Testimonials & Persuasion

I attended the Social Media Week session on Social Good yesterday and a few of the presentations, in particular one given by Melissa Dingmon, got me thinking about concrete ways non-profits can use Social Media tools to help persuade individuals to join their communities.

Melissa brought up some points that are very dear to my heart and my own approach to social media and online communications for non-profits in general, when she addressed the need to share stories and not just facts in order to really persuade people to support your cause/join you in furthering your mission. Testimonials are one really powerful storytelling tool for bringing an element of the personal into the conversation about an organization. Testimonials can come from the people a non-profit serves and from people who have  been impacted by the work of an organization, but they can also come from the people who engage with the organization as supporters, be those people donors, volunteers, organizers or what-have you.

It's the latter that I've been focusing  my thoughts on for the past 24 hours, musing on what easy tools non-profit organizations can use to help the people who have already taken a step up the ladder of engagement -- that is, they've donated, or they've signed up online to volunteer or attend an event -- to spread that word to their network. Where I landed on specifically was Thank You pages. Thank You pages on websites are too often overlooked opportunities to further engage your community as they're a great place to get already committed supporters to spread the word. By adding a simple "Tweet this" button with pre-populated text (technical details on how to make that happen here) or a post to Facebook link that does the same, along with some copy that thanks the donor/attendee/volunteer for their engagement and encourages them to spread the word among their networks, you create an easy opportunity for that supporter to help spread testimonials through their networks.

Of course, don't just put the button there. Like any Social Media undertaking you need to think about the content. A well worded pre-populated Tweet or Facebook post will help further your campaign (it's worth noting here, for those who haven't used these before that the end user can edit the content as they desire). So something like "I care about street youth in YVR, so I'm donating to Covenant House this holiday season. You can too http://urlgoeshere.com" could be a great holiday specific campaign message. An arts organization could do something similar on event pages with a simple "Excited about this event? Let your friends know:"  with links to make Tweeting and Facebook sharing easy, again with pre-populated text sharing the link to the particular event along the lines of "Thrilled to be going to see Audra McDonald this Oct 11, who's with me? http://bit.ly/rfQZ1i".

If this makes you think about some missed opportunities on your website and you're interested in engaging your community of supporters more deeply through Social Media or online tools, get in touch with us. We can help you with both the strategy and the implementation of some straightforward engagement tools like these.