Gentle reader, as we wind down the year, I’m going to be taking a bit of time off. I’ll be bringing you a series of guest posts in the mean time, starting with this one today from Theo Schmidt.
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are all fun ways to connect with friends, family, and even strangers. But these social media outlets can also be powerful tools for good. When they are garnered in the right way, social sites can unite a community to make a change for the better or work for a cause.
The first place to start with when wanting to make a difference is to know what difference to make and who can help. Don’t be afraid to explore various platforms and groups to find a community interested in the same organizations as you. These people will be more likely to share your passion and excitement about making a difference.
Next, you will need to get involved in conversations. It doesn’t matter if it’s an existing conversation or if you’re starting a new one — just get your voice out there to be heard. Involve others in what you are saying to get feedback and generate ideas.
The most important thing to do in the discussion stage is be excited. Be passionate about the cause, and others will fuel their own enthusiasm off of that. Show that you care because what you want to do is important to you and the community as a whole.
Promote the Cause
Cause marketing is marketing to generate interest and action for a specific cause or organization. Those experiences in cause marketing know the value of sharing, social video optimization, and even SEO. Utilize the resources within your niche to reach out to as many people in your target demographic as you can.
Once people are excited about an idea, it is important to keep the fire going. Don’t let a great idea fizzle out because members loose interest. Take action right away to get the project in motion.
Social media lets you put a face behind a charity, group, or organization. Even if it is just giving personality to a group’s Twitter account, using emotion to get people active is a great tool. Show that this is not just a faceless cause but one that has purpose and people backing it with support.
When you have the eye of your community you can give them updates on what is happening right now. People don’t want to know what might happen in the future or what is long past. Tell them what you are doing and what they can do at that exact moment to help the cause. Give challenges to register for a site. Do one small thing to make a difference, or tell a friend about the organization.
Once the audience is captured and the action has begun, the next step is accomplishing goals. During this time, never stop trying to garner interest or promote the cause. However this is when face-to-face interaction becomes important. While social media works great to get people talking about ideas and becoming aware of them, sometimes it takes live action to get people moving.
Make sure that all the members of your community know when and where meet ups will take place so that you can have the best results possible.
When all is said and done, even the smallest accomplishments are a success. Share how great everything has gone with your organization or cause. However, always promote more events that will be upcoming and further ways that people can give back within their community. Be hopeful about what else can be done and what you can all accomplish together in the future.
When It Has Worked
Think that there’s no way for social media to really help make a difference? Here’s where you’re wrong.
A young girl’s birthday wish was for her family and friends to raise money to provide water for people in Africa. They were able to raise $300 together. However, when the girl passed away a month later, her family worked to raise awareness of the issue in her name. Through social media sharing, over one million dollars has been raise for the cause.
Ever heard of black Friday? Small business Saturday? Cyber Monday? How about Giving Tuesday? 2013 showed that #givingtuesday was a trending topic on Twitter, encouraging users to give to their favorite organizations in the spirit of the Thanksgiving season.
How about battling diseases? People can reach out to each other via social networks to raise awareness of illness, sign petitions for change, or even offer kidneys to each other.
Social media offers a way for community members to work together for a common goal. The community does not have to be just a small town; it can be a group of people interested in the same things. The cause can be something simple like cleaning a park or something on a larger scale like getting water purification systems to countries in Africa. No matter what the cause or organization is, social outlets are a way to get things done and bring people together.
Theo Schmidt has an interest in computer science and engineering, and he uses that interest to fuel his blogging. For more information on small business mobile apps and how they can make a difference for your company and community, visit the App Expresswebsite.