Whether you’re looking to educate, fundraise or inspire, social media offers endless opportunities. But it also presents a challenge: breaking through the noise of other nonprofits doing the same thing. What if you could spread the word more easily – and with more impact – with supporters you already know? That’s exactly what a social media ambassador program is designed to do.
Unlike influencer marketing, you don’t need to pay celebrities and digital gurus to be successful. A social media ambassador program is an entry-level way to get people involved with your nonprofit by agreeing to donate their voice. You provide content and guidance; they share your mission and their personal connection to your cause.
From Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and Instagram, imagine what’s possible when your content is shared across dozens of personal accounts in addition to your own. Here are 4 reasons to start a social media ambassador program at your organization.
1. Facebook Favors People, Not Pages
Facebook is the most popular platform for nonprofits and where most organizations invest their limited social media resources. But Facebook also hasn’t been shy about the fact that the newsfeed favors posts from friends and family – and not your page. Finding ways for people to post your nonprofit’s content is important if you want to spread your message.
Similarly, Facebook has been exploring new ways for nonprofits to receive donations but not on their own pages. Have you seen groups beta testing Fundraisers? Facebook Fundraisers hand the reigns to people (not pages) to make their own campaigns and ask for donations on your behalf. Since nonprofits don’t have control over the messaging, goals, or branding of Fundraisers, creating social resources for these supporters provides some needed structure.
2. Convert More People – For Free!
Research continues to show that purchasing decisions are heavily influenced by word-of-mouth, sometimes as much as 50% of the time. What if you had social media ambassadors regularly sharing and retweeting your stories and calls-to-action or the fact that they donate to your cause? Those people who see your ambassadors’ tweets and statuses are more likely to donate or act than those who see your organization in an ad.
There might not be money in your budget for digital ads and promoted posts, but empowering enthusiastic supporters to share your content (and especially your donation page) can serve the same purpose and more naturally grow your network over time.
3. Your Next Campaign Needs a Digital Army
The popularity of crowdfunding sites, local giving days and nationwide Giving Tuesday events have many nonprofits wondering how to share their message online and inspire new donors. For these kinds of short-term campaigns, it’s nearly impossible to start from scratch and see measurable results. It takes time to recruit and train the right people to be effective, and you’re probably looking to spread your energy across multiple channels, not just social media.
An ongoing social media ambassador program can warm up your supporters and keep them at the ready. You’ll have a dependable group of digital soldiers ready to go when you need them. You can also tap this group to promote events, contests, important news or other actions.
4. Bring Supporters Closer to Your Cause
Social media isn’t always about reaching new people. It can also help deepen your connection with people that already know and love you. Building relationships over time is a key part of inbound marketing, and it also means finding mutual benefits and shared values that keep the spark alive. That’s how nonprofits transform someone from “Twitter follower” to monthly donor.
Here’s another way to think about it. In order to deepen relationships online, offline and in the long-term, a social media ambassador program needs to offer 3 things:
- Ongoing interaction between the ambassador and the organization,
- Small benefits or value to the ambassador, and
Don’t let those last 2 items scare you. The benefits and recognition don’t have to be big and costly. Offer a special blurb of text and a digital badge or logo to add to their LinkedIn profile. Put a list of ambassador names or profiles on your website. Get creative!
Examples of Social Media Ambassador Programs
Check out these examples of social media ambassador programs to see the possibilities:
- North Texas Food Bank – This program does a great job outlining qualifications and some awesome benefits, like invitations to special networking events.
- Lungevity – Take a look at the structure of this program, which sets clear expectations and screens interested people through a form on their website.
- Alberta Parks – For place-based nonprofits like museums or land trusts, here’s an idea for using social media supporters to promote your location and the people who love it.
- Austin Public Library – See how a program taps into the interests of their ambassadors, celebrates them and provides on-message content for them to share.
If you’re fired up about building a social media ambassador program for your nonprofit, stay tuned for upcoming posts. We’ll be talking about recruiting ambassadors, getting your program started and how to maintain and grow it over time. Here’s a hint: your website plays a key role! Also start thinking about the person at your organization who is best suited to maintain the program in terms of skills and capacity – is it you?
What else do you want to know about tapping the power of supporters on social media? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.