Tap Enthusiasm Using Social Media To Create Influence With SEO

Like their for-profit counterparts, nonprofit marketers often get excited about the “shiny marketing objects of the year.” This year social media continues to take on a huge share of interest at conferences such as NTEN’s NTC (Non-Profit Technology Conference), and there’s a whole separate conference that tours globally (Social Media For Nonprofits). 

The reasons for excitement about social media for nonprofits are numerous and include (but are not limited to):

  1. The desire to replace and supplement expensive forms of communications with memberships, donors and prospects. Marketing with direct mail is getting ever more expensive and response rates are lower than ever. Even fervent supporters often don’t appreciate telemarketing as a touch point.

  2. Social media managers aspire to viral successes that will go down in history. Because the viral nature of social media results in projections of success that are almost limitless, everyone wants to be a social media “rock star”. Perhaps this sets expectations too high, both for the social media team and for managers. 

  3. Younger supporters and donors of causes are increasingly difficult to influence with other forms of media, including online media such as email and display. Social media is an effective way to engage a significant sector of volunteers, supporters, and donors. 

  4. Communities can be built and/or nurtured via social media and, depending on the cause, the marketing plan, and the audience, some social media bragging rights result in a form of competitive gamification.

These are all great reasons for nonprofits to include social media in their marketing plans and experiment with it. However, one oft-overlooked benefit from social media within a non-profit context is the SEO value of the activity. Social media communications are fleeting and the direct impact on SEO from social media messages is likely to be purely as a validation of relevance (as opposed to a direct influence). However, one of the objectives of a well-planned and executed social media campaign is the creation of blog posts and other online editorial coverage that include direct links back to the nonprofit website. Direct links that don’t have link shorteners or no-follow designations pass the ever-important vote (or “link juice,” as we jokingly call it in the online marketing community). 

It gets better. The blog posts that arise out of effective use of social media also often show up themselves within the search engines, and to the extent that these blog posts are positive to your cause and mission, and the messages in the blog posts line up with your marketing objectives, you’ll get lots of positive touch points and some direct clicks to your site as a result of the permanent blog posts that were a byproduct of a social media campaign.

One of the reasons that SEO and search marketing agencies were able to leverage social media effectively in the early days of social media is that content has always been king and the message has been queen within the SEO community. Social media is the perfect blend of content and message. 

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