The Importance of Social Media In Branding

Creating and implementing an effective social media strategy is the key to global brand awareness and support for nonprofits and causes was the theme of Social Media on Purpose 2014 (#SMoP14) at Stanford last month.

The mission of Social Media on Purpose is to help executives at nonprofits and other mission-driven organizations who are responsible for developing, extending, and maintaining their organization’s impact, identity and reach by providing an opportunity to learn how to create powerful social media strategies, implement programs and measure results to build awareness and support for their organizations.

The day-long event included presentations by LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr executives on how to create and execute an effective social media strategy and tools that can be implemented to help generate global awareness and build global support for brands, as well as case study examples of organizations who have achieved success through social media efforts.

Attendees learned how using powerful storytelling, compelling visual content and key metrics are vital to global brand outreach and support.

Meg Garlinghouse, Head of LinkedIn for Good, opened the event by discussing how improving your professional profile and your organization’s page on LinkedIn will help strengthen your brand. She offered advice that included:

-Make a strong first impression with a picture and headline, which serves as your professional tagline
-Use the summary as your elevator pitch, telling visitors who you are and the goals you have for your organization, and the experience section to showcase where you are coming from and your accomplishments
-Use Volunteer Experience & Causes to promote your organization
-Build your network strategically through adding current connections, making new connections across multiple sectors and communities to diversify your network, joining groups and commenting on interesting content
-Create a compelling corporate page by adding your logo, photos and useful content
-Encourage your organization’s staff and supporters to follow your page
-Use LinkedIn’s Volunteer Marketplace to find volunteers and board members for your nonprofit and to view tools and resources to help in finding talent

Garlinghouse introduced Sherry Wood of One Warm Coat and they discussed One Warm Coat’s successes in using the Volunteer Marketplace.

Libby Leffler, Manager of Partnerships for Facebook, and Caroline Barlerin, Head of Twitter for Good, discussed the use of hashtags and how their strategic positioning in driving campaigns such as #NoMakeUpSelfie and #BringBackOurGirls can cause them to quickly go viral. Barlerin added that using Twitter effectively can help organizations build awareness, grow their communities and show their unique voice and brand personality. She also offered steps on how to make the best use of Twitter:

-Establish a consistent brand presence by developing and executing a Twitter campaign plan and providing consistent, branded content
-Leverage key partnerships by engaging brand advocates and initiating conversations
-Publish engaging content and use hashtags and visual tools such as images and video
-Amplify events and initiatives through developing a phased strategy around events and leveraging content to promote events
-Measure success

Both Leffler and Barlerin pointed out that both Facebook and Twitter offer free analytics tools to help organizations measure and manage their Facebook and Twitter activities.

Liba Rubenstein, Director of Social Impact and Policy at Tumblr, talked about Tumblr’s benefits for nonprofits. She said that “Tumblr is #1 in engagement out of comScore’s top 100 web properties”. And she noted that “75% of Millennials are turned off by a static nonprofit website”.Tumblr enables organizations to tell dynamic and compelling stories through the use of text, pictures, animation, audio, video and more. Content has multiple touchpoints which helps organizations grow their community. And, it’s reblogging tool helps an organization to improve the reach and longevity of its content.

In the afternoon, noted social media author and speaker, Beth Kanter moderated the Nonprofit Social Media Integrated Campaign Case Study SLAM! Monterey Bay Aquarium, Upwell, Edutopia, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, IDEX and ACLU of Northern California showed how they are achieving success with social media.

Perla Ni of GreatNonprofits, considered to be the “Yelp of Nonprofits”, showed attendees how nonprofit reviews and GreatNonprofits’ content syndication partnerships can help nonprofits increase their reach and engagement. Ni noted that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family and 70% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Last, Stefania Pomponi, of Clever Girls Collective, discussed their process in developing and implementing the #SFBatKid social media campaign for Make-A-Wish Foundation and shared the six secrets of their success:

1. Have a goal – answer what do I want to accomplish?
2. Create an emotional story – answer why will people care?
3. Put an effective process in place – answer what’s the hashtag? There is a methodology to hashtag use. Create an effective, strategic hashtag to use throughout the campaign.
4. Determine the audience and distribution channels – answer who is my audience and where are they?
5. Be Prepared and Be Agile – answer what if this doesn’t work AND what if this does work?
6. Measure – Ensure you are using the proper analytics tools and you are measuring key performance indicators

The takeaways are two-fold. First, nonprofits, just like for profits, are trying to build global support for their organizations and are looking for ways to increase reach and engagement. Second, understanding the needs of your audience and providing them with content that resonates with them will help you increase reach, engagement and support for your organization.

2 Replies to “The Importance of Social Media In Branding”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *