Unlocking The Power of Social Media Ambassadors for Nonprofits
Are you ready to take your nonprofit social media strategy to the next level? When you want to expand your reach, create awareness, boost your views, and increase your site traffic, you might choose to explore the concept of appointing some official brand ambassadors. These are people who will regularly and openly speak and post about your organization on their public channels, effectively allowing you to share their audience.
Social media ambassadors are people you will grow with, boosting your visibility, which means helping more people together. To get the most out of this process, you should first be sure that it is the right approach for your organization.
We will cover basic info about the process, in addition to navigating the creation of your very own ambassador program. Ultimately, if it is right for you, a team of ambassadors can send you a few steps closer to reaching your social media goals!
- Influencers vs Social Media Ambassadors
- Do You Need a Social Media Ambassador?
- How to Launch A Social Media Ambassador Strategy
Influencers vs Social Media Ambassadors
You may have dreamed about recruiting a well-known figure to speak about your organization online due to their vast outreach. When done correctly, this can be highly effective. However, not all organizations can make this happen. If a celebrity ambassador is not in the cards for your organization, you can still have great representation. Just remember that as a nonprofit, you have to be careful who you work with. Before embarking on a relationship, ensure whoever is representing you is comfortable with your nonprofit social media policy, as maintaining a stellar reputation is key.
Anthony is pondering the differences between influencers and ambassadors.
When you want an external party to help you gain credibility and have others see you as a leader in your field, there are two main options to consider, influencers and ambassadors. The biggest difference between the two comes down to status within your community: an ambassador should begin as one of your existing organizational supporters. Let’s lay out the differences between your options in detail.
Pro Tip: If you decide to pursue a relationship with an influencer or set up a brand ambassador program, ensure you have a comprehensive view of how the relationship(s), and related campaign, fit into your overall social media goals. If you need some assistance in documenting your strategy, take a look at our nonprofit social media strategy template for ideas.
They may have a very large reach, but in many instances, they already have several business sponsors. They may have no idea who you are or what your organization does, so if they are interested in working with you, ensure you provide them a detailed brief for best results. If you are fortunate enough to get a big influencer to respond to you, do your due diligence and ensure they have a level of credibility that matches their high level of stardom. Their audience’s engagement level should be public so do some research so you can set your expectation levels around how their influence will realistically translate to action.
Nonprofit influencers have a visible impact on consumers and the world around them, and celebrities often end up as influencers in some capacity due to their status. The most sought-after celebrities have the ability to pick and choose who and what they represent. If you can find an influencer with a personal mission that aligns with that of your organization, they may be willing to work with you at a discount or pro bono in order to support a cause that is near and dear to their heart. For example, if you are a nonprofit that helps animals, a celebrity who is an avid horseback rider with thousands of followers may be a great option to speak to first.
Think of a brand ambassador as a champion of the people. They are tuned in to what your organization is doing, they believe in your mission, and they are willing to be advocates for your cause. They may not be famous, but they are honest, and the people who do hear the message are likely to trust them. They may be members, donors, volunteers, or just followers, but in any case, they do not need much in the way of persuasion to understand the importance of the work you do, they have seen it in your story.
Your ambassadors might be podcasters, bloggers, or photographers. They could be artists, musicians, or streamers. In any case, they usually exist within a niche market, which would likely be a completely new audience for your organization. They already have the attention and trust of their viewers, so they will take notice of your organization’s name. The more related to your mission they are, the better.
In any case, choosing trusted individuals to be nonprofit branding ambassadors is a great way to recognize and reward existing members of your community. If you have the opportunity to do so, give extra consideration to people who have been involved with your organization from the beginning, as it adds a level of sentimentality and loyalty to the story.
Do You Need a Social Media Ambassador?
To determine whether or not you would benefit from having a small team of brand ambassadors, ask yourself these important questions:
How big of a role does social media play in my overall marketing strategy?
Am I looking to reach out to a new target audience?
Is my traffic steadily increasing, or just plateauing?
Is there a lot of natural engagement on my posts?
Are there a lot of passionate speakers in support of my organization?
If your answer to most of these questions is YES, an ambassador program could be a superb addition to the strategies you already use. Social media ambassadors for nonprofits speak with passion and love for your mission, and this will only further inspire the community to rally behind your cause.
Tristan thinks a social media ambassador would be great for his nonprofit!
Although developing a program may be costly when considering the time it takes for development, it could greatly expand the reach of your organization. If you choose wisely, people are usually very happy to be a part of your mission, since they already feel grateful for what you do. If their engagement with your posts is relatively high, it is a good sign that they probably already wish they could get more involved. With this program, you give them an opportunity to work with your organization in ways beyond volunteering.
If you are on the cusp of making a decision about whether or not to implement a social media ambassador program, put together a small team to weigh the pros and cons. In addition to your internal marketing team (who will likely be taking on the lion’s share of the development work), consider including your number 1 external fans. Do you have volunteers who are on social media now who might have feedback on whether, and how, this could work? If so, invite them to join the brainstorming effort. If your team decides to move forward, work together to define a handful of Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals. Now let’s dig into how to determine what those goals should be.
How to Launch A Social Media Ambassador Strategy
Outline Your Ambassador Program Goals
Your program goals could be increasing awareness of your cause, engaging with potential donors, expanding your audience, or creating a higher content output. Perhaps all of those goals sound perfect. Keep in mind that we are not attempting to boil the ocean. Keep your initial goals to one or two, to begin with. Choose your SMART goals based on what will make the most positive change for your organization. Adjust as your program grows and your team feels ready to take on additional challenges.
Decide exactly what role your ambassadors will play, and write up an outline of the important details. Include requirements, agreements, or preferred methods of contact.
Choose guidelines for your ambassadors and decide whether there are any other entities that you would not want your team to endorse alongside your organization. Write these guidelines for conduct into a contract, and be sure to review it extensively. Detail anything that will be forbidden.
Look For Potential Ambassadors
Look back through all the various posts in your nonprofit social media calendar. Search your social media for users whose names pop up more than others. Be sure to look through all of them, including Instagram and Twitter. Look for people who consistently share, like, comment, offer ideas, or otherwise engage with your posts.
The higher the follower count of your potential candidates, the greater the sphere of influence of the account. Highlight these people so you do not forget to include them in your invites.
Keep track of all the accounts you find and compile them into a list of possible brand ambassadors. They may not all say yes, so do not be afraid to have a long list.
Build Your Team
Design a creative and formal invitation for the people you have chosen. Include the contract you wrote. Invite them to your team, and explain to them how grateful you are for their support so far. Be endearing, caring, and authentic.
Be specific, and include any important information concerning the role of a social ambassador in your brand. Give your ambassadors the tools to succeed by providing a clear idea of what it would look like, and what it would mean to your organization.
Pro Tip: Since your ambassadors are not paid, be sure to provide them value elsewhere. Keep statistics on the impact of their ambassadorship, and find a way to creatively present the stats to them. Send birthday wishes, shoutouts, or anything else you can think of to help them feel seen and appreciated.
Maintain Your Program
High morale is very useful for positive rapport on your posts. To keep spirits high, regularly assign your ambassadors fun tasks, ensure communication is ongoing, and encourage engagement with your organization wherever you can. Send a great welcome note, or even a small thank you gift.
Sadie loves coming up with creative tasks for her ambassadors!
Also, do not overlook the value of providing a regular update on how the team is faring with regard to the goals you set. Setting goals is not enough. In order to help your organization to achieve them, it is important to measure key performance indicators (KPIs) for each so you can determine how your ambassadors are progressing. As you meet and exceed targets, share that success with the larger team. As the program moves into the next quarter (or year, whatever makes sense for your organization), analyze what is working well and what should be adjusted. Also, consider whether you can create formal documentation to scale the project and any nonprofit social media best practices gained along the way to other regions, audiences, or platforms.
Host special contests or giveaways for your ambassadors, or create activities that they can take out into their own communities. If you can manage it, send semi-regular care packages. If you have T-shirts, it may be a good time to mail them out to your ambassadors for free.
Pro Tip: To ensure regular communication, choose a channel for your discussions and always add your new social media ambassadors to the team chat. You could use WhatsApp, Slack, or Discord. Whatever works for you and your new team members, check in with them and see which platform most of them know how to use.
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