Social Media Advice for Charities and NGOs
Growing influence of social media in all types of online activities is undeniable. Started as a way of connecting private users in social interactions, these platforms have expanded immensely, imposing as a powerful marketing tool and a unique new way for various commercial enterprises to offer their goods and services.
This is most noticeable in the non-government sector, especially for reputable charity organizations. Their goods and services aimed at creating that warm fuzzy feeling of doing something pure and good like a charity lottery where the proceeds would go to a good cause are traditionally much harder to sell than something people need like, say, used cars, which is why it is their obligation to use the possibilities social media offers to the full extent.
The following is a short guide for NGOs and charities on avoiding some common mistakes and viewing these platforms in a way that will enable them to get their message across in the best possible way.
The reason for starting with the most superficial aspect of using social media channels is the fact that everything else will suffer if a page is not visually appealing. The look of a presentation is the first natural filter when someone sets eyes on any page on any site and it has absolutely nothing with the content.
This will seem as an obvious point to some, whereas others will disregard it as insignificant in terms of promoting activities of nonprofits and charities. Not paying enough attention to visual content and visual identity of a presentation is probably the most common mistake charities make on social media.
Don’t shy away from posting and sharing any picture that is at least remotely connected with your cause. Try not to post long texts too often and always keep in mind that a user’s reaction to appearance is involuntary and cannot be excluded. The more attention you pay to the visual aspect of your page, your messages have a better chance to be seen.
Personality and Interaction
Social media requires a certain degree of personal touch in addressing individuals as a representative of an organization. That is simply the nature of these platforms. Too formal or impersonal way of communicating with users can have a devastating effect to the success of any campaign.
Similar to a reaction to visual aspect of a page, every user will create an involuntary emotional image based on the tone and the type of textual posts and comments. You don’t have to make people laugh, share interesting stories or invite them to dinner. Just be sure to show them they are communicating with a human being with emotions and opinions. Start and participate in discussions on a variety of subjects and try not to take a negative point of view, or encourage that sort of collective display of negative energy, unless it is at least remotely constructive.
Be sure to watch the competition. The easiest way to shape your presentation is to learn from the mistakes and successes of others.
Do not rush into anything and don’t underestimate the complexity of a particular social media channel. Study the platform and its requirements thoroughly and plan your actions. Hasting can give out an impression of incompetence or simply prove to be far from effective, and it would be if you planned and implemented it in the right way.
For example, Google offers many opportunities especifically for marketing charities and nonprofits in the form of a special Youtube account and Google grants program, which is defined as “non-profit edition of AdWords, Google’s online advertising tool, which empowers non-profit organizations, through $10,000 per month in in-kind AdWords advertising, to promote their missions and initiatives on Google.com”.
So, don’t just settle for appearing on social media, but learn how to use their possibilities effectively and efficiently.
Create a distinctive visual identity. More so than appealing visual content, this type of visual branding will make your organization recognizable. In an age and on a medium with an abundance of information of all shapes and sizes, this is a simple and very effective way to ensure that your ideas and goals reach those they are intended to, instead of falling prey to something superficial as a lack of visual identity.
Enable the users to have the biggest possible role in shaping your pages and presentations. Don’t just present them with an idea and a collections box. Offer them a way to contribute to your cause by posting pictures, videos, articles and participating in discussions. This will have a great influence on expansion of your fans network and enable you to reach much more people.
If you don’t know where to start, you can always hire experts that will help promote your organization online. But do start today and reap the multiple benefits of a digital strategy done right.