The team at Hancock Creative

Hancock Creative offers some top tips on how not for profits can use social media to grow their brand.

Not for profits! Social enterprises! Worthy causes! General do-gooders! You know you need social media, right?

According to last year’s Sensis Social Media Report, 79 per cent of Australians now use social media, with that figure growing. Quite simply, social media is essential in growing your NFP or worthy cause. It’s the ultimate word-of-mouth marketing tool.

At Hancock Creative, we’ve built our entire business on teaching NFPs and worthy causes how to use social media to grow their brand. It’s a subject we feel passionately about, and we’ve identified five major areas to guarantee social-media success.

Tell your story

Storytelling can change the world. Did you know? Authentic, honest and truthful storytelling is the single most effective way to change the world for the better. Storytelling works because it engages. Storytelling works because it’s memorable. Storytelling works because it doesn’t preach, instruct or lecture.

Research shows that people’s brains are hardwired to respond to storytelling. It’s true! As a society, we tell stories. Around 65 per cent of our conversations are made up of personal stories and gossip – everything from, “You won’t believe what happened in the lift this morning!” and “Guess what Margaret has in her lunchbox today?” to “Did you hear? Spider-Man got his super powers from a spider bite” and “You wouldn’t believe: Superman’s allergic to kryptonite!”

It’s these personal stories that interest and engage us, and it’s these personal stories that can change the world. It’s these personal stories that account for the worldwide success of Humans of New York – small, meaningful glimpses into other people’s lives, which can have a huge impact on our own.

It’s for this reason, we encourage our NFPs and worthy causes to find their “why”. Why the “why”? Because once we find out your why, we can help you tell your story. Fact is, no one accidentally starts working for an NFP or worthy cause. Fact is, you could be doing the same job for a corporate and earn three times as much money. People work for NFPs because of a deep-rooted, heartfelt desire to change the world, regardless of the salary (which more often than not, is nothing at all!).

Once we start telling our stories, we start building connections. Stories, you see, are what bind us together, as humans, as individuals, as a community. Share your story, and when you need volunteers, donors and supporters, they’ll be there, ready and willing to help you and your cause. Share your why, and others will find their why, too.

Choose your platform

In our (kind of extensive) experience, it’s always better to do one social-media platform really, really well than do lots of them poorly. We see that quite often; we spread ourselves too thin, we try and do a little bit everywhere and the only result with that is we’re not engaging, or building a real audience, or community on any of them.

You must make a decision here, and I would always err on the side of doing one really well, then adding a second, then adding a third. I wouldn’t try to go out there and register accounts on every single platform available, just because.

Here’s a breakdown of where people are hanging out on Australian social media:

  • Facebook 94 per cent
  • Instagram 46 per cent
  • Snapchat 40 per cent
  • Twitter 32 per cent
  • Linkedin 18 per cent
  • Pinterest 10 per cent
  • Google+ 10 per cent

A lot of people think Twitter is right up there with Facebook, but in reality, it is quite a bit smaller here in Australia. Instagram and Snapchat nationally are far bigger and some of our other platforms are much, much smaller. This is something to take into account when you’re deciding where to spend your time and money.

As you can see, Facebook’s still the big kahuna when it comes to social media, and is still the best platform for digital marketing. That’s not going to change any time soon, despite what the cynics say!

Know your audience

It’s only when you know who you’re speaking to that you’ll be able to create truly engaging content on social. And, when you create engaging content, you’ll start achieving your goals – whether that’s more volunteers, more donations, or simply making your organisation a household name.

See what we mean about it paying off?

The interesting part about social media is that you may have many audiences. Most organisations have at least two or three significant groups that they’re speaking to – whether that be Victorian mothers aged 35 to 44 or Indonesian school teachers aged 25 to 34.

Why is this information important? Well, that’s simple: you need to know who you’re speaking to. When you write a post, you have a message that you need to convey. How can you convey it effectively if you don’t know who you’re talking to?

Think about it like this: you’re an individual, right? And you have your own vision, and values, and voice, yes? But – you speak slightly differently to different people. For instance, the way you speak to your best friend isn’t the same as the way you speak to your grandma. You’re still you; you’ve just tweaked your voice to suit the situation.

Social media is exactly the same. Your organisation has a clear voice, vision and values, but it needs to address its audiences appropriately. You’ll know when you’ve hit the nail on the head, because your community will start talking back to you – commenting on posts, tagging their friends, sharing on their own pages.

If your organisation has a few different audiences, you might worry that you’ll be ostracising one group by speaking specifically to another. That’s where content planning comes in – make sure that your mix of posts is such that everyone is accounted for.

Create meaningful interactions

Social media is so much more than drafting your content and clicking “Post”. A successful social campaign doesn’t just publish content – it creates conversations. If it doesn’t, your social-media platforms (and therefore your brand or organisation) can be a bit dull and boring, talking at people rather than with people. And as we all know, if there’s one way to ostracise people, it’s to talk at people rather than with them (you know that one uncle? The one everyone avoids? That’s who we’re talking about here).

So, how do you build relationships via social? Asking a question is the simplest way of inviting conversation. After all, it tells your followers that you want to hear from them! They don’t have to always be really hard-hitting “let’s solve the world’s problems” questions either. Simple conversation starters around what people are having for dinner, or watching on TV, can be fantastic for building a sense of belonging.

It’s also so important to respond to both messages and comments – it not only potentially builds relationships with your followers, but increases the engagement on your page. This might be answering a question they have asked or simply thanking a follower for their comment/encouragement.

Don’t get into the habit of posting the identical content across all your social platforms, either. Remember, your audience differs depending on each platform. So, ensure you have a good understanding of each platform and your followers on each platform so you can tailor your posts accordingly.

Finally, enter game-changing awards

Here at Hancock Creative, we have been lucky enough to have received a pretty impressive swag of awards (just some of them include being named as a finalist for The Western Australian Corporate Volunteer of the Year Award in 2016, and last year, winners of the 2017 Telstra Business Awards Micro Business Award in WA).

Why do we enter awards? Because winning them gets our name out there, which allows us to reach more organisations and therefore, help more people. Essentially, it is great PR because your cause and your organisation get seen by more people. That’s got to be a good thing!

Crafting the perfect application can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Of course, you need to follow the application guidelines, but if given the opportunity, do share what makes your cause or workplace amazing.

Prove the difference that your cause makes. When you write your application make sure you are armed with facts and figures. This might be how much you have raised from fundraising in the last year or the number of people impacted by a campaign your cause organises. You know the difference your cause makes – ensure the judges of the awards know this as well.

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