Are your non-profit agency's social media posts relevant?

Use social media to talk about your agency’s needs in a relevant way

By Rose Reinert
Guest blogger
rose1Last week I began this blog series by providing an overview of “What is Social Media” from the book “The Social Media Bible” by Lon Safko. In chapter 2, Safko starts to unfold terminology, tools and tactics for utilizing various social media tools.  So the big question remains . . . “What is in it for my organization?
Yes, we understand that Social Media is a strong tool. It is a free tool we could use to engage current and prospective donors, clients, and community members. But how impactful is it really?
Think about how many commercials, brochures, ads, and other marketing you see each day. Better yet, how many different marketing pieces and messages does your own organization have? How many other non-profit organizations have similar messaging as yours? When was the last time you were asked to make a donation to a very worthy non-profit when checking out at an area store?
We are undoubtedly overwhelmed with messages that ultimately turn into noise.
Safko challenges a transformation of engagement through the following excerpt of “Sales Manifesto” by James Burnes:

“We need to transform the way we touch our clients, and integrate ourselves into the very fabric of what they do every day. . . . We need to tell our story in a way that doesn’t just interrupt our clients, but engages them and gives them a reason to pass it along. . . . We’re going to build a culture where communicating, engaging and embracing the feedback, positive and negative, make us a better organization.”

How inspiring!
feedbackI read this and imagine my organization with engaged donors engaged in open communication, positive feedback, while building a better organization. Ahhhh, nirvana, but wait . . . did he say negative feedback, too?
Ahhh yes. There is always a catch.
The thought of having someone post a negative comment or negative feedback on your organization’s social media page can be scary. However, Safko challenges us to push through that initial reaction and think of it as an “opportunity” when he says:

“We need to take advantage of a new approach to selling where we are problem solvers and the “go to” team for our prospects whenever a project arises that we contribute to. Everyone sells [product]. We have to be bigger than our [product]. We have to solve our client’s pain points.”

Although this seems more relative to for-profit businesses, it proposes several opportunities.

  1. Every non-profit “has needs.  One of my mentors — Fred Paulke, who is the Vice President of Organizational & Executive Development  Services for Boys & Girls Clubs of America for the Midwest region — taught me much of what I know about resource development. For example, when talking about building an effective case for support, he would emphatically talk about how every non-profit has needs and needs money. For every need you have, there are a dozen other organizations that could line up with similar worthy needs. He would argue, the key is to demonstrate how you are meeting needs in the community. So, my question to you is “How are you demonstrating this to your prospective and current supporters via social media?
  2. Being relevant matters.  Last week, I talked about how social media is like entering a networking event. You first find a group of people and begin listening to the conversation and then provide relevant input. With this in mind, we need to ask ourselves how can you use social media tools to be strategic about being relevant? If you work for a youth service agency, design your posts around topics like childhood obesity or education. If your organization is a health organization post healthy recipes, address changes to health care or exercise tips.

Safko recommends you keep your page 85% informative and resourceful for “Like”-ers and 15% about your business. This sounds like a good rule of thumb to me!
What are some ways you engage your “Like”-ers on Facebook? What are some connections you have made through strategic posts that relate to your mission? What breakdown does your organization’s page reflect in regards to information and posts about your business?
Please use the comment box below to answer some of these questions.
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