This is the third step of our Leverage Impact Program (LIP). In the first step of the program, we talked about strategy development for your non-profit/social enterprise.
And in the second step, we explored how a non-profit and social enterprise can build and facilitate a community that works.
As we continue to the third step of the leverage impact program we will be discussing about Social media positioning. This centres on the need for NGOs and social enterprises to position their brand and causes on social media platforms in order to reach their target audiences.
What is Social Media Positioning?
Social media positioning is about visibility, it means making your brand visible enough to be an authority for a cause.
Social media positioning is the image building aspect for your non-profit. It is a known secret that social media pages are a huge resource for visibility because of its boundless nature.
The aspect of positioning simply shows how you are building an image or attraction for your brand as an NGO which makes people to see you as a trusted authority.
Social media positioning helps to give the brand a sustained attraction because some people might engage with your brand online once and not check back again. But immediately you start becoming attractive as a result of the valuable contents you are sharing on social media, you’ve earned their attention.
The contents you share must relate with the interests and aspirations of your audience. Immediately you become attractive of some sort, you create a personality to your brand which in turn increases your community/followers.
Why do social enterprises need media positioning?
We have mentioned a few reasons earlier, however non-profits need the reach, which can only be gotten on social media. Social media gives us an idea of potential reach in a particular location at a low cost.
So because of this potential reach, NGO needs to position themselves on social media. Social media helps NGOs reach more people at a far lower cost compared to having to meet people at a physical location.
Social media positioning is also important because it gives them authenticity, it’s a way of authenticating/endorsing the organisation as a non-profit. People get to trust your values and beneficiaries get to feel the impact of your cause as a non-profit.
It’s good to tell somebody what you are doing as a non-profit, but when beneficiaries or people who know about your organisation attest to your impact it goes a long way to authenticate your values as a non-profit.
Social media positioning also helps to build and strengthen a community which is the most important factor for a sustainable NGO.
Are there any particular platforms for social enterprises?
Every social enterprise need to follow different platforms in order to reach more people. But the fact remains that we have “The Big Four”, especially as it relates to Nigerians. And they are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin, we also have the extended ones like Pinterest. But basically, the first four platforms mentioned are the most used in Nigeria.
It is also important that non-profits map their audience, criteria like age, sex, and gender can be used to determine their audience and what the content strategy will be. That way they are able to prioritize the social platforms that will give them the best result.
Non-profits can through their social platform target their beneficiaries or the expanded communities. For instance one can target the LinkedIn community to reach international NGOs; these international NGOs are more likely to see what you are doing on LinkedIn than on Twitter.
Why are social enterprises struggling with social media positioning?
One of the major reasons why a lot of them are struggling with social media is Knowledge.
The knowledge that helps them understand the importance of social media in their cause is lacking.
The second part is the skill and the resources to deploy an effective social media strategy for their cause. The reality here is that a lot of them don’t understand that they need to get help.
Most of them try to do it themselves but in the long run they struggle to manage the platforms. This happens because the organisation has not strategically wired social media as part of their organisations’ strategy.
What are the strategies to guide social enterprise when they go want into social media positioning?
Social enterprises need to, first of all, see if they are able to conceive a social media strategy within themselves.
A key is, understanding how each of the social platforms works. Once you are convinced that you don’t have the expertise on these social channels/platforms, you should get help.
The strategy and contents you will deploy as an organisation is a function of understanding your audience.
While there is no strategy that hits all, the best strategy is actually to get a professional help either internally in the organisation by hiring someone or outsource to a firm that understands how to work with you.
This is where having an active community also comes in because out of the pool of professionals in your community you can find people who can even volunteer to do it at little or no cost at all.
What are the common challenges social enterprises faces when implementing social media positioning?
The common challenges faced when implementing social media positioning are challenges that arise from not working with a clear strategy from a skilled expert in that space. They are now left to deploy themselves and because they are deploying themselves, they will definitely run into quite a number of challenges.
You get to see incoherent messages or incoherent content playing out.
The response time to message and how they respond to an enquiry can be quite unprofessional if they deploy themselves.
These are some of the things that expert would have helped you defined from the beginning.
The way to go would be to seek knowledge, acquire the skill and the resource to drive the social platform to their audience.
How should social enterprises implement their social media positioning?
The first practical thing is – “don’t do what you don’t understand” which goes back to getting the help of a digital marketing company or employing a digital marketing professional, otherwise, all you will be doing as a non-profit is guesswork.
It’s either you get help or you take the time out to learn the ropes of each of those channels.
That way, you as an NGO can also answer the question of what strategy best works for your cause. How to go about implementing the strategies. And who are your audience in the various social media channels?
The next thing is consistency along the social media platforms and you also need to deploy Ads. This is because these platforms are wired in a way that you can only reach a limited number of persons unless you deploy some form of paid advertisements.
If you know you won’t be able to take time out to understand your online audience, where and when to reach them or the strategy to adopt, get help, because is a very key part of you getting authenticated as an NGO.
Basically, your social media is your ‘loud-speaker’, it’s where you make all the whole noise, and it gives people a window into all you are doing.
Are non-profit competitive in nature?
Unlike what we think, non-profits are actually more competitive than the traditional businesses, but unfortunately most non-profits are yet to understand this fact.
The reason is that if you watch businesses, people don’t follow businesses as much as the personalities associated with the business.
When you look at businesses all over the world the personalities behind this business usually have more followership than the business itself. Bill Gate; who owns Microsoft, he has more followership on social media than Microsoft as a company, the same goes for Aliko Dangote who has more followers than Dangote company.
This brings to mind the reason why entertainers are mostly used as a brand ambassador for companies, it’s simply because of the followership they have.
This is because the personalities are the ones that tell the stories, they create the human image of that business.
Non-profits truly have these stories as it relates to their cause, but the question is – do they know how to tell these stories to become a personality on their own without necessarily having the person?
One of the reasons why personalities like Bill Gates have more followers is because of their extended work in causes they have interest in which somehow attracts more follower than the business they founded. In the case of Gates, he’s been able to make an impact with the Bill and Belinda foundation so also is Dangote Foundation.
Businesses have more resources to deploy on social platforms, talk about the resource to learn the skills to use those platforms, resources for online visibility, and other incentives to attract more people to social platforms.
But if you see a non-profit that deploys the same level of resources deployed by businesses they will attract more followership when placed side-by-side. The non-profit will out-perform the businesses because people are more in tune to what the non-profit represents.
It’s only unfortunate that most non-profits don’t have as much resource as this businesses have to push their brand.
When is it comes to being competitive, non-profits are very competitive just that they don’t have as much skill and resources to break the competitive edge.
This challenge is what brought about the Leverage Impact Program, to expose the reality of social media positioning because Non-profit/social enterprise is actually at an advantage. People listen to them more because they are touching lives.
This is the reason why most of the companies who are active on social media platform have their strategy tied around what they are doing in the social space as opposed to what that they are selling.