In the first two parts of this series, we talked about how a non-profit can get started with Social Marketing and how to develop content. In this installment, let’s talk about how to build the community: increasing the number of people who participate by liking, following or subscribing to your online community.
1. Get the word out to the people that already know you! It may seem obvious, but I’m always surprised by the number of mailers, flyers, and posters I see that don’t mention the organization’s social presence. If you have a Facebook page, Twitter account, blog, website, or other digital presence, create a standard block of content for every “offline” communication that the organization creates. This “block of content” should include the URL for each of the organization’s digital presence, and should be incorporated into the organization’s letterhead, postal mailings, email newsletters, event posters, information flyers, and any other communciations that are created.
2. Follow your friends and “relatives”. Search for the social presence (Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc.) of existing friends of the organization and invite them to connect with your social presence. Be on the lookout for other non-profits that share common objectives and consider inviting them to connect. Within Facebook, you can “like” the pages of other organizations – do that wherever to makes sense.
3. Participate in like-minded online communities. Seek out the digital presence of like-minded organizations and engage in the dialog happening on their pages. Share your organization’s point of view on something they posted. Add a photo or idea to their discussion board. But be careful to be genuine in your comments; you should seek to be a member of their community, and you are not participating simply to attract others to your own page. You are participating because you share values and objectives. Once folks in other forums trust you and begin to understand your point of view, they may take the initiative to learn more about your organization.
4. Advertise. Facebook advertising can be very narrowly targeted, you only pay for the ad if someone clicks on it, and you can establish a weekly budget to keep costs in control. Facebook advertising can be a very cost efficient way to build the number of people that know about your organization. Try different combinations of title, words and images to see which ones work best in attacting new friends.
By building the number of people that are connected to your organization’s social presence, you can quickly get the word out about events and volunteer opportunities, and have the opportunity to amplify your voice as others share the information with others. You can do it!