First of all, thank you for the opportunity to come speak to you today about the ways Mid-Ohio Foodbank is using social media. My name is Christina Christian and I’m the digital marketing manager at the Foodbank and I’ve been there since the beginning of March. Today I’ll be speaking about how Mid-Ohio Foodbank is leveraging the social networking to communicate its brand awareness and promote its mission; along with how we’re using it to connect with volunteers and (eventually) raise dollars. As the title indicates, it’s all about building your base.
Mid-Ohio Foodbank is a local non-profit organization that is dedicated to feeing hungry people by: Collecting and distributing food and grocery products Educating the community about hunger Advocating for hunger-relief programs Collaborating with others who address basic human needs If you’re unfamiliar with how a foodbank works, this chart helps clarify exactly how we feed families & individuals in need. Food comes to us from donors and government programs The foodbank houses the food and acts as an educator and advocate for the hungry The food is then distributed to a network of agencies – we have more than 530 – who then; Provide the food to those in need
Now to the good stuff and the reason I’m here with you today. Why are we participating in social media?
Well, first of all it’s how we’re all communicating. It’s where we’re spending our time and where our interests lie. How many of you are sending messages via Facebook? How many of you are on Twitter? How many of you are watching videos on YouTube? A recent Equation Research survey on Emarketing.com asked a large group of brand marketers if they were already using social media in their marketing strategies – 59% of respondents said they already were! It’s not the NEW thing to do anymore – it’s mainstream. Mid-Ohio Foodbank – like most of you here, I’m sure – wanted a spot at the table. We wanted to communicate with the masses the way they wanted to be communicated with. We also wanted to learn more about our community, our donors and our volunteers.
After the USx8 campaign was completed, the agency recommended dedicating someone to manage the campaign – and its social media counterpart s. Since no one on staff had the expertise nor the time to devote and maintain the new venture into the social media space… Mid-Ohio Foodbank took the plunge and made the decision to create my position. A full time staff member who is tasked with creating, growing and maintaining the online presence of Mid-Ohio Foodbank.
So what is our approach? It all revolves around a purpose – a reason for using the social media tools. We want to create awareness; create and increase advocates; raise funds and communicate with volunteers. Everything I do in the space – initiating discussion, learning about our audience, building relationships, and friend-raising – is connected with Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s underlying goals for participating in the first place.
So where can you find us? We’ve chosen four main tools to help us achieve our goals: Facebook YouTube Flickr Twitter
Although reaching a younger generation was Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s original intent – you all know as well as I do that the social media landscape changes often, and very fast. In the past year it’s exploded to include those older than 29. Those in the age bracket of 30 to 49 and over 50 are typically the largest donors to non-profit organizations. The Philanthropy2.0 Study surveyed these age groups and discovered that: 84% of the social media savvy aged 30-49 and 55% of those older than 50 already used conversational media for the displayed purposes. So what are they looking for from non-profits in this space? Take a look: The top four included: How the organization was making a difference Success Stories More information about affiliated organizations More info about causes of interest This confirms social media is a potential growth area through which major donors can be cultivated.
We’re using social networks to educate and alert the community about: Local hunger statistics Hunger-related articles on websites or blogs Provide links to other hunger or basic need organizations or advocates News articles about Mid-Ohio Foodbank Who we are and what we do? A great way to humanize our organization is by posting human-interest updates. We’ve used Flickr and Facebook to promote our internal food drives and fundraisers.
Foodfight6.30 was an event on June 30 th – in partnership with the Central Ohio Restaurant Association (CORA) and the restaurants that belong to it. Participating restaurants donated 5% of their total sales receipts to Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s Operation Feed Campaign. Luckily, a lot of participating restaurants were also participating in social media. We used Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a social media news release (FREE) service, called Pitchengine as a way to promote this event. We made the flyer into a Jpeg photo for easy posting and also asked the current and incoming president of CORA to make a short promo video . We put both on Facebook and YouTube, and used Twitter to direct traffic to these and the list of restaurants on our website. Our Facebook invitation had little impact – but everything else (web traffic, response on Twitter, YouTube views, blog coverage, views on Pitchengine and media coverage – had positive, measurable results.
Great video, right? Catchy tune, localized message, speaks to your heart… I wanted to show you the video for two reasons: Obviously, I’d love for you to take out that cell phone of yours right now and donate… But also to let you know a funny thing about social media – videos in particular Just because you have a great video – achieving viral success can be hit or miss… this video has yet to “go viral” With use of the video – Mid-Ohio Foodbank now had a solid piece of content. Using YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to promote USx8 and the video… we began marketing he campaign in May. USx8 was our first attempt at combining a new avenue for fundraising (via text message) with social media to promote the messaging and call to action.
Fight with $5 was a kick-off event for the USx8, hunger awareness, text-to-give campaign I showed you earlier. Using the Jpeg –for- a- flier method as Foodfight6.30, we used Facebook, Twitter, a Twitter invitation app called Twtvite – TWTVITE – and a URL shortening service called Tr.im, to spread the word and invite guests to the event. About 25 people showed up, donated a total of $200 – including on site cash donations and texted donations – and used the given hashtag on Twitter 70 times. Note on the flier I included the “Find us on Facebook” logo.
So, has it worked? How do we know if we’re not measuring dollars? The question is how do you measure awareness? Remember, fundraising wasn’t our number one objective. To determine effectiveness – measure online presence. Conduct a social media audit using a few keywords or issues relevant to your business or organization. Search: Facebook Twtter MySpace Flickr YouTube Technorati LinkedIn
“ Relationship building lays groundwork for future campaigns to raise time, money, and blood.” That’s what we’re doing. We’re identifying influencers, learning about what works and how to craft effective messages or calls to action.
We’re not the only non-profit organization who is using social media as major friend – not – fund raiser. Another recent non-profit networking survey asked more than 900 non-profit organizations a series of questions – here are some highlights: 80.5% of non-profits are using social networking as a marketing channel 93.8% of non-profits have had their social network for less than 2 years 61.1% of non profits are NOT using social networks as a means for fundraising 44.3% of those non-profits who aren’t participating aren’t doing so because the lack in-house expertise
What have we learned? We’re on the right track with friend-raising Relationships are priceless Learning comes from listening From learning, strategies often change NPOs have different needs and audiences Social media isn’t for every donor Direct mail still works well for us What do we plan to do in the future? Launch a blog Accompanied by online fundraising platform Create and encourage more content Content leads to conversation Think outside of the box in terms of how we communicate our messages and asks
Remember – participation in the social space should always revolve around a purpose. It’s about building a community and understanding your audience better than your competitors. Your goal should to be to grow a community of advocates, who are like-minded and can be accurate representatives of your brand. Mid-Ohio Foodbank isn’t the only local non profit in social media. This isn’t a full list, but just a few that came to mind: The YWCA has created a strong and active community on Facebook COSI maximizes the power of YouTube The Columbus Zoo uses Twitter to update its followers regularly
The overarching question is then, how have our operations shifted since implementing social media strategies?
Social networks have given us a new space to communicate and spread our messaging to the masses. Other Foodbank programs, such as Operation Feed for example, have taken note of how I’m using the tools for general communication and also plan to implement a social media strategy into their planning for next year We’re also using our networks as a resource for information and to collaborate and share ideas. As well as , deepening our relationships with those participating in the space with us. Although we’ve yet to receive significant revenue from using social media we still plan to see if there are opportunities. So far using the tools to direct traffic elsewhere has been successful. Social media is often a trial and error and we plan to maximize all of the opportunities social media provides.
BUILDING YOUR BASE MID-OHIO FOODBANK’S SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERIENCE September 2, 2009
www.emarketer.com US Brand Marketers Who Use Social Media Marketing , June-July 2009 (% of respondents) Yes, it’s currently part of our marketing activity 59% We are planning to implement social media in:
next 3 months 13%
- 4-6 months 7%
- next 7-12 months 3%
12 months or longer 5%
- No, we’re not using/planning to use social media 13% Source: Equation Research, “ 2009 Marketing Industry Trends Report ,” August 18, 2009
how to craft effective messages or calls to action
“ Relationship building lays groundwork for future campaigns to raise time, money, and blood.”
- Beth Kanter, http://beth.typepad.com
Non-profits & social media www.nonprofitsocialnetworksurvey.com * Facebook Question Social Networks What is the primary purpose of the community? Marketing (80.5%) How long have you had your *community? 1-24 months (93.8%) How much fundraising revenue have you raised from your community over the preceding year? Not fundraising (61.1%) For those nonprofits without a community of this type, what is the primary reason? Do not have the expertise in-house (44.3%)