Social Media Strategy for Non-Profits
Girl Scouts of the USA, a youth organization for girls in the United States and American girls living abroad, just celebrated a win as Overall Grand Champion and Nonprofit Category Champion at the 2012 Social Media Leadership Awards. Organizations entered case studies or success stories that defined how their organization used social media to overcome a challenge.
Despite financial restrictions faced in the nonprofit sector, Girl Scouts of the USA fused their efforts, increased their engagement in the digital space, use social media to increase membership, start a national conversation about their girl leadership program.
Social Media Strategy for Girl Scouts of the USA
Engage – The primary objective was for Girl Scouts of the USA to focus on content that would engage their audience, and in the process grow membership, sell merchandise, encourage donations, reconnect alumnae, advocate for girls’ issues, encourage attendance at national events, and align volunteers to the national program.
Consolidate Efforts – Three unique audiences were identified on Facebook through their general page, cookie-specific page, and a page for their highest award-winners. Research uncovered new audiences that were not being served through existing efforts. Girl Scouts of the USA retired a number of sluggish pages, resulting in fast organic growth on their main page and cookies page, plus a significant debut of the Gold Award page. Girl Scouts of the USA maintains one general Twitter account and another for the organization’s Twitter-savvy CEO.
Timely Interaction – The social media team posts daily and responds to comments within two hours. Audiences are treated with warmth and respect, turning negative chatter into positive opportunities with swift, clear responses. These procedures changed the relationship dynamic between audience and organization from aloof and disconnected to positive and highly involved.
Stay Relevant – The social media team follows trends that complement the organization’s strategies, stays abreast of rapidly developing social media trends and platforms, and continuously tests what works in order to maintain mutually beneficial communications.
Measure – The team measures and tracks regularly, tying the number to tangible results: growing membership; more volunteers; higher purchases; larger donations. The numbers called for organizational leadership to give the social media team their own budget and room to increase staff, purchase sophisticated tools and build out a number of campaigns in the 2013 fiscal year.
These first-year goals came soon after the organization’s milestone 100th anniversary, and upon the realization of missed marketing opportunities beyond its national membership, which had climbed to 3.4 million with some 59 million alumnae.
The Girl Scouts of the USA defined and demonstrated execution of a fundamental, holistic social media strategy for non-profit organizations. The organization’s strategies were held to the judging criteria, which challenged novelty, ability to reach stated objectives, extent to implement strategy and overall assessment.
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