Before you can figure out how social media can most effectively help launch your social enterprise, you have to know who you are. As the online ecosystem moves to an interest-graph approach in the way we consume content, tailored and specific content – whether it is organized by geography, topic, etc. – is a key driver of building influence online. Experts are not called upon because they are the smartest person in every room; they are called upon because they are the smartest person in a specific room.In other words: What unique message, service, or idea to you have to offer? What’s your brand? And how does your brand translate into your visual identity and your voice?
Your goals should drive your social media strategy. Keep in mind that social media in itself isn’t a SOLUTION.It’s a tool that can be deployed strategically in support of a larger organizational or campaign goal. So when you’re thinking about your social media goals, don’t think of them as separate from your organization’s overall communications goals. For some this might mean building community. For others it might mean inspiring people to take a certain action. For many of you, it’s probably about raising funds and brand awareness.
Keeping your goal in mind, think about which audiences can best help you achieve it. The more specific you can get the better. Perhaps you want to inspire moms in the midwest to make donations; or sustainability journalists to write about your startup in their publications. Maybe you want to reach policymakers or perhaps its your existing donors. Knowing your audience is instrumental to finding the right targeted social media strategy and figuring out which platforms make more sense to use.
Once you have a solid handle on those three answers—who you are, what your goals are, and which audience will help you reach those goals—you’re ready to start making a social media plan. These answers should drive your strategy and help you determine which social media channels to use when.
Don’t think about metrics in terms of social media metrics versus traditional media metrics.Focus holistically on your goal and then identify the indicators that reveal whether your tactics are working to help you achieve your goal.Facebook “Likes” and the number of Twitter followers you have can be a good indicator of brand exposure, but they don’t tell you anything about action or engagement. If your goal is to get urban bike riders to get behind your social enterprise, an endorsement tweet from an influential biker is a much higher indicator of success than having 100 followers who never engage with your content. And remember: It’s important that you have a plan for measuring success before you start any campaign.
Now we’d like to dive into some case studies that show how startups/nonprofits used social media to achieve their organization goals. You’ll notice that each one found the social media channel or channels that most effectively helped them communicate their message and reach the right audience.
#GivingTuesday™, the giving season’s opening day and the first-ever national day of giving, was launched in 2012 by the UN Foundation, 92Y, and Mashable. They had an ambitious goal—create a national day and engage nonprofits, companies, and individuals to participate. This required forming partnerships, raising visibility, and finding ambassadors who would help spread the word. Twitter (and Twitter chats) was a huge part of their strategy—allowing them to engage the right audience by inviting them to share their plans, raise their visibility, and making people feel part of a growing movement. They selected a group of social media “ambassadors” who further used Twitter and Facebook to spread the word. They even made their name a hashtag– a smart move that paved the way for their Twitter success. In the end, there were more than 2,500 official #GivingTuesday partners in all 50 states---the original goal was 200. More than 50 million people worldwide spread the word about #GivingTuesday – resulting in milestone trending on Twitter. Blackbaud, an organization that processes online donations for thousands of charities, processed a 53% increase in online donations when compared to the Tuesday after Thanksgiving the previous year.
Susan wanted to create a space where CSR experts could come together to discuss issues related to the field. She thought Twitter was the perfect channel to build a community, reach thought-leaders and CSR executives, and elevate the field as a whole. While it doesn’t happen overnight, Twitter chats can be enormously useful for anyone looking to build or create a community around a particular issue. After two years, CSRchat has grown into an established space for CSR conversation, with hundreds of tweets and millions of impressions being generated each time.
Fashion Takes Action’s goal is to shift the fashion industry toward more positive social and environmental impacts. Their aiming to reach industry folks, consumers, and policymakers. Using Pinterest boards that highlight eco-chic clothes and DIY projects, they’re able to raise consumer awareness and support of their mission and engage the right audience—female consumers—with their mission.
#BLOGFOROBAMA GOALS: Create a network of 150+ digital influencers that would show their support of Pres. Obama in a “social media sprint” to Election Day. Distribute highly curated campaign-provided content via list serv.Activate online participation and increase visibility of #blogforobamahashtag during presidential and vice presidential debates.Share Instagram photos and “endorsement” blog posts around GOTVTWITTER DURING DEABTE: More than 4,000 tweets were posted during the three presidential debates and vice presidential debate, garnering more than 16 million impressions.INSTAGRAM:We asked #blogforobama members to post Instagram photos that answer the question, “Why am I voting for Pres. Obama?” This easy activity provided an avenue for engagement for those who weren’t comfortable posting to their blogs.Over three weeks, 29 users posts 69 photos. These users have a collective audience of 28,305 followers.
The Adventure Project is a non-profit organization adding venture to support social enterprises in developing countries. Their goal is to create 1,000,000 jobs in the developing world– and they rely on a “tribe” of supporters in the US. As a media-rich startup, Adventure Project uses a Tumblr blog—which allows users to easily post all different kinds of media—to engage existing donors, inspire them to give more, and grow the tribe of supporters.
Created by Save the Children in 2012, Mom’s the Word is a Facebook community designed to engage young moms with Save the Children’s mission of supporting children around the world. Facebook proved the perfect channel for reaching these moms (who are active users of the social media channel!) and providing them with interesting, humorous and visual content—deemed “momwins”—that would engage them with the brand and keep them coming back for more. Using a targeted Facebook ad strategy—which you can do on any budget!—Mom’s the Word was able to grow to 230,000 in its first year alone.
You need to learn what your audience responds toThis may take some time!Don’t be afraid to throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks…but always be yourself and own your voice!Adjust your strategy accordingly
Launching Your Social Enterprise with the Help of Social Media
Morra Aarons-Mele & Susan McPherson @morraam& @susanmcp1