Social media has become one of the most effective tools for donor management and outreach that nonprofits have at their disposal today. The best thing is, accounts cost nothing to create. And if a broadcaster needs more functionality, many platforms offer reasonably priced business products like ads and upgraded accounts analytics. The bottom line is social media is a dominant way to communicate nowadays, and there’s no better way to share your story, as well as engage with donors and new audiences.

While social media is just one piece of technology stations need to think of (dedicated donor management solutions are crucial), it has untold potential for organizations to make an impact. Here are some ways to leverage social media in fundraising:

Use multimedia

“Multimedia is the best way to gain followers, eyes and interested donors.”

Just about everyone will remember the media craze surrounding The ALS Association’s ice bucket challenge when it dominated forums and headlines for months. The campaign worked to perfection because it encouraged advocates and others to post and share videos, probably the most engaging multimedia format. The bucket challenge became a viral sensation and attracted high-profile names to support the cause on their influential pages. Stations might not necessarily need to create the next YouTube video with 100 million views, but using video, photo, sound and all other forms of multimedia in social media campaigns is the best way to gain followers, eyes and interested donors.

Spread your message wide

Social media helps stations reach large audiences, and they can stand to make an imprint with even more if they have a presence across diverse networks. While Facebook is the obvious channel to have a profile on, stations ought to consider adding Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest into the mix. Each platform can help a nonprofit accomplish different things: Twitter for spreading or reacting to news, and Instagram and Pinterest for posting visuals. Professional networks like LinkedIn and Google Plus are also worthwhile profiles to maintain.

One thing stations must keep in mind, however, is that their presence should be consistent across all formats. That means using the same colors and branding guidelines, as well as having an organizational voice that can be identified across networks. Having a unified presence is central to getting followers and donors to connect with you across social media platforms.

Interact with followers

While social media often gets knocked for being “all about me,” the reality is these forums facilitate all sorts of interactions, discussions, relationships and exchanges of ideas. The point of being active on social media isn’t just to share, but to engage. Every time a follower comments on a video, whoever runs a station’s social media accounts should respond and acknowledge, whether that’s with a like or another comment. Sparking a conversation can lead to becoming a trending topic, or simply becoming more well-known to potential donors.

There are other, more direct ways to engaging with followers than having them post on profile updates. Stations can also get creative and run things like trivia contests that generate a ton of comment activity, or surveys that make followers feel like their voice is heard. Something seemingly as basic as a Twitter poll asking whether chocolate or vanilla is better can lead to great results.

Convert brand advocates

Yet another way stations can leverage social media to positive effect is by amplifying their presence through followers. The more these followers post about a station or its cause, the wider the message is communicated. While stations can only do so much within their powers and budgets, by cultivating a faithful following online, brands can get their message to go farther with word-of-mouth referrals. Who knows, a complicated series of shares and follows could even land your station on the radar of a celebrity or listened-to voice.

Whatever stations plan to do with social media, it’s important to strategize its place in the overall campaign. Social media use can be an advantage for stations, but only if used correctly in the context of fundraising. Donor management software is crucial to ensuring social media activity can be documented or transformed into action. For a dedicated, data-driven platform that stations can count on, contact Allegiance Fundraising today.