Buzzing about: More nonprofit marketing

In our last installment, we covered the basics of building buzz around your nonprofit brand. It's one of the first bricks in building marketing strategy, but the larger conversation doesn't stop there.

Once you've spread the word about your organization, you want to keep your audience. Here's how:

Social media's prevalence
It might seem like the advice always comes back to social media, and that's because online presence remains a critical part of connecting to a supportive following. Now that you've had some on-the-ground conversational practice, use it to inform your approach to social media.

If you've followed Randy Hawthorne's advice and enlisted the help of volunteers in facing with the public, solicit their feedback. What did they find people most wanted to talk about? What phrases or stories sparked interest, and what turned listeners away? Think of your social media as the same kind of interactive idea exchange.

All about timing
Make sure to assign the right conversational approach to different forms of social media. For example, Twitter is best used to create to create an instantly positive impact, said professional fundraiser Nathan Hand. Immediacy is a great way to keep supporters tuned in, and a good way of balancing the longer stories you might post to Facebook - and by now, you probably know just how important nonprofit storytelling is.

According to leadership coach Brad Bridges, it's wise to think in terms of what your supporters need from you. Don't be afraid to ask outright. Social media can point to your donation form, but fundraising is not the focus of your Facebook page.

When posting tweets, don't forget to add your own few words of commentary, reminded fundraising coach Marc A. Pittman. Remember to make it about the cause and not about you. Better yet, engage in some real-time tweet chats about your organization's mission. Don't forget about the power of endorsing people on LinkedIn.

If managing multiple platforms of social media feels time-intensive, think about how much daily time you spend reading your personal Facebook feed. Even five or ten minutes is sufficient for brand building.  

Email's not over
Supporters still like receiving personal emails. You can use your donor databases to categorize emails according to different groups of donors, suggested Steven Shattuck, VP of Marketing at Bloomerang. Tailoring correspondence to supporter activity is a surefire means of keeping in touch. 

And really, that's what marketing is all about. 

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