Social media sites are fantastic tools in the fundraising world. You can send messages out to large groups of people at a moment’s notice and you can do so through media outlets that people already check regularly. With the right strategy social media sites and especially social networking sites are incredible tools in the world of fundraising.
Yes, managing social media accounts will create another item on your to-do list, but if you keep a few simple things in mind (use our social media strategy checklist to help get you started), you’ll be able to put them to good use without too much hassle! The following is focused on social networking sites, but the information can also help when defining guidelines for posting comments, creating blog posts, or taking part in forums.
Choosing a social media platform
There are many different social media sites to choose from. It’s probably best to start with one of the currently most popular social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter or with a site you know your supporters are hanging out on. If you already have a personal account with either one of these, why not start your fundraising social media account with the same one: You already know how to use it and you could easily recommend your new fundraising page to your current followers through your personal account.
Once you’ve created your account(s), link the updates to your website and vice versa and cross promote them through any other channels you may already have, like your e-mailing list, your newsletter, other social media accounts etc.. (More on linking online and traditional marketing strategies.)
Define the purpose of the social media account
Your social media sites need a purpose or perhaps different but overlapping purposes. Do you want to increase awareness and build a community of people interested in your cause? Do you want the page itself to inspire donations? Do you want to use the page to bring more visitors to your website? Pinning down the purpose of your social media page will help you form an effective social media strategy.
Create social media rules
Your social media pages will be part of the public face of your fundraising efforts so you need to decide what you want that face to be. You may enjoy a certain degree of familiarity but a lack of professionalism can make it seem as though your efforts are not serious or as though your cause is not deserving of real attention.
Decide on the tone of your posts and how you will convey your mission statement. The best way to do this is to appoint a social media leader so that all your posts are consistent. Be sure to convey these rules to anyone in your organization who might use their personal social media pages to talk about your cause and your fundraising efforts.
Updating your social media accounts
Social media sites are not phone trees to be activated only when you need help. They are most effective when you update them regularly and provide information that is relevant to your cause in a captivating way. This keeps people checking in and your cause always on their minds. Simply adding random bits of information won’t help you reach the goals you have set for your group and then it simply becomes a massive waste of time. Regular updates show that you care about your cause and your followers before and after an actual fundraiser.
It’s also useful to create guidelines for whom to follow back. You will always encounter spammers who will follow anyone in the hope to get a follow back upon which they can spam you with sales messages. Scrutinize each follower; decide if you will follow others who do not have any updates; will you follow other non-profit – why or why not? and so on.
An easy way to get started is by simply updating your social media account with the posts from your blog. You can entirely automate this process. Each site will have instructions on how to do this or you can use twitterfeed.com which works with other social media sites as well. Once you see how your posts are being found and retweeted or reposted and who your followers are, it may make it easier to start your social media strategy from there.
To help you get started and create a comprehensive social media strategy, click over to our social media strategy checklist!
Give yourself time to create a social media strategy. Each post will be an ongoing representation and promotion of your efforts. Make sure that each one promotes your fundraising efforts the way you want the world to see them.