigger a higher response if executed strategically. I love that Twitter allows you to keep up with what other likeminded organizations are doing, which can be useful for your own strategies. Twitter also has a high sharing ability.

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Non-profits who get Twitter right
Notice how Goodwill uses Twitter lists to identify partners and volunteers, monitor key bloggers/media, and stay connected to other Goodwill locations. This allows them to quickly scan activity among their stakeholders and add value to the conversations. Also notice how many lists Goodwill is listed on, which is a good measure of awareness.

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Non-profits who get Twitter right

Charity: water is a textbook case study of how to do Twitter right using global Twestivals to raise $250,000.

Charity: water shows donors the specific impact of their contributions. Transparency is monumental to their success.

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Non-profits who get Twitter right
The goal: Raise $10,000 in 48 hours Tactics:  Asked twitterers to tweet their gratitude using the hashtag #tweetsgiving Multiple initiation points enlisted top Twitters, bloggers, and their existing community Recognized those who donated over $100 with “Top Turkey” designation Twitter campaign personally connected community to the theme of gratitude Went where supporters were

  

Results:      3,000 gratitude messages tweeted 1,337 new twitter followers Tweetsgiving top trending for 48 hours 15,830 page views from 7,563 visitors in 101 countries on website 107 press and blog mentions

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Do you look like this?
These are your tools.

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Ponder on this…
Questions to ask of your non-profit’s social media strategy
      How are you measuring the results of your digital engagement strategy against your non-profit’s communications goals? What key metrics are you using to measure engagement, awareness, fundraising, etc? How are you integrating your organization’s social media efforts into your overall marketing strategy? Where, if at all, have you leveraged social media in support of the organization’s fundraising goals? Is your current level of social media efforts building your inner circle i.e. donors, supporters, advocates, etc? Do you know who you’re targeting online and have you activated them to action? What type of audience segments are even following your non-profit on your social network profiles? Are you leveraging social media in support of your traditional media tactics?

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Social Faceoff: Facebook vs Twitter
The discoveries of this survey have led us to further explore non-profit’s use of Facebook as opposed to Twitter. Part 2 of this survey will result in a whitepaper that explores the following questions:  Are non-profit organizations marketing laggards and choosing to opt for more mainstream tried and true marketing and communications approaches? What type of success have non-profits really had with Facebook in terms of ROI and fundraising? What are the characteristics of non-profits who avidly use Twitter as opposed to Facebook? Comparison of non-profits on Twitter vs Facebook and their following and traction. Who generates more traffic to your organization’s website: Facebook or Twitter?

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Blueprint Creative Group | | E: | P: (305) 741-0378

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Who we are
Blueprint Creative Group
For brands and non-profit organizations who want to improve their internal/external communications, have challenges reaching new audiences, want to refresh their brand, and/or enter new markets, we refine their go-to-market strategies by developing integrated communications programs that execute smart brand positioning, engage audiences more effectively, cleverly shape audience perceptions and move them into action, use digital influence to drive online interactivity, and strengthen visibility to drive bottom line sales and revenue goals.

Contact Us

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