Social Media plays a role in millions of people’s lives. Whether it’s Facbook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and even Snapchat. These websites are also gaining popularity as an excellent way to not just help with fundraisers, but also to make them a huge success and a fantastic way to network with friends, family and supporters of your cause. There really is great value in using these tools to support your campaign, especially if it’s done well.
Whether you are just starting out, or are a seasoned expert, these following 10 tips will help you keep up with the rapidly changing world of social media and figure out how to make the most out of your social media platform.
*Remember to think about which social media platform is best for you, but even if you are more of a Facebook fan, make sure you use all of the platforms available to you. It’s a good idea to have people involved and working with you, who, for example, might be more inclined to use Tweets to get your message out. It’s a great way to use people’s strengths to the advantage of your campaign.
1. Have a policy
It may be tempting to jump head first into tweeting and posting, but you will save yourself a lot of headaches if you have a clear social media policy in place first. It’s important the social media posts are in keeping with the image of your organization and don’t damage its reputation. In most cases, volunteers will probably post on your behalf or at least help you “share” your posts. Your Social Media policy will help define when this is allowed, what they can say, and even how they say it. This will help maintain the voice and integrity of your organization. Depending on the size of your organization, you might have a communications officer manager your social media, so, it’s a good idea to communicate with them and make sure you are even allowed to represent your company on a social media platform.
2. Schedule, schedule, schedule
While social media runs 24 hours a day, it doesn’t have to consume all your time and distract from your other fundraising work. If you want, you can even Schedule tweets to post automatically using an app like Tweetdeck, which will simultaneously post to your Twitter and Facebook accounts.
There’s a lot of debate about the best time of day to post in order to attract the most views, but ultimately it really depends more on your audience, supporters and organization. First, define who your audience is and then from there figure out when they are online and schedule your posts accordingly. What’s really more important in the long run, is getting the maximum number of people to read, share and repost your posts. For example, sometimes it might be best to catch people at home when you decide to post, so, posting on a Sunday might work best. Perhaps, most of your audience checks their social media while they’re at work, so, posting on a Monday morning might be most beneficial.
One thing that has really changed how we use social media, are our cell phones. We can read, post, tweet and share almost anytime we want. Again, it’s more important that the maximum number of people see your posts, not just the time of day it’s posted.
3. Don’t get distracted.
Use social media as an extension or a tool of your fundraising strategy, rather than forming its core. Also, don’t just post about your fundraising activities. Talk about other news and developments in your organization too!
4. Get the word out!
Invite your staff, volunteers and supporters to like and interact with your profiles. Likes, comments, share and retweets will be seen by their friends as they appear on the timelines and in news feeds, a very effective way to advertise your cause. Include links to your social media accounts in email signatures, on your website and in any marketing or promotional materials. Similarly, link back to your website or fundraising home page when posting on social media.
Likes and posts are a little bit like a phone call. It’s a two way street. For example, if you never call someone, they probably won’t call you. SO, go to other peoples posts and “like” them as well to help boost your own post.
5. Mix it up
A picture is worth a thousand words. That’s not just a catchy cliché, it’s a reality. Posting photos and videos will really help you reach a wider audience. Also, since they’re more visually appealing, they’re much more likely to be seen, liked and shared. Remember, numbers are what you’re looking for. It’s a good idea to experiment with different types of content and see what resonates with your audience and then adjust your posts accordingly. Facebook pages tell you the total reach of each post, so you can see what’s most popular. Facebook also allows you to pay to promote your page or post, however this may not be practical or necessary for your organization.
*Remember the shampoo commercial, “ I told one friend and she told one friend, and she told another friend”. Social media is all about getting your audience engaged in your cause and connecting with people you have never connected with before!
6. Don’t forget to say “thank you!”
Social media is a quick and efficient way to ecognize the people and volunteers helping you promote your fundraising efforts. You might even consider creating a thank you video, but remember to keep it short! Keep it limited to one to two minutes. Videos can also show the impact of donations and create an emotional connection to your cause. If you’re not tech-savvy, find someone who is. All of us have a cell phone with a video camera function, find someone who can point and shoot.
It’s also a good idea to post your final fundraising total after your event has finished, plus information about how it compared to last year’s result and what you plan to do with the funds. If at all possible, it would be really cool to post a video or pictures of the item or supplies the fundraiser was for. For example, if you’re raising money for new uniforms, show us the new uniforms! If the money helps with your dance team’s travel expenses to go to a competition, give us some video of the competition! People love seeing the fruits of their labor; and again, a picture is worth a thousand words.
7. Follow the trends
Start following common Twitter hashtags and be sure to create a hashtag for your fundraising campaign based on your name or theme. Get your supporters to always use a consistent hashtag for the duration of the campaign. This will help brand your campaign and track interaction. Also, try generic hashtags such as #fundraising and watch to see which hashtags are trending. Getting yourself involved in a trending conversation will help ensure your campaign is seen by a greater audience. Also, make sure you are checking your notifications, so that you can follow your posts, and even comment on shares and re-posts.
*It’s a good idea to make sure your team shares posts rather than reposting. This helps keep the integrity of your organizations intent and it keeps the people connected to the posts.
8. Stay top of mind
Social media is immediate, so provide real-time updates on the progress of your campaign and how close you are to achieving your goals. Try to post at least once a day during a major fundraising campaign and every couple of days in the lead up. Do not post 20 times a day! People will quickly get sick of seeing your posts. In this case, quality, not quantity, will get you the best results. Share photos of event preparation, news, milestones and statistics. There’s no need to post on the hour, but posting regularly will keep your effort top of mind.
9. Share to be shared
If you want your posts shared, get involved in your community by sharing messages about others as much as messages about yourself. Retweet other organizations posts whenever possible and share interesting web content relevant to your campaign. It will tire your supporters out if you’re always asking for support, so remember to be conversational and not come on too strong. And remember every interaction you receive should get a response, even if it’s just to say thanks.
10. Don’t just cut and paste
Each post should be customized to the specific platform. Twitter has a limit of 140 characters, so you’ll need to keep it concise. Don’t waste characters by repeating previous tweets, but update regularly with short pieces of news. You can afford to include more information in your Facebook posts and embed photos, videos or links. You can also experiment with other sites such as Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube and Pinterest.