We have been living in the age of internet for quite some time now. Internet has enabled producers reach out to millions of consumers and vice-versa. It has helped connect writers to millions of its readers. In recent years the world of internet has come up with another new communication and social channel. Social media is a catch-all term for sites that may provide radically different social actions.
Over the last few years, social media has emerged as an important medium of communication globally for reaching out to a vast audience. Currently there is a plethora of social media sites and applications that are being used by diverse organisations. The main purpose of using social media is to connect to a large audience spreading across the globe, within fraction of a second and spread your message.
Different social sites offer consumers a wide range of options for generating awareness. For instance, Twitter is a social site designed to let people share short messages or “updates” with others. Facebook, in contrast is a complete social networking site that allows for sharing updates, photos, joining events and a variety of other activities. These social media sites are also being used to market and promote various products and works.
Just like any business house or academic institute, NGOs can also take advantage of social media to create awareness amongst relevant stakeholders about their activities.
However before venturing into social media there are few key questions which you should be asking to effectively utilise social media for promoting your work.
- Why use social media to promote your work?
- It will help you reach out to potential donors, social workers and other users – First and foremost social media sites are a platform for social interaction. Every post you make on a social media platform is an opportunity for customers to convert. When you build a following, you’ll simultaneously have access to new customers, recent customers, and old customers, and you’ll be able to interact with all of them. Every blog post, image, video, or comment you share is a chance for someone to react, and every reaction could lead to a site visit, and eventually a conversion. That is posting about your product or work on these sites help you reach out to a ton of users. These users can be users who are already aware of your work or they could also be potentially your new users. These new users can be reached out and made aware of your work/product by posting on these sites.
Most social media sites have a discovering feature. By discovery feature, when a user searches, comments or likes a particular type of content, then the site looks up similar posts or content and suggest it to the user for better user experience. This basically provides you a platform where even if a user who does not know about your company or organisation, but is interested in your content can be reached potentially by using the right content.
- Prompt action to user feedback – If the user has any feedback regarding your product, service or content social media is an excellent place for users to get in touch with you. Also your prompt action and active response to these feedbacks are viewable to other users you might or might not share the same kind of feedback. Hence they also are made aware of your response to feedback. Study after study has shown that consumers /users appreciate organisations that respond to feedbacks (and users don’t hesitate to rant online to anyone who will listen when organisation don’t take the time to make things right).
- Its free – If you handle your own social media management, running a social networking campaign is as cheap as it gets. If you hire a social media management or online PR agency, it’ll be an investment that you’ll be likely to see a return on. If you’re intimidated by interacting with people online or your writing skills leave something to be desired, hiring an online PR agency is definitely the way to go. Posting poorly written content or conveying the wrong kind of messages on social networking sites can seriously affect your digital presence.
- Increases Website Traffic– Social media is also a major plausible cause of traffic generator for your actual site. When you share blog posts, videos and other content from your website, you give your audience a reason to click through and visit your site. Once there, you have the opportunity to inspire those visitors to take action by inviting them to sign up for your mailing list, or call to schedule a free consultation. Install traffic monitoring service, such as Google Analytics, and if you are committed to your social media efforts, you will clearly see that social media brings traffic. Also, make sure that your visitors receive a clear call to action when they visit your site so that you can convert that extra traffic into regular users / customers.
- How to use social media for promoting your work?
- Decide your goal and plan your content accordingly: There are various marketing or promotion goals from which you can create the mix that you want. From creating your presence on internet, to connect with old or current users , to finding new users or simply keeping up with competition. Before you get started with social media, you should prepare a list of goals you want to achieve from this exercise. Break these goals into smaller, achievable and trackable items and plan your content accordingly.
- Start slow: If you are venturing into the social media for the first time for promoting your work, then you can start it slow. So that you do not get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of social media sites. Pick just one or two social media site. Each has a learning curve, but none is so complex you won’t be able to grasp the basics and begin. List of few social media sites :
- Facebook: Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet.
- Twitter: is a real-time short messaging service (SMS) that works over multiple networks and devices. In countries all around the world, people follow the sources most relevant to them and access information via Twitter as it happens — from breaking world news to updates from friends.
- Instagram: is a application that allows you to share pictures with your followers who can “like” and comment on your posts. Instagram also allows you to share those posts on Facebook and Twitter.
- Google+ (Google Plus): is a social media site that lets you connect with others who have similar interests and enables you to post and share content with others.
- LinkedIn: is an interconnected network of more than 36 million experienced professionals from around the world. The site can help you make better use of your professional network and help the people you trust in return.
- Reddit: is a source for what’s new and popular on the Web — personalized for you. Your votes train a filter, so let Reddit know what you liked and disliked, because you’ll begin to see recommended links filtered to your tastes. All of the content on reddit is submitted and voted on by users like you.
- Learn the apps / sites features: You would need to learnhow the app/site of choice operates. Each channel has much in common, but they differ in significant ways. Invest a little time learning the ropes. You need not read books or enroll in a course. Instead, acquaint yourself with the social media site you’ll use by asking for help from a friend, downloading an ebook or guide and searching for blogs that offer guidance from experts. Another good idea could be keeping your account private for some time while you learn the ropes and then unveiling it to the public.
- Use Data and Facts: along with mentioning your NGOs story and best practices, make sure you use some facts and figures related to your mission. This will make the users understand the severity of the social cause that you address.
- Integrate a donate button: You should take advantage of the virtual platform to support your fundraising efforts. With a donate button on your social profile, people who are passionate for the cause can contribute towards the cause, thereby increasing your online fundraising success.
- Be Consistent: You need to budget time to do social media. How much time is up to you, but understand you’ll be taken far more seriously if you’re active on a daily or bi-daily basis. Yes, you can shut it down for a day, weekend or take a break without threatening your good standing. The caution to take is if you merely check in with a post now and then, you probably won’t be taken seriously.
- Keep a steady stream of visual content: Study has shown that viewers respond quicker to visual content that written. So accompany your written content with visual content, that is add photos to blog post or updating photos on social media with small caption with a link to the site with elaborate content. Try using images and videos of your projects to have a deep impact amongst the users. Visual images and video stories always create better understanding of your project thereby influencing more people to connect to your organisation.
- Share or comment on other’s content: Like in the real world, in the virtual world building a network helps in various ways. You can start building a network by sharing and appreciating other’s content. Social media is very much reciprocal. People notice and appreciate it when you take the time to share their blog posts, images, videos, etc., and will likely return the favour. Not only sharing but commenting on other’s content can help you build a reputation in social media.
You should always keep in mind that content on internet is internal, therefore plan and access your content before posting.Social media is a great and a powerful medium to reach out to people, therefore it should be used with discretion and control to create a positive image for your work.