On Monday I gave a webinar for the AZ Coalition Academy sponsored by the Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center at Arizona State University. As I was putting the talk together it dawned on me how little of the talk was about particular platforms such as Twitter or Facebook. I realized that when people ask me about social media they usually want to know if they should put up a Facebook page or bother with Tweeting. Now there is a lot to say about how to use Facebook, or Twitter or YouTube but these are all part of a holistic approach of supporting your websites goals and not that useful by themselves or in isolation. I talked a bit about this in Monday’s blog.
Luckily the webinar’s title chosen by the Coalition was broad and a bit vague: Going Viral: Constructing Your Coalition’s Online Influence. The webinar’s attendees were from Arizona non-profits and grass roots organizations that were looking for ways to maximize their online presence without investing in a large online budget. I encouraged them to look at their online strategy as it supported their organization’s goals and why they were online. Generally a non-profit’s web site is used to tell people about what they are doing and why it is important, and to engage their supporters and raise money. For example the American Red Cross’ website is not a place disaster victims log onto for assistance. The web site tells people how to volunteer, how to give blood, what good work the Red Cross is doing, and how to donate money.
What is the Goal of your Website?
The first part of a holistic approach is to decide what the website is for. Is the goal of the website to recruit volunteers, advocate, educate, assist or raise funds? Once the function of the site is established you must generate content, information and resources that the people you want to reach are interested in. If you are advocating for a certain cause what material can you provide that would help those who are interested in your cause? They could be workshops, webinars, or guides on how to organize a protest or start a petition drive. If you are providing a service such as a clinic you may need the site to raise funds. Then you would concentrate on what you are doing to help people and why donors should support your cause. As I have noted before the easiest way to generate keyword rich content quickly is to blog regularly. Resent research shows that websites that blog have 55% more visitors then websites that don’t blog. This is true for non-profit websites as well as commercial websites.
Once you have the goal then everything else is in support of that goal. You produce materials and content that will attract people who will support your goal. If you want volunteers you produce material that will attract volunteers. If you want donors you produce material that will attract donors. Then you promote that material through channels and platforms where you will find your audience. For example you may want to recruit young people as volunteers. Their activity online and the platforms they get involved in is a bit different than older people who may be more likely to donate money than volunteer. Young volunteers may be more active on YouTube and Facebook while older donors may be found on LinkedIn and Twitter. Use these platforms to get people back to your website where the blogs, free content and calls to action encourage your visitors to get involved, volunteer or donate.
Make it easy for them to participate and join and make it clear what you would like them to do. If you would like more information contact us at Image Media Partners for a free website evaluation and consultation.
Photo Credit: Ronnie Maddonald, flicker Creative Commons