I was reading Douglas Karr’s post, 10 Steps to Build a Better B2B Twitter Strategy, over on the MarketingTech Blog and realized he was playing with brillance. Of course, we are not talking about new ideas but it is always better to discuss the fundamentals of marketing and strategy.

While Doug’s post is for the B2B strategist on Twitter, I realized the majority of the comments and suggestions could be used in the nonprofit world. I am going to rehash some of his ideas (in italics) with a nonprofit spin and add some ideas of my own.

1. Identify Your Target Audience. In the nonprofit world this means your target constituent, advocate, or donor. How do you target or even define the ideal constituent? Look at your data. Your data should tell you (with some predictive measurement) who your idea donor or advocate actually is. If you do not have the data to support past gifts or volunteering, it is up to you to search and verify. Use services like Google Alerts and Search feeds on Twitter to figure out who is communicating and “talking’ about your competitors and partners. Who is the active individuals within your social circle?

2. Utilize Landing Pages. Landing pages are important because they allow you to create tracking metrics that can be applied to the specific campaign that is being launched. Click here for more landing page tips.

3. Ask Your Donors For Your Story. Storytelling is one of the premiere problems in the nonprofit marketing world. Nonprofit institutions tend to publish and distribute content that reads more like a portfolio than a story. You have the most genuine and heart-wrenching stories than an advertising firm could ever create! It is up to you to ask your donors to tell their story of why they are involved in the process.

Grab a flip cam.

Take it to an event.

And start asking questions.

4. Setup Search Feeds Using Hootsuite. If you are not already using Hootsuite to manage your social media accounts… you are missing out on a huge opportunity to stay productive in the world of social media. Hootsuite allows you to setup search columns within your account to follow certain terms and phrases being used on Twitter. This will help you keep track of information being shared and may even help you send individuals to landing pages to capture data.

5. Do Not Buy Followers. This is not a tool that I use but Doug has used TwitterCounter to pay for promotion on the site. Straight from the horses mouth:

“Rather than buying followers, which is a terrible approach that results in tons of spammy followers who leave days later, sites like TwitterCounter attract serious users who will connect with me if they find me relevant.”

6. No One Cares About Your Mission. Do you honestly think I was being 100% serious? Well… if we are being honest… I’m being 85% serious. There are always people who want to hear the original mission from the founder. We understand “why” you understand an organization but that is not why people give and support you.

People give because you have either helped or touched their lives. The mission is there to keep the organization on the right path not dictate what the organization is doing in the lives of constituents.

7. Use Technology to Build a Better System. I am tired of receive the same letter from the same nonprofit… for the tenth year in a row. If I do not open your mail…. and I do not give to you via mail… and I do not acknowledge your existence to the Post Office… choose a different medium! Technology has transformed the way traditional and non traditional tools communicate to the end user. You have to understand the funcitionality of your email provider. You have to understand the intricacies of a Facebook Page. It is extremely important that you are using Data and the right tools to deliver the message to your consitutient datavase.

Have you heard of segmentation? Do it.

8. Segment. Segment. Segment. Surprise! I bet you would have never guessed that I was going to talk about the art of segmentation. Segmentation is extremely important when building the ultimate social media and direct marketing strategy. When we (MindFrame) are talking to executive directors and fundraisers we tell them there are five ways to segment your donor database:

  1. Aspirational Data – What does the donor really want? What do they aspire to do in the world?
  2. Transactional Data – What did they give last year or what have they given in the past?
  3. Generational Data – How old are they?
  4. Psychological Data – Do they exhibit a high D I S C type personality?
  5. Geographical Data – Where do they live? Where are they from?
  6. Social Data – What are they sharing, saying, and developing in the world of social media?

If you capture and segment off the six main forms of data… your marketing strategy will be unstoppable. If you have any questions about how to segment your data – Click Here.

9. Social Media is Not an Invitation. I could probably write an entire post on this subject. Just because I decide to add you on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, or any plethora of social media sites…. does not mean I am giving you permission to ask me to become an advocate. Advocacy is built upon education, joining a community, experience, volunteerism, and giving… not become your friend on Facebook. Liking and following on social media is a start but it is not an invitation.

10. Education and then Ask. It is important to remember that just because I attended your gala or race… does not mean I am willing to hand over money to your cause. Most individuals need to be educated on the overall value the organization is brining to the community before they hand over the Benjamins.

11. Give and then Ask to Advocate. Once you have asked for a gift… It is important that you ask for the donor to become an advocate. There are going to be times when an individual will not want to advocate and spread your message to their friends. We know that. However, if you take them through the educational and giving process the right way and you treat them as an individual… they are more likely to advocate for your brand than ever before.

12. Do Not Wait and See. Many nonprofits have the attitude of sitting back and waiting for the donors to bring them money. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “Oh well, we help people! Why wouldn’t people give us money?” It is idiotic. You have to build a strategy because you are competing with an entire world of organizations and institutions that help people…. just like you.

13. Truly Deepen Relationships and Engagement. You have the ability to develop meaning relationships with individuals because the content being generated online allows you to do so. We are sharing our lives online and when we (the donor) agrees to step into the “circle of trust” a wide net opens up for data collection. Engage with constituents and push them towards education and advocacy.

14. Measure. Measure. Measure. Remember that measurement is extremely important when implementing a digital marketing campaign. Beth has more thoughts on measurement from the Altimeter Group. The brilliant minds at Altimeter created some basic metrics for measuring the effectiveness of your marketing campaign:

  • Dialog: involves starting a conversation and offering your audience something to talk about while allowing that conversation to take on a life of its own
  • Advocacy: activation of evangelism, word of mouth, and the spread of information through social technologies
  • Supporting: customers may self support each other, or companies may directly assist them using social technologies.
  • Innovation: The business objective of innovation is an extraordinary byproduct of engaging in social marketing activity.

The report warns that organizations should not define their measurement strategy by the features and capabilities of the tools.  It also warns against collecting lists and lists of meaningless data that is not benchmarked against business objectives.

15. Create Your Social Media RoadMap. Once you understand the basics of strategy, segmentation, and implementation… I encourage you to flip through this SlideDeck from Beth Kanter. This will help you get a better idea of how to create and build your strategy and roadmap for social media.