In today’s world social media is an increasingly integral component of the marketing strategy of large nonprofits. However, most small nonprofits have been slow to adopt social media. They are still struggling with the question of whether they should embrace it to reach out to donors, volunteer and beneficiaries. Although there is a lot of interest in exploring social media, there is also a lot of confusion. People are talking about Twitter or Facebook but don’t have any idea how they can accomplish the goals for their nonprofits using these social technologies.
Josh Bernoff, the author of Groundswell, provides a four-step process or framework for formulating a social media strategy that can work for your nonprofit.
Assess your customers’ social activity. In the case of nonprofits, it would be current and potential donors, volunteers and beneficiaries.
Decide what you want to accomplish. Clear objectives are the key to a successful social media strategy. Once you know who you are trying to reach out to, then you can figure out what you are trying to accomplish using social media. Is it increasing your brand awareness or donations? Recruiting volunteers? Reaching out to your beneficiaries?
Strategy is a plan for how relationships with donors, volunteers and beneficiaries will change. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish (objectives), you will then focus on a strategy. But let’s keep in mind that social media outreaching is not a marketing campaign you do for six months and then you are done. Think of it as your nonprofit investing in a long-term relationship (asset) that will keep growing over time.
Once you decide on the people, objective and strategy, then you can figure out if building a blog or starting your own community on Facebook or Twitter is the right thing for your organization. In essence, fit the technology choices to your particular people, objectives and strategy.
On my next post, I will be exploring this framework further. Check back in a day or so. Until then, concentrate on answering the question “what is it that you want to accomplish using social media?” Having a clear purpose will make it much easier to come up with a social media strategy that will work wonders for your nonprofit.