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Online Inspiration: How Nonprofits Use Social Media for Super-Exposure

As a nonprofit organization, one of the challenges you face is marketing and social media is one option to use. How do you promote yourself, your brand, and your cause, to the general population? How do you make yourself stand out above the noise? 

Here’s how.

Social Media is the solution for non-profits to gain super-exposure.

Contests and Giveaways in Social Media

Contests and giveaways are probably one of the best ways to market a non-profit. Sure, it costs money up-front, but these strategies usually pay off in the end. Raffles are the classic “giveaway” strategy, but they straddle a gray line between creative and illegal lottery-style gambling.

For many nonprofits, branding gifts, like Ad Magic cards, is a smart move. These kinds of promotional items can also be given away via contests, though, for runner-up prizes or as online “door prizes.”

For example, you could hold a promotion where you ask users to submit a photo or essay, telling their story about your cause, or the industry, and how it has affected them. If your organization is a cancer nonprofit, you might solicit cancer survival stories.

They don’t necessarily have to be from people who have donated to your organization, though. Any survival story will do. Why? Because, remember, your organization is promoting a cause, not a product. You don’t have to worry about pushing your brand so hard that you end up “selling” donations.

The winner of the contest might receive a special gift or might be featured in your organization’s magazine or monthly newsletter.

On Social Media there are many ways to use contests to tell your brand’s story, as well as the stories of current and potential donors – or just complete strangers.

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Post Popular Blog Articles using Social Media

Comb through your organization’s blog. Which posts were the most popular? Can you dig them up and share them on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites to revive them? Most of the time, you can.

A lot of organizations are hesitant to do this because they feel they need to be publishing fresh, new, content. That’s not true. You need to be publishing relevant and useful content. If that content is older but still relevant, then it’s worthy of being shared.

Share Industry-Centric Issues and News via Social Media

And, don’t get caught up in brand-centric rhetoric or agendas. The most successful nonprofits position themselves as thought-leaders, posting information about the industry and not just about their organization.

Become a curator of content, and your users will appreciate you for it.

Tell A Story

Above all, your job is to tell stories. For every 5 status updates or Tweets, you send out, at least 4 should be stories about your cause. You shouldn’t spend a lot of time pitching. You have to weave statistics, urgency, quotes, and humor into your status updates and shares or users will see your attempts at collecting donations as a pure “money grab.”

There is only one situation where this storytelling rule is broken, and that’s in a crisis situation, where immediate action is necessary via social media. For example, if you raise money for victims of natural disasters, it’s OK to ask for donations repeatedly immediately following an especially devastating natural disaster.

It's OK for nonprofits to use social media to raise money for natural disasters. It's easy and… Click To Tweet

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