Marketing

Does Your Nonprofit Need Brand Ambassadors?

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Social media ambassadors are 83% more likely to

     share information than your average user.

~ Social Factor

Brand ambassadors are people who want to promote and support your cause. They're your biggest fans: and they want to talk about you on their social media posts. Recruiting social media brand ambassadors in-house from your organization's supporters is a smart strategy to expand your reach and amplify your message.

Your in-house list of potential brand ambassadors includes:

  • Social media followers
  • Volunteers who are trained by your organization
  • Staff: both past and current
  • Sponsors of your events and programs
  • Vendors who you've hired for services
  • Board members of your organization
  • Donors who give money or in-kind donations
  • Community leaders and elected officials
  • Celebrities who support your cause
  • Media who have written about your events and cause

4 Ways Social Media Brand Ambassadors Save You Time and Money

1.  They Already Want to Support Your Cause

You don't have to spend time or money recruiting social media brand ambassadors - they're already following you, and are just waiting for you to give them an assignment. 

2. Reach New Audiences

Your nonprofit doesn't have the resources to be on every social media platform. But chances are high that your supporters are on many social networks your organization isn't! You may be on Facebook, Twitter and Instragram - and that's all you have time for.

But your supporters might be on SnapChat and Pinterest or Tumblr. By recruiting and training brand ambassadors, they can take your message to new social media channels and inform more people about your organization and cause. 

there is only 8% overlap between an employees’ Twitter followers
and a brand’s Twitter followers

~ Social Chorus

3.  They Have Social Media Skills You Need

Target your brand ambassador program to recruit people who have skills you need. On social media you see great videos and graphics promoting many nonprofits. The chances are your nonprofit is on a tight budget and doesn't have the time or money to create visual marketing tools.

Your brand ambassadors may have skills and tools that they want to use to spread your message. Many social media platforms have built-in features like live video broadcasting or GIFs that will help your message stand out in the crowded social media newsfeeds. A brand ambassador who uses those tools for their personal social media will be happy to use them for a cause they care about!

4.  The Power of the LIKE and RT

People are more likely to trust recommendations from friends. Your social media brand ambassadors have a circle of friends who believe and trust their recommendations. When they use their relationships to promote your cause on social media, it has a snowball effect:

If they Like and Share your Facebook posts, all their Facebook friends now see your post in their newsfeed. And if the friends Like your post, the sphere of influence snowballs.

Social media brand ambassadors are a cost effective and highly efficient way for nonprofits to spread their message and get more support for their cause. A brand ambassador program is an opportunity for nonprofits to use the power of social media to save time and money while promoting their cause. 

Book Your Free Consultation with Alchemy Communications

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Best Practices for Scheduling Social Media

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It's summertime, and most of use are thinking about vacation: whether its a few hours, a few days, or even a few weeks, time away from the office is good for our mental health, not to mention physical health!

Planning for vacation typically means putting in extra time to make sure your business operates smoothly in your absence. Productivity tools are useful to help you effectively run your business while you're on vacation, and every day. 

Fortunately, there are a slew of social media tools and strategies to plan your social media marketing strategy and schedule your social media posts in advance. At Alchemy we believe in using social media scheduling tools to manage, not automate, our social media. Here are some tips we use to schedule our posts and make sure our social media runs seemlessly, and is on target for our messaging.

3 Tips for Scheduling Social Media

1. Schedule, Don't Automate

Alchemy uses these tools to schedule our social media posts:

  • HootSuite
  • Facebook Scheduler
  • HubSpot

We schedule posts in advance: but we don't automate our follower engagement. Our Likes, RTs, questions, shares, welcomes and thank yous are from the Alchemy team: not a bot!

2. Audit Your Scheduled Posts Regularly

Never set it and forget it: too many social media fails occur when social media posts are scheduled in advance, and no one monitors them to be sure they are current and accurate before they actually post. We suggest weekly monitoring your scheduled posts to make sure you want that to go live.

tip: If an unplanned public event occurs, recheck your scheduled social media posts to be sure nothing inapproriate gets posted.

3. Give Someone Else Access to Log In

As a business owner you may be the one managing your content calendar and scheduling your social media, and you successfully scheduled everything in advance. But things happen: you may have an unplanned or intentional digital vacation, and not be able to access your social media accounts or have the latest news. Make sure someone else can log into your social meda accounts and scheduling tools, and is monitoring your social media in your absence.

Social media scheduling tools are ideal to increase productivity at your business, but they are not a replacement for personal management and interaction with your social media followers. 

Book Your Free Consultation With Alchemy Communications

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How to Have a Successful Relationship With Your Marketing Agency

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Your marketing agency wants you to succeed: as a marketing and PR agency when you succeed, Alchemy succeeds! Hiring a marketing agency to help you reach your business goals is a big step: without a marketing strategy, you're missing opportunites to grow your business. Winging it and DIY marketing can be effective - just watch Chef, the ultimate entrepreneur social media movie. But the reality is most business owners are overwhelmed with the day-to-day running of their business, and marketing is something they know they need to do, but often don't have the time or skills to do.

√  If you have a business, you need customers.

√  If you have a website, you need visitors.

√  If you have social media, you need followers.

√  If you have a cause, you need supporters.

When you hire Alchemy to support your marketing efforts - whether you need a new PR campaign, to develop your content strategy, to write copy or blogs, to create a video campaign - we're here to help you achieve your business goals.

5 Tips for a Productive Relationship With Your Marketing Agency

1.  Set Goals

Tell your agency what you want to accomplish, why and by when. Set short-term and long-term goals, and key milestones for measuring results.

2.  Identify a Point Person

That person could be the business owner, a salesperson or an employee who knows your biz from all angles: just make sure your point person is a detailed, follow-through communicator who is available to work with agency.

3. Put It In Writing

Informal professional relationships can be very productive: but written guidelines and expectations make sure everyone is on the same page, especially:

  • budgets
  • deadlines
  • approvals

4.  Be Honest

If you've used another marketing agency in the past, or have a limited budget, or are facing steep competition tell us your challenges and failures: don't sugar coat it! We can only do our best for you if we have an honest understanding of what you're facing. (And it goes without saying: all your exchanges with your marketing agency are strictly confidential.)

5. Be Realistic

Don't expect overnight miracles - and be concerned if your new marketing agency promises miracles! If you have a looming deadline, let your agency know and together set realistic goals for what can be achieved in a short time frame.

Most small businesses don't have money or time to waste on a failed relationship with their marketing agency. Once you find the right marketing agency, invest the time to build a successful relationship so its a win-win for both of you.

Book Your Free Consultation with Alchemy Communications

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Recruiting Brand Ambassadors? Look In-House!

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Brand ambassadors are people who want to promote and support your product or service. They're your biggest fans: and they want to talk about your business on their social media posts.

Brand ambassadors are a great way to grow your business and reach out to a new audience. People want to do business with other people:

who are you more likely to believe a product recommendation from: 
the business itself, or a good friend who has used that business?

If you're thinking of using a brand ambassador to promote your business or nonprofit, here are a few things to keep in mind:

3 Tips for Using Brand Ambassadors

  • Be Transparent: Brand ambassadors who are paid to represent your business should clearly state they are compensated. 
  • Recruit Selectively: Carefully select your brand ambassadors to be sure their message and motives align with yours. Don't confuse a fan with an ambassador.
  • Provide Training: Brand ambassadors should be trained on your social media policies, branding, voice and messaging, and guidelines for resharing or responding to others' posts.

Employees can be strong brand ambassadors for your nonprofit or business. Before you recruit outside brand ambassadors, look in-house to find employees to serve as your organization's voice on social media.  

Recruiting Employees as Brand Ambassadors

If you have employees who are connected, committed, and engaged then you already have brand ambassadors. When you provide support, care, and encouragement you can unleash their power.

~ HR Cloud

HR Cloud has some great strategies to turn employees into ambassadors to amplify your message:

  • In order to empower your brand ambassadors you must have a social media policy that’s positive and inclusive.
  • Rather than focusing on what could go wrong, you want to think about the benefits to be gained when your employees are knowledgeable, comfortable, and encouraged to share online.
  • Provide social media training on various channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and ensure your employees have content to share.
  • Create specific hashtags for employees to use and encourage them to use it across all platforms.

Don't underestimate your team! Empower your employees who already love your brand, and train your team to be brand ambassadors who will share your message with their social connections.

Book Your Free Consultation with Alchemy Communications

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How to Set a Social Media Budget

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Wait - social media is free! Why do I need a budget?

Every small business owner and entrepreneur's immediate response to the discussion of social media budget is they don't need a digital marketing budget: it's free!

But the reality is while many social media channels and tools are free, there are real costs involved with using social media to build your business. Your social media budget is part of your business's marketing budget. 

social media spending is currently nine percent of marketing budgets and is expected to increase to more than 13 percent in the next year. In five years, marketers expect to spend more than 21 percent of their budgets on social media.

~ Duke School of Business

What Is In a Social Media Budget?

1. Content Creation

Creating useful, interesting content is how people and search engines find your website and social media sites. Someone has to design a content strategy that defines what you're going to talk about online, and when; and then someone has to create that content. Content creation includes the copy, headlines, social media posts, images and links to internal sources or outside authorities, using strategies to drive traffic to your site and get found by search engines. There are several options for content creation:

  • outsource: hire a marketing agency, a social media content marketer, or a freelancer
  • DIY: create your own content plan
  • assign it to a current team member

There are free and paid tools to help you create good content, including:

  • blog topic generators
  • audience listening tools
  • image creators and editors
  • stock photos
  • URL shorteners
  • spelling and grammar checks

2. Scheduling Content

Once you have content, you need to schedule and post it on your website, blog and social media platforms. Strategically, you don't want the identical post on several different social platforms: you may need to craft 3, 4, 5 or even more posts; each with different copy and images (different social media sites require different sizes of images).

Depending on your audience, each social media channel has optimal times to post so you get the most visibility. The best time to post is when your audience is there: not when its most convenient for you! If you're a local business your audience's social media hours may be very different than if you're a national or international business.

Many tools exist to help you schedule social media so your posts go live at the best time - and free you up to do other tasks. Some social media scheduling tools that we use at Alchemy include:

  • WordPress post scheduler: schedule your blogs to go live a day, week, month or even months in advance
  • HootSuite: this freemium tool lets you schedule up to 3 different social media posts for free, 4 or more channels start at $9.99/month; and cover dozens of social platforms
  • IFTTT: free 'recipes' that you choose or create to set up a defined action and result: IF This, Then That; these recipes can help you broaden your social reach and save you time by automating social media functions.

If you choose to use a tool to schedule your social media posts, just set it and forget it: NOT! Monitor your scheduled social posts so that you don't set a post to go live 2 months from now and totally forget about itwhen circumstances have changed. Think of the many Social Media Fails, such as a tragedy that has occurred and someone's scheduled social post says, I hope everyone is out enjoying this gorgeous Saturday!

tip: read Jeff Bullas' 17 Best Social Media Management Tools

3. Promoting Your Content

There's a lot of competition online, and its getting harder and harder for even high quality content to show up in the feeds of people who want to read it! Today, paid social media advertising is becoming the norm: unless you already have a committed audience of fans and followers, its easy to get lost in the online crowd. Much social media is pay to play:

  • Paid Ads: Facebook ads for as little as $1/day can drive traffic to your website or build your following; Twitter ads for a few dollars a day dramatically increase the likelihood your post gets seen. Here are some results from WordStream:
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LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube are other top-performing social platforms that accepts ads in a range of prices.

  • Brand Ambassadors: Bloggers, influencers and social media celebrities will promote your posts for in-kind services, a fee, or a percentage of sales.
  • Social share buttons on your blog or website invite visitors to share your content with their followers. Some of these share buttons are free, but others have a monthly fee and do a great job of encouring action.

Each of these 3 critical social media marketing tasks can be done by you: but time is money. When you set your social media marketing budget, what is your time worth to you?

How To Set Your Social Media Marketing Budget

1. Allocate a portion of your marketing budget to social media marketing (10% is a good starting point).

2.  Keep track of your success rate - and your failure rate - for your social media marketing campaigns. Know your KPI's - Key Performance Indicators. Measuring your social media ROI is tricky: 

  • did you set the right goals?
  • did you have the right budget?
  • was your campaign interesting to anyone other than you?

If your campaign doesn't get the results you want, learn from it: and make adjustments for future social media marketing campaigns.

3.  Analyze your competitors' social media campaigns, and see what you like and want to adapt, and what isn't right for your business. 

Read More: Social Media Success: 5 Stats to Measure Your Campaign

Whether your social media budget is 15 hours a month of your own time plus $100 per month for Facebook ads and stock photos, or $1500 per month to outsource to an agency, or somewhere in between; its critical to the success of your social media marketing strategy that you understand the value of social media. Your social media budget should reflect the results your business wants to achieve and your resources, then you can set a realistic budget that supports your business goals. 

Book Your Free Consultation with Alchemy Communications

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From Visitors to Brand Ambassadors in 4 Easy Steps

Word of mouth is one of the most cost effective forms of marketing. If someone you know, like and trust recommends a restaurant, a movie, or a product, you’ll probably give it a try if you’re in the market for what they’re raving about. This is why having a brand ambassador who backs up your product or service can be such a powerful tool. Once you have someone with a significant amount of influence sharing their love for your brand, they’ll inspire others in their networks to do the same. By following these four steps, you can turn a casual website visitor into an unstoppable brand ambassador.

Infographic sourced from PR Daily

(Click here for larger image)