Social Media Marketing

Not rocket science, but requires patience…

For our nonprofit, I focus mainly on two social media platforms: Facebook and Twitter. Each has a unique audience that requires a slightly different messaging strategy but as of this writing, no others have aligned so clearly with our objectives to raise awareness of our mission and the funds to support it.

Despite this, I have not turned a blind eye to other platforms. We use YouTube primarily for video but have dabbled in Vine. We use Flickr for photos but strongly support an Instagram account. For live streaming, we’ve used UStream and Google Stream for Business but are testing Periscope. I’ve made sure we’ve claimed our venues on Foursquare and registered our account on Yelp. LinkedIn? Best for celebratory blog posts! Perhaps to the chagrin of a several SEO friends of mine, we have not found success on Google+ but we reap huge benefits from Google AdWords. (Note: if you are with a nonprofit and don’t have a Google Grant, get one now!)

In 2009, we launched our Facebook and Twitter platforms and it became quite clear that we weren’t getting the reach I expected. So in 2011, I launched a volunteer program to help:

Social Media Ambassadors

Social Media Ambassadors Newsletter Header
Social Media Ambassadors Newsletter Header

In attending local networking back in the day of Tweetups and Twestivals, I met lots of folks that wanted to help our organization but didn’t have the time to volunteer. However, they had tremendous social media power right at their fingertips. Enter Social Media Ambassadors… a way for our friends to “use their social media powers for good ©.”

Our Ambassadors are instrumental in our major campaigns, helping to get the word out and amplifying major campaigns. The structure is simple: they help promote at least two campaigns and we do this:

  • Welcome packet for new members with lapel pin and other goodies
  • Certificate of Membership
  • Listing on the Social Media Ambassadors Partner Page
  • Personal recognition in the September Print Newsletter
  • Invitations to exclusive SMA Member Events and Meetups
  • Monthly Members Only NewsWire email
  • Access to a Members Only Resource Page
  • Opportunities for guest blog posts and #FoodBank24 Telethon Involvement

Admittedly, this is an extensive list of rewards that we’ve built over the years. In the early years, it was a listing on the partners page and a few random emails from me. The program has grown to be the flagship of our social media strategy. We generally have about 60 Ambassadors a year.

“Going Viral”

Just a few months ago, I was asked to speak about “going viral.” Of course, we’re not talking about the next ice bucket challenge. In my mind, going viral is about maximizing your presence on social media and raising revenue. How? Consistent messaging on social media platforms, multi-channel presence, and utilizing volunteers particularly board members and partners.

Digital Advertising

I focus on advertising on two major platforms, Google and Facebook, but we have dabbled in Twitter. Through Google, my strategy is to drive traffic and improve SEO. Facebook helps support campaigns at various times of the year. I’ve been testing options on Facebook to import outside lists and target specific audiences with impressive success.

In 2015, we had over 2 million impressions and nearly 40,000 clicks through Google. This cost about $55,000 but was completely free with our Google Grant of $10,000 in advertising per month. On Facebook, we spent $1,900 for 250,000 impressions and nearly 5,000 clicks.

Google AdWords Performance Since 2009
Google AdWords Performance Since 2009

Balanced & Consistent Messaging

It’s important to rotate messaging in social media to have a balanced presence. Our audience doesn’t want to be hounded to volunteer or give money constantly but a clever, consistent post can be very well received. Several years ago, I initiated #FreshFoodFriday: a behind the scenes look at some of the fresh produce we have in house.

We manage a content calendar that is reviewed monthly. The categories include events, volunteer features, donor recognition, blog features, and calls to donate or take action.

Fresh Food Friday
Fresh Food Friday

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