10 Ways to Celebrate Nonprofit Online Community Members Using Social MediaToday I am hosting the #Commbuild Twitter chat and the topic is creative ways to celebrate online community members. Here are 10 of my suggestions, but I can’t wait to host the chat and see what everyone else is doing!
In 2014, nonprofit digital marketing efforts will still focus on using social media and mobile tools to raise awareness for organizations and causes, to promote events and to fundraise.

However, from what I have observed in 2013, the goal of most social media marketing campaigns continues to be collecting the most Likes on Facebook, the most Twitter and Pinterest followers and the most views on YouTube.

Building up sheer numbers of Likes and views, without motivating people to take action, is misguided.

I always say that quality beats quantity any day of the week, in any contest.

There are special online services where you can purchase 10,000 followers on Twitter. You can hold exciting online contests to lure complete strangers who have no connection to your cause into clicking “Like” on your Facebook Page.

Purchased followers and fans may boost your numbers and look impressive to your boss, but they do nothing for your bottom line.

At the end of the contest or the purchase, how many of these fans will ever look at your website, read your blog, make a donation or purchase your product?

My guess is – very, very few if any.

Instead of focusing on growing your social media numbers, how about focusing on retaining and engaging the fans/followers that you do have?

Here are 10 ideas and ways to celebrate, acknowledge and reward your online community members for being there for you and for being awesome!

Start by taking some time to plan out an acknowledgement and celebration strategy for your online community members:

1) Shift your focus. Nonprofits need to shift our focus. Instead of always thinking about the information we want to relay and making all marketing campaigns about us and our agenda, why not make it about our online community? What interests them? What motivates them?

2) Schedule the time. Like any other task on your To Do list, you need to schedule adequate time to acknowledge and celebrate your online community. Will it be 15 minutes at the start of each day? Will it be every Thursday (#ThankfulThursday)?

3) Budget some resources. Will you have a specific budget for celebrating community members? You don’t need to make elaborate, expensive print materials or send out swag, but you could explore paid advertising on social media platforms. Read John Haydon’s post about targeting donors with Facebook Ads – you could easily do this for the people who already know and love you on that platform!

4) Show the love. When was the last time you posted “We have the absolute best Facebook fans on the planet“? Try it! Even something simple like this should get interaction. Try posting it on all your social networks and see the love grow!

5) Respond and reply promptly. Answer all questions and Wall Posts, mentions on Twitter and all public blog comments in a very timely fashion (within 3-4 hours). This shows that your organization is responsive and that you are paying attention to what your online community is saying.

6) Say the two little words – Thank You! Organize a “Thank You” campaign and promote it everywhere. Heather Mansfield of the blog Nonprofit Tech 2.0 lays out ideas for creating “Thank You” videos for your 2012 fundraising campaigns. Participate in Diane Darling’s “The Thank You Project”, where you hand write at least four personalized thank you notes per week. Blog about your Thank You campaign, post on Facebook and Twitter, share your Thank You process on LinkedIn.

7) Partner with a local business to provide exclusive discounts/offers. Nonprofits can team up with local or national businesses to offer exclusive discounts – for example, when the local business hits 500 fans on Facebook, they will donate a certain amount to the nonprofit and offer a discount of 15% to all of the nonprofit’s Facebook fans. This way, the nonprofit and business will mutually benefit through cooperative marketing, and the fans will benefit by being able to help give back in a fairly effortless way.

8) Pick a Fan of the Week. This is a simple, easy-to-use Facebook application to add to your nonprofit’s Page. It automatically highlights the person who interacts with your Page the most within a given week. Make this honor extra special and offer to highlight that Fan’s business or favorite cause for one week on your page, create a gallery of Fans of the Week on your website or make a special phone call to the Fan of the Week (if you have their information) to thank them for their engagement. You can also send them items such as a t-shirt, pen, coffee mug or other memento (with your logo on it of course)!

9) Help your online community give back. Many companies reward Facebook Fans by helping them give back, tying charitable donations to the growth of their fan base. Hosiery and leg wear company No Nonsense recently kicked off a program in which it is donating one million pairs of socks to needy children and families across the country. The campaign, called “Socks for America,” allows consumers to donate a pair of socks in their name to a person in need simply by becoming a fan on No Nonsense’s Facebook Page.

10) Showcase them! With their permission of course, showcase your donors using social media – their photos, why they give, a brief interview, a quote, a testimonial. So simple and yet so powerful. They are individuals after all. If you receive funding from a corporation or foundation showcase the program officer or person responsible for managing the donation.

Make 2014 the year of the Thank you!

This applies to all donors, stakeholders, volunteers, staff members, members, and the like – and your online community.

After all, current online community members form the best foundation from which to grow and sustain your online goals in 2014. Make sure the loyal know that they are appreciated!

How do you celebrate your online community?

photo credit: Scott Beale via photopin cc