When working to recruit and communicate to members, word of mouth is still king. According to our 2014 Trends & Opportunities Survey, word-of-mouth referrals are viewed by organizations to be the most effective communication channel for attracting new members, with direct mail and social media in a very very distant tie for second.
So much of what happens on social media is word-of-mouth. How many times have you seen people asking their social networks for advice or recommendations on a product or a service? What if nonprofits were able to combine the power of social media with that all-important word-of-mouth recommendation?
Social media platform HootSuite recently published an article, “Doing more with Less: How Nonprofits Build Social Media Armies,” discussing how important it is to get all your employees and your loyal users/followers on the same page when it comes to social. This article offers advice to help nonprofits engage and succeed with social media:
Give your employees and volunteers a social media education. Many younger employees and volunteers already feel comfortable conversing in the social media realm and you can use that base knowledge to work for your association. Before you give anyone the keys to your social media accounts, be sure that they understand how you would like them to communicate professionally in order to further the mission of your nonprofit. A helpful step is to designate one full-time employee to train and monitor the messages that are put out by others on social media. Be sure to set up social media keyword searches so you can quickly identify mentions from all sources.
Recruit loyal members to talk about your organization to their social networks. Have a running club that meets regularly at your YMCA or JCC? Is the head of the group active in the local running community? Chances are this person has a lot of influence that would be beneficial to your nonprofit. HootSuite offers their “ambassadors” brand education, online recognition, and company goodies to encourage them to participate on social media. In this way, loyal members can become ambassadors for your association and for your mission.
Being active on social media can often be an afterthought, but putting the work in on the front end to recruit employees and loyal members to participate can encourage an active social online community that can enhance your word-of-mouth referrals and further your nonprofit’s mission.