Be authentic. Don’t be a robot. Add some personality. Make your updates unique. Sound familiar? These social media best practices are important. They are proven ways to help nonprofits, brands and individuals to set themselves apart from the pack. While all of these tips can fall under the heading of ‘good advice’, following these tips can also lead to brand inconsistency when multiple ambassadors are disseminating social media marketing updates on behalf of a common cause.
1. Develop a messaging hierarchy
Perhaps you’ve had to outline the top three reasons to fund a program on a grant application or to emphasize the three most significant reasons your nonprofit – and its clients – can’t afford another funding cut on camera. Just as you’ve ranked your points during these opportunities and/or used numeric signaling to emphasize importance, it is helpful to provide volunteers, Board Members, staff and strategic partners with a message hierarchy for social media. While you don’t want stakeholders to come across pre-programmed or robotic, it is important that brand consistency be maintained. Here are a few examples of how to guide stakeholders to maintain consistency without sacrificing readability and a personal touch.
“Thank you for serving on the Board of our organization. We thought you may want to share the news with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers, which we greatly appreciate. Just be sure to mention that we are not a direct service provider but rather an advocacy organization to minimize confusion. Thanks!”
“When talking about XYZ cause on social media the three most important things to let your friends, fans and followers know is…”
2. Ask people to share important news directly from your page, RT it from your feed, etc.
Ever feel like social media mimics a game of telephone? Unfortunately, the more people that help to spread the news, the more variations there are on the story itself. When your organization has important – and factually sensitive – news to share, encourage constituents to share the news as you have posted, blogged and/or tweeted it. It’s an easy way for your community to help get the word out while minimizing opportunities for miscommunication. And, with an increasing number of reporters using social media to help source information on their stories, you need to be even more certain that your social media messaging is 210% accurate, event when character limits make doing so a bit of a challenge.
3. Drive to a common source/destination
When possible, drive traffic back to a common destination, preferably you nonprofit’s website. This will allow you to track where visitors are coming from to identify the best tools for driving traffic to your site and ensure the message people are receiving is both comprehensive and consistent. With online giving continuing to grow, driving traffic back to your website is an especially prudent approach.
Social media marketing can help nonprofits cultivate new volunteers and donors, expand their reach and build a community of ambassadors who can help to advocate for and support their cause. While effective social media marketing requires a consistent investment of time and resources, it can help nonprofits to generate measurable marketing ROI. The key, however, to maximizing this ROI is ensuring brand consistency is at the forefront. From the images in your profile pictures to the language used to describe programs and services, everything needs to reinforce a common vision and mission and consistently reinforce quantifiable impact.
Brand consistency is a critical component of all marketing, not just social media marketing.