3 steps to social media success for nonprofit organizations in 2015 | Miratel Solutions

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3 steps to social media success for nonprofit organizations in 2015

The brand new year is already two weeks old and your daily efforts to build your nonprofit fundraising audience via social media have resumed in earnest. Before we get too far into 2015 have you taken the time to reflect on last year and what your online goals and plans for this year should be? Have you had the time to do this and if not do you have time not to?

Measuring success as we build upon our social media strategies should by definition be housed around having some benchmark data, a reasonably clear set of objectives and an action plan within that structure that allows you to develop your tasks throughout the coming year. If social media has proven nothing else in the last few years it’s certainly demonstrated that it’s not ‘a fad’ and isn’t about to go away anytime soon. In real terms we will see further evolution of social media over the next few years with preferred platforms and methods changing to follow (or drive) the audience but I can assure you that social media will still be a major consideration for any organization with an online identity five years from today.

To that end I’d like to propose three simple yet effective steps you to help develop a more diverse and engaged audience over the next twelve months and one that ultimately could become the cornerstone of your future donor population. There is no doubt that the most progressive nonprofit organizations will continue to employ a number of different fundraising avenues including the existing traditional ones and partnering the best of those with an online fundraising/social media plan should provide the impetus to not only reach fundraising goals but to build cause awareness whilst growing your audience.

Each of the steps below have value and depending on the size of your online and social media team you should try to adopt each of them in your 2015 planning sessions, it’s never too late to get started.

Prioritize Goals

Take the time with your team to identify your online goals for 2015. Try and identify at least four in total and split them between increasing the number of followers/ website visitors and improving your engagement rates. Engagement can be measured by donations, email subscriptions, commenting, sharing, newsletter sign-ups, volunteerism or any other measurable networking activity online.

Ensure that each of your goals is a realistic one based on past experience and a develop a structured approach to creating the actions that will drive the results. Select at least one new avenue of social media that you’ve either never tried or not had the time to properly develop on a regular basis. Almost all of the social media experts predict that 2015 will be driven by images, videos and mobile ready apps or sites. Take the time to create and develop your own graphics when possible even if it means that less content is created, it is important that your content is as unique as the organization that you represent.

nonprofit-fundraising-social-media-success

Determine Benchmarks

Step one is only valuable if you follow this up by creating benchmarks that will signal how effective your campaigns and ideas are in terms of being adopted. As above, be certain that your benchmarks are realistic, it’s not likely that your website traffic will increase ten-fold in one year but a 25%-35% increase in twelve months is certainly achievable and then you can target similar growth in 2016.

If you want to double your Facebook audience this year or improve the conversion rate for visitors to your website donate page – map out benchmarks that indicate the overall progress of your strategies. Remember that at least half of your benchmarks should be based around increasing your audience and half around engagement actions.

Make sure that you focus on the platforms that are generating the most tangible engagement. If for example you have five times as many Twitter followers as YouTube subscribers but your website receives more visits from your YouTube links make the video platform your focus and/or revise your Twitter approach.

Also make sure you create a bullet list of alternate approaches that can be easily adopted if you are not making the progress that has been targeted and can rework your strategy based on advance planning rather than making knee-jerk decisions.

Testing and Measurement

I’m a huge advocate of alpha and beta testing and allowing the correct amount of time to pass before taking action and judging results. Before launching major new strategy changes to your website content or social media planning test them internally (alpha test) and get feedback from those within your organization – this audience will often make observations that may have been overlooked.

Map out some easy to action variables within your online strategy and try each version for an extended period of time. I recommend at least a calendar month to truly measure the impact of any significant changes.

For example make your donation page very visual, add custom graphics and limit the written content – open this up to a live audience for perhaps 28 days and then modify the page with far more written content and compare the performance of each. Or you can modify your social media output frequency and type, try posting only in the evenings for a few weeks or throughout the day for a week, target the audience with the data you already have to hand. Or try posting primarily videos or images/infographics for a week and compare and contrast the engagement levels for each. It’s very difficult to measure when you are trying to share ‘everything’ but taking a seven day period to modify your approach can give you hugely important data about how your audience reacts and engages with your content.

Each of the ideas above is easy to implement action and taking a day or two to create a plan in January can bring significant dividends to your efforts for the rest of the year. If you have any questions or suggestions please comment below.

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Miratel Solutions is a Toronto call centreeBusiness, and letter shop mail house specializing in professional fundraising services including PCI compliant inbound telephone fundraisingoutbound telephone fundraisingonline fundraisinglottery fundraising servicesdonation processing and receipting and direct mail fundraising services. We are committed to our CSR business values in all our business decisions  and advancing the missions of the nonprofits we proudly serve.

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