This is a guest post by Forest Whaling. If you would like Forrest to write for your blog, please leave your request in the comments or visit MyBlogGuest (username Fgump910).
It is no secret that the web’s new social media outlets are a wonderful way to reach a large audience and get them involved. After having the privilege of working with the CO based youth outreach program SOS Outreach, I have come to realize the power of social media and its ability to draw traffic and conversions. If you work with a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, you have many unique opportunities available to you in the social sphere as well. In this post, I would like to outline a few of these opportunities we took advantage of and how they may benefit you as well.
YouTube offers certified non-profits the opportunity to gain increased exposure through their Non-Profit Program. If you are accepted into the network (which is very simple if you are qualified) you will receive the following benefits:
- Premium Branding Capabilities, including the option to upload your own custom profile designs.
- An increased uploading capacity.
- The option to place a Google Checkout “Donate” button on your pages to drive fundraising.
- A listing on the Nonprofit channels and the Nonprofit videos pages.
- The ability to add a call to action overlay (a semi-transparent pop-up that links viewers to your website).
- Posting a video opportunity on the YouTube Video Volunteers platform to find a skilled YouTube user to create a video for your cause.
Having a Facebook profile is an essential part of an effective social media strategy. If your organization has video contests, podcasts, interviews, or documents, Facebook provides an easy way for you to upload these types of media to your page and connect with your fans. It is also integrated with Twitter, blogs, Flickr and other networks. It helps organizations collaborate, connect easily, and increase their network of volunteer and supporters.
The first thing we recommend is setting up a Facebook Fan Page. These new Facebook Pages were launched in March of 2009 and designed to inspire more action and participation from fans. They look more like a traditional userâ€™s profile, but are more customizable and allow for several admins to add content. Another exciting feature is Facebook Insights. Facebook Insights is a proprietary tracking system that allows you to view your user interaction over time. You can see what is generating discussion, what people are clicking on, and other useful data that will help you assess what your community really wants.
To start your Facebook Page, follow these 5 easy steps (make sure that you choose “non-profit” under the “Brand or Product” option). Once you have activated your profile, it is time to set it up for maximum user interaction.
The biggest mistake people often make when using Twitter is to view it as an avenue to “push” their message out. Due to the nature of twitter, this will not generate results and it will just make you look spammy. This isnâ€™t to say that pushing a message is wrong, but it is useless if nobody is there to hear it. That is why you need to first build loyal followers who believe you are authentic.
Twitter is a portal to starting two-way conversations. Search for people or organizations interested in your cause and follow them. Oftentimes they will follow you back in-turn. Once you are following each other, these conversations become possible (you can only send direct messages to people who also follow you). Listen to what people and organizations are saying and respond if you think it is appropriate. Compliment other organizations, retweet their stories, and answer their questions. This engagement will earn you more followers, as these followers will most likely return the favor in helping spread your message through retweets.
Donâ€™t spend all day tweeting everything that comes to your head. People follow you because they want good content from your organization on subjects relevant to your mission. Make sure your tweets provide value and are re-weetable. Donâ€™t send more than a few out per day. As this poll shows, people think 1-5 tweets a day is perfectly sufficient.
More Social Media Opportunities for Non-Profits
Have you worked with a non-profit organization? Can you think of other ways non-profit organizations can benefit from social media?