Promoting a non-profit can be tricky. The relationship between the brand and the volunteers/supporters is different from, say, a fashion brand and a consumer. Although both depend on a certain amount of loyalty between the brand and the consumer, a fashionista will probably frequent her favorite store on a weekly basis. Compare that to food bank supporters who only donate goods a few times a year. Although the aims of non-profit brands vary widely, there are a handful of social tactics that they can all use to their advantage. We took a look at the Twitter feeds of the American Red Cross, Toms Shoes, the Greater Chicago Food Depository and Open Books to check out these tactics in action. (Note: We know Toms is technically a for-profit brand, but their sales support their non-profit subsidiary and their #OneforOne social efforts share a lot of the aims of a strictly non-profit brand.)
Emotionally-based calls to action
Like any other brand, non-profits rely on finding new customers and then turning those first-time customers into loyal supporters. That requires putting calls to action into regular rotation across their social channels. Rather than using common retail brand calls to action, like “buy now,” non-profit calls are more emotional. With phrases like “help us,” “get involved” and “make an impact,” new and old followers alike are moved to donate time, money or resources.
Helpful and fun content to keep audience engaged
Depending on the focus of the brand, donations and purchases may occur weeks or months apart. To keep the brand top of mind, it’s important to share fun, interesting, engaging and helpful content. Open Books and the Red Cross both do this well, sharing content that is interesting while still within the boundaries of their brands.
Retweeting/sharing content to build loyalty
Once again, the idea of loyalty comes into play, and what better way to build that bond between brand and supporter than by sharing their efforts in the social space. Toms and the Red Cross do a great job of this. The Red Cross regularly retweets and gives shout-outs to people who’ve recently donated blood and encouraged others to do the same, while Toms loves to feature fan photos and tweets about fan efforts of spreading the One for One campaign around the world.
Putting a face to the name with photos and posts
Because a non-profit brand inherently brings a more personal approach to their efforts, it only makes sense to highlight that with posts that help supporters put a face to the name. Open Books regularly shares blog posts featuring new volunteers and interns, while Toms often shares tweets and photos created by current and former employees.
What non-profit social tactics can you bring to your own brand’s strategy? If you’re still confused about the basics, be sure to check out our helpful Twitter for business guides.