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Posts Tagged ‘social media’

You may have spotted more than a smattering of hashtags on social media and perhaps thought they didn’t apply to you or your NFP. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you are not using your hashtags on social media to your advantage, then it is time to make a change.

Hashtags are easily created by adding the sign ‘#’ before a word or group of words to enhance your marketing. Your hashtag creations can then be used freely across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. It is a great way to group all of your relevant posts together. They can be particularly beneficial for fundraisers and events and can bring individuals together on one topic all through the use of a well-selected hashtag.

The posts can be viewed independently on your social media feeds or all together on your specific hashtag feed. So just to clarify, if you have created a hashtag called #FridayFundraise as an example, then you click on the hashtag and see all the posts which are connected through the use of that hashtag.

So how do you know which hashtags to use? Well, it must be relevant to you. While piggy backing on other trends will get you noticed, it is more beneficial to start your own hashtags. Keyhole can be a useful tool for research purposes.

If you consider the nature of your business, here are some suggestions. If you use these alongside your own personalised hashtags, you will increase your reach.

  • #donate
  • #causes
  • #volunteer
  • #change
  • #philanthropy
  • #nonprofit
  • #charity
  • #fundraising

Have a play around with them and see which ones bring the most appeal. Don’t be scared to add a handful to each post to get you started. This will add real meaning to your posts.

Once you get the hang of it, then you will be more confident to create your own. Use clever words or phrases such as #dogood or #spotlightonvolunteers or specific locations such as #yourcity. There is no right or wrong way to use them, except if you fail to use them at all. While you don’t have to use hashtags in every post, sprinkling them in every two or three posts will help you spread your message and keep up with current trends. #goodluck

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We see it time and time again. Costly PR campaigns are created and fail to gain an emotional connection with their viewers.

If you want to increase your donor funds and gain more supporters, it is imperative you tell a story that connects with your readers. Simple facts, while interesting, are just not good enough for today’s modern donors.

It doesn’t matter which way you turn; you will be undoubtedly bombarded with marketing. Magazine ads, newspaper ads, billboards, bus station advertising, television advertising, radio advertising – all of these ads are fighting for your attention. Which campaigns are you likely to remember? The one that tells a story – the one that has something to say – the one that isn’t trying to sell you a product but rather an experience.

Using storytelling to represent your brand allows your audience to see behind the scenes. It takes them past the desks of the marketers and into the lives of the volunteers making a real difference in society. You can be more than just a name or a brand – you can show your human side to draw them in and elicit an emotion. This is a wonderful way to gain customer loyalty, especially in the long term. Your audience is after an authentic story that resonates with them – they want to be part of an organisation that really makes a difference.

As you define your brand through clever storytelling, you can also give it a personality. This personality should, of course, be representative of your overall mission and values. It is through your storytelling that you can develop and build on a relationship with your target audience. Those that feel a bond with your brand will not only give; they will in all likelihood be wonderful advocates for your NFP and share your information with friends and family.

Stories also stick in our memories the most. Remember all those fairy tales and nursery rhymes with moral messages at the end? Of course you do – stories stay with us, over and above everything else.

So go out there and tell your story. Creativity above everything else is a must in your next PR or marketing campaign. The power of words can be truly magical.

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social mediaNearly 7% of all of the donations that nonprofits receive comes from online sources, but harnessing the power of the Internet and Social Media tends to be less about collecting money and more about increasing interest in your NFP.

While social media is a great way to share stories about your nonprofit and strengthen supporters’ connection to your cause, there are downfalls to using the platform. The following is a list of some common pitfalls that nonprofit’s experience when they rely too heavily on social media channels to spread their message.

It’s Expensive

Advertising on social media isn’t free, and even though Facebook and other social media platforms sometimes offer discounts, click-thru ads, sponsored posts and other marketing campaigns, it can be still extremely expensive.

NFPs must control costs by using tools that allow them to test messages, manage start and kill dates for ads, and set budgets to keep an eye on ad costs to make social media campaigns worthwhile.

Many Social Media Channels Offer Low ROI

It would be easier to justify expensive advertising on social media if these campaigns at least generated high returns on this investment. But, the truth of the matter is that they simply don’t. Facebook offers the ability to connect, like and share with nonprofits, as well as the capacity to donate directly, and yet only provides a 3% increase in reach.

Other social media platforms, such as Instagram, make it easy to like photos and gain followers, who seldom, if ever, react to direct calls to action made on the platform. Snapchat’s ROI is even worse, as it doesn’t allow online donations directly from its app and nonprofits can’t even share a link to their website.

Despite the low returns on the time and money invested in social media, it’s still a great way to increase awareness about the good work that nonprofit accomplish. You can start conversations with others about the difference specific nonprofits are making in their communities, as an example.

NFPs should keep their objectives in mind, use targeting and segmentation to make certain that they are reaching the correct audience with their messages and set realistic goals when creating their social media marketing campaigns.

Focusing on Social Media Makes it Easy to Forget about Other Ways to Connect with Supporters

While social media seems to be all the rage these days, direct appeals and calls to action made on a nonprofit’s website, as well as in emails, newsletters and direct mail cost less to create and still generate most of the donations that are received by nonprofits.

NFPs that focus exclusively on social media marketing are likely missing out on ways to connect and raise funds that are less expensive and that offer a much higher return on the cost that is invested.

Trolls and Depressing News can Damage Social Media Marketing Efforts

Not every visitor to your nonprofit’s social media accounts is there to connect and share with you in a positive, meaningful manner. There are individuals who surf the Internet looking to join in on conversations with the deliberate intention to create as much chaos and ill will as possible.

Sometimes in the comments section and elsewhere, visitors may share depressing news or memes that feature disturbing text or images. NFPs must take care to monitor and moderate their social media accounts to protect the reputation of the NFP. Care must also be taken when responding to potentially negative or offensive posts to avoid encouraging or “feeding” trolls.

Social media is a great way to increase awareness about your NFP’s mission. The high cost of social media marketing campaigns, and the low returns that they offer, means that most non-profits should continue to include other more traditional methods of communication and fundraising in their strategic marketing plans in addition to their social media marketing efforts.

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linkedin-400850_640The fifth edition of ‘Enhancing Not-for-Profit Annual and Financial Reporting’ has been released over at CharteredAccountants.com.au.

This is a valuable resource for NFPs, covering best practice guidance in their reporting and recent regulatory changes, including information for ACNC registered charities.

The guide incorporates the current requirements of the ACNC and other state-based regulators. It also places a focus on transparent reporting, which is a big issue with stakeholders and supporters.  As you know, the Admin Bandit software has been designed to encourage and support transparency of accounts.

Over the last three to four years, the sector has seen some significant regulatory changes that impact the nature and extent of NFP financial reporting. The changes in this edition include:

  • the introduction of the Australian Charities and Notfor-profits Commission (ACNC) from 3 December 2012, impacting reporting obligations for charities from 1 July 2013
  • changes to the financial reporting and audit requirements of incorporated associations legislation and regulations in some states and territories, including the anticipated introduction of the new Associations Incorporation Act 2015 (WA) from 1 July 2016
  • the introduction of the new-format audit report for financial years ending on or after 15 December 2016.

These events have been reflected in the guidance provided in this publication to the extent possible.

The guide is free and can be downloaded here.

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hand-895588_640Marketing is, essentially, about getting your brand out there, into the big wide world and getting people to know about you and what it is you do. Ideally, you want to take it to the next step, where people are talking about you and doing your marketing work for you.

This is where a good team with great marketing skills comes in. It needs to be made clear that marketing is NOT sales, although the two can work collaboratively to achieve the same outcome.

A good marketer will have a range of skills, all relevant to knowing not only how to communicate to your target audience, but how to read them, and gauge their reactions. Understanding how the marketing is being understood is as vital to the outcome as is the marketing itself.

Whether a single person or a team, what they must have to be great marketers is:

Ability to communicate across platforms 

This goes beyond being able to whip up a brochure, web page, or video to communicate to the market. Communication is a complete package. If you place an awesome video on a website that is detracting to the market, it is next to pointless.

Communication is not just the video, or the webpage, but how that page is presented, its friendliness and ease of use, and how it works for the visitor.

Understanding the vast differences between the social media is also important. Not only in what you can say or do on them, but also in how the audiences work. They need to be proficient not only in posting, but also in connecting and conversing with followers and likers.

Digitally Skilled 

Following on from above, a good marketing team will have the skills to negotiate the backend of a website. They don’t need to be web designers, or know the ins and outs of HTML, CSS and other coding languages.

They do need to know the basics, and understand how a website is set up and can be altered. This helps with communications to those who are proficient in those areas, as well as enabling them to make any minor changes required.

More than this, it gives them a deeper understanding of how the message will be distributed and received. This can provide an insight that will take your message to that next level.

Data Aware 

Being able to analyse data is essential.

You can gauge the effectiveness of a marketing campaign, to a degree, by the number of comments on a blog post, or shares on Facebook.

This is only tip of the iceberg data. Being able to translate the whole data, from interactions and comments, to views and shares, as well as tracking where and how it is being seen and responded provides a comprehensive understanding of the effectiveness of the campaign.

Not only this, it also gives you invaluable information on what works and what doesn’t. It means you can step your next campaign or materials up to the next level. You can only improve, and become more well known, by knowing this information.

If your team don’t have these skills, it’s worth investing in some training for them. The don’t need to do a full on web design course, for example, but enrolling in some basic coding courses, Photoshop, social media training, and/or data analysis is vital.

If you have a team, working out the strengths of individuals and giving them that role will benefit. Your whole team having skills in all areas, however, will give you the boost you may need.

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Businessman and businesswoman using laptop in office

Put the #social back in #socialmedia

Using social media to promote an organisation, its operations and events is a primary way to get a message out these days. A quick search for almost any school, business or organisation will turn up their Twitter and Facebook pages, which can have advantages over other media as it can be immediate and brief, and is independent of journalism. Latest findings from Canterbury Christ Church University, however, indicate that while social media use is widespread in the field, up to 40% of PR workers are not truly engaging with other users.

Promoting and reposting happens a lot, with PR workers using social media platforms to connect with  loyal and potential customers alike. Tweets and Facebook posts are effective promotional tools as they arrive within a feed of personalised, invited materials, so people are generally quite receptive to their content. It is an informal seeming way to project the image and operations of a business. But if users are not engaging with the people seeing their posts, and commenting or asking questions, the true potential of the medium is being underused.

Social media is a conversation. There is a to and fro, and give and take. When effectively used, conversations had or ‘overheard’ can stick in viewers minds for years. As well as posting, responding should be an integral part of any social media plan. Showing your value them enough to engage will increase the loyalty of your followers, and help spread the word about your work. Consider asking your audience questions to encourage engagement, and remember, humorous and interesting content always as the potential to go viral.

If you are using social media, remember that people (including mainstream media) consider it a communicative channel. Ideally, you will be treating every approach to your social media page as you would any phone call to your office. Responding in a timely manner demonstrates your respect for your clients, and will help your organisation grow.

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instagram

Connecting with your target audience via social media used to be an afterthought for many businesses and non-profits. Now, it’s an indispensable tool that you must wield effectively in order to remain relevant. The difficulty now lies in deciding which social media networks to use, given that there are literally thousands currently in existence with new ones seemingly popping up every week.

After all, you have a life, and even if you hire a full time social media manager, they have a life too. Your budget is likely limited as well, so it pays to do your research and make certain that you invest your limited time and budget on the networks that will give you the best return.

Many individuals and businesses have already turned to well-known, established sites such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter to connect. Instagram is less well known than these sites, but is gaining in popularity. One reason that over 200 million people use the site actively is that it makes it easy to share stories and interact with others visually.

Images have the power to stir our emotions and make it easier to make connections with those who view our content. Since Instagram is designed to emphasise visual content, it’s perfect for those businesses and non-profits that need to quickly establish an emotional, personal connection with their followers.

Some obvious benefits of creating a heartfelt connection with your followers is that it can make it easier to create trust and build your reputation. It also makes it more likely that you will be successful when presenting a call to action for donations and volunteers as well as sales.

Instagram is also easy to use once you get started, and fun. It’s especially suited to mobile users who are busy and on the go, as you can download a simple smartphone app to make taking photos and videos a snap.

10 Tips for Using Instagram for Your Business

When using Instagram, two phrases that you may wish to keep in mind are: “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression” and “a picture is worth a thousand words”. These old adages are especially true when you first create and set up your Instagram account.

  1. The mosaic that others will see when they first visit your account is made up of your top 7 most popular images. For new accounts, the mosaic will default to the first 7 images that you post to your account, so take some care when making your selections, as these images form the backbone of the impression you will make to visitors.
  2. For best results, choose clear, high resolution images, and aim to strike a balance between posting images that are humorous or insightful and content that relates directly back to your work. The site also includes filters and tools that make it easy to crop, and alter your images which can totally transform the appearance and meaning.
  3. You will attract more attention to your posts by using popular hashtags. While Instagram has a limit of 30, you don’t have to max out your limit. Many users limit themselves to a brief comment followed by 5 to 7 hashtags, so that the content remains visually appealing and easy to read. It’s also a good idea to use a combination of trending hashtags along with ones that are specific to your brand, so that you get a good mix of existing followers and new visitors to your account.
  4. You want to be careful to not overwhelm your fans with too many posts throughout the day. Studies show that the optimum times to post on Instagram are between 5 to 6 p.m. on weeknights, and 8 p.m. on Monday night. Adopt a regular posting schedule so that visitors are more likely to return to your profile looking for new content.
  5. Regardless of when, or how often that you post, ensure that you quickly follow up with any visitors and fans that like or comment on your posts. Visit their profiles and like and comment back to start conversations and help build your following.
  6. The visual nature of Instagram makes it the ideal venue to increase interest in your brand by hosting photo contests themed around your business, or special events. You can also use images to “count down” to special events, sales and grand openings for your business.
  7. In addition to posting photos and other images, Instagram makes it easy to make and share short video clips up to 15 seconds in length. Keep your audience interested in your content and tap into trends by mixing things up and re-posting clips that are popular as well as posting your own short videos that relate to your business.
  8. Be certain to link your Instagram account to your business Facebook page and Twitter account. This gives you another way to connect with existing followers and possibly tap into their personal networks. It also makes it easy to share images and captions across multiple platforms, which will solidify your branding and marketing efforts. You can even embed your short Instagram videos onto your website or company Facebook page. Just keep in mind that your Instagram posts will only appear as a link on your Twitter tweets, while remaining the same in appearance on Facebook.
  9. Just because Instagram works a bit differently than other social media networks, don’t forget to use analytics and measure your results so that you can tweak your approach and find what content, posting schedule and number of hashtags works best for you to reach your target audience and build your following.
  10. You can also gain insight into how other businesses are using Instagram to build their brand and increase their following by reading the Instagram for Business blog. This part of the site contains both helpful recommendations as well as corporate case studies where you can gain ideas for what may or may not work for your business and situation.

Instagram is not the oldest or most widely used social media network, but its influence is growing, especially among mobile users who are grabbing an increasing share of Internet traffic. It’s free and easy to use and has the ability to convey meaning and information visually. All of these features make it the perfect network for nearly all individuals, businesses and non-profits. The site’s start page invites users to “capture and share the world’s moments”. So why not get started capturing images of your world and use it to share your own unique story?

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