Wipe Out Donor/Member Fatigue With a Social Media Shot

It’s that time of year again when snow fall is still wondrous, Christmas songs are still fresh and we’re all told to get our flu shots.

Yes, flu season is upon us and with it comes sniffles, sneezing and fatigue. No one likes these symptoms and the hype around flu shots grows with every year.

This is also the time of year for when donor/member fatigue hits non-profits and associations hard.  Fundraising calls increase and conference attendee recruitment ramps up around this time as the holidays near and the calendar comes to an end.

The symptoms of donor/member fatigue are apathy, disillusionment and disengagement. When combined, they can create a powerful force that turns people away from your organization and can hurt your cause.

One preventative measure for helping contain donor/member fatigue is a Social Media Shot. A Social Media Shot will help stave off the effects of a donor/member fatigue just like a flu shot helps prevent the illness from spreading like wildfire.

The first step to receiving a Social Media Shot is getting an injection of great content and engaging posts to your social media platforms. The real key to the formula is original content. Original content can take many forms, such as blog posts analyzing news, a weekly top ten of helpful tips, a heartwarming story or a hilarious recap of a conference or seminar. Social media experts have been trained to create original content in their labs and bottle it to stop the advance of donor/member fatigue.

Following this first step, a second shot of great content is essential. This includes posting pictures that showcase volunteers, events and the impact of donations, sharing blog posts from members, highlighting recent news and asking engaging and relevant questions to your connections. You may begin to feel slightly light-headed and joyous at the prospect of creating such an engaged community. Studies have shown that this is normal and we recommend you get used to it, as the feelings will only increase.

Your Social Media Shot should begin to work soon after receiving it. After weeks of being exposed to hard sells at the grocery store, the office and even at home, people will be drawn your softer, genuine and more engaging approach to connecting with donors and members.

Very frequent check-ups are recommended for the health of your organization’s communications plan. If monitored correctly, your Social Media Shot will last the entire year. It will help you create a loyal following your organization can use to promote its cause, inform the online community and become stronger by having great conversations.

Side effects of the Social Media Shot include: a deeper connection with association members/non-profit donors/sponsors, increased participation in events, feedback on your organization’s activities leading to a system that provides improved services, great conversations, the discovery of great articles and inspiring stories and a sense of joy at being able to help people in more ways than one.

Incline Marketing offers Social Media Shots to any and all associations and non-profits. Give us an email at inclinemarketingservices@gmail.com and see how your organization can benefit from a Social Media Shot. Don’t wait; email us today, get a healthier social media presence and flourish!

The Keys to Following the Right People on Twitter and Staying Away From the Wrong Ones

Here’s a wise cliché for you: The best leaders know how to follow.

It’s a really old saying, but with the rise of Twitter, its becoming more relevant by the day.

Twitter has brought us new ways to build and view relationships. One of these ways is though the follower/following relationship.

This relationship can vary remarkably from one Twitter user to the next. Trying to figure out who is having a great relationship with their connections and who is having the equivalent of a dysfunctional marriage is difficult at times.

This is where that tried and tested phrase from the first sentence comes in. To be a leader in your industry and make an impact on social media, your organization must first know how to follow. It’s not just a case of getting more followers (although it definitely helps), but also having more meaningful interactions and receiving better, more useful content.

So who does your organization need to follow in order to have success on Twitter? Here’s a quick rundown of some helpful characteristics:

Who To Follow

  • Members, staff, donors, volunteers and anyone else who is or has been active in your association or non-profit.
  • Journalists, bloggers or communications professionals who create content about your industry.
  • Other associations or organizations that are in your industry or related industries.
  • Twitter users who tweet regularly (about once every couple of days at least), engage with others and post useful or interesting content.

Who Not to Follow

  • Twitter users who you wouldn’t ever engage with or post any relevant or interesting content.
  • Twitter users who follow too many other accounts.
  • Inactive or inconsistent accounts.
  • This might go without saying, but accounts that tweet inappropriate or hateful remarks. Even once is enough.

Now that you have that handy-dandy list, let’s get into specifics and strategies.

First thing’s first: It’s great to have those from the first list in your “following” category, especially because you will most likely share similar interests, goals, content, etc. But if any of them fall into the second category as well (ie. a staff member that hasn’t tweeted since the Winter Olympics were in Vancouver) then it’s probably best to not click the “follow” button.

Okay, so you have a general list of people to follow. But how do you find those people? One of the best tools to find members, staff, volunteers, etc., is through simple searches on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Putting in a couple key words will usually turn up at least a couple dozen people who work, intern, volunteer or are members with an organization.

Finding tweeters that post relevant and insightful content, like bloggers, can be done through a Google Blog search or through Twitter hashtags. At Incline, we like to search through the hashtag #assnchat to find those Twitter users who create great blog posts on associations and social media.

Now that you have followed some accounts, you must complete the process. Following someone means that you want to engage with them, learn from them and share with them. So go ahead and do just that. Tweet at them, ask them a question, share their content or share your content with them. Remember, social media is all about genuine interactions making an impact in your member’s/volunteer’s/donor’s lives.

Before we wrap up, a few words of warning. Beware of following an account that has a large number in its “following” column. It is almost impossible for these accounts to keep up with their timeline activity as it is flooded by tweets. This probably means interacting with their connections is not one of their top priorities.

Also, be aware of those accounts that tweet hateful or inappropriate things. This kind of content is definitely not helpful and connecting your organization with those comments could be dangerous.

Following the right people on Twitter has a positive ripple effect for your association or non-profit. By engaging the right people on Twitter, it gives you the opportunity to enter into a mutually beneficial relationship where both you and the one you follow have the chance to share and talk about those issues that matter most to both. This shows others that they will be heard by your organization and will be better off for following you. When even more Twitter users see this, your organization will be regarded as a leader in its area and will thrive on social media.

The Five Ingredients of Starting a Successful Social Media Profile

Social media is the house your organization welcomes the world into. But before you can roll out the welcome mat and host a party, you have to build the home.

The foundation of any social media house, to milk the metaphor a little more, is a profile. First impressions are crucial and your profile is where social media users first get acquainted with your organization. Creating a great profile is a crucial step to future success on any platform.

Every social media platform is different, but there are a few solid tips that can be applied to many of them to create a useful and interesting profile. Here are five of them.

The Pictures

Most social media platforms, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc., give you the opportunity to post a profile and background photo as a way of showing who you are and what you’re all about.

First thing’s first: chose the right photo.

It can be your organization’s logo and motto, a picture from an event or something else that represents the goals, purpose and character of your association or non-profit.

Make your background photo different than your profile picture. This gives you the option of fitting your logo and a more candid or artistic photo on the same page and showing off a more interesting, dynamic look to potential members, volunteers, donors, etc. You can always change the photos with the season or to highlight a special event or initiative your organization is putting on.

Lastly, make sure the photos are the right size. Having the photos fit perfectly in the space given is important. Awkwardly placed pictures distract visitors and send the message to users that you’re not serious or knowledgeable about being online.

The Description

The description section is the part of the profile that rolls the history, mission statement and about-me parts of your website into one box. Make that one, very small box.

Most social media platforms restrict the amount of space available for a description of your organization. That is why having a simple, creative and meaningful message is key.

It’s never easy to distill your organization’s operations into one or two sentences. It’s helpful to ask those involved in the organization, such as staff, members and volunteers, to explain what the organization means to them in just a few words. This will help you brainstorm ideas, explain your organization using passionate, yet useful, terms and see your non-profit or association from many different perspectives.

The Links

Providing links to your website, other social media accounts and additional resources helps visitors get to know your organization even better and can increase traffic and engagement. That is why it is very important that your links work.

Check and double check that the links send users to the right places. Make sure to update links whenever you change your website, social media accounts or other feeds. Display the links where they are easily accessible and label them in a way that that is eye-catching and makes others want to click on them.

Make sure all contact information is correct as well. A misplaced digit in a phone number or letter in an email address can throw many a person off your bandwagon as quickly as they jumped on.

The Connections

Social media is all about connecting with people to share information. The first connections you make with a new profile can set the tone for future social media success. Making the right connections can draw influential people and organizations to your non-profit, build your reputation and establish your organization as a premier resource for the industry or cause you are advocating for.

Do your homework before starting your profile. Who are the important individuals, companies and organizations to follow? What do they talk about online and how can you engage in that conversation? Will they provide useful information and interaction?

Asking these questions allows you to establish who is worth connecting with when setting up your profile. This allows you to hit the ground running when launching your social media.

The First Post

Your first post to any social media platform is like saying hello on the first date; nerve-wracking and vital to a good first impression. Should you be witty, straight-forward, start with a grand gesture? How do you follow it up?

Writing the first post can often stop people in their tracks, but as important as it is, the first sentence on your profile will not make or break your social media accounts. The best advice we can give is to write something meaningful to the organization. That can mean stating your goals, cause or purpose, telling the world what the social media account is going to be used for or jumping right in by highlighting a specific story of someone in your organization.

If you can be inspiring or humorous, that’s great, but people want to interact with an organization that seems genuine, not one that tries too hard to be something they’re not. Keep that in mind when you get the first post jitters.

Setting up a social media profile can be overwhelming, especially with all the different variations across platforms and the plethora of bells and whistles you can add on. But there are very basic elements of your profile that need to be right before moving forward. By paying attention to detail, staying true to the character of your organization and involving those who are and have been a part of creating that character, you will be able to create an engaging, informative and interesting profile to attract the world.

How to Measure Social Media ROI for Non-Profits and Associations

Last week we talked about seven misconceptions organizations might have about social media and the issue of ROI made an appearance.

Measuring return-on-investment is important for any association or non-profit. Organizations don’t just have tight budgets; they have members and donors who expect financial accountability and wise spending. Therefore, it is crucial your organization is able to calculate its social media ROI.

Measuring social media ROI is not always straight-forward. There is no exact formula for figuring out how social media is affecting your bottom line. For example, one new fan on Facebook doesn’t mean one new member for your association and X number of retweets doesn’t necessarily mean Y number of dollars contributed to your cause.

Although you may not be able to crunch the numbers to generate an exact ROI, there is a way to look into the data that is available to measure the impact of your social media account.

Let’s start with the most obvious number; the number of followers (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest), likes (Facebook) or subscribers (blogs, YouTube). It is not unusual to look at this number first because of its in-your-face position at the top of every social media platform.

The number of users that connect with your account is a good way to learn how many people are receiving your messages. This is important because common sense says if no one is listening, no one is contributing, financially or otherwise.

Having a healthy amount of followers, likes, etc., is important, but putting too much stock in this number is dangerous. This stat does not tell the whole story.

The next level of interaction to look at is the share element; when someone passes on your message and its content to others. This comes in the form of a retweet, a re-pin, a re-post and the like.

Having your content shared means that not only did the sharer think your content was useful, but they passed it on to even more people. This increases the chance that the sharer will keep coming back to your account. It also encourages others to connect with your organization for the first time. This is an important step for establishing a trusted image on social media and a relationship with members of the community.

The most important interaction in the search for ROI is when a connection comments on a social media post. Whether it is a mention on Twitter, asking a question on Facebook or posting a comment on a blog, this type of engagement is hugely significant to measuring the impact of your account.

Having conversations is what social media is all about. Social media is not about reaching a large audience with one-way communication, but about making connections, relaying information and building relationships. That is how it is unique from traditional marketing avenues like TV ads.

You are providing a service by having conversations with people through your organization’s social media accounts. You are helping someone with a question they have or relating to a story. In short, you are creating an experience and a personal bond between that person and your organization.

That bond is going to make them think of your organization first. That interaction is going to reveal the true value of your organization to them. That conversation already has that potential member, donor or volunteer emotionally or intellectually invested in the response you are going to give them. At the end of the day, it could lead them to invest time or money into your organization as well.

The more of these genuine, organization-to-person interactions your social media account has, the higher your ROI is likely to be.

Keeping a monthly or even weekly report of the type and total number of interactions your account has is important in determining the reach and effectiveness of the organization’s social media activity. By comparing stats from month to month, it is easier to see where the account is attracting engagement and where it has room to grow and increase ROI.

Klout is another easy and effective way to measure the impact of your social media account. Klout takes information from several platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and grades your organization’s presence on social media from 1-100.

The nice thing about Klout is that it grades based on quality and not quantity. The more interactions and engagement your account has with others, the higher the grade. This means your Klout score will suffer if no one is commenting, conversing or sharing your content, even if you have a million followers, fans, etc.

There is no magic formula for calculating the ROI for social media to your organization. You have to rely on counting the number of connections you make with followers and members of the online community. These connections turn into relationships that make people want to invest in your non-profit or association. In the end, it is these relationships that will make people want to keep investing and that will help your organization thrive in the long-term.