Social media marketing is a powerful tool for small organisations and social enterprises, shortcutting a route to the right people, irrespective of size. Influence is key for small organisations to amplify their message and create greater awareness of their aims. A Social Media Journey – The Ethicore Way, is where small can be mighty with the power of influence.
What we think
Beliefs have a powerful influence on our capability as individuals and also as organisations. Beliefs can be empowering, enabling us to achieve our potential. But beliefs can also be limiting, based on generalisations from our own experience. For example, ‘That campaign won’t work, we tried it before’, or ‘Our organisation is too big to respond quickly’. Listen to yourself or others in your organisation and you will hear such limiting beliefs often.
As researchers, we are often asking ourselves ‘WHY’? Why do employees, consumers, policy makers, behave as they do? We want to understand what drives behaviours in order to make positive behaviour change. It is good to keep searching for truth. But when it comes to actually changing behaviours, ‘why’ is not the question to ask. We have been looking to Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) to help create the change we want to see.
NLP challenges the very beliefs that are limiting people in their life and work. Asking questions about the belief itself, NLP begins to shake the limiting belief. For example, ‘In what way is this campaign different from before?’, or ‘When has the organisation responded quickly?’, ‘Never, really?’ For an organisation or individual to move forward, they need to form beliefs that will empower them to achieve the change they need, supported with all the evidence they can muster. NLP is a great resource to support behaviour change. If you want to dig deeper, we strongly recommend David Molden and Pat Hutchinson, with their book Brilliant NLP.
So, whether it is in personal or organisational development, do keep asking yourself ‘why’, ‘what’s behind this’ and ‘what’s holding people back?’. But, when you are ready to create the change, look to the beliefs and how to empower people.
We have been musing: are charities really in the right space when it comes to communicating with donors, particularly major donors? New Philanthropy Capital’s excellent report, Money for Good, explores what motivates donors to give to charity. You could be forgiven for thinking that major donors are all primarily driven by responding to ‘needs’ and that if only charities were to share that need: the stories of beneficiaries and their work, that our prospective friends would respond. But take a look at this report, and others like it, and they tell quite a different story …
The truth is philanthropists are often persuaded by causes to which they have a personal connection or some link in terms of their own personal experience. What’s needed is less information and more understanding. Don’t just tell, ask; don’t speak, listen…
Philanthropy differs from mainstream giving, in that major donors are much more likely to say they define themselves through the act of giving. It makes sense that appealing to their own personal concerns and values will have more cut-through than simply emphasising there’s a problem to fix.
If you’re a reader, dip into Beth Breeze and Theresa Lloyd’s fascinating book, Richer Lives, Why Rich People Give. Take a look at a few of the great verbatims, and you’ll be wholly convinced of the need for greater love and understanding:
“You can only persuade people to give by appealing to an interest or a passion … the case for support has to be personal and powerful’ HNW donor
Although times are changing, charities largely operate a broadcast model, telling major donors what they’re doing, their aims and objectives. This can lead to a breakdown in understanding, with the charity thinking “if only we tell them, give them more information…they’ll understand” and then the philanthropist’s response, “you really don’t understand ME!”
So comes the case for a little bit of love and understanding. Let’s think about major donors as individuals with their own preferences, experiences and passions. Profile them to get up close and personal: to understand not just what they do, but how they feel about things and why? Remember it’s less about you, and more about them … always!
Stakeholder engagement and social media are like distant relatives, deeply connected but rarely together. They offer a powerful and authentic direction to an organisation, when brought together. In our experience, large organisations often split responsibility for social media monitoring and engagement between different teams: brand and customers services being historically separate from corporate relations and stakeholder engagement. Many smaller organisations are focussing their social media on brand building with a few realising the power of this tool to engage stakeholders. Integrated social engagement is key.
Here are three ways social media and stakeholder engagement are better together…
1. Joined up stakeholder communication
Social media channels give organisations the ability to listen to, engage with and respond to their stakeholders in an open and flexible way: the building blocks of a trusting relationship. You might think that this is an organic process? As with any communication strategy, management of social media needs objectives, audience segmentation and insights and a plan for different channels. LinkedIn is great for corporate and financial stakeholders, Facebook for customers and service users, with Twitter tailored for both audiences. Stakeholder engagement via social media requires detailed planning and a personal approach, no matter what part of the organisation delivers it.
2. Reputational management and brand health
Social media enables us to listen to stakeholders and ‘mine for sentiment’, to see how they feel about our brands. Some of our most active and potentially critical stakeholders will be active on social media. Clearly engaging in a meaningful way with these individuals – customers, activist groups, employees – is critical to brand perception AND corporate reputation. Never has reputation and brand management been so closely meshed and we have the tools at our fingertips to manage these two areas in a meaningful and accessible way. We just need to create the internal structures to facilitate this.
3. Consistent use of content – say it loud
Content is king and social media provides some of the most engaging routes to share. Creative content generation isn’t just for consumers but for all your stakeholders: customers, shareholders, employees, community groups and activists. This is where consumer and brand digital strategists are ahead of the game. What’s needed is skill sharing and an integrated approach to content generation, giving stakeholders great quality content, reformatting it for different audiences. Result? Greater engagement and dialogue.
A truly integrated approach to social engagement can be developed through organisational design and/or detailed ‘engagement’ planning. Either way, social media and stakeholder engagement are better together, facilitating deeper engagement and more effective use of existing skills and knowledge.
Jane Thurlow and Rachael Clay