When you care about a political, environmental, or social cause, you want the rest of the world to be as enthusiastic as you are. Whether you work for a non-profit, are starting your own awareness campaign, or simply want more people to know about your cause, social media is a fantastic awareness-raising tool. As long as you use it effectively, you can spread the word through sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Clarify Your Message
Controlling your image is important when you’re trying to leverage social media to raise awareness. Start by clarifying your message: whom or what is your cause helping? What are you trying to achieve, and how well are you meeting those goals? Your first pieces of content should be focused on providing answers to these questions.
Use YouTube, which is a marvelous resource for activists because it’s free and easy to use. Draw attention to your cause when you post short, to-the-point videos that illustrate the problem you’re facing and the ways you’re attempting to tackle it. Make sure to edit your videos using an inexpensive but effective video editing software like VSDC. Include ways viewers can help at the end of the video.
Create Sharable Content
The information that gets circulated through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram has to be easy to digest while readers are scrolling through a feed. When you’re trying to leverage your supporters to share your message, start with something simple: a short video or a photo with a quotation. While cute animal pages can get away with grainy photos and shaky videos, you want yours to look more professional, so make sure you’re using a reliable and quality digital camera, and not your smartphone to take attractive photos.
Awareness for your cause is important, and you want everyone to know what you’re about. But keep it simple and sharable when you’re posting to social media; people who come across these posts can click through and investigate your cause’s Facebook page or website, where you can give a longer explanation of what you stand for.
Ask for Participation
One great way to encourage people to repost and share your content is to ask them to engage with it. Post a photo with a question under it. Create polls for your new followers to answer. When you’re ready to make big changes, like undergoing a website renovation or hosting your first large event, ask your followers for their opinions first. They’ll feel engaged and have the sense that they’re part of something.
Make Donating Simple
Whether you’re using social media to promote a fundraising event or you’re publicizing a link to a fundraising page directly through social media, supporters should be able to donate to your cause easily and safely. Keep the momentum you’ve gained by accepting donations through multiple channels.
If you’re taking donations in person, a Square magstripe reader will help you take credit and debit cards. Square, Inc. will send you a reader free of charge when you sign up for their credit card processing service. Online, many websites and platforms make it easy for nonprofits to ask for donations and for donors to start giving. Explore sites like Qgiv, Causes, and FirstGiving. If you’re fundraising for a specific event, check out GoFundMe, one of the most popular fundraising sites.
Involve People in Multiple Ways
Not everyone has the money to donate to worthy causes, but many of those people still want to find a way to help. In 2014, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge had marketers scrambling to copy what turned into a viral sensation. The reason the Ice Bucket Challenge deserves a mention here is because it gave people an option: donate a certain amount of money, or post a video. The videos were the viral component fueling the campaign, which meant that even those who could only donate their actions (having a bucket of ice dumped all over themselves) were still spreading the word and helping.
Keep tweaking your social media strategy and sharing things until you find a formula that works for you. Once you gain momentum in raising awareness, getting likes and shares will be easier. Good luck!