Social good organizations can invest in paid social media without seeming inauthentic or eating into their marcomm budget. Here are a few do’s to keep in mind and don’t’s to steer clear of:
Paid Social Media Do’s
- Consider Facebook ads with a genuine call to action. These can be incredibly targeted and very budget mindful. They also allow you to cap spending daily or through the life of a campaign or project so that there isn’t a risk of the spending getting out of control. Ads that don’t ask the user to act can seem self-aggrandizing in the social good space. Similarly, ads that have a meaningless call to action can seem like poorly managed spending. You can learn more about Facebook ads here.
- If your organization is a social enterprise or it has a marketplace that ‘sells’ something (even if it’s a symbolic sale as Heifer international does), consider investing in cart retargeting. Cart retargeting is designed to reach individuals who have abandoned their shopping cart. It is a form of dynamic remarketing to a user who has already expressed interest in your organization or your product. Given that social media is a significant portion of a shopper’s online experience, many organizations turn to Instagram or Facebook ads to convert users.
- Identify digital influencers in the field, issue area, or similar demographic and invest in a sponsored partnership with them. This may include sending your social enterprise’s product to them to feature on their platform, or inviting them to attend an event or tour as your guest as they live stream it. It could also include a contest that awards a one of a kind or otherwise unique, behind the scenes experience. Be sure that the influencer selected is in line with your organization’s brand and that you fully understand the scope of what is and isn’t included in the paid partnership. And of course, put the partnership agreement in writing.
Paid Social Media Don’ts
- Buy followers or likes. There is never a situation that merits this as social media is driven by authenticity. Similarly, using tags that include #likeforlike or #l4l are seen as equally insincere. The users that respond to this, (assuming they are even real accounts, which many are not) are not in anyway engaged in your work and thus won’t contribute to a robust digital community which is the first step in having any sort of financial ROI from paid social media.
- Skip the visuals. Most of us have mindlessly scrolled through some social media platform and in those circumstances, we’re rarely doing anything but skimming the text and looking at the pictures and videos. Always include an image that conveys a key message and be sure to test it among a variety of audiences before distributing it widely. To that end, paid ads with a and b testing can provide a way to test visuals among a smaller audience first.
- Ask a staff member or volunteer to ‘send tweets or post a few pictures’ and expect to have a robust social media presence. If you are looking to develop a social presence or grow your outstanding one, invest in a paid – even if its part time – staff person or contractor who consistently manages the strategy and voice of the brand via social media.
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