Use your powers to transform slacktivists into charity champions - Tom Latchford explains how to use Twitter and Facebook to boost communications and win more engaged supporters.
A decade ago, we paid agencies to create surveys to try to understand what people liked. Today, people are ‘liking’ things by the second. Each day, people publicly share their passions, personalities and persuasions online. The value of digital marketing is being able to find warm contacts at the point of sharing or searching for something, and then turning these people into valuable supporters over time.
1. Find strangers sharing stories
Using social media monitoring (such as monitoring keywords in Hootsuite, at the most basic level), you can find the people talking about things relevant to your cause, and mention them in a tweet. This isn’t spamming; it’s engaging with the issues these people care about, and giving them recognition for caring.
2. Ask for one small thing that adds value
Give these people one small thing they can do that takes less than a minute – whether it is clicking to like a campaign, sharing a link on their friends’ Facebook walls, or writing a brief comment. Certainly don’t ask for money straight away; start small – the most important thing is that you capture their details so you can more easily communicate in future.
3. Say thank you
If they do this one small thing that adds value to you, thank them – in a way that doesn’t feel impersonal (even though it might be through a mass-managed tool – it’s the tone that counts). Thanking them will make them feel valued, encouraging ongoing engagement with your cause.
4. Give them what they want
Now that you’ve got their contact details and established a dialogue, ask them why they care (for example, by using an online poll that will integrate with your CRM). Once you know why they care, you’re able to send them tailored information about what they care about, which will not only show them you’ve listened to what they’ve said, but will be more likely to tap into their emotions. Don’t send them a pitch of what you do; send them something that would intrigue them. You don’t even have to have written it yourself – you could, for example, tweet them a press article that might expand on what they shared before.
5. Give them the opportunity to give back
Once you’ve given them something of value, give them the opportunity to reciprocate. People love this. Perhaps they have something interesting to share, which you can help promote through your own social media networks? Give them a platform to express what they care about to more people – and encourage this cycle of mutual sharing. Make them feel their input is helping to achieve real-world change (by raising awareness, for example). When you achieve this, you have effectively transitioned your organisation from an arms-length institutional structure to a more collaborative system, where people feel they are part of the solution. Once they are truly engaged, that’s the point at which you are in a strong position to make a bigger ask – perhaps for a financial contribution, or to take part in a fundraising event on your behalf.
You may think that all of the above sounds very manual – and very much like what you might do to nurture a major donor. Well, these people could be major donors, but technology can take care of the scalability. The tools exist (we know, we build them every day!) to make this stuff happen en masse. But the great thing about technology today is that it actually gives us the chance to be more human, to more humans.
Tom Latchford is CEO of Raising IT