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To Make The Most Of Social Media, Just ‘Listen’

How well do you listen to your non-profit’s supporters? If you do not engage in ‘social listening,’ your efforts may not be good enough. This marketing communications strategy is popular with for-profit companies but can just as easily help non-profits attract and retain donors, volunteers, and members.

Social media monitoring

Social listening starts with monitoring social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram for mentions of your organization and related keywords. But to take full advantage of this strategy, you also must engage with topics that interest your supporters and interact with ‘influencers,’ who can extend your message by sharing it with their audiences.

Influencers do not have to be celebrities with millions of followers. Connecting with a group of influencers who each have only several hundred followers can expand your reach exponentially. For example, a conservation organization might follow and interact with a popular rock climber or other outdoor enthusiast to reach that person’s followers.

Targeting your messages

To use social listening, develop a list of key terms related to your organization and its mission, programs, and campaigns. You will want to treat this as a ‘living document,’ updating it as you launch new initiatives. Then ‘listen’ for these terms on social media. Several free online tools are available to perform this monitoring, including Google Alerts, Twazzup, and Social Mention.

When your supporters or influencers use the terms, you can send them a targeted message with a call to action, such as a petition, donation solicitation, or event announcement. Your call to action could be as simple as asking them to share your content.

You also can use trending hashtags (a keyword or phrase that is currently popular on social media) to keep your communications relevant and leverage current events on a real-time basis. Always be on the lookout for creative ways to join conversations while promoting your organization or campaign.

Actively seeking opportunity

Most non-profits have a presence on social media. But if your organization is not actively listening to and communicating with people on social media sites, you are only a partial participant. Fortunately, social listening is an easy and inexpensive way to engage and become engaged.

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