Part 1 of this series on how to authentically connect with your donors dealt with developing relationships with real people. Face-to-face interactions and tactile methods of relationship building are critical. Today is all about leveraging social media as a key relationship-building tool.
Before moving forward, if you need to brush up on your overall understanding of social media and how to use the most popular platforms, be sure to check out CauseVox’s Comprehensive Guide To Social Media For Nonprofit Crowdfunding for great information on how to maximize your influence online.
Social media is here to stay, and with it you have an incredible opportunity to reach beyond geography into the lives of prospective and current donors.
To have maximum influence and impact, you must focus on building authentic connections. In the fast paced world of status updates, tweets, pins, and the ‘like’ (pun intended) how do you do that?
Successful nonprofits utilize social media platforms to cultivate meaningful relationships with their donors by posting regular content, by posting content that adds value to their audience, by engaging in dialogue and discussion, and by inviting people into the bigger story they are telling through their efforts.
4 Social Media Tips That Will Help You Authentically Connect With Your Donors
1) Post Regular Content…Just Not Too Regular
A common question we receive is, “How often do I post to social media outlets?” The answer is often, but not too often. If you do not post frequently enough, your mission will fall through the cracks of rapidly updating newsfeeds. If you post too frequently you risk drowning out your own voice, losing followers, and possibly donors.
“If you post too frequently you risk drowning out your voice, losing followers, and possibly donors.” tweet this
The quantity of posts varies depending on your platform. LinkedIn recommends posting to Facebook only once or twice per day during peak times of engagement. Any more than this causes your audience to experience “status deafness.” Your extra efforts actually can deplete your impact.
However, it is appropriate, and even expected to post to Twitter multiple times per day. Original tweets and re-tweets both count towards your content production, and give your non-profit the visibility you are looking for.
2) Post Quality Content That Adds Value To Your Audience
Posting quality content is a must if you are genuinely interested in cultivating relationships with your audience. Merely posting content for the sake of meeting a quota is a waste of your time, and your audience will not engage.
People are inundated with information and micro-updates, and as a result have become very adept at picking and choosing what content to invest in. If your content does not add any value to their lives, they are going to pass.
Grey2K, a nonprofit fighting for greyhound protection laws, does an excellent job utilizing Twitter to share value-added content. The organization posts regular, informative content that draws their audience in with news, updates, stories, and more.
— GREY2K USA (@GREY2KUSA) April 4, 2016
Iron Paper has a great bullet point list of ideas that make for value-added content. In a nutshell, your content should not solely be seeking to get people to do for your goals (i.e. supporting and giving financially to your non-profit), but should instead focus on how you can serve your audience.
Some ways to provide value-added content are:
- Inspiring your audience with real stories
- Providing new resources and tools (e.g. this article from CauseVox)
- Showing appreciation to your current donor base, or affiliates. MMORE recently encouraged their Facebook followers to thank doctors that have been a part of their Myeloma journeys on National Doctors Day.
As you strategically consider and plan your social media posts, bear in mind that value-added content is the only way to build credibility and trust with your audience.
“Value-added content is the only way to build credibility and trust with your audience…” tweet this
The quantity of posts varies depending on your platform. MMORE recently encouraged their Facebook followers to thank doctors that have been a part of their Myeloma journeys on National Doctors Day.
If people know that every time that you post you are going to ask, ask, ask of them, chances are much higher that they will unfollow your organization, and even higher that they will not give to the cause.
However, if you focus on serving your audience by offering quality content, not only will you reap the fruit of donor-retention, increased giving, and social media engagement, but chances are high that your audience is going to share, like, and retweet—a big win for spreading your mission and message.
3) Connect Through Meaningful Conversation
Social media is, at its core, about community. When you are interacting with people in face-to-face forums, you do not talk just about yourself. You do not walk up to new groups of people to say, “Here is my mission and message, please give me a check.” No, you engage.
You approach people by meeting them where they are with genuine interest. You network and meet like-minded people, and you interact with the conversations they are already having. The same rules ring true in the digital world.
Social media is not meant to be one-sided. You are not talking to your audience, you are talking with them. It does take more time and effort to listen, like, share, and converse, but the time is well invested.
“Social media is not meant to be one-sided. You are not talking to your audience, you are talking with them…” tweet this
Find similar organizations and people within your “niche.” Like, share, retweet, and comment on others’ posts. Respond to questions and comments on your own posts, but do not only engage in conversations that you have initiated. Join conversations. Ask questions. Respond.
4) Connect Through The Gift Of Invitation
Post. Tweet. Share. Like. Retweet. Comment. Use social media to build authentic connections with your audience. As you cultivate relationships, remember to invite your audience into the story you are telling. Utilizing the art of invitation is a relational and effective approach to the essential “call to action.”
Your call to action does not have to be a begging plea for support. You can actually serve and give to your audience through your call to action if you utilize the gift of invitation.
You know what it is like to be invited. You felt the rush of excitement when you:
- Got picked for the team
- Received the birthday party invitation
- Opened the college acceptance letter
You felt wanted. You felt invited.
Everyone wants to feel that they have something of value to contribute. Your audience wants to know they matter, and that they are wanted for something greater.
Mary Kay Ash, founder of the pink-clad cosmetic company, once said, “Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’”
Asking for support for your cause can actually be a gift to your constituents. Ralph Waldo Emerson tapped into this part of the psyche when he said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
People are looking for ways to make their lives more meaningful, and to leave a lasting legacy. When you share your vision and mission and ask for support, you are not asking for cheap favors. You are inviting people to support work that matters and that leaves lasting footprints behind them. You are helping to meet their need for purpose.
When you have invested the time and energy to post regular, quality content that adds value, and you have built trust and credibility by showing genuine interest in conversational engagement, you can then use social media to invite your audience into the story you are telling.
Invite them to be a part of changing the world through your nonprofit’s goals. Share stories of those that are already engaged. Tell current donors thank you publically. And then invite others along for the ride.