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The Art of Efficient Social Media Management

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The Art of Efficient Social Media Management

by Kate Vandeveld

Maintaining your brand’s social media presence can feel daunting. So much so that often, businesses and organizations set up their social media platforms, post a bunch for the first couple of weeks, and then get too overwhelmed and stop altogether. As you may have guessed, this is not a good plan. Social media creates incredible opportunities to maximize awareness of your brand, drive leads, and activate influencers… but not if you’re not active.

The Art of Efficient Social Media Management -- via WhyWhisper Collective

Thankfully, we have good news! Social media management doesn’t have to be as hard or as time consuming as you might think. In fact, you can do what you need to do in just a few hours each week. 

That said, we do have one caveat: There are some steps you should take in advance to make this easy maintenance possible. Here they are…

Strategize

First and foremost, if you want to ensure that your social media efforts are an effective and strong representation of your brand, you’ll want to take the time to develop a social media strategy. In doing so, you’ll have a solid understanding of your audience, competitors, key channels, and content strategy, which will put you in a perfect position  to confidently and efficiently develop and share content. If you’re still not sold, here are our thoughts on why social strategy is so crucial.

Do Your Research

Once you’ve developed your social strategy, you’ll have a good idea of who your audience is and how you want to talk to them. But a little bit of additional research will make management even easier. First, take the time to develop a list of commonly used Twitter hashtags in your industry. Knowing what these are in advance will help you as you develop content and look for relevant posts to share with your audience.

Then, do some research around influencers and thought leaders in your field. Create Twitter lists that break these individuals and organizations out into different audience segments or content types. For example, if your target audience is moms, you might have lists for mom bloggers, parenting experts, and influential pediatricians. These lists will save you a ton of time when you’re looking for content to share each day.

Invest in a Scheduling Tool

There are many different social media scheduling tools out there. Sprout Social is our current favorite, but all will save you a ton of time when you start to publish your content. Do some research on what each tool has to offer, and then set it up for each of your channels. This will allow you to schedule a lot of your social content in advance, as well as engage with your community in a more efficient manner.

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Once you’ve completed these initial steps, you’re ready to start pushing out content. Here are the simple steps we recommend that you take to maintain your social media presence:

Schedule Posts in Advance

There are certain aspects of your content strategy that you’ll be able to prepare and schedule in advance. For example, you can promote elements of your brand that won’t change, such as newsletter sign-up or details about an upcoming event. Your content strategy will inform you about the frequency and timing with you should be scheduling. This way, if you don’t have a ton of time to post live throughout the week, your feeds will still remain active. That said, we have one important note to share: Take the time to make sure everything looks good throughout the day every day – sometimes, a post will look great when you schedule it, and get messed up when it goes live. You never know!

Share Live Updates

Odds are, part of your content strategy includes sharing news or information that you can’t schedule in advance. In order to keep your voice authentic, get on your social accounts just once or twice a day and share something original that you’ve found. If you don’t have time to share anything original, it’s okay – just skip ahead to the next step this time.

Engage & Share

Choose two or three times each day on your calendar to take five to ten minutes to do the following:

  • Respond to all comments and mentions that have come in
  • Review RTs and new followers and thank as appropriate
  • Check your Twitter lists and the list you created of commonly used hashtags, and share a few pieces of content that are relevant to your brand (Note: Now, you can re-tweet with comments – do so if you have an extra moment!)

That’s it! Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of social media management best practices. But if you follow these simple steps, you’ll be able to maintain a solid social presence for your brand, in a manageable amount of time.

What are your favorite social media management tips? Share with us! Here’s how:

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Why You Need a Social Media Strategy

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Why You Need a Social Media Strategy

by Kate Vandeveld

As social media marketers, we often engage with clients who want to launch a social media presence or campaign quickly. And we get it – when you’re ready to get the word out about your product or services, you really want to hit the ground running. But, if you want to ensure your social media efforts are an effective and strong representation of your brand, it is so important to develop a strategy before you jump in and start posting.

Why You Need a Social Media Strategy via WhyWhisper Collective

When you set aside time to plan out your social media strategy, you can…

Make Sure You’re In the Right Place

Often, those who are new to social media feel like they should be everywhere – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube…you name it. But really, being on too many social media platforms can be detrimental. If you’re on too many platforms without good reason, you could be wasting time trying to maintain a channel that isn’t speaking to the audience you intend. Conversely, if you choose to forego certain platforms without research, you could miss out on promising engagement opportunities.

When selecting your social media platforms, you’ll want to consider who you’re trying to reach, what kind of content they’re interested in, what you can provide that’s of value to them, and how much time you have to stay active. You can find some of this information for a few of the most widely-used social media platforms here.

Then, once you’ve selected your social media platforms, you need to set them up correctly. Start by making sure that your images are crisp and compelling, that your descriptions are optimized for search, comprehension, and tone of voice, and that your branding is aligned across all platforms. First impressions are critical on social media, so think through how to do it right.

 

Decide On Your Destination

Before launching anything, you should be able to answer “why?” Do you need greater awareness of your products or services? Are you hoping to increase revenue or donations? Are your customers looking for a more personal buying experience? Define your objectives carefully, and identify the metrics you will need to track. Make a plan to report these metrics and analyze your data on a regular basis. This will allow you to make adjustments and improvements along the way.

Why You Need a Social Media Strategy via WhyWhisper

 

Develop a Strong Voice

Just like in a conversation, your tone and voice are incredibly important on social media. If you already have a strong sense of the persona you’d like to express, taking the time to write it down in detail will go a long way in making sure you get it right. Putting it in writing also means you’ll be able to share your voice and messaging guidelines with your team, if they should ever need to post on your behalf.

If you’re unsure of the voice you want your brand to convey, look at the brands you admire and write down what you like most. Do you want to be casual and witty? Speak more formally? Come across as a friend, a mom, or an authority figure? There are so many ways you can position your brand, and what you decide will have a big effect on the extent to which an audience will engage with your posts.

 

Make Room for Creative Ideas

Once you know who you’re talking to, where you need to be, what others are doing in your sector, and how to be efficient with your time, you’re in the best possible place to come up with creative ideas. Take CTC International’s #LoveIsProject. Earlier this year, the organization launched a social media campaign in promotion of a new crowdfunding effort, encouraging people to connect with each other by posting their own stories of love with the hashtag #LoveIsProject. With careful planning, they saw enormously high participation rates, and exceeded their crowdfunding goal of $5,000, raising a total of $32,844. 

Or take a look at DoSomething.org, a non-profit that brings young people together to tackle some of the world's most pressing problems by creating and joining social impact campaigns. Through careful strategic planning, they've developed a strong voice that appeals to their target audience: young, motivated individuals who want to make an impact. Their humorous and engaging content has prompted thousands to get involved in their campaigns, which have made an impact a range of issues, from bullying to homelessness to literacy.

Why You Need a Social Media Strategy via WhyWhisper


Ensure Efficient Management

Every platform requires a different posting frequency, and posts are more effective on various platforms at different times of day. Maintaining social media feeds can be time consuming, and sometimes overwhelming; but, it doesn’t have to be. By planning ahead, you can utilize time-saving social media management tools to schedule posts and monitor relevant activity from others automatically. You can develop content calendars that ensure consistent messaging across platforms. And your management strategies will free up your time to focus on authentic engagement with your audience.

 

Review Best Practices & Content

Make sure to look at what others in your space are doing well or poorly, as well as how different types of content are received on different platforms. When you go in blind, you miss the opportunity to learn from the mistakes and successes of others.

 

No matter how well acquainted you are with social media, or how excited you are to launch your social campaign, you will find great value in taking the time to strategize. Developing a focused strategy will make a huge difference in your long-term results.

What are some of your tips for strategizing around social media? Share with us in the comments below, or on our own platforms – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

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Effective Email Marketing For Your Cause

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Effective Email Marketing For Your Cause

by Shanley Knox

When setting out to create an effective email marketing campaign, there are many questions you may be asking...

  • What magic subject line will get your subscribers to open your email?
  • How do you get them to click your links? 
  • What is just the right length to get your readers to actually digest your content?
  • How do you get them to share, to buy, or to donate? 

Email marketing presents a significant opportunity for companies and causes to connect directly with an audience that has already exhibited interest. That being said, in order to see a monetary return on your audience's interest, you need to ensure you provide ongoing value. 

Below, our team provides four tried-and-true strategies. Have a tip of your own to add? Comment below or reach out via Facebook and Twitter - we'd love to hear from you!

1. Make a Clear Connection 

Your readers should always be able to tell exactly why you’re emailing them. For example, if their last donation contributed to a fundraising goal, craft a message that ensures they walk away feeling accomplished and part of a community. If you're currently seeking funding, clearly outline the project and the various ways they can help.


2. Give Social Proof

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when people assume the actions of others are correct; and subsequently, follow in their footsteps. How do you accomplish this through email marketing? Show how your followers have previously taken part in your cause. This can be done via group photos, social shares, or creative examples of support, such as charity: water’s collage below.

If the purpose of your email is fundraising, personalize your financial ask... How many people have opted in to helping you reach your goal thus far? How much have they donated? How far are you from your goal? What is this dollar amount accomplishing? All of these factors help your readers to feel that your goal is realistic, and encourages them to take action.  Below is an example of how the American Heart Organization employed this strategy to effectively raise money for cardiovascular disease.


3. Personalize 

In this case study, emails with personalized subjects average 26% higher open rates and over 130% higher CTRs than emails without personalized subject lines. Unfortunately, the study also showed that personalized subject lines received increased negative attention if the emails were off target, or recipients did not recognize the sender. We've seen similar results with our clients.  Some tips to ensure you’re positively capitalizing on personalization: 

- Target your messaging to specific groups of followers, rather than sending out one large email across your master list. A/B testing via MailChimp is a great way to better understand (and effectively target your content to) your audience.

- For first time emails to new subscribers or donors, make sure to send an introductory email welcoming them to your cause and letting them know that they are important to you. 


4. Make Donations Easy 

Finding your donation button should be seamless for your email readers. Make sure that it is aesthetically in line with the rest of your email, and placed just prominently enough, but not so obvious that it appears you are begging for help.

Also, after your followers click through, it’s important to make the actual donation process an easy one. Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of 5 of the best tools available for accepting donations online.

Don't forget, we love to learn. Have strategies or tips to add? Comment below or reach out via Facebook and Twitter.

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For further reading:

  • Here are helpful step-by-step instructions on how to personalize your emails across several prominent email campaign platforms.
  • And, before you send, triple check to ensure you’ve stayed far away from these five email sins.

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How Successful Nonprofits Secure Corporate Sponsors

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How Successful Nonprofits Secure Corporate Sponsors

by Shanley Knox & Alexandra Ostrow

When it comes to finding corporate sponsors, trends are shifting. Where it once used to be enough to sell companies on supporting a good cause, today, organizations that are successful are structuring sponsorships as a business deal. What does this mean? Success ultimately relies on a perceived return on investment.

Ready to transition from handout to handshake? Here's how to go about it:

Find the Low Hanging Fruit
Your existing network is your best tool for discovering potential partnerships. Once you've identified companies and/or verticals that you feel match well with your organization's goals, check LinkedIn to see who from your network is connected to your targets. The platform makes it easy to request an introduction. Also, put out the word to your everyday contacts. Board members, employees, volunteers, fans on social media -- they're all potential leads to the person (or people) you want to meet. Lastly, when networking, start to expand upon the base of people with whom you regularly interact. Building new relationships can help you gain entry to new potential targets. 

Know Your Competition
Are there other organizations similar to you that are securing corporate sponsorships? Learn more about them. What are their core values? Their key relationships? Marketing tactics? How long do they spend going after donors? How do they target them? Your competition will often provide your best source of market research.

Understand Your Audience
Your potential sponsors are gearing their marketing and advertising efforts towards identified target audiences. To demonstrate relevance, arm yourself with key demographic data about your fan base, donors, and volunteers. Where do they live? What do they do for a living? What do they like to buy? How old are they? By illustrating the opportunity your organization provides to put sponsors in front of their target, you prove that your event provides value beyond your social good. 

Do Your Homework
When approaching a prospective sponsor, make sure you've done your research on them. Where have they donated in the past? What does their CEO stand for? Where does it seem that they're investing their marketing dollars? What philanthropic activities are their competitors taking part in? The more you know, the better equipped you will be to offer them a package of value.

Show the Right Perspective
During your first conversation, make sure to inquire about their current company goals... are they looking for greater brand awareness? Hoping to engage their employees? Looking for a tax write-off? Wishing to reward their board members? Using the insights you gain, you can create a custom sponsorship package that aligns with their overarching goals. As a result, they will walk away with an understanding that sponsorship is a sound investment.

Have tips of your own to add? Tell us in the comments below, or contact us via Facebook, Twitter or Email

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Sell Your Product First and Your Story Second

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Sell Your Product First and Your Story Second

by Shanley Knox

 Nowhere has business become more purposeful than in the world of social enterprise. New businesses are constantly cropping up with world-changing missions, messages of empowerment, and products to address even the worst of society's issues.

In a world where nearly half of global consumers are willing to pay extra for socially responsible products and services, it's becoming a growing challenge for social enterprises to stand out against other cause-oriented products and services. 

In his recent piece, “Social Enterprises Must Move Beyond Purpose,” Heath Shackelford writes that, “your customers only allow your purpose to be a factor if you meet other criteria, including price, quality and value.”

To differentiate your social enterprise, begin by providing the best possible product or service. Then, market it like a successful business would - through effective research, market differentiation, and smart brand messaging. Afterward, tell a social story that illustrates the power of what a successful social business can do.

Here are some steps to get you started:  

Learn Your Market
Before you plan for marketing to your market, you’re going to need to know who they are. Begin by determining factors such as what kind of customer is going to pay for your product or service, and where you can find them.

Some key questions:

  • Approximately how many people out there are willing to pay for your product?
  • What amount are they willing to pay for your product or service?
  • Where are these people located?
  • What are these people interested in?
  • Who is already marketing a similar product to them, and how do you measure up against them?

Find Your Unique Selling Point 
Many social enterprises focus on the social benefits of their product, rather than focusing on the value and quality of their product itself. Now that you know who your customer is, and who else is selling to them, it’s time to identify your unique selling point... in other words, what makes your product or service more attractive than anyone else’s? 

  • Research your customer’s satisfaction with their current products or services: What do they love? What would they want to change? Why?
  • Are there certain messages that are a “no-go”? For instance, your customers may associate terms such as “nonprofit,” “fair trade” or “green” with a product that is subpar. By identifying and removing these “trigger” phrases, you remove potential purchasing barriers.

Craft Your Voice
Once you've decided how to effectively market your product, its time to integrate your social mission back into your branding, and create a voice that will consistently tell your story to current and potential customers:

  • What is the type of message that resonates most with your customers - is it people or numbers? emotional stories or statistics? formal or casual?
  • What are the facets of your social story that appeal most to the customer sector you have identified? 
  • Who are the influencers (voices that effectively influence others' purchasing decisions) in your customer groups? Wow can you reach them and convince them to share your product?
  • Which social platforms are your customers currently using, and how must you adjust your voice to meet the parameters of that particular platform? 

Looking for more support in building an effective marketing strategy for your social enterprise? Check out these helpful resources:

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