16 Social Media Tips for Businesses: Lessons Learned from Non-Profits
One of the most exciting aspects of social networking platforms has always been its accessibility and affordability, making it possible for for-profits and non-profits alike to make use of the benefits of social media. On the surface, social media used to help carry out a non-profit’s mission may seem foreign to business’ goals and objectives. However, both sectors can learn a great deal from one another by simply tailoring the approach to best suit their needs and messaging.
In this post, we’ve culled the words of advice and experiences of people working in the world of “Social Media for Social Good” as well as messages from the Social Good Summit which took place in New York City this past week.
Included too are some recommended resources for learning more. We hope you enjoy and find inspiration!
Lessons Learned from Non-Profits
#1: Beth Kanter, is the author of Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media, one of the longest running and most popular blogs for nonprofits. She co-authored the book titled The Networked Nonprofit with Allison Fine published by J Wiley in 2010. Beth has over 30 years working in the nonprofit sector in technology, training, capacity building, evaluation, fundraising, and marketing.
In a recent e-mail interview with Beth we asked her: What in your opinion, is the most important lesson that the non-profit sector can teach businesses about social media?
Beth told us: “People who work for nonprofits are passion-driven and care deeply about the work their nonprofit does to change the world. This carries over into social media work. The successful nonprofits build relationships and engage with their networks first before asking for donations. They build trust through transparency– and constantly highlighting the stories and good work of the people in their
#2: Bethany Ramirez, online communications specialist at Third Sector New England, a nonprofit organization providing management support to help fellow nonprofits deepen their community impact. told us: “While most people “follow” businesses looking for special promotions and deals, they “follow” nonprofits because they feel strongly about an organization’s mission. They want their friends to know they support the cause. They enjoy reading stories about an organization’s impact.
“Businesses should see where they’re having an impact in their community – whether with customers or employees or the community surrounding a store – and pass these stories on, becoming more than just a corporation offering another discount. Make the customer actively like your company and the work it does.”
#3: Heather Mansfield: Social Media campaigns are only as good as the human beings behind them.(from 11 Qualities of an Effective Social Media Manager)
#4: Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith: [Using the analogy of the dragon-fly] All four wings of the dragonfly act in concert. The first wing is focus: what is your single small, concrete goal? The second wing is grabbing attention, making people look. The third wing is engagement, telling the story. The fourth, is take action. (from The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change)
#5: Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith: Use social media for telling stories–who am I stories, focus on how you got started, where you are going in the future, and to be willing to offer apology and recovery stories, as well. Empathize with your audience, emphasize authenticity, and match the media with the message. Stories are much more memorable than statistics or simple anecdotes and are a mechanism that allows communities to grow. (from The power of storytelling: What nonprofits can teach the private sector about social media)
#6: Heather Mansfield: Use words like we/us/together and I statements. (from Social Media for Social Good )
#7: Social Good Summit: Use tools to foster openness. (from Mashable’s Social Good Videos from Summit Speakers)
#8: Social Good Summit: Build bridges. (from Mashable)
#9: Social Good Summit: Connect and engage with citizens more broadly. (from Mashable)
#10: Social Good Summit: Get the pulse. (from Mashable)
#11: Social Good Summit: Listen as much as push out information. (from Mashable)
#12: Social Good Summit: Business plan is the solution. (from Mashable)
#13: Social Good Summit: Any individual can change the world. (from Mashable)
#14: eMarketer Digital Intelligence: Tout your community-friendly initiatives. (from What Nonprofits Can Teach Brands About Social Media)
#15. Heather Mansfield: Social networking communities are migrant communities. If you build a community on a social networking site and that site then fails in popularity, the time you invested in building that community was not wasted because that community will most likely follow you to the Next Big Thing. (from Social Media for Social Good)
#16: Heather Mansfield: Follow large organizations with a mission and programs similar to yours–and learn from them. (from Social Media for Social Good)
Thank you to all of our contributors!
11 Qualities of an Effective Social Media Manager
The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith
Which of these tips can you apply to your business’ social media strategy? e.g. Can you begin to share stories, tout your community initiatives, learn from other companies in your industry? Let us know in the comments below.