The power of social media and blogging for NGOs and CSR

Photo: Karel Prinsloo/ Arete. Motorcycle taxi operators watch a video of a policeman arresting a man on YouTube in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, on 1st February 2021. Social media has the power to connect people from all walks of life, in every corner of the world.

We live in a digital age, where the internet has enabled the connection of people and organisations on a scale never seen before. And, as we enter 2021, the power of social media and blogs to reach new, and existing audiences, for both ‘NGO’s and corporations is firmly established.

Social networks now connect more than half of the world’s population, approximately 4.57 billion people. From Facebook to Snapchat, Instagram to Twitter, each social media platform has a certain type of user, and therefore, a different level of digital marketing value for organisations (for more on this, read our blog on picking the right social media platforms to share your content here).

Social networks are here to stay. So how can you and your organisation maximise their impact in your marketing and communication strategies?

The power of social media

Reach out to current and potential supporters across the globe

One of social media’s great benefits is the ability for anyone to interact with it, anywhere in the world (providing they have access to the internet). By creating a platform on multiple social media platforms, one can maximise the potential of its global reach.

As with any brand, driving support and advocacy is vital, and, providing one has a plan, social media can be the most incredible tool for achieving this goal. At the heart of any good social media plan, is the timely delivery of consistent content that is designed to appeal to a target audience.

Photo: Karel Prinsloo/ Arete. Abdul Abdallah speaks to friends on Whatsapp in a restaurant in Nairobi, Kenya. Social media has the power to connect people from all walks of life, in every corner of the world.

Whether it is photos, videos, podcasts, blog posts, or digital social interactions, every time these are used by a brand to illustrate a story, social media users have the opportunity to react, engage or discover the brand. Think of every piece of content as a digital asset, imbued with the values and intentions of one’s organisation; once these assets are posted in the digital space the scope for them to be shared, used, and reused is endless.

In essence, every share or repost represents free marketing and what organisation wouldn’t want to encourage this? Many NGOs and CSR focussed organisations continue to successfully leverage the power of social media to introduce their brand and cause to new potential supporters, driving advocacy, support and growth.

Is your organisation using social media to its full potential?

Encourage supporter retention by increasing communication

Social media has also become a key channel for feedback and communication. As people become more involved and passionate about a brand or cause, it is natural for them to feel like they want to be more involved or recognised as an essential member or supporter.

Social media offers the tools, and a platform, for one’s supporters to fulfil these desires. It provides a communication channel for them to ask questions, send their best wishes or discuss their misgivings.

This communication is a two-way process, and when utilised correctly by a social media specialist, it can help bolster support and advocacy for your brand efficiently and effectively.

Halima Juma speaks to a friend on the phone as Michael Aufufa looks at Facebook on his phone in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Social media has the power to connect people from all walks of life, in every corner of the world.

Increase website traffic

Although social media platforms can be a powerful tool for introducing people to your brand, there are still limitations on what and how content can be shared. For example, a Twitter biography will only allow for 160 characters, and Instagram doesn’t allow hyperlinks in the body of its posts. These limitations do not apply to an organisations website where more in-depth information can be gained.

Photo: Karel Prinsloo/Arete. A lady scrolls through Facebook on her phone in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Social media has the power to connect people from all walks of life, in every corner of the world.

Social media platforms are an important part of a digital strategy as they provide the perfect stage to present one’s brand to the world, and specifically designed tools to funnel viewers through to one’s website.

We know, websites allow for more creativity and functionality in the design and presentation of one’s content; presenting viewers with the ability to sign up and follow the cause, donate, or purchase. it is important that as one funnels visitors through to a website, that they come into contact with a clear ‘call to action’. As a result, it will make it much more likely that any viewer interested enough to visit one’s website, will return.

The power of blog articles

The key to search engine optimisation

Each and every blog article must be designed with two key considerations:

1. the appeal of the subject to one’s target audience, and

2. the keyword phrases it will aim to rank for on search engines to attract a new audience.

An incredible 93% of all web traffic comes through search engines, with Google accounting for nearly 89% of this traffic. For this reason, blogs should be designed around certain keywords phrases, which can become a powerful mechanism for reaching out to new audiences. These audiences know what they are looking for and they are using a search engine to locate it, and by design, each blog article ranking for these keywords will increase the chance that it is your website they find.

A library of content that reinforces expertise and tells a story

Whether comprising solely of words or annotated with images and videos, blog articles provide a fantastic storytelling platform. This platform can be used as the core storytelling instrument for a short-term campaign, from which all other forms of campaign media, such as PR, social media posts, and videos spiral out of; it can share nuanced insight and discourse on a matter important to one’s cause, or reflect on current affairs.

Every blog article represents an opportunity to prove to the reader that one’s brand, or cause, is worthy of their involvement; to demonstrate expertise and credibility; and ultimately, to furnish one’s website with a library of content that provides any visitor, old or new, with value.

Photo: Karel Prinsloo/Arete. Tessy Waithera looks at Instagram while walking past a garbage heap in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Social media has the power to connect people from all walks of life, in every corner of the world.

Leverage the potential of the ‘blogosphere’

There are many websites designed specifically for the hosting and sharing of blog articles. Two of the most influential in the philanthropy sector, and commonly used by us here at Arete, are Medium and Exposure.

The two platforms have their differences, Medium is more suited to in-depth discussion and discourse, whereas Exposure is more suited to pieces built around emotive imagery and photography. Similarly to social media platforms, both share the ability to boost one’s content to audiences across the globe and provide another opportunity to rank on the search engines for one’s selected keyword phrases.Ultimately, both websites provide the tools and a stage to essentially ‘self publish’ one’s stories, musings, and documentaries. Whereas the algorithmic systems that underpin each website will share one’s content to its users (depending on the quality and relevance), at the last, the onus is upon you to ensure the links to your published content are shared far and wide.

Photo: Karel Prinsloo/ Arete. Defer Mutara uses Whatsapp to communicate with friends in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Social media has the power to connect people from all walks of life, in every corner of the world.

The most successful digital marketing strategies combine the two

Although social media and blog articles are powerful individual marketing tools, a greater synergy can be realised when the two are combined as part of a broader digital marketing strategy.

Sustaining both should be a stream of unique and evocative content: photographs, graphic design, videos, and stories. Each captured and presented in a creative and engaging way. The digital world of social media and blogging is fast-paced and saturated, although one can consistently update platforms with new blogs and posts, high-quality content and a clear digital strategy are fundamental for cutting through the noise.

Behind the blog: As Covid 19 spreads around the world, how do we build resilience in the communities most at risk?

In March of 2020, we combined some of our early coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak in Africa, with a discussion around what steps the philanthropy sector should be taking to build resilience amongst the communities in some of the world’s least economically developed countries.

In the blog, we discussed the need to combat misinformation and get the right messages across and, calling on an example of a campaign we ran for UNICEF Papua New Guinea, how this can be achieved with creative content.

We are here to help

In this age of constant digital noise, it is crucial that organisations have a consistent stream of high-quality social media. At Arete, we offer a social media management service, in which we curate your social media platforms to engage and inspire your followers. From multi-platform post creation, blog writing, email campaigns, SEO and analytics, our packages span a vast range of services that are essential if you want to be visible in today’s world.

Our teams specialise in creating social media content and strategies for NGOs and CSR projects. If you are a small organisation, we understand that sometimes resources are limited and time is short. At Arete, we aim to provide a consistent and integrated level of support, ensuring you can maintain a strong digital presence without the cost associated with employing a full-time member of staff.

Packages start from just 200 GBP/ 300 USD per month. To talk to us about your social media, email campaign, or blog writing requirements you can get in touch here.

The power of social media and blogging for NGOs and CSR was originally published in Arete Stories on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.