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Why Social Media is Important for Non-Profits, Charities, and Protests

December 3, 2017

Welcome to The Social Lab! This blog will not only help you navigate your personal social media, but also investigate marketing trends and examples of great social media work. Do you have something we should talk about? Make sure to send us an email or contact us on social media.

 

The world today is unpredictable, erratic, and unnerving. There are many potential role models out there that are wanting to make the world a better place. Non-profits and charities for a wide array of causes will always be important, but with politics, women's rights, and #BlackLivesMatter trying to make the world a better place, it is more important than ever to make sure that your message is reaching the right people. This is where social media comes into play. Impromptu marches and protests can create change, and the best way to organize these movements quickly is through social media. On top of this, charity events and non-profit fundraisers can greatly benefit from many different social media tactics. So what makes social media so important and how can you use it to make the world a better place? 

 

Engagement and Speed

 

For one, social media is fast. If you already have numerous individuals following you, and these individuals are organic and care about the content you are posting, social media will immediately mobilize people and also spread a message faster than any other form of marketing. Not only could you get one person to donate, march, or attend your humanitarian event, but you could also get their friends and many others engaged. Furthermore, Millennials are taking more and more of a part in social causes, so it's important that any non-profit, charity, or group takes part in social media and uses it to their advantage. What if you don't already have a large following or fan base to post to? You can begin to create your audience by posting content that resonates with them, and making sure to engage with as many people as possible. Like what your followers are posting (if it is relevant) and search hashtags or topics that align with your brand voice. You will begin to see the followers building up month by month. 

 

Virality

 

Since politics and social causes are more important than ever, it's also advisable to shed light on these issues in the largest or loudest manner possible. Video and other multimedia captures of a non-profit event, protest, or march have the potential to go viral on social media, which is one of the quickest, but most difficult, ways to create real change. If you are constantly engaged on social media, then you are more likely to capture a moment that has the potential to spread. Hashtags also have the chance to catch fire, which even further pushes awareness. If you aren't in the thick of a movement or event, make sure to not just follow the news, but follow the trending topics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all other forms of social media. You will be able to quickly pick up on what's going on and mobilize if necessary. 

 

Targeting

 

Social media allows you to target particular people and locations. If you are having a food drive in Los Angeles this weekend, then you can use social media to target people within this area, resulting in more specific and engaging content. What about a march or protest? If you are attempting to put together a flash event, then you could quickly search for individuals within a specific zip code, and then engage with those people. 

 

Cost Effectiveness

 

Social media is cheap and effective if done correctly. While you can pay for online programs and software that will boost your followers and other metrics, it costs nothing to find particular groups of people and engage with them. Old-school marketing like flyers and posters, while still effective, cost money and take longer to coordinate. Since many social causes and non-profits are short on finances to begin with, social media is the best way to spread a message without going into debt. 

 

Create a Voice

 

Some of the greatest movements in our history had central voices that helped mobilize and bring everyone together. On social media, this is possible. While one person may not be the central individual, a particular theme or concept will. Think of a hashtag not just as a way to go viral, but additionally as a slogan or logo. When people post with #BlackLivesMatter #womensmarch, or #equalpay, they are speaking loudly through their social media accounts, hoping that other like-minded people will also be using these hashtags and hearing their voice. It may seem poetic, but thousands of individuals posting about one particular subject, even though it's on the internet, can result in a voice that takes to the streets and creates positive change. 

 

So How Can This Be Put Into Play?

 

Here is an example of how social media (specifically Twitter) can be used to create quick and immediate impact on social media and in real life. 

It is sad to say, but unlawful shootings of Black individuals are insanely common as of 2017. So if you wanted to create quick change after one of these events occurred, what could you do? If you look above, you will see that we typed #BlackLivesMatter into the search bar on our Twitter page. 

Now, you will see the page above. You can sort by the most popular #BlackLivesMatter posts, the most recent, or even individuals who have this text in their handle or profile name. Since we are trying to quickly create a movement, we are going to not just sort by latest, but we are also going to look at people only in our area. If you notice, we changed the location search filter to "near you." What if you are running a ghost IP address or want to create a fast movement in a different location? Click on advanced search and then you can really get specific. 

Now that we are on advanced search, we can specify different locations to focus on, multiple hashtags, or different types of copy. Let's say you wanted to target people in New York that utilized the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, and also wrote in their post that they are "angry", "agitated", or "sad". These could potentially be great people to engage with. So then reach out and state that you are mobilizing a march in one hour on the Brooklyn Bridge. We also honed in on a time frame, which is useful for an event that just happened. 

 

What about other social media platforms? Facebook is much more difficult, but the same rules apply. For Instagram, you could search #BlackLivesMatter and then engage with individuals who post about it. With all of these social media platforms, it is important to really look at what an individual is posting about. With any hot button issues, these hashtags will many times contain individuals that are making fun of or discriminating against people that support the hashtag. 

 

What if you are not attempting to spark a movement, but rather get people to donate or attend your non-profit event? You can still follow many of the tactics mentioned above, but this is where the power of Facebook Advertising really shines. You can specifically target individuals who are interested in philanthropy, live in your area, and make a lot of money (you can set a range). If you send advertisements out to these individuals, it is more likely they will buy a Gala ticket. What if you have no money to spend on advertising? That's okay! Follow the same steps we mentioned above. Create content that resonates with your audience and engage with current and future fans. 

 

Conclusion:

Whether you are trying to get your non-profit off the ground, boost your charity, or fire up a protest, social media can be used as the backbone of your marketing plan. Just remember, social media is fast, engaging, hot, targeted, cost effective, and loud. If you have the passion and understand how social media works, you will be creating a powerful movement in no time.

 

Have you ever used your social media to create a positive change? Email us or comment below...we may just write about your experiences! 

 

 

 

 

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