5 ways to use Social Media to Promote your Nonprofit Event
With the recent scaling back of several newspapers in the Advance Publications family and this week’s dismissal of hundreds of newspaper employees in Alabama and Louisiana, the competition for news coverage of your nonprofit event has just gotten much stiffer. At Digital Marketing Department, we often train clients how to work with the media to publicize events and news that supports your cause. In light of the recent developments with these newspapers, that training is more valuable than ever for getting your voice and your heard. To complement that earned media coverage, we also highly recommend using social media to get the word out about your nonprofit events.
According to a recent survey by Constant Contact, 9 out of 10 users ranked Facebook as the most popular social media site and nearly ¾ found social media effective for promotion. On the other hand, more than half of respondents didn’t have any plan for using social media. With social media, you have control over your message, timing, and budget, making it a great way to engage with attendees and donors about your event. Here are a few tips to get you started on the right foot:
1. Build a Facebook event page – Creating an event page on Facebook is fast and easy, and pays big dividends for your organization. It gives your special event a special place on the web.
2. Get Connected – When it comes to getting the word out, you need everyone who is involved with your mission on board. (These days, it is difficult to be an effective nonprofit fundraiser, event planner, or executive director if you aren’t engaged with social media.)
After you get your event page up and running, invite all interested parties – board, volunteers, employees, friends, donors – to like the page. And then, ask them to ask their friends to like the page as well. This last step is key to building a big, buzzy social network for your event. We’ve done this successfully with clients for a variety of events. If everyone participates, you can build a group of hundreds or thousands in a matter of days.
3. Tell your story – Just putting the when and where facts out on social media is not very compelling. When was the last time you heard, “Hey, so-and-so is having a fundraising event on September 4th” at the water cooler? You are much more likely to hear “Did you hear the story about the plastic surgeon who donated 500 bras to women in need? Now that’s uplifting.”
To really engage your audience, you need to tell a story. Take a look at your organization, your mission, your event with fresh eyes and find the stories that are most interesting. Tell those stories on social media, your website, in your newsletter.
4. Think Visually – There is a lot of activity on social networks. This is great, because it means that many of your preferred audience are online. It is also challenging because you’re competing with many other voices to tell your story. In order to capture the most attention with your story on social media, you’ve got to think visually. Include interesting, eye catching photos with your stories and posts, or better yet, use video.
5. Tag Everything – When you’re posting your videos and photos on Facebook, be sure to tag all the vendors, donors, volunteers, employees, and board members who appear in the image. Tagging will post the image on each of those individuals’ wall, making it visible to their friends and helping to spread the news farther and faster.
*Bonus Tip – A great way to drive your ideal audience to your Facebook event page or your website is by using online ads. You can run ads on Facebook and tightly manage your daily budget, which is essential when you’re counting every penny and reporting back to your board. Google ads are also great for driving traffic, and their advertising grants for nonprofits make it a smart way to go.
We’d love to know what questions you have about social media marketing and what aspects of it have worked for your nonprofit promotions. Leave us a comment on the blog or on our Facebook page. Also check out a post we made recently on 8 Ways to Promote Your Nonprofit Event for Free.