Talking is what builds your reputation and develops relationships with those who share the values your organization enacts. Talking is central to your blog – and entire social media – strategy. So… let’s talk!
In the first part of this two-part post about how to get others to promote your blog we discussed how to find your natural “sharers” – those folks willing to be spokespersons on your behalf, whether they be influencers or advocates. Today we’re going to talk about how to get these boosters to spread your good word through digital word-of-mouth.
6 TIPS FOR GETTING YOUR TALKERS TALKING:
- Give your top boosters a little love to show how much you welcome their participation. Give them online tools to spread the word. For example:
- Invite them to join your communities – perhaps a Google+ Community or a LinkedIn Group – in which you can share ongoing news and benefits with this highly motivated market segment.
- Ask them for comments at the end of every post. We talked about this in detail in 4 Ways to Turn Your Nonprofit Blog into Action, but it bears repeating. One great enticement for anyone who happens to have their own blog is a WordPress plugin called CommentLuv. What it does is link back to the commenter’s most recent post. So, for example, if you’re trying to get Mommy bloggers to comment on and share your posts about your organization’s after-school program, they may do so because they anticipate folks will also find their own blog this way. Whenever you can provide value for members of your community, that’s a win/win. You can read all about CommentLuv in a great post by Lilach Bulloch.
- Ask them to review you (Yelp is great if you’re an organization that provides a terrific volunteer experience; check out these 5-star Yelp reviews for the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks). Think of this as a version of asking for testimonials, which is something you should also consider. See Testimonials Can Spur The Confidence and Actions You Want by nonprofit marketing guru Nancy Schwartz
- Create sub-email lists with special offers for these folks; launch posts separately with slightly more personalized twists that encourage sharing (e.g., let them know they can offer discounted tickets to their friends as a special thank you for their long-term support).
- Ask them to share a personal story. Maybe you’re a community center and they met at your gym; then lived happily ever after. Perhaps you’re a human services agency and you made it possible for their loved one to live their last days with caring and dignity. Or you’re an advocacy organization that helped pass legislation that vastly improved their lives. Interview them, and put their story on your blog or videotape it and put it on YouTube; then watch it travel through cyberspace.
- Ask them to do a guest post on your blog. Perhaps they have an area of expertise to share, or they’ve been in the field volunteering, or they’ve attended a program, or… the possibilities are limitless. Just remember that if you’re going to ask for guest posts you need to have some guidelines to facilitate the process. How long? What type of writing? Are they prepared for you to edit the post? Do they have a pretty clear idea of your brand’s voice? (More on this below).
- Guest post on somebody else’s blog. Let’s say the same Mommy blogger we spoke of above is looking for some content about art programs for kids. And you happen to have one! This is a great fit, and it’s likely the site host will promote you through their various networks. Plus you’ll of course include some internal links back to your own blog and website. This is how you expand your reach and link to other peoples audiences.
- Start discussions in forums like LinkedIn, Quora or Yahoo Answers. LinkedIn is my favorite, and there are quite a number of groups for nonprofits dealing with fundraising, social media, management and boards. Plus there are many topic-specific groups. You can either begin a discussion with a link to your blog post or you can include a link when you provide an answer to someone else’s discussion query. It’s a great way to establish credibility and authority.
- Comment on other people’s posts. If any of your boosters have their own blogs, give ‘em an atta girl whenever it’s appropriate. Even the most influential bloggers – the ‘celebrities’ – like to be admired and appreciated. Commenting and playing nice is a great engagement strategy and will help you show folks you know who they are and are listening. That’s what transforms transactions into lasting relationships.
TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE ACHIEVED!
What you’ll do by engaging folks in the ways described above is create a virtual marketing force that you can leverage for much more than just reviews. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. In Creating a Citizen Army: Social Media Training for Non-Profit Volunteers Ric Dragon, on Social Media Today, suggests ways to get people talking even if you have limited resources. One caveat: If you’re going to use volunteers to be your brand ambassadors, it’s a good idea to do some work fleshing out of your “personas” and brand “voice.” These are separate exercises, and well worth doing if you want everyone on the same page. We talked about personas in How to Create Nonprofit Blog Conversations That Engage. Let’s Talk! And there are links there to some great tools and templates to get you started.
Your blog theme song: Convey your dream… vision… mission… values. Then get the ‘happy talk’ flowing.
Can we talk? It’s your turn! Enjoy the music while considering:
What tips do you have for getting folks to spread digital word of mouth?
Infographic: Flickr Mark Smiciklas