What’s at Stake?
In 2021, 82% of the US population reported having a social networking profile. Despite being associated with younger populations, people of all ages are now committed users of social media. This means that the potential level of exposure that an effective social media platform can offer your organization is huge! These sites are vehicles to credibility, recognizability, and a wide range of support. While both corporations and nonprofit organizations alike need to be careful about their branding, the mission-driven nature of nonprofits makes their branding all the more important. Effective nonprofits have a concrete set of values, and these values need to be channeled in every move made on social media. Contradicting your organization’s message on social media is an easy way to miss out on this powerful marketing tool. Read on to learn how to create a consistent and reliable voice on social media that accurately reflects the values and mission of your nonprofit.
Crafting your Voice – First Steps
After being with a nonprofit for a long period of time, your organization’s values may feel obvious to you. However, in crafting your voice, it is important to actively reflect on your mission and intended message. Consider trying some of these reflection activities:
- Write down your nonprofit’s 5 core values
- Narrowing down your most important values can help you focus your efforts.
- Reread and deconstruct your mission statement
- How many times have you heard your nonprofit’s mission statement? After a while, the constant repetition may have allowed it to lose some of its meaning to you. Take your mission statement word by word and realign yourself with its true message.
- Have a team brainstorm
- Ask your team questions – What makes you most excited for work everyday? What makes our nonprofit unique? What needs are we fulfilling in our community? Take note of the words and phrases that consistently reappear.
Elements of a Strong Voice
Now that you and your team have reflected on the values, message, and mission that you want to communicate through your social media platforms, there are some decisions you should make that will help you deliberately craft this voice and achieve your desired image. Here are some of the features of a voice that you should consider: vocabulary, level of professionalism, and personality.
The vocabulary that you use can say a lot about your organization. When considering the type of vocabulary you are going to use, consider who your intended audience is. Are you going to use a lot of technical jargon in order to appeal to professionals or are you trying to appeal to a broader scope of individuals? Furthermore, it is important that your values are at the forefront when making decisions about vocabulary. For example, if relevant to your nonprofit, it is important to make sure that all vocabulary used respects those who you are trying to serve. It is easy to forget about the power of repetition – choose some keywords that reflect your organization’s values and use them again and again. This will build a connection between these ideas and your brand.
Level of Professionalism
Related to your vocabulary choices, it is also important to decide on the level of formality that you wish to convey across your platforms. The level of professionalism that is appropriate is related to your mission. For example, a nonprofit that strives to build playgrounds may use more informal language than a nonprofit that is working to solve a public health crisis.
Everything that you post will contribute to your organization’s perceived personality. Colors and imagery used in addition to your typed messages will craft your brand. It is important that you consider each of these elements every time you post to make sure that your brand’s personality is in line with the message you want to send.
Whether or not you deliberately craft your voice, the moment you create a social media platform you will have one. You can either take the steps to make sure this voice is consistent and coincides with your mission, or you can risk missing out on one of the most important marketing tools.