Getting publics to do more than ‘like’ the social media presence of the NFP sector

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Turning online awareness and communication into actual engagement is an issue plaguing all areas of PR. The evolution of web 2.0 has empowered publics by giving them an ever-increasing ability to share their experiences with an organisation. The problem is: how can we shift our public’s awareness to changes in behaviour?

This issue is particularly relevant in the not-for-profit sector (NFP) and non-government organisations (NGO), who are constantly dealing with “slacktivists“.

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As posted on PR Daily, an outstanding campaign relating “likes” on social media was the Likes Don’t Save Lives advertisements, made by Forsman & Bodenfors for UNICEF Sweden in 2013.

“Social media is a very good tool tog et attention to a specific topic,” says UNICEF Sweden’s Director of Communications Petra Hallebrant. She noted that while this helps “spread the word”, likes won’t save lives.

In February, The Guardian reported on UNICEF’s campaign, with:

  • Tweets relating to the campaign: 10 500
  • Views on the advertisements: 750 000 +

The result of the campaign was deemed successful due to the action that followed: Enough money was raised to vaccinate 637 324 children against polio.

This problem is not specific to UNICEF, so how can PR practitioners increase engagement from potential publics (aka donors)? 

According to Karen Sutherland, researcher at Monash University, it is important to be “user centric” and maintain a lighthearted tone throughout your social media activity.

Sutherland’s research (due to finish in 2015), has highlighted three key problems that might be stopping NFP organisations from engaging key publics:

  • Posts are too long
  • Posts are too negative
  • Posts and calls-to-action are too frequent

My advice:

  • Keep it relevant to your audience: they need to be interested!
  • Communicate positive changes your organisation has made
  • Emphasise a specific call-to-action (donate please) and keep this message clear across all departments (this will fit nicely with your integrated marketing campaign)

Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below! x