A few weeks ago I attended Blog Indiana 2012, a conference for Indiana based professionals utilizing blogs and social media for their business. A few major themes emerged from the two-day events:
- Content creation is more important than ever to get people to your website and in the case of nonprofits potential supporters.
- Communication is getting more visual and can drive traffic to the great content you are writing.
- SEO continues to change as paid promotions and social search play bigger roles in search engines.
The challenges with SEO were particularly eye opening. During a keynote address from Jay Baer, co-author of The NOW Revolution, proposed a whole new customer service model, that I think is very applicable to nonprofits.
Old marketing model: Top of Mind Awareness
- Through extensive marketing efforts, consumers begin to think of you first when looking for a particular service
Current marketing model: Frame of Mind Awareness
- When a potential consumer needs your services they will be able to easily find you through searching online.
Future marketing model: Friend of Mine Awareness
- You become a trusted resource that a consumer follows and turns to when it needs help.
The Friend of Mine Awareness model relies heavily on companies creating content that makes them a trusted source in their particular area. He uses Geek Squad as the perfect example. Even though they are in the business of having customers pay them for technical assistance, they provide videos for free on YouTube for those people searching to fix a problem. That way Geek Squad becomes a trusted helpful resource, so when an individual is over their head and can no longer fix the problem themselves they will call upon Geek Squad.
How a nonprofit can become a “Friend of Mine”:
- Create regular blog posts on your sector – don’t just have a website about your organization, make it a source of information on relevant topics regarding your specialty.
- Use social media to spread not only blog posts written by you, but also news from other resources. Ask questions of your audience to encourage interaction and allow them to ask questions of you.
- For example, an animal shelter can write blogs regularly with tips to take care of your animal and resources for supporting stray and abandoned animals. On their Facebook page they may use a photo of a stray animal to visually grab a followers attention, but then post a question that make the audience respond with how they would want that animal cared for. On twitter you might post latest news articles you come across from other animal shelters. All of these channels then can work in different ways to make followers start to think of you as a trusted expert in the sector. Over time if they choose to volunteer or donate to an animal shelter, yours will be more likely to be the organization they choose to support.
Share in the comments what your nonprofit is doing to encourage Friend of Mine Awareness.
To read more about our Blog Indiana experience view Kara Wheats blog post on Showing Your Nonprofit Personality Through Social Media.