Episode 14 – Social Media for Nonprofits

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Episode 14 – Social Media for Nonprofits


My guest on the show today is Stephanie ProftStephanie is the account and content strategist at Everywhere Agency, a leading social media and influencer marketing firm based in Atlanta. She has a background in journalism and copywriting and a knack for helping brands and organizations effectively tell their stories. Stephanie has helped clients ranging from nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies hone in on the right message for their audience.

Highlights from this Conversation

Primary Topic: Social Media for Nonprofits

Related to Digital Marketing

  1. What has worked well for you?
    1. Being Strategic and thoughtful about content
      1. It’s worth it to plan
        1. Who are we?
        2. What’s our message?
        3. Who are we trying to reach?
    2. If someone is in charge of the content, it goes better
    3. You have to have a system for your content
  2. What hasn’t worked well that we can learn from?
    1. Willy nilly spouting things out
    2. Shotgun posting doesn’t build momentum
    3. Consistency builds momentum
    4. Google Alerts
  3. What are you excited about?
    1. Organizations realizing the value of strategic storytelling
    2. Influencers talking about nonprofit initiatives
    3. Real people telling real stories

Interview Transcript

Adam Walker: [00:00:09] Hi and welcome to the Good People Good Marketing podcast, a podcast about nonprofit digital marketing and how to make it better so the good people at good organizations can have good marketing as well.

I’m your host, Adam Walker, co-founder of Sideways Eight, a digital marketing agency that specializes in nonprofit work; and 48in48, a nonprofit dedicated to hosting events that build forty-eight websites for forty-eight nonprofits in forty-eight hours.

My guest today is Stephanie Proft. Stephanie is an account and content strategist at Everywhere Agency, a leading social media and influencer marketing firm based here in Atlanta. She has a background in journalism and copywriting, and a knack for helping brands and organizations effectively tell their stories. Stephanie has helped clients ranging from nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies hone in on the right message for their audience.

Stephanie, welcome to the podcast. Do you have anything you want to add to that bio?


Stephanie Proft: [00:00:56] Not in particular. I’m just really excited to be here. We love storytelling and helping agencies, brands and nonprofits figure out how to best connect with their audience. I’m just excited to share some insights.


Adam: [00:01:15] Wow! I love that and that’s the name of the game, right? Connecting with the audience. That’s what we’re about. That’s what marketing is really, so I love that.

Well, let’s get started. So, related to digital marketing, can you tell us something that’s working well for you?


Stephanie: [00:01:28] Sure. I think something that might sound really basic but an aspect that I think, especially nonprofits have a hard time with sometimes, is the idea of being really strategic and thoughtful about content. I think more and more we’re seeing people realizing that it really is worth it to plan and it’s worth it to take a step back and really think about, “Okay. Who are we? What’s our message? Who are we trying to reach?” and then, really consistently connecting back to that. Everything that you’re sharing on the internet and, in general, should be connected to your mission or what your organization represents, and what the people that you’re trying to connect with want to hear.


Adam: [00:02:18] That’s right. I love that. I’m actually trying to figure this out for 48 in 48, my nonprofit as well, as we have a lot of content. It’s sitting around doing nothing for us. We have a lot of volunteers that have a lot of expertise, even some individuals in your office, if I’m not mistaken. And why are we not leveraging these volunteers in this content? We have to be the content marketing machine for nonprofit marketing. I don’t have a good answer for why we’re not doing that, and so the answer is we should do that. Why are we not doing it? Haven’t we started yet?


Stephanie: [00:02:51] Right.


Adam: [00:02:51] That’s great.


Stephanie: [00:02:52] I think that a lot of people, the answer as to why isn’t it happening is often bandwidth. Them just not having a dedicated person who’s leading the charge. I think when there are a lot of people involved, sometimes it’s easy to think, “Oh, somebody else is going to get to that at some point,” then it doesn’t really happen. But when you have a plan, you have people that feel accountable, and you have those pesky deadlines, I do think that it motivates individuals to come together and really create something great especially in terms of content, because like you said, it’s everywhere. Everyone has these opportunities to create really small, digestible pieces whether that’s photos from events or just showcasing the people that are benefiting from an organization. It doesn’t really take that much time when you have a system for getting that information out into the world, but it’s the planning that people get hung up on and they don’t necessarily know if they have the time to commit or where to start.


Adam: [00:03:51] Yeah, I think you hit on it right there. You’ve got to have a system in place for content production. And I think until you have that, the idea of content is completely overwhelming. But if you were to have a system that you could break down and say, “Okay. Well, I really need to dedicate ten minutes here and twenty minutes there and an hour once a week,” that’s a completely different scenario. I think every person at every level, and especially at nonprofits, can really get onboard and go, “Oh, that makes sense. I can do that.” They feel like they can own it at that point.


Stephanie: [00:04:21] Totally. And right, that’s the key. It’s the ownership. You need somebody who really understands what’s necessary, who’s just in-charge of making sure that other people understand that as well, and that they know what’s expected and when. And then, if there’s an easy way to deposit the content or make sure that everybody is on the same page, it just makes it go that much more smoothly.


Adam: [00:04:43] Yeah, I totally agree. That’s right. So now, my next question related to digital marketing, can you share something that’s not working well that we can learn from?


Stephanie: [00:04:55] Sure. I mean, I think the flipside of what we just discussed is this idea of just posting when you get to it and willy-nilly, spouting things out. Sometimes, we see when organizations come to us for a social media strategy that they’re posting three times on one day, and then they won’t post for two weeks, and then they’ll post five times on another day which is very inconsistent. It’s hard to build that momentum if you’re not really dedicating yourself to consistency and making sure that you’re really focusing on the things that matter.

I think a lot of organizations have key points in time where they’re doing events, or they have big initiatives, and you know those are coming up, so just planning for those and just making sure that you’re really focusing on sharing the right information with the right audience. I think sometimes that’s another struggle, especially for nonprofit organizations, just because you have these varying stakeholders.


Adam: [00:05:56] Right. So, question about that, about content in particular. I know nonprofits have a propensity to share posts and information about themselves and their services and their events. I think, at some point, people begin to tune that out as noise.

And so, in my thinking, really every organization, nonprofit or for profit, whomever, really needs to share value-driven information primarily, and then supplement those posts with, “Hey, have you thought about our event?” and, “Hey, have you thought about this program?” And so, I think there’s got to be a mix there. In my mind, I usually think about it more like 80-20, so 80% value, 20% sale. What is the mix? Does that sound about right to you or do you have any more insight on that?


Stephanie: [00:06:40] It definitely sounds about right to me. I think another way that you can get around that selfish me, me, me, give us your time and your money mentality is to really focus on the good things that you’re doing. So, instead of just saying, “Hey, have you thought about coming to our event? Oh, do you want to buy a ticket to our fundraiser? Oh, do you want to make a donation?” really focusing on the results that you’re creating.

So, showcasing – if, for example, you’re an organization that’s focused on helping teens get into college – really showcasing this people who have benefitted from participating in your program. So, you’re telling a story, and yes, it relates to you and it’s hopefully inspiring people to take action on behalf of your organization. But it doesn’t come across in the same way as just asking people for money. Do you know what I mean?


Adam: [00:07:31] Right. Even nonprofits that are just like, “Hey, here’s a newsletter. Here’s the good that we’re doing.” It’s still about them and we have to make sure our content is not always about us, but it’s about the user and about what matters to the user; because I think at the end of the day, users don’t really care about the nonprofit directly. Most of the time, they care about how the nonprofit fits into their needs, how the nonprofit fits into their desires to help a community, and then I think, we’ve got to speak to those needs and those desires.


Stephanie: [00:08:00] Totally. Agree. And I think that you can supplement information about yourself by really focusing on what’s happening in the world at large. So, just sharing articles about things that are relevant to your field of interest that are compelling to the people that you impact and want to reach. But again, it’s creating validation from the outside as opposed to you constantly talking about what’s important to you and your organization.


Adam: [00:08:30] Exactly. Curate information that’s valuable to your audience and related to what you do. I mean, for example, on Flipboard, I’ve got a magazine dedicated to nonprofit marketing and where I curate information that is sometimes directly related to marketing, sometimes related to nonprofits, sometimes it’s related to both. But I curate articles not because of the magazine, because I feel like that’s what my audience needs to be aware of, and maybe it helps, maybe it doesn’t, but it’s for them. It’s not for me


Stephanie: [00:08:59] Exactly. And I think honing in on those different content categories and figuring out what is relevant to your audience, but not directly about your organization is the first step. And then, set those Google Alerts and make sure that you’re consistently perusing the web to see what resources you can provide your audience.


Adam: [00:09:21] That’s right. And that’s actually a great tool that our audience might not even be aware of is that you can set Google Alerts and when something new pops up into the Google search engine related to a specific alert that you have, you’ll get a notification e-mail. You can have it set to once a day or you can have it come more often than that.

I’ve got Google Alerts set up for my name. I’ve got Google Alerts set up for my staff’s name, because I want to know if my staff was mentioned in a blogpost or something. I’ve got my company name in Google Alerts. I also got other broader topics like nonprofit marketing in there, too. So, that way I can keep up with exactly what’s going on and try to be, to some degree, ahead of the curve, I hope.


Stephanie: [00:09:58] Totally. I think there’s a lot of really simple things that you can do to make the content piece easier and Google Alerts are clutch.


Adam: [00:10:09] Yeah. Totally. And surprisingly, I’ve known about Google Alerts for many, many years, and they fell off my radar. I just got back in using them recently. I’m like, “Where’s this been? Why have I not been using this forever?” So, it’s great. It’s very, very helpful, and it’s free. I like free.


Stephanie: [00:10:26] Free is good. Yeah.


Adam: [00:10:27] Free is good especially for nonprofits. All right. So, last question related to digital marketing, tell us something you’re excited about.


Stephanie: [00:10:35] So obviously, I’m very excited about this idea that more and more organizations are realizing the value of storytelling and being strategic in doing so, because a little planning goes a long way. And then, on another note, Everywhere Agency, we work a lot with influencers, so those are people that have massive followings on social media and for their blogs. I think that we’ve had some success in using them to talk about nonprofit initiatives and I think that there’s so much that can be done with influencers in terms of really contextualizing what organizations are about and having real people tell real stories about the things that affect us. And so, that’s another thing that we’re very excited about at Everywhere Agency.


Adam: [00:11:26] I love that. Real people telling real stories that affect us. I think there’s a lot of value in that statement. Being real, being authentic through the digital platform, through the digital media is really, really important these days.


Stephanie: [00:11:39] Definitely. I mean, I think people are really tired of just hearing brands and organizations talk about themselves. I do find that it helps people realize the broader impact of a brand or an organization that’s making a difference.


Adam: [00:11:57] Yeah, I totally agree. I think that’s fantastic. Well, let me see if I can recap what we have talked about today to give our listeners a good takeaway here. Related to digital marketing, what has worked well? You said being strategic and thoughtful about content. It’s worth it to plan, you said, who we are, what’s our message, who we’re trying to reach. I totally agree with you on that.

You said if someone is in charge of the content, it definitely goes better. You need to have a system for creating your content, and that makes content creation much less daunting, much easier, and it’s something you can do continually with your organization.

Number two, what has not worked well for you that we can learn from? Willy-nilly, spouting things out has not worked well. I love that term. In my words, a shotgun posting does not build momentum. Instead, what builds momentum is consistency and that nonprofits should consider using Google Alerts to stay current with what’s going on in their industry or in their city, or even to be aware of who’s talking about their brand and how they’re talking about their brand.

And lastly, what you’re excited about. Organizations realizing the value of strategic storytelling, influencers that are talking about nonprofit initiatives to gain traffic and help drive that influence, and share it over to the nonprofit space, and real people telling real stories. Stephanie, does that sound like I got most of that right?


Stephanie: [00:13:15] I think you got it all right. Yeah.


Adam: [00:13:18] Fantastic. Well, do you have any sort of final thoughts you want to share with our listeners here?


Stephanie: [00:13:23] So, I think one thing that I did not mention that is hugely important on the digital marketing front is the use of visuals. And so, my one final free tool plug would be if you are not already using Canva, you definitely should be. It’s super easy to use. There’s tons of templates. People don’t really like reading anymore, unfortunately. So, the more you can convey in a visual, the better.


Adam: [00:13:51] Yeah. And on top of that, Canva has a great iPhone app, a great iPad app even to create great content there. It’s super cheap or free depending on what photos you use. So, I think Canva is really, really great.I also love Adobe Spark, but you typically have to have some kind of subscription to Adobe to use that. So, that’s a really good tip. I appreciate you sharing that.


Stephanie: [00:14:12] Well, you are welcome. I do my best. I’m a simple woman and Canva definitely gets the job done.


Adam: [00:14:20] Canva is amazing.

Well, Stephanie, this was great. Thank you so much for being on the podcast.


Stephanie: [00:14:24] Thank you so much for having me.


Adam: [00:14:26] And thank you to our audience for listening to the Good People Good Marketing podcast. To get more resources about nonprofit digital marketing, make sure to go to GoodPeopleGoodMarketing.com where you can find more podcasts, blogs and other fun resources.

Also, if you want to find me, Adam, your host, you can find me on Twitter @ajwalker or on my blog at adamjwalker.com where I blog about leadership, productivity, and the craziness of having five kids and whatever else I happen to be thinking about at the time. Thanks for listening and tune in next time.

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

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