Have you been posting to social media with no real goal in mind?
Are you trying to gain traction and build interactions with your followers?
This is an issue with many of the faith-based organizations we serve. People see the post in their feed but they are not moved to action because the content is not engaging. The content they see does nothing to touch their heart or speak to them.
To fail at capturing the attention of your audience is detrimental.
People are hurting
People are seeking answers
People are desperately searching for hope.
If you miss the mark with engaging people online, you miss out on giving them a light in the midst of the darkness. As an organization, you will also begin a slow decline because people aren’t just mindless online consumers – they are seeking true connection. However, if you are able to get engagement right then you will thrive on your mission in the days ahead and reach the hurting.
You might be wondering: what does online impact have to do with giving?
It comes down to this simple fact – people give to what they care about. If people couldn’t care less about your organization’s mission, the odds of them financially partnering with you are slim to none.
Building connections with your audience online through authentic interactions and engaging content bridges the gap between your organization and your followers. When they get to know you, your personality, and your values, their heart tends to shift.
Your engagement with them builds trust and loyalty and transforms their apathetic heart to be wildly invested in and passionate about your mission. And this affects how they give.
It is being projected this will be the biggest Giving Tuesday in history. This day of generosity and charitable giving is an opportunity for people to financially support the causes they believe in. This is an extremely important day for your ministry to focus your engagement efforts and build those essential relationships.
At the same time, we are weeks away from what could be your biggest Christmas season in the history of your organization. Are you ready?
If not, we are here to help with 3 simple steps to increase giving and impact online this holiday season.
1. Engage The Heart
The Algorithm for Facebook and Instagram is set up to push content that is engaging. It is proven that content that evokes emotion generates more engagement.
In addition to this, Facebook has spent the last few years modifying and improving its algorithm to refocus the user experience on personal connections and community. Instead of flooding your feeds with company videos and ads, Facebook returned its focus to true community and personal connections. Given these algorithm changes, content that motivates people to react (love, like, care, etc.), share, and comment is now more valued and will reach more people.
Social media is not just a one-way street where we mindlessly consume information. It is a place where we can belong and take part in a true community with like-minded people. We can spark relationships with people we would normally never come into contact with before the Internet existed! Community matters and community can certainly be found and nurtured through social media.
People naturally want to fill their minds with things that bring value, engage their hearts, and connect them to the people and things they love. That is why we follow brands that bring a sense of value to our world.
We follow the inspirational quote accounts, we follow the talented musician accounts, we even follow the adorable celebrity dog accounts! We follow the accounts that bring joy to us and satisfy our individual needs and yet at the same time, inspire us. When an account does not bring much value or encouragement to our lives, we will easily unfollow and find an account that does.
So how do you create content that the algorithm and your audience will love?
You start by knowing who your audience is and what matters to them. Then, keeping your audience in mind, you can create content using specific images, videos, and music to elicit the emotion that you’re looking for, whether it’s anger, love, nostalgia, excitement, or fear.
Create content in a way that engages the heart and warrants a reaction.
People give to the organizations, support the missions, and visit the churches that engage their hearts through their online presence. This doesn’t mean you need a video that makes someone cry to engage the heart. Sometimes it means giving them something to get excited or joyful about! Whatever it may be, aim for the heart of your audience and you will never miss it.
2. Tell A Story
A story in a book takes place in chapters.
As people, we are all connected through stories. Our brains are wired to be drawn into stories, and across all times, cultures, and industries, stories bring us together. They activate the emotional centers in our brains and evoke strong emotions.
When you tell a story, with vivid detail, and your audience can imagine themselves in your shoes: They see someone feel the same frustrations. They go through the same process of trying to find solutions. They feel the joy of victory or relief when the story’s problems are solved.
Marketing is not just about sharing information and details. It is first and foremost about grabbing the attention of the viewer. If you don’t do this within the first few seconds, they won’t engage with content enough to even get to the details. Everyone loves a good story, so start here and you will be golden.
Learn from the Hollywood movie producers, and start with a teaser or hook to catch your audience’s attention quickly.
You can bring your audience into the story on social media day-by-day or towards one major climax i.e. Giving Tuesday, Christmas Services, etc.
Every day, your posts on social media act like another chapter in your brand’s larger story. A bible verse speaking words of encouragement. A picture of children whose lives are being changed every day. Two friends hugging or praying together, finding strength in their relationship and in the Bible to walk through a hard season in life.
All of these posts are part of your story, and each one builds on top of the last one. As you tell your story, your heart for your mission will shine through, and people will be inspired to join you. That’s when we start working towards a major climax in the story. Whether your next big event is giving Tuesday, a marathon of Christmas services, or something else, we know you’re hard at work on something. This is your chance to not only tell a story, but to invite people to take part in your story, and create their chapter in your book of life change and impact.
Tell a good story through visual design and captions with your posts.
3. Include Action Steps
In business, there is something called a “customer journey” in which you need to have a clear path of where you are taking people.
Once you engage people in your story, where are you taking them?
An important part to consider is where your targeted audience fits within your story. Have they just read the short description on the inside of the book cover? Do you know their place in the greater narrative? They’re in a very different place from someone who has already finished reading the book.
If your audience is new to your story, some example action steps for them to take include:
- Follow us on social media
- Visit our website to learn more about our mission
- Comment on a post and tell us what you think
For the audience who have already followed those steps, great! You’ve got people who know a little about what you do and have engaged with you online. The next step is a small ask. Instead of proposing marriage, ask this person on a first date.
- Sign up for our newsletter
- Fill out a prayer request on our prayer wall
- Get connected in a small group
Whatever you ask, the goal is for it to still be valuable to your audience. You’re asking something quite small of them, such as their time, their email, or their attention. Make it worth their while!
Finally, when someone has been involved in your story for some time, and you’ve developed a strong relationship where you consistently provide value to them, you’re ready to make the big ask.
- Become a member
- Donate to our ministry
- Volunteer at one of our projects
Be conscious of where your audience members are on the journey. It would be strange for a man to ask a woman to marry him on the first date. Yet many nonprofits are looking for a big donation and you just met. You haven’t taken any time to develop the relationship to a level of trust and loyalty. Remember where you are on the journey and take them step by step.
The journey should be going to a deeper place over time and ultimately be a win-win for both parties over time.
Be conscious of where your audience members are on the journey. It would be strange for a man to ask a woman to marry him on the first date. Yet many nonprofits are looking for a big donation and you just met.
Seize The Opportunity
Now is your opportunity to reach out, build your online impact, and have the biggest Giving Tuesday and Christmas in your history!
Bring your heart into the stories you tell and take people on a life-changing journey.
Written by Clint Rogers