I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.
If your nonprofit is not leveraging social media to further its cause, it needs to start. Nowhere else can you reach a larger audience at such a low price point as on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Nowhere else can you give your marketing efforts such a personal touch, or generate such engagement amongst your donors.
Of course, none of the above will necessarily happen overnight. First, you must establish a solid foundation for your marketing efforts. The first and most important step in that process lies in discerning your brand’s online voice – how it conducts itself and how it comes across on social media.
There are a few central components to this voice.
Understanding Your Culture
Let’s start with the most important thing first – who are you, and what do you do? What is your nonprofit’s purpose? Its reason for being?
What do you value as a founder, and how do you want that reflected in your words and actions? How is what you’re doing for your cause different from what other, similar nonprofits are doing for theirs? How are you making a difference, and why does that matter?
These are all questions that feed into your organization’s culture. Factors that influence your identity, both on the web and off. Everything you do should be defined solely by your values, ideals, and goals.
To both how you aim to change the world and why.
Being Mindful of How You Talk
Internal culture aside, what you say and who you say it to are every bit as important. Although most nonprofits have a somewhat broader audience than commercial brands, you’re still going to want to figure out a few core demographics to focus your efforts towards. As noted by See3 Communications’ Director of Content Marketing Bridgett Colling, you need a clear audience – “If you think you’re speaking to the general public, you’re probably speaking to nobody.”
But how exactly can you determine your target audience?
- Look at similar nonprofits in your field. Who do they market to? What sort of demographics do their most engaged users on social seem to fall into?
- Examine your staff, board members, and volunteers. The people in your organization are the most dedicated to your cause, so it stands to reason that people who share traits in common with them might be similarly devoted.
- Look at your donor history. Again, the reasoning here is the same as my previous point – these are people who’ve proven they’re interested in your nonprofit.
Once you understand who you’re talking to, think about how they communicate online. What would be the best way to reach them and make an impact? For some brands, it might be through comedy.
Others might rely on feel-good messaging regarding successful campaigns. Informational posts explaining their cause. Stories that push forward their overall narrative.
Whatever approach you take, the most important thing to remember is that you need to communicate. Don’t talk at your audience. Engage with them – respond to their questions and comments, and treat them as you would your friends (or friendly acquaintances, at the very least).
Choosing The Right Imagery
Last but not least, social media is a highly visual medium – not just Instagram and Snapchat, but Twitter and Facebook too. It’s therefore important that you make sure your visuals align with the messages you’re trying to convey. A mismatch between imagery and copy results in a dissonant brand voice at best – at worst, it can end up being the death knell of an entire social campaign.
You do not, for example, want to share photos or videos depicting victims of a natural disaster with a joking tone. You don’t want to take an overly-serious tone if you’re trying to share something lighthearted. For each post you publish, consider carefully how the visual and textual components work together – and how together, both mesh with your established social presence.
Give Voice To Your Efforts
What you hope to achieve. What you value. The men and women who will help you reach your goals. Together, these form the crux of your nonprofit’s social voice – and that voice is the foundation of all your social marketing efforts.
You know what’s involved now, and what you need to do. Now get out there and change the world.