Julia Campbell will provide a framework for evaluating the best platforms for your unique organization, as well as ideas for creating great social media content your audience will love.

Full Transcript:

Steven: All right, Julia, I got 2:00 Eastern. Is it okay if I go ahead and get this party started officially?

Julia: Yes.

Steven: All right, awesome. Well, good afternoon, everybody. Good morning I should say if you’re on the West Coast, just barely morning I suppose. And if you are watching this recording no matter where and when you are, I hope you’re having a good day. We are here to talk about the next wave, what are those emerging trends in nonprofit social media marketing. So going to be a cool one for sure. I’m Steven. I’m over here at Bloomerang. And I’ll be moderating today’s discussion as always.

And just a couple of quick housekeeping items, I just want to let you all know that we are recording this session, and we’ll be sending out the slides as well as the recording later on today. You should already have the slides. I sent those out about an hour ago. But if I missed you, don’t worry we’ll get that to you later today, as well as the recording. So if you have to leave early, if you get an appointment, or somebody interrupts you, maybe a kid wanders into your home office, something like that, we know what that’s like, it’s okay. We’ll get you the recording. Don’t worry.

Julia: We do.

Steven: All the goodies. But most importantly, use that chat box on your webinar screen. We’re going to save some time for Q&A at the end. There’s a Q&A box and a chat box. You can use either of them. We’ll keep an eye on both, I promise. We want to hear from you. Introduce yourself if you haven’t already. You can even send us a tweet if you want. I’ll keep half an eye on Twitter, I suppose. But we’d love to hear from you, so don’t be shy. Don’t sit on those hands. If this is your first Bloomerang webinar, welcome. We do these webinars just about every Thursday. We are quickly approaching a thousand sessions over the last decade. Amazing.

But if you’ve never heard of Bloomerang beyond these webinars, we’re also a donor management software provider, so if you’re curious about that and want to check us out. I know you got a lot of good options. It’s okay. Check us out [inaudible 00:01:49] . . . 

Julia: Jay Love. I like that screenshot.

Steven: Oh, yeah. That’s fake contributions. That’s not his actual . . . and he’s a generous guy. But you can see we’ve got some good insights on your donors. So check it out if you’re interested. It’s all kinds of good stuff on our website. We’re pretty easy to find. Don’t do that right now because it’s been a while since we did a social media presentation. And dang, if we’re going to have social media, we got to get Julia Campbell. And Julia, how’s it going? You doing okay?

Julia: I’m good. I can’t believe how long it’s been since we’ve seen each other.

Steven: This is dumb. It’s my fault, not yours. Probably, we would have ran into each other a dozen times right now at conferences.

Julia: Oh, at conferences. Yeah.

Steven: But you’ve done webinars for us, always well received. And I appreciate the willingness to come back on and just tell us what’s going on with social media because you’re my go-to honestly for all things . . . 

Julia: Oh, thank you.

Steven: . . . social media in Massachusetts, my homeland, and that’s another reason . . . 

Julia: As we talk, there is a congressional hearing with Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey . . . 

Steven: I saw that.

Julia: . . . around social media disinformation. So if you’ve got to switch off and watch that, I don’t blame you, but I hope you stay with us.

Steven: Yeah, we won’t blame you. But, hey, it’s germane, right? This is a really good topic.

Julia: It’s absolutely, and we’ll talk about that today. That’s a huge topic. I mean it’s really . . . 

Steven: I love it.

Julia: It’s important.

Steven: So, if you all don’t know Julia, check her out. I mean, what can I say about her? Follow her on Twitter. Get her newsletter. She’s got a really cool training course called Social Media for Social Good, her academy there. You’re going to want to learn more about that. Author of two books, one just came out last February. We’re talking about it. I think I got both of them on my bookshelf there. They might be out in the . . . We have a live library in our lobby here at Bloomerang. One of them is out there I think. But pick those up. And I should pipe down. We want to hear what you have to say, not what I have to say. So Julia, I’m going to stop sharing my screen. Well, see if we can bring your slides up here . . . 

Julia: Let’s share my screen.

Steven: . . . see if it works.

Julia: All right, wait, my fancy animated GIF. This is Canva.

Steven: Oh.

Julia: If you’re not using Canva, what are you doing with your life?

Steven: You got to do it. It’s my homepage.

Julia: I will talk about it at the end. All right, am I good to go?

Steven: Yes.

Julia: All right, so all systems go. I will keep an eye on the chat. But the way I like to work is just put your stuff in the chat, put your questions in there or the Q&A, that’s even better, because it doesn’t get kind of lost and then everyone can vote things up. So if you do have questions, try to put them in the Q&A. Put them in the chat. We’ll find them. We’ll figure it out at the end. So I’m really excited to be here today with all of you. We have a huge audience. We’re going to talk about Emerging Trends in Nonprofit Social Media Marketing. If you’ve never met me, welcome. I’m Julia Campbell. This is my family. The last time we actually went to anything I think, it was the 2019 Boston Pride parade, always a favorite of ours and our family. I’m a mom of two, Steven and I were just talking about this, 11-year-old and a six-year-old. And I wrote two books which are also like my other two children.

I am a former development and marketing director. I’ve done all the things and worn all the hats. And if you’re one of those people and you’re really struggling and you need a lot of assistance and you’ve limited capacity, I feel you, so. I also have a workbook that I like to give away. If you’re fancy and tech-oriented, you can text that number and you will get it. And then if you want to just go to this particular address, you can get it as well. I’m happy to send it to you afterwards.

I like to say that I started my social media journey, and this is going to be surprising to many of you, when I served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Senegal in West Africa. So this is really how I discovered the principles of communications and marketing. So I was a journalism major in college. And I loved writing. I actually loved marketing. I loved all things journalism, magazine, newspaper. I thought I was going to be the next Hunter S. Thompson wandering around and writing for “Rolling Stone.” So I ended up serving in the Peace Corps, and I was creating what were essentially marketing programs, public health marketing programs for the people and the places that I was living and the people that I was working with. 

So what I came to discover is that the principles of marketing are really still the same. You have to know who you’re talking to, and you have to speak their language, and you have to gain their trust. So we’re going to talk a lot about that today. We’ll talk about shiny new tools, and we’ll talk about all the fun things, and there’s going to be mentions of TikTok, and Twitch, and live streaming. But the principles, the principles are always the same, getting people to know you, getting people to like you, and getting people to trust you. That’s the only way that you can persuade and influence.

So we’ll talk about the trends, I’ll give you a framework that you can use over and over again to evaluate and assess whether or not a shiny new platform is right for you, some ideas for some social media content, and then some digital tools that you can use going forward. My trusted sources, if you want to do a little bit more research anytime I cite a statistic, it’s always going to be from Pew Internet, M+R Benchmarks, Global Trends In Giving. I also really like eMarketer’s social media usage report. So let’s get started.

Now, we know this. This is something that we know. COVID-19, even though things are opening up and hope is kind of on the horizon, it has changed how, and why, and how much we are online. So the statistics are showing that, yes, we are using it more. Now, this might be changing. Maybe it will change this summer. We’re all going outside more. Things are opening up. Maybe we’re spending more time with family that we haven’t seen. But The Harris Poll that was conducted between late March and early May found that between 46% and 51% of U.S. adults were using social media more since the outbreak began. So this is consumer behavior, but what consumer behavior trends? Because obviously, consumers are donors, I mean donors are consumers. What trends will continue after the pandemic and how can we prepare for unexpected shifts?

Something else that we have seen that we know about COVID-19 donors specifically are that they prefer to give online and social media is becoming increasingly integral, not only in marketing programs but also in fundraising programs for nonprofits. So, yes, I think the Global NGO Technology Report found the majority of nonprofits do agree social media is effective for creating brand awareness. But not only that, what I want to draw your attention to is that 36% of people using social media said they have used it to show support for a cause, which I think for all of us and all of our particular goals and objectives is really important.

Now, the 2020 Global Trends in Giving Report found that 25% of donors said that social media is a communication tool that inspires them to give and that 32% of them donated through Facebook fundraising tools. But that’s not what I found really interesting, right? What I found interesting is that of those people that donated 89% said they’re likely to give through Facebook again. And we’re going to talk about this, how to create that frictionless, seamless experience for your donors.

The trend that I find most interesting, because I could just throw statistics at you all day, but we’re going to look at trends and we’re going to analyze what does this actually mean and what can we do this information, changing behavior. So we used to go on social media to connect with friends and family. Now, and I can even speak from my own experience, the majority of the time I spend on social media is connecting with brands, and celebrities, and causes that I’ve never met. I don’t go on Instagram, or TikTok, or Snapchat to connect with my friends and family. There’s a little bit of that, but the majority of the time, it’s to discover new things and connect with things that I care about, which is a huge opportunity for nonprofits.

I also loved the Pew Internet study that found . . . I mean, we can take this any way we want. Maybe this is for better, maybe this is for worse. But 23% of adult social media users said they changed their views about a political or social issue because of something they saw on social media. Isn’t this what we’re trying to do? We’re trying to influence. We’re trying to change hearts and minds. So I think we need to be paying attention to these trends. 

So we do know social media influences consumer behavior, and thus, donor behavior. So people who are influenced by social media, consumers, are more likely to spend more on purchases, which will hopefully translate into dollars for donations. The customer journey is shortened. People don’t have to know that much about us. They can just click on a link and go and make a purchase, go make a donation. Social media has amplified the impact of social proof, which is word of mouth, which is hugely important for that know, like, and trust factor. And influencer marketing, this is someone that I trust talking about a cause that I care about talking about or amplifying a brand. So that’s Search Engine Watch if you want to read more about that study.

So what are some specific trends that are going to shape nonprofit communications in 2021? Okay, so AI and chatbots. Now, type in the chat if you know this reference, if you know this pop culture reference. I’d be very interested. Maybe I’m like showing my age. Yay, “Doctor Who” Daleks, exterminate. Oh my god, so many people know. Yay, I’m so excited. Okay. I love a group of sci-fi nerds, exterminate, Daleks. Okay, great. We all know it. Maybe it’s not as obscure as I thought. But I loved it. I showed it, and my son came in, when he saw the slideshow, and he didn’t have any clue. And I thought I’m failing as a parent.

So we need to know more about what AI is, and what chatbots are, and how we can best leverage them. I should say every piece of information I’m about to give you, it’s not a prescription. I’m not saying do all of these things this year or you will fail. That is not. I am trying to give you as much information as possible so you can be clear and confident in making this decision for your organization. So none of this is prescriptive, okay. It’s just trends on the horizon, things to think about.

So why should we care about chatbots? What’s really interesting when I was doing some research about chatbots in terms of marketing is that instant messaging, actually, bucks the trend of downloaded apps. A quarter of all downloaded apps are abandoned after a single use, which is kind of crazy to me. Over 2.5 billion people have at least one messaging app installed, and that’s going to soon become half of humanity. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, 1 billion monthly users each, and teenagers spend more time sending DMs, IMs than perusing social networks. So we definitely need to pay attention to this as a trend in terms of communication, staying in touch with our donors.

So some resources to learn more about chatbots, and I’m actually going to show you some examples, I have a Pinterest board. Beth Kanter actually wrote a fantastic op-ed. She and Allison Fine are coming out with our newest books all about AI and charity. It’s going to be a must read, AI, artificial intelligence. And she compiled a great list of chatbots that I perused that nonprofits can study. So if you’re thinking, what are some examples of the ways nonprofits are using this? So Direct Relief and Mind Heros, they created the service Bots for Charity, and that’s just a quick way that people can get very, very quick information from you, even if they’re trying to message you on Facebook at 4:00 a.m. Susan G. Komen Florida used ManyChat, and they use it for their Race for the Cure because people were saying, “What time does the race start? Where do I need to go to start the race? How do I go to the fundraising page?” like very, very standard questions that the bot could then answer.

So chatbots are very useful if you do have a list of frequently asked questions or if you want to direct people, say, to a hotline or to some other resource when you might not be directly answering e-mails. It’s also a great way to get people to download a resource, to go to your website because people are direct messaging you. They’re interested in hearing from you, but you might not be on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp all day long. So that’s where the chatbot comes in.

All right, another trend, the Internet of Things. So the Internet of Things, I mean some people could call it Big Brother. It’s sort of how I have a Fitbit that talks to my . . . I don’t want to say Google Home because then my phone’s going to talk to me, and my Google Home is going to talk to me and my locks on my doors are coordinated with it, and my thermometer is coordinated with it. So I personally love the Internet of Things, but it’s definitely a trend that I think nonprofits need to jump on, especially Alexa, and I’ll tell you why. 

So nonprofits are building Alexa Amazon skills to reach new audiences and build relationships with potential donors. So some examples are like Audubon Bird Songs. So this one is actually really cool, completely free. If you do have an Alexa, then you can actually request a bird call, and try to do a bird call, and it will call it out for you. So the trend that this represents is just the trend of constantly providing value to our audience. And if you’re providing value, it goes into that know, like, and trust factor. So take a look at these Amazon skills. They’re completely free to create. If you have a skill, if you have something to teach that you want your audience to know about, you can create your own Alexa skill for free at Amazon. So pretty neat.

Live stream fundraising. Now, has anyone heard of Twitch? And every time I do this, I ask this question, more and more people have heard of Twitch. A lot of people haven’t. And it’s the most popular live streaming platform in the world where 15 million users tune in to watch an average of 1.5 hours of Twitch live streams each day, which is pretty crazy. And it’s a huge driver of online fundraising, and also just awareness raising. So during Suicide Prevention Month, there was a campaign called Seize the Awkward, and they ran a three-day Twitch event to raise awareness and raise funds, where people on Twitch that were doing live streams . . . it’s not just games, by the way. I know everyone maybe thinks of Twitch and they think of gamers and video games. There are people impersonating Bob Ross and doing paintings. There are people doing Jazzercise. There are people doing art. I mean it’s dance, it’s theater, it’s all sorts of things. So live stream fundraising is definitely something if you’re trying to tap into a younger audience to pay attention to.

Another trend, interactive experiences through AR and VR. That’s augmented reality and virtual reality, the holy grail of social experiences. Now, these exploded in popularity obviously in the last year because we couldn’t be together in person. We couldn’t do tours. We couldn’t actually show people on the ground and bring people into our program. So on a very simple level, I’m sure most of us have seen a 360 photo on Facebook. If you haven’t, just go to Facebook.360, and then this is what it looks like. It shows you how to get started, very easy, totally free. It’s probably best if you’re outside. But you could be in a food pantry. You could be in an animal shelter. You could be in a botanic garden. There’s a lot of cool ways to, like they say, share an immersive view of your world. Put people at the center of your experience. 

And some examples, there’s Visit Philly. Oh, this is a really good one, the 360 degree virtual tour. And then Four Walls is another one. Beginning is the Pencils of Promise one. So if you scroll around, you can see all of these cool, different places. Oh, no, I misscrolled it. But that’s okay. So check that out when you get a chance and just see what it looks like, and see what it looks like on a phone because we want to bring people into these experiences as much as possible.

Okay, ephemeral disappearing content. Now, hold on, I’ve got to find this because it’s still on, and I need to turn it off. Oh, that one showed you a little bit more of it. Isn’t that so cool? I love it. Totally free. You don’t have to have any photography experience, any videography experience because I don’t and I made a 360 video and it was really pretty cool. Okay, ephemeral disappearing content. We’re going to talk about the trends, and then we are going to talk about sort of how to put it all together and some things that you need to look for when you’re updating your calendar and your plan for the new year. So this is Snapchat, Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, content that disappears in 24 hours. It’s kind of like your B-roll if you’ve ever done a video where your best stuff is in the video, and then your B-roll is on the editing floor. It’s the behind the scenes, sort of the raw and more authentic content.

Now, the reason why this content is hugely popular is that it’s FOMO. It’s fear of missing out. Like, I don’t want to miss my favorite celebrities’ story of the day because it disappears in 24 hours, and I want to stay connected. It puts a more human face on what you’re doing, and it makes you more accessible. It also is at the top of the feed, especially on Instagram, and it’ll be a little circle. And it’ll be reminding me, “Hey, this person has posted a story. You probably want to check it out.” It’s best used for real-time updates, and announcements, and things that are timely.

The benefit of this kind of content is that it creates that urgency and relevancy and encourages people to make that connection with you every day. So when I do my presentations on Instagram Stories, I always hear from people that they love seeing at least a story a day. They want to be connected to the people that they want to be connected to. They want to hear from them once a day. And people that are on Instagram especially, they’re on Instagram, every day. Especially younger people, they’re on it every day, and they want to see what you’re doing and they want to hear from you. So there are a lot of benefits to that content. And a question that I always get is it disappears in 24 hours. But I mean, I think that’s kind of missing the point. The point is that fear of missing out, that urgency. You can save them of course, your camera roll, and repurpose them in other ways if you want to.

Okay, let me just take a sip of water. Okay, TikTok now. If you have a tween or a teen, I’m sure you’re familiar with TikTok. So it’s once assumed that TikTok is just a channel for kids. But what’s interesting about TikTok is that the user base is quickly diversifying with brands and influencers, YouTubers, parents, and even grandparents joining the fun. So it’s hugely popular. It’s actually really, really fun. And if you’re thinking about using it for your nonprofit, you have to know what works best on the app. And of course, I could do a full three-hour session on TikTok. But what works best, music, humor, entertainment, surprise, relatability. So that’s what works best. I always have people coming to me saying, “Should I be on TikTok?” If you take yourself very seriously, and if there’s 10 people that have to monitor your video, and if you’re not going to get the video out like pretty quickly, probably not the best place to be. I recommend joining it and just watching a bunch of videos. That’s what I did just to sort of learn. Same with Instagram Stories, just to kind of learn the culture and learn what works and see what you like and what you don’t.

So what really sets it apart, it’s really low-fi. So it’s focused on fast transitions. It’s focused on music and video effects. It’s not focused on this perfect, beautiful photo of you that’s completely filtered. In fact, if you mess up on TikTok, it’s actually funnier and people tend to like that more. It’s like the anti-social media site. People are so generous. People are so, so, so generous. TikTok has a really unique audience. The majority of TikTokers, they’re so young, they’re so spontaneous, they’re so generous with reactions, with shares, with tagging. So your video can really take off, reaching hundreds of thousands of views so much faster than other platforms, I can’t even tell you. And what I do love is that TikTokers, they take trends, they put their own spin on them, and the linked music and the hashtags are kind of the common thread pulling everything together. But what works on TikTok is that concepts that people can easily recreate, which have an element of fun and surprise. And they’re very catchy, and they’re very of the moment. It’s super fun.

So if you’ve been thinking about Instagram versus TikTok, so Instagram has a feature called Reels. Now Reels is its own . . . it’s kind of . . . I mean Facebook, let’s face it, they created Instagram Stories to steal from Snapchat, to emulate Snapchat I should say. They created IGTV to compete with YouTube. And they created Instagram Reels to compete with TikTok. I just don’t see it as a competition. I think you can repurpose. So if you’re looking to reach to a Gen Z audience, yeah, you got to be on TikTok. But if you’re looking to get more exposure on Instagram from your current audience and maybe build on your current audience, Instagram Reels could be a great place to start. It’s very similar, but Instagram Reels live within Instagram. And it can help you reach a brand new audience on Instagram.

So just a couple of differences, there’s a difference in the length of the video. There’s differences in the duet feature on TikTok and music that’s available on TikTok. And then the For You page on TikTok, which is basically customized to your interests, always wanting to show you new things. Instagram Reels are going to help you get seen on Instagram by more people. So it really depends, do you want to set up shop on a brand new place and reach Gen Z, or do you want to really build your presence on Instagram where you might already be? So I think just taking that into account.

Also peer-to-peer fundraising is exploding in popularity because we have to reach people where they are, not where we want them to be. So where they are, they’re on Facebook, they’re on Instagram, they’re on YouTube. So there are all these features that some of us might be able to take advantage of, not all of us. It’s not available to 100% of people. If you are 501(c)(3), and you can sign up with charitable giving tools on Facebook, then you have access to Instagram fundraising. And we can certainly talk about this in the questions. I don’t want this to kind of hijack the entire presentation, but how I feel about it? I feel like you should sign up for them if you’re eligible, even if you don’t plan on doing a big push, even if you don’t plan on ever promoting them because your users might want to, and why would you turn away money or engagement if someone is trying to raise money for you, trying to tell their friends about your cause, and trying to put your sticker to raise money on their Instagram stories? It’s basically free awareness. So I would recommend signing up for them, even if you don’t have a perfect strategy to use them.

Now, one of the last trends I want to talk about is super important, the iOS 17 update. Now, if you’re running Facebook ads, or Google ads, or LinkedIn ads, or any ads this is going to impact you because basically, what they’re going to do with this update, anyone that has an iPhone is going to be asked, “Do you opt in to be tracked online?” 99% of people are probably going to click no. That doesn’t mean Apple can’t track you because you’re in the iOS thing. But it means the apps can’t track you. So that means Facebook ads, it’s going to be incredibly hard to target people that don’t because you can’t, because they don’t want to be tracked. This has not played out yet. We are not sure how this is going to play out. But it just means we have to be prepared.

So my recommendations, really quick, meet your donors where they are, not where you want them to be, make every interaction as frictionless as possible, consider the donor point of view, POV, first, what does your donor want to see? What are they interested in? Where are they? They’re probably on mobile, maybe they’re on iOS. That doesn’t necessarily matter. But before you write anything, create anything, always think about your donor, think about your audience, and then really spend some time trying to build up your email list. So create a strategic plan to move your fans and followers to your email list wherever possible. You control that much more than you control the iOS updates, and the new Facebook algorithm, and the whatever updates are coming out. And then just don’t freak out because the only constant is that everything is constantly changing. Platforms come and go. I recommend always, always, always I talk about this, focus on building a real community that will follow you no matter where you set up shop, they will follow you no matter where you set up shop.

So how do we evaluate all of this and figure out what are the best avenues to choose? What are the best platforms? How do we combat shiny object syndrome? And I’m going to give you a framework and some questions that you can use in order to do this. Some important reminders is that it’s not prescriptive, I always say that don’t. Do anything that you don’t enjoy other nonprofit is doing. If you don’t like nonprofit stories on Instagram, I would say don’t do that, unless your audience is there and really asking for them. You’re the expert on your nonprofit, and always check in with your intuition. I want you to be very wary of anyone that tells you there’s only one way to do something. And no matter how much someone says it works, great. If it’s out of line, you’re the expert, and this is just a collection of techniques and best practices that you can select from. It is not a mandate to do everything or you will fail.

What I usually recommend starting with is not the tools. It’s not the tools. I don’t usually start presentations with the tools because then we get all worked up, and we get in a tizzy, and we start thinking, “Oh, man, we have to have AR and VR. We have to have a chatbot. We have to have an Alexa skill. We have to do peer-to-peer fundraising. We have to be on Instagram Stories.” No. Don’t start with the tools. Start with the goals because the tools are not goals. They’re tactics to get to your goals. So I always share this cartoon from Beth Kanter’s blog, if your cat adoption numbers are tanking, it doesn’t matter if you’re going viral on YouTube. Always, always bring it back to your goals and what you’re trying to achieve. Always bring it back to your audience. Know who you want to reach. 

And there’s two different main buckets of people, audience segments, the people you already have with you that are interested, and they’ve raised their hand, and they said that, “I kind of want to hear from you,” that’s your fans, your followers, your email subscribers, your donors, people that know you a little bit, and then they’re the people that you need to reach and attract in order to engage and accomplish your goals. 

So the very first bucket of people are your supporters, what do they value, what do they want to know more about, so how can you add value to their life, what motivates them, what drives them to participate. And the way to find out, I mean, there are really three main places. You want to look at the demographic makeup. You want to look at the topics that get the most engagement. So if you’re starting from scratch, this might be a little bit more challenging. But if you’ve been online at all, for any period of time, you’re going to know what topics get the most engagement and what you need to be posting, or you’re going to have some idea. And then does your audience mainly like photo, or video or, text? What do they like? And what do they want to hear from you?

So an example that I always give in terms of understanding your audience and how to talk to them, I always give the example of PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. They know how to talk to their audience. They know what’s going to resonate with their audience, and get them motivated, and get them mobilized. It’s very different from how Best Friends Animal Society talks to their audience because they know their audience, and they know what’s going to inspire them, and what’s going to mobilize them. All of our audiences are different. We know how to speak to them, hopefully. And if we don’t, we need to talk to them more, do some surveys, figure it out.

Knowledge gaps is a great place to start because what do they want to hear from us? What do we want to be known for? And then what misconceptions might they have? What questions are they asking us? This is Amirah Incorporated. They do Facebook Lives very frequently, all around the questions that they get asked. Let’s bring it back to the main purpose of social media, the know, like, and trust factor. Know, like, and trust, that’s what we’re building when we’re building a community on social media. So when people talk about PTSD, what does that mean? How do I talk my kids about trafficking? How do I spot trafficking in my community? How to traffickers find victims? You can tell they’re an anti-human trafficking agency. But questions that their audience brings to them, they want to know more about.

And then identify who you need to attract. Who are you trying to attract on social media? And don’t just tell me young people because I’ll come back to you and I’ll say, “Why? Why is this audience important?” And you might have several reasons why. And that’s good. But I don’t want you to just say, “Oh, I just want to attract new moms,” for no reason. It can’t be arbitrary. What might they already know about you? What might drive them to take the action that you want? Where do they get their information? And then the most important question, what’s important to them in creating a meaningful life? How can you fit into their life? 

Now, it’s definitely Mark Phillips that said probably the most impactful quote in fundraising. He said . . . what, I got to get it right, “You are not their donors,” no, they are not your donors, “you are one of their charities.” They are not your donors, you are one of their charities. How do you fit into their meaningful life? And we really have to stop saying “cut through the clutter.: I can’t stand that statement. I say it all the time because people say it. I can’t stand it. It doesn’t make any sense. You can’t cut through the clutter. There are 30 billion hours uploaded to YouTube each day. How do you cultivate, nurture, and inspire a passionate group of supporters that actually care about what you do? A much better question.

What’s the incentive for your audience? This is the only way to grow your following on social media, the only way. You can buy ads, and try to grow it, and now ads probably won’t be as effective with iOS update. But you have to have that incentive. If you want me to attend an event, why? If you want me to make a donation, am I going to be inspired? Am I going to feel like it’s meaningful? Visit your website, how can your social media posts entice and inspire participation? Think about what you can give back to people. What’s your specialty? So I love United Way of Massachusetts Bay. They’ve got six and easy rewarding ideas to get you started, ways to give back with your family this Thanksgiving. Learn more. Great. Boston Children’s Hospital, learn more about us. We’re going to tell you inspiring stories. We’re going to provide meaning. We’re going to get you interested in our work. We’re going to have you be proud to be associated with us.

Okay. So I’m going to call out a couple of clients. And I love them and adore them. Let me call them out. So AFEC. If you looked at these, these are the events that they’ve created and they were trying to promote on social media to brand new audiences. They want new people. They want new donors. They want new attendees. So AFEC Meet and Learn, that means nothing to you because you don’t know who they are. The Duo Duo Project Red Envelope Fundraiser, doesn’t mean anything to you. So let’s switch it around. Make it about the audience and don’t make it about your organization. So instead of Meet and Learn, it’s An Evening of Photography and Poetry, which is what it actually was, which sounds a lot more interesting to me than a meet and learn.

The Red Envelope Fundraiser, I don’t know what that means. Join Us for a Fundraiser to Stop Dog Eating Forever, now, they are a group of people, they’re activists, and they want to stop the dog meat trade globally. So I said, you should say that to people because if that’s something I care about, if I love dogs, I look at that and I’d say, “Wow, I want to be a part of that.” I don’t know what the Red Envelope Fundraiser is. But I want to stop dog eating forever. I don’t know what a AFEC Meet and Learn means, but I want an evening of photography and poetry. So we have to reframe all of our messages to stop being about us and to start being about our audience.

Then we choose our amplifying channels. “Of course, we’re not going to do this,” this is the board meeting that all of us were probably in yesterday, “We need to be on Pinterest. We need to be on this. We need to be on that. I don’t know what we’re going to do.” No, we are going to figure out what we’re going to do. The questions that you need to ask, which online platforms will help us reach our target audience and get them to take the action we desire? Those are the platforms and channels that you focus on. And do not be afraid to break up with platforms that aren’t working. And I will give you full permission to do that. I know, don’t tell your boss. 

If you hate Twitter, and it’s not doing anything for you, maybe your time is best spent somewhere else. All of these channels are different countries. They are different countries with different languages, different etiquette, different manners, different inhabitants, different strengths, different weaknesses. You would not buy a guidebook to go to Germany if you are going to France. You just wouldn’t because that wouldn’t make any sense. So you can’t just assume that everything you post on Pinterest is going to work on LinkedIn. You can repurpose things. Repurposing is different. But you cannot just assume that, “Oh, I’ve got a five-minute video that works on YouTube. That’s going to really work on Twitter,” because it’s not.

This is where you can create your list of content topics. So think about your core values. Make a list of core values that your organization stands for, and that’s going to guide your content topics. Now, your content topics should not only be what do we want to tell people, it should be what do they actually want to hear about? What is interesting? What is relevant? What is timely? Why this? Why now? Why would people care? Stories, data, events, behind the scenes, cause and awareness days, milestones, news stories, how-to posts, inspirational quotes, that’s going to be your content topics, then you’re going to think about types of content. Types are just how are you going to convey this content, video, photo, graphic, infographic, and then you’re going to mix and match them. You’re only going to have 20% of what you’re posting be promotional. Eighty percent should be providing value. Of course, that 20% still kind of needs to be interesting. But 20% promotion, this is kind of a good benchmark, a good rule of thumb for you.

I’m going to show you some sample social media posts. You don’t have to write. You don’t have to be a journalist. You don’t have to be a novelist. Ask a question. Talk about a memory. Share a mission moment. Share information that is valuable and helpful. Susan G. Komen Florida, they went live every week throughout the pandemic, just via Zoom, just answering questions and getting experts on. Completely unscripted, they had a few questions, providing this value to their audience. One Can Help and Rosie’s Place, really tiny organizations where I live in Boston, both former clients of mine. I mean, Rosie’s Place might have a staff of like 20. One Can Help has a staff of two, and I believe one of them is a volunteer. I mean, they’re growing. But they’re trying to think through their audience, “What do they want to hear from us? What’s going to be inspiring to them? What’s going to help the know, like, and trust factor?”

I will say this a thousand times, know, like, and trust, know, like, and trust. That’s what social media is going to do. And if you’re experimenting with Facebook ads, you want to make sure they’re timely and relevant. You want to make sure they make sense. And you want to make sure they’re tied to a specific call to action. You might not want donate now, maybe it’s attend an event, sign up for an email list, advocate, sign petition. Facebook ads and Instagram ads have to be tied to a specific action because then you can see the return on investment. And they have to grab my attention. And they have to pique my curiosity. And they have to be something that I can take action on immediately.

The other piece of this is have fun. So social media, we think about, “Oh, how can we get more donors? And how can we get more Facebook fundraisers? And how can we get more retweets?” And sometimes just having fun, and letting go, and doing something like the creepiest object battle . . . which by the way, please look on Twitter for the creepiest objects, it’s amazing, and look on Instagram. It’s pretty horrifying, some of the things that people found. And not just museums jumped into that, it was a lot of different organizations. Think about sharing days of gratitude. What are you happy about? What are you taking with you after this pandemic, or with this pandemic, or through this pandemic? Or what have we learned, and where are we going forward? 

And this is our friend, Steven and my friend, Josh, when he worked at Susan G. Komen Florida. They did the big wigs. I love the Instagram stories they did. They just tried to get everyone in the community, their corporate sponsors, their community partners, to wear pink wigs and just share an Instagram story. It’s like remember when social media was fun, right? I don’t know if we remember that. But we want to make it fun again. 

Eight tips for a perfect hike with kids. You could have written a blog post about it. Maybe it’s a PDF download. Repurpose it into an Instagram story. We do not have to reinvent the wheel every single time we’re creating content. You could have pitched this in a press release to an editor. Put it in a story. Take a video. Put it on TikTok, wherever it is that you are active.

So I want to make sure I have time for questions. I see the chat is blowing up. I have not been paying attention. I’ve just been in my zone and so focused. I want to go through some tools, and then make sure we do take some time for some of your questions. 

Okay, tools. Canva. No surprise there. It’s the literal only a graphic design tool I use. You can create animated GIFs, videos. It even has a social media management and scheduling platform. So I haven’t used that, but I’ve heard it’s great. Animoto is one that I love for the little bite size, snack size, snackable videos on social media. If you don’t video, create a montage of photos that you have, put some text overlay, perfect. Lumen5 is another plug and play video platform. If you have something like the eight tips for a perfect hike with kids, like a listicle kind of thing, Lumen5 is fantastic for turning that into a video. And they have all sorts of great just generally used, common . . . what’s it called, common media, I don’t remember now. I’m losing my mind. But generally used is what I’m going to say video and stock photography. And then WordSwag is one of my absolute favorite mobile apps to create these kind of graphics. 

And then in terms of scheduling content, managing content, I use the free Hootsuite. I use Buffer. I’m just a gigantic fan of Buffer. It provides everything I need in terms of scheduling. And Later, I like for Instagram and Instagram stories because I’m more visual and you can kind of see how they’re all laid out in one place, and it looks really nice. So anytime I recommend a tool, I was trying to give you the nonprofit link to it.

So a couple of closing thoughts, the three keys to social media marketing success, they’re evergreen. I’ve been teaching these for 15 years now, 10 years now. So the keys are consistency, that means showing up for your audience even when you’re not asking for anything, being consistent, providing content that people actually like to watch, read, share, and comment on, and then confidence, confidence in your mission, in your voice, and in taking risks and experimenting with new things. 

Now is not the time to let people forget that you exist. It is the time to show people what you do and to encourage them to be proud to stand with you even if your physical doors are closed. So when your physical doors are open and when they are closed, I want you to be proactive and not just reactive. And that’s what I kind of want you to take with you today.

So, okay, that’s all I have for my slides. I don’t know, Steven, if you want me to read out the questions.

Steven: There are a lot of good ones in here, Julia.

Julia: I know. What are you thinking because we have . . . 

Steven: I mean, we’re not going to get to all of them. So let’s leave your slide up because I assume it would be cool if folks reach out to you . . . 

Julia: Go to my website, message me on LinkedIn, tweet me. I’m everywhere.

Steven: This is awesome. Because whenever Julia comes on, there’s always 20 things I had no idea existed, and she all knows about it before they even come out. So thank you. This was awesome. One that kind of popped out to me, Julia, and maybe did to you, is takeovers, this idea of maybe having a celebrity or an expert come and be put in charge of your social media for a day. I’ve seen that. It always seems kind of exciting. Is that something you’ve seen or seen work? What do you think?

Julia: Yes. So there’s two ways to do it. So you could actually run a takeover where you hand over the keys to the kingdom to someone, which I know not all nonprofits are not very comfortable doing. But what you could do is a takeover like if you’ve never done one. I ran a takeover for Boston Public Schools around college month and of course, they are not going to give away the keys to all the teens. But what we did is each day I worked with the particular teen, and they would give me their videos, and they would give me their photos. And then I would repurpose and reshare some of their stuff into the story. I’d share it on all the channels. So each day had a person, and then they would tell everybody, “Hey, I’m taking over BPS for Tuesday. So make sure you keep an eye.” So we got access to their audience. And the key with a takeover is that you get access to a brand new audience. And that’s really so you’re not just preaching to the choir, you’re actually talking to brand new people. So either way you do it, if you do have them actually running your account for a day or if they send you things and then you just kind of post it as them throughout the day, I think either way is very effective.

Steven: That’s cool. Maybe somebody will want to do a Bloomerang takeover although.

Julia: Yeah, I think it’d be really fun.

Steven: We’re already pretty weird.

Julia: I did a Cause Camp takeover. [inaudible 00:52:34] I’ve done. I’d love to do more.

Steven: Yeah, I remember that. A lot of people have asked Julia about moving social media followers, likers, all of those engaged people into people who give you email addresses so that you maybe have a little bit more control over because not everybody sees all your posts, which I know is a whole thing we could talk for hours about. But any tips there? Is it just a matter of asking them or having a strong calls to action? What do you think?

Julia: You have to be very consistent and you have to have a strategy for it. So part of that 20% promotions, absolutely be consistently asking people. I always recommend to my clients every 10th post, every 10th post. But you can’t say, “Join us on our email list,” because no one wants to do that. So you have to say, “Hey, we are featuring this awesome story of our client, Molly, and her amazing transition. We’re going to send out an email tomorrow. Make sure you sign up, and don’t miss it.” So there has to be an incentive for people to join you on your email list. You can also put it in all your social media bios, so subscribe, sign up, join us. Oh yeah, see, my client, Andrea. I’m going to talk to her about that in a minute. But you can say actively. “This is the reason why to join us.” But what I think happens is that we just say, “Sign up for a newsletter. Sign up for a newsletter,” and nobody wants to sign up for a newsletter.

Steven: Yeah, not exciting.

Julia: But I do want to hear a story about Molly’s transformation. That sounds cool. So just reframe the way you’re asking, but ask all the time. Ask very, very often. Make a plan. Let’s say, we’re going to do three posts a month. It’s going to be trying to convert people over.

Steven: Julia, what’s Clubhouse? I see Clubhouse all the time. I feel like such a . . . I’m 36, so I feel out of it. I’m just like . . . 

Julia: I don’t have an iPhone.

Steven: So you need an iPhone? Okay.

Julia: You need an iPhone. I guess you could get it on iPad. It sounds really amazing. It’s an audio-only app where people start different rooms around different topics, and then you can pull different people in. So it sounds awesome. You don’t have to have makeup on. You don’t have to be camera-ready. You just like be laying in your bed and listening to it. But you do have to have an iOS device or an iOS 15 update or something like that. So I think, what I would always recommend doing, so always my strategy, get it, experiment, don’t set up an account but just listen, and participate, and then don’t feel stressed out that you have to get a thousand followers within five minutes. I mean, when I first started on Instagram, it was actually John Hayden, where I just watched what he did for a while.

Steven: Good rule of thumb.

Julia: Yeah, and just story. You just watch what other people do and say, “Oh, yeah. I guess I can . . . I get it. I get it.” Or you say, “No. I don’t.” That’s what I do with Snapchat. I was like, “No. Not for me. No.”

Steven: And not feel bad.

Julia: And not feel bed.

Steven: What I really took away from you is you can try things, and early adoption tends to get rewarded, but also don’t feel bad if you’re like, “This may not work.”

Julia: Yeah. And Clubhouse is very proactive. And you have to be starting rooms and bringing in other experts and talking constantly. So if you have that, if you’re already a speaker, if you are already doing that on video, I think it would translate well to Clubhouse. But if you are not comfortable being the center of attention, I’m not sure if Clubhouse is the best place to be. Maybe to learn, just to learn.

Steven: Dang, it’s almost 3:00 and we didn’t get to . . . 

Julia: I know.

Steven: There’s a lot of questions here. And I love reading them because they’re all really interesting, actually. So email Julia, or reach out to her on LinkedIn. She’s on Twitter.

Julia: You can e-mail. I’ll put my email in the chat.

Steven: Yeah. Because obviously, she’s awesome. And I get emails from Julia, and it’s like, “Oh, wow. This is a cool thing I didn’t know about.” So you can go on that list to.

Julia: Thanks.

Steven: Let me check out that workbook too. That looks cool too. But Julia, this was awesome. Thanks for doing this, for making the time.

Julia: Thank you. I just love . . . I know. I love it. And I don’t know. I love just being with your audience. Bloomerang people are incredible. 

Steven: The best.

Julia: I’ve had Bloomerang people from years that are still on my email list, that still email me, that follow me on social media. I mean, really, honestly, your audience is one of the best. 

Steven: What a great group.

Julia: So congratulations for cultivating a really incredible group of people.

Steven: Oh, listen, my job is easy. I just get some smart people to come on like you and share their info. So this is fun. Thanks. And gee, I think we had like 500 people hanging out. So thanks for doing that. I know you’re probably busy. And to take an hour out isn’t lost on me. So thank you. We’re going to, like I said, share all the goodies later on. I’ll put the email out with all the recordings, the slides, all that good stuff. Just give me until the end of the day to do it. But you’ll get it. But we got a cool webinar coming up next week, our buddy, Sabrina Walker Hernandez. If you don’t know Sabrina, she’s been . . . 

Julia: Oh, nice.

Steven: Yeah, she’s awesome. She’s been blogging for Bloomerang the last couple [inaudible 00:58:00].

Julia: I haven’t met her. I need to meet her.

Steven: Oh, yeah, you two would hit it off for sure. She’s super awesome. The Boards Role on Fundraising, oh, yeah, I love that topic. So maybe if you’re struggling with that . . . 

Julia: And there is a role and they should fundraise. I’m not sure what she’s going to say. But that’s a great topic.

Steven: Probably will not disagree with that. So, yeah, that’ll be good. Same time, same place next week, 2:00 p.m. Eastern. We’ve got some really cool webinars coming up. We got some . . . I’m really branching out on the topics. We got one coming, Julia, I’ll make sure you get invited about using WhatsApp to reach Spanish speaking . . . 

Julia: Oh, cool.

Steven: . . . folks, specifically, because they’re like the top users, and if you want to diversify your audience. So we got really cool stuff coming. Just check out our webinar page. We got a panel discussion on what you should do if you lose your fundraising job.

Julia: Oh, cool.

Steven: Yeah, we got some great stuff. So hopefully, you’ll check those out.

Julia: Well, I know all about that, but that was years ago. But, yeah.

Steven: Yep. We’ve all been there.

Julia: Yeah, I’ve been there. Well, hopefully, not all of us.

Steven: Hopefully, not again. So hopefully, you’ll join us. We’ll call it a day there. Like I said, look for an email from me. If you’re in the south, please stay safe today. I’m really thinking about you all.

Julia: Yeah, someone from Birmingham said they just had a tornado siren go off. So I’ll be tuning into the news right after this.

Steven: Yes, please be careful if you’re down there. And for everyone else, stay healthy, stay safe. We need you out there doing all your good work. And hopefully, we’ll see you again next week. So have a good rest of your Thursday. Have a good weekend.

Julia: Bye.

Steven: We’ll see you soon. See ya.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. From 2018 - 2020, she served as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.