Engagement First? Not Without a Ring!

Developing Social Media for Small and Really Small Non-Profits  October 2016 Commoo11 Blog 5

Put Engagment first

In the continuing review of A Strategic Guide to Social Media for Non-profits , I am up to Step 6, Put Engagement First. Engagement? What is engagement really? If someone reads my post, aren’t they engaged? (comments on the bottom, and be nice).  It doesn’t require a social media junkie to understand that engagement is so much more than a like or a repost. Up until a few years ago, you heard the term “viral” at the doctor’s office, now it is a whole new thing. You want people to do what you have asked them to do, sign a petition, donate, and attend a rally. That’s what engagement is, them responding in a real and valuable way.

Here is a perfect example. If Oxfam  asked you to donate money to help families grow their own food, you might, but there are lots of more pressing needs closer to home, so you would probably just delete and not give it another thought. What would you do with this tweet? Probably pass it along to people you know would think it was funny and poignant. Would you give? It is much more likely because it caught your interest.

9:31 AM – 23 Dec 2013


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What’s the best way for a little non-profit like me to engage with my target audience? On the Quora blog, What is the best way to engage followers of a non-profit organization through social media?   they list the goals of engagement as

  • cause awareness
  • brand awareness
  • donations
  • volunteers
  • membership

These goals all align with mine, to varying degrees.

On Social Media Examiner  they recommend the following avenues:

#1: Ask Questions Creatively

What they are saying is don’t ask something basic like “do you want to end hunger” of course the answer is yes, you are just wasting my time by asking. But how about a question like We are putting a cookbook together for people who depend on food donations, so lots of canned food etc., what is your favourite low cost, easy to make recipe?  Recipe sharing has been going on as long as mankind.  People would feel good about sharing a recipe with someone who can use it.  Then once you have that connection, send them information on the breakfast program and how they can help.  That was easy… staples-that-was-easy

#2: Organize Unique Contests

Something for nothing, so what would that look like? My funders and supporters will probably engage with me without a contest, so a contest would be more for the people and organizations who are already coming in or I want to be coming in.  So I am thinking along the lines of a food store shopping spree.  Lots of great pictures, people and organizations can buy what they or their members can use.  More fun pictures than just handing someone a food card.  This could work.  Thanks to traviselkin who suggested this in his comments in my first blog posting.

#3: Arrange a Q&A Session

This one is interesting, I follow a series of free webinars on nonprofits at 4good  but I have never really given much though on hosting something like that.  If the organizations are interested in participating, there could be some conversations on what they do and the benefits.  This one I will have to mull over for much longer.

#4: Tag People in Curated Content

Well that’s easy enough, that what I have been doing in each blog. Click on the link of an article that I have referenced and it takes you to their site.  People like to show off that they have been referenced, so they will likely pass it onto their network.  I will also tag any photos and video content to link people back to us and to the original source.   Consider it done, well, mostly because it was.

#5: Encourage User-Generated Contentwinnie-thinking

That is when people push the product, not the other way around. Lays had their customers create the next chip flavour and it made the national news.  I didn’t try any of them, but I did notice.

Coke has personalized bottles . They get to charge $5 an 8oz/250 ml  can for this brain child.

So what does Grace Place have?  This one’s a toughie.  I can go back to the recipe book,  I suggested under creative questions.  Nothing immediate is coming to mind.  Yet another thing to ponder.

#6: Connect With a Social Cause

Because I am in non-profit I am a little more sensitive to this subject.  I will sometimes purchase based on a social cause connection.  I buy Dawn because of their Save Wildlife connection,  I like Scotiabank because of their volunteer program.   Since Grace Place and all our organizations are social causes we will go directly to …

#7: Post About Current Events

This one is a two edged sword. I could post about current goings on with our organizations and the community, but definitely need to stay clear of all the hot button topics (politics, religion etc).   Look what happened to the fools in Texas who decided that a 9/11 sale was a good idea.    Texas Mattress Sore 911 Sale Aftermath

So I will be “engaging” in social media, not just posting. So many ideas, so little time.


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