This social media success story comes from my interview with Kim Lennon, Outreach Coordinator of the Domestic Violence Center (DVC) of Howard County Maryland (a suburb of Baltimore), as we discuss the use of Twitter and Facebook as free marketing tools.
The DVC uses social media to educate the community about the issue of domestic violence, build their client base, promote events, obtain volunteers, and raise awareness about their agency itself.
Tonya: Why do you think social media in general is so important to promoting a non-profit business today?
Kim: Like many non-profits, funding is down and it is more important than ever to stretch budget dollars. In order to do this, like many agencies, we have to be creative with marketing and publicity strategies.
Social media has allowed the DVC to create a “voice” to constantly be in touch with the community and develop meaningful messages that reach people instantly. By being a “voice” we can tailor specific messages to reach and influence a variety of populations from:
- potential clients
Tonya: Can you provide an example?
Kim: One example of this was the publicity for our signature fall event the 2009 UnGala: A Carnival of Hope. This event was solely promoted through Facebook and Twitter. With only a small publicity budget, creativity was essential.
These mediums allowed free advertising, while Twitter opened a new world for “word-of-mouth marketing” allowing fellow non-profits to retweet and forward our event information to even more people.
This free service would have never allowed the DVC to promote as effectively as we did with the budget in place, by being creative with our messages we created a successful and well attended event.
Tonya: What’s the biggest mistake a non-profit business can make when using (or not) social media?
Kim: By not using social media a non-profit business is missing out on the ability to let the public know who they are. Social media has opened a whole new world for non-profits to promote their mission, obtain funders, donations, and cultivate relations with other non-profits.
One of the reasons why social media works for us is because of the relationships that have been built through social networking. One of the amazing capabilities of social media is the ability of agencies to instantly share information. This is how social networking relations build and more followers become a part of your cause.
Organizations that are not doing this are truly missing out on letting the public get to know them.
Take a look at part 2 as we discuss getting results and social media tips.
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