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Originally published in SocialFish

When it comes to community building, social media offers a whole wealth of methods of connecting with existing and new audiences. The ability to easily share images means your message can reach a wider audience, as well as giving your followers a fantastic insight into your work and raising awareness of campaigns.

Sharing news

There’s nothing like photos and videos when it comes to sharing news of events, fundraisers and even the day-to-day work of a non-profit. Social media makes it easy for organizations to communicate so much more than the more traditional newsletter, while offering a cost-effective method of sharing news with a wider audience.

Charities such as the American Red Cross now have their own You Tube channel, which can be personalized for greater impact. As well as showing more about campaigns, news and giving general information, the great thing about a YouTube channel is that you can have up-to-the-minute updates, which is vital to the work of an organization like the Red Cross. The ability to see instantly the popularity and comments of each video helps you to tailor your content and evolve the way you connect with your audience. The American Red Cross channel has had an incredible 4 million video views and has 11,000 subscribers, which shows how effective video has been at conveying their message.

 

 

Giving a personal response

Many non-profits have Facebook and Twitter accounts, but some have raised the bar on how to use them to make their relationship with their supporters personal and interact on a whole new level.

The Humane Society of the United States puts social media right at the heart of their communications strategy. Their ability to keep posts fresh shows how important it is to keep news updated if you want to maintain a conversation with your audience. The Society uses Facebook and Twitter to communicate with followers and answer questions or respond to comments, which keeps their interaction personal: they are dedicated to having a conversation through social media, rather than using it as a one-way channel. Their dedication has been rewarded with a huge 1.5 million ‘Likes’ on Facebook, plus a buzzing and interactive following.

 

Reaching out to new audiences

If you have a large number of images you want to share, you might consider a Pinterest account. Pinterest makes it really easy for anyone to share images (and videos) with their own audience, and helps you connect with a wider audience, as well as keeping your followers up to date with your latest news.

Charity: water has a rich Pinboard, with categories such as ‘Photo of the Day’, ‘Creative Fundraising’ and ‘Snapshots from Field Trips’, which has earned them 3,000 followers. They have a great mix of news photos, informal and more serious images, and the Pinterest format really helps them reach out and connect visually, while letting their photos tell their story. They also use their Board as a showcase for their merchandise to make it easy for followers to purchase products to support their cause, which is a good example of how social media can help promote fundraising.

 

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