Three questions you need to ask before building your NGO’s social media strategy
Social media offers endless possibilities for marketing and communications professionals to promote their organisations. And if the context is the nonprofit world where budgets are often limited, it seems to be the holy grail. Then why does it often trigger confusion and frustration? Because without a clear focus, social media can lead to no results. As Michael Eisner, the former head of Disney, put it, “Discipline is part of the creative process, contrary to popular belief.” The three guiding questions below will help you build a social media strategy that works and gets you buy-in from your management.
What are my NGO’s key objectives?
Gaining clarity on your NGO’s objectives will not only give you focus but will also provide you with a reference point against which to measure your results. You will be able to identify where you can contribute and how, as well as what exactly to monitor to see if your efforts are paying off.
This type of focus does not diminish creativity. Quite the opposite, having to keep generating ideas for a certain objective will most likely push you to think outside the box. Experimentation is key in social media, but experimentation with a purpose is what will build you an effective strategy and will save you time and resources on the long term.
Who are my buyer personas?
“A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” (Hubspot)
In our context, customers equal donors – the people who will pay for your cause to be implemented, so the largest part of your target audience. Defining personas will help you better understand your donors’ motivations, needs, goals, priorities, common objections, communication style, preferred channels and much more. By putting the human aspect above the financial aspect, you will get closer to your donors; you’ll speak their language, address their concerns and effectively tailor your messages and content for them.
Thus, understanding your personas is key for your social media strategy. Personas will guide the content you create, your calls to action, the tone and imagery, as well as the channels where you’ll want to be present.
If you’re just getting started on creating your personas, the tendency will most likely be to create many of them. It’s okay to start the process that way, then notice the overlap in goals and challenges and slowly bring them down to a maximum of five. Even five can be daunting when you’re just starting. So try to identify the key three and focus on those in the beginning.
What are my content pillars?
First off…what are content pillars? Content pillars are the central themes around which all your content pieces will gravitate for a certain period of time in basically…all your communications. It happens very often that organisations produce a lot of content and then fail to see results. No wonder their faith in content marketing and social media instantly plummets.
Content pillars will give you a clear purpose for your content creation and will help you guide your authors, thus ensuring that what you publish triggers action that in turn boosts your organisation’s goals.
You might ask: how do I decide what my content pillars will be?
A great start is understanding your personas’ needs, goals and common objections in great depth. You can then rank those needs, goals and objections, and identify a general theme – your content pillar – that will tackle what’s top of mind among your audience. The next step will be to come up with sub-topics that feed into the content pillar. For this phase you might want to organise a brainstorm to make sure you’ve covered all the angles. Lastly, it’ll be time to start curating content by first doing an audit to identify what’s already there and then recruiting internal and external authors for the content that needs to be produced from scratch.
When you’re done with this process, you can start all over again for the next needs, goals, objections and so on. This is a sure-fire and not so daunting way to build a well-oiled content generation machine for your NGO.
Another common question is: how long should I focus on a content pillar? The answer is: as long as it’s relevant for your personas. Which means that engaging in continuous conversations with your donors is essential for you to be able to create content that matters.
Now that you’ve answered these questions, enjoy building and implementing your social media strategy! I’m confident it’ll be a much more gratifying process.
What is your NGO’s approach to social media? Do you find the questions above helpful for building or sharpening your strategy? Please share in the comments below.
Looking to better integrate your social media strategy with your fundraising efforts? Contact me for a free consultation.