The truth is there are a lot of ways to use social media to engage with your audience today, how can you choose the best one?
Should we be on Instagram? I’ve heard that Snapchat is the latest, can you get us on that? Is Google+ still relevant? Why aren’t we on YouTube?
If you’re like me, not only have you heard some of these questions before; you’ve even asked them of yourself. The truth is there are a LOT of ways to use social media to engage with your audience today. It seems like I can’t get through a week without hearing about “the latest and greatest” new platform we HAVE to be on. It can definitely feel a little overwhelming at times. So how do you know if your organization should be on a specific social media platform or not?
To help answer this question, I’ve come up with a few tips I’ve learned over the years to help you narrow down which platform(s) might be best for your organization.
The first tip is… Know your audience. It’s an old adage, but, unlike the constantly changing tech environment we live in, it remains consistently true. If your audience doesn’t spend time in a social media space, neither should you. If you don’t know your audience’s social media behaviors well, it can take a great deal of trial and error to learn what platforms they engage in, which leads us to tip two…
Do your research. Not just about the platform itself, but also your audience. Take any information you have about them and turn it into actionable data. Look at where they live, and whether that might give you clues about what some of their interests are. How do they engage with your organization? If you wanted to get really in-depth you could even create a fictional profile (or profiles) of your ideal audience member(s). What are their interests? Likes? Dislikes? Cultural background? Education? Income? An easier track might be to survey those who are already engaged with you to see what social media they’re using (board members, volunteers, donors, etc.).
So now you know your audience, and you’ve done your research, what’s next? That brings us to the third tip… Be aware of your bandwidth. How much time can you realistically devote to this medium? For example, if you’ve determined that a majority of your audience is on Instagram, you should seriously consider being on Instagram, but only if you’re going to put in the time and actually use it to engage regularly with your audience. The last thing you want to do is leave your audience high and dry. Nothing is more disappointing then wanting to connect with an organization on a social media platform only to learn they haven’t posted anything in six months. It’s like when I want to listen to my favorite Podcast only to have them not post for that week – major bummer (but I digress).
Now, at the end of the day, when you’re boss comes to you and asks “should we be on Nextdoor?” at least you have some tools to help you build a recommendation.
To capitalize on the momentum from the July forum, we chose mobile donations as the topic for the September forum.
Donations on the Go: Mobile Tools to Enhance Giving
To capitalize on the momentum from the July forum, we chose mobile donations as the topic for the September forum. It was broken down into three main categories:
- Text-to-give & mobile apps: Angela gave an overview of how text-to-give and text-to-donate works, as well as key reasons to always capture donor phone numbers. She also touched on the pros and cons of spending time and money developing an app.
- Mobile donation pages: Mark talked about best practices for donation pages, as well as how to keep your brand consistent between website and mobile. Mark’s takeaway is to think about what people are coming to your site to do, and then make it easy. Have others test your site!
- Giving tools: Dana outlined what Colorado Gives looks like for 2015: donations are up from last year! She also shared her wisdom on crowdfunding and peer to peer best practices, as well as mobile strategy.
See our expert’s amazing PowerPoint presentations below!
It was a great event thanks to our attendees and expert panelists:
Angela Whaley, Client Experience Director at mGive
Angela is an expert at maximizing results for thousands of U.S. mobile giving and engagement campaigns for nonprofits. She has orchestrated the most successful mobile fundraising campaigns in history, including the Haiti Earthquake Response with the American Red Cross. She holds a BS in Business Management from Colorado State University and an Entrepreneurship Certificate.
Mark Mitton, President of Carbon8
As President of Carbon8, Mark offers his creative passion and strategic branding and digital marketing experience to Carbon8’s clients. He has appeared on MSNBC’s Business Makeover as a digital marketing expert. Mark has an MBA in international business from the University of South Carolina. He also serves as President of the Board for the Parkinson Association of the Rockies.
Dana Rinderknecht, Director of Online Giving at Community First Foundation
Dana joined the Foundation in December 2007 after serving on the staff and board of several nonprofits, including director of resource development at Dental Aid, Inc., executive director at Family Pathways of Colorado, and development officer at Work Options for Women. Dana holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Denver and bachelor’s of science in applied math from Colorado State University.
Almost 3 months after Mobilegeddon, we tackled the topic of mobile/responsive websites.
Mobile/Responsive Web Development: Not your grandmother’s website
Almost 3 months after Mobilegeddon, we tackled the topic of mobile/responsive websites. The July forum focused on three things; 1.) why is being mobile-friendly important 2.) what does it mean to be mobile friendly or responsive 3.) how do nonprofits make sure their sites and campaigns are getting through to the mobile user.
To help us answer those questions we turned to the experts:
Jen Frazier – President, Firefly Partners
Jen brings over ten years of nonprofit online and email strategy and marketing expertise with her to every project at Firefly. Jen has managed and directed hundreds of online campaigns and is a nationally recognized expert in best practices in online engagement. Through her years of working with many of Planned Parenthood’s local offices, Jen has become extremely well versed in the overall needs and realities of smaller nonprofit organizations.
Marisa Porter – Web Architect, Wanna Pixel
Marisa dodges conventional wisdom and buzzwords and tackles code monsters and design ghouls. Her love of languages and words led to her love of WordPress, code, and design. Marisa’s role at Wanna Pixel, Inc. is creating beautiful concepts, coding/implementing web-based solutions, and directing the whole web development process—from creative UX to web architecture and completion. When not dancing with code, she’s doing yoga or dreaming about wide open spaces.
Meg Delagrange – Creative Director, Wanna Pixel
With over 22 moves between New York and Tokyo, Meg finally found her home with Wanna Pixel. Meg takes the ideas and mismatched puzzle pieces of information from clients and turns them into beautiful, interactive, accessible, and modern user experiences. Her role is to understand the brand and values that you need to communicate and put that into a visual language your clients will understand. After hours, you may find her painting in her studio or Instagramming inspirational scribbles. She currently lives in the always-beautiful Denver, Colorado.