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This Thanksgiving-shortened week’s posts all spring from something I’m thankful for: two recent social media strategy training presentations for non-profit organizations. Based on incredible turnouts for both social media training presentations, non-profit social media strategy must be a hot topic! One question from both sessions was on social media tactics for building your non-profit organization’s audience. These 16 social media tactics across 3 different areas should aid non-profits in growing a social media audience as much as they do other types of businesses and individuals as well:

Be a Good Social Media Participant

1. Be human and socially intriguing – This tactic applies both visually (depict a person in your avatar) and in interactions (demonstrate personality and let people know WHO they’re interacting with online).

2. Interact with people – Engage with people on relevant topics. Talk, respond, and initiate conversations.

3. Regularly share strong, intriguing content, especially news & interesting links – It’s easy to say, “Don’t be boring.” Work hard to make sure it’s also easy for your audience to see you really follow the advice. And don’t think you can share content once and then stop! Be consistent in your presence and sharing.

4. Share content from intriguing people – If you struggle generating enough rich content on your own, at least share and link to rich content others are creating.

5. Don’t over-promote yourself – Nobody likes an aggressive salesperson in real life or online. Cool the sales pitch and attract followers at their pace.

6. Follow first & manage your list actively – It’s okay and advisable to follow other people in your audience groups first. It’s also okay to weed out people who aren’t active. It’s especially good for organizations to have written guidelines on how and why they’re making these decisions.

7. Have a place to point people for deeper understanding - That means a blog or website that’s “your property,” as opposed to a Facebook presence subject to what Facebook decides to do.

8. Publicize your social media identity – Include links to your social media presence wherever you are online, particularly links to your home page.

Individual and Topic-Based Opportunities

9. Ask for and incent connections – Request that people connect with you by liking, following, and linking to you – whichever is appropriate for the particular social network. Also ask your current followers who they think you should be linked to in their social networks.

10. Follow back relevant followers – If someone has taken time to seek you out and isn’t a spammer, follow them back if they fit your target profile (then engage them to solidify the potential relationship).

11. Identify strong people on topics of interest and follow who they follow – If there are key influencers or experts in your audience, it’s a good practice to follow the people they follow (i.e., the people influencing their content and thinking).

12. Run searches on relevant topics and follow tweetersAlways have searches running on people active in social media talking about the topics relevant to your organization and take the opportunity to follow them. For Twitter, you can run the searches inside Twitter, do them at www.search.twitter.com (whether you are on Twitter or not), or have them going in a program such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.

13. List your organization on popular directories under related topicsWefollow & similar directories are structured by informational topics so others active in the same topics can find you. Similarly follow others listed in relevant categories on these same directories.

Take Advantage of Live Interactions

14. Solicit social media identities from customers and prospects – Whenever your organization touches a target audience member, request other ways to stay in touch with them.

15. Follow all attendees at events or using your organization’s Twitter hashtags – If other people are involved in events you sponsor or share the content you create, be sure to follow them.

16. Participate in live tweeting to gain disproportionate attention – Participating in Twitter chats or live event social media efforts is a great way to grow your followers among others with similar interests and needs.

These are all diligent, steady ways to build a follower and fan base.

There are certainly automated, program-based ways to build followers as well, but quite frankly, I’m a “diligent, steady” kind of guy and like growing followers organically vs. through a purely automated online program.

But if you’ve seen success with these programs or other audience-building techniques, what’s been working for you? Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ve developed  integrated social media strategy for other brands and can do the same for yours.


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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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21 Responses to “16 Social Media Tactics for Building an Audience”

  1. Great tips, really succinctly put together, thanks.

    • Mike Brown says:

      Thanks Katherine! If you have ideas on things you’ve done to build an audience, please add them to the mix to!

      Mike

  2. Mike, great post. One thing I do that seems to work is that I welcome new followers personally – those that I think my own followers would like to meet and follow. (You can see a lot of these in my tweets). It’s a great way to treat new followers. They’re often very flattered.

    BTW – I’m a long-time follower of yours, and always find great insight here.

    • Mike Brown says:

      Thanks for commenting Paul….and being a follower!

      Tweeting out names of new followers certainly seems like a great way to help better solidify the start of a relationship with a new follower. I try to thank people for retweets, although I’ll admit that it doesn’t happen consistently.

  3. Jim Joseph says:

    Love how you always “list” things.  So helpful and always an easy read!  Jim

  4. Thanks Mike, this is great advice and very timely. I am speaking at two events this week and looking for ways to engage the audience post the presentation and hopefully have them join my permanent following. I’ve decided to give the audience live “homework” during the presentation asking them to tweet their answers to a common hashtag to engage them in the content and to continue a post-conference dialogue on twitter between myself and the audience and the participants and one another. I am thinking of offering an incentive (ex. free Brand Diagnostic) to be chosen out of the group that answers all 5 questions during the talk.Any thoughts on this strategy? 
    Thanks.
    Julie

  5. Amit Dwivedi says:

    Tips are beneficial for the SMO peoples.

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