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Five Easy Ways to Use Social Media for Social Good

Use social media for a good cause and tap into your powerful social networks.

By
Aliza Sherman
December 18, 2008
Episode #033

 

Hi there, The Digital Marketer here, ready to help you put the power of the Internet and technology to work for your business.

Do you donate to a favorite nonprofit organization? Do you try to volunteer for a good cause? Have you ever thought of using the Internet and especially social media such as blogs, microblogs, and social networks to support a cause, to donate, or to take action?

I'm a firm believer that each one of us has the power to do good in our community and our world if we each take the time to take action. That action can be to volunteer time or donate money, but with the Internet, you also have the power to rally support for the causes that are important to you by using social media.

Social media can include blogs, microblogs like Twitter, and social networks like Facebook and MySpace. There are also many new social networks you can join for free that are focused on good causes and activism. You can join as an individual or join as your company and encourage your team to participate.

5 Easy Ways to Support a Cause With Social Media

There are so many ways you or even your company can support a cause. The first thing to think about before getting behind a cause is how do the issues that you support affect not only your personal but your professional life. If you own a business, you need to pick causes with care to make sure your staff feels included. Many companies prefer offering employees paid time off to volunteer rather than ask them to participate in a cause that they may not truly support.

But if you have thought carefully about the cause you want to get behind, here are some no-brainer ways to do it.

1. Blog it. Do your homework before you blog about a cause and try to tie the information in your post to a nonprofit organization so once you bring an issue to the attention of others, you give them an immediate way to act. Most causes are tied to a nonprofit organization and most -- but not all -- nonprofits have a website. If an organization doesn't have an online presence, include some kind of contact information to lead your blog visitors to a resource. Or consider donating a small Web presence to the organization as an in-kind donation and then link to it from your blog.

2. Twitter it. Even if you have a handful of followers, encourage them to pass along information about an important cause, and make sure to provide them with a link in your Tweet for them to take action. While I mention Twitter as the most popular microblog, don't forget others such as Jaiku, Plurk, and Kwippy.

3. Friend it on MySpace. I always tell my nonprofit clients that if they have anything to do with entertainment or the arts, then MySpace is a great place to set up a presence. People become "friends" with nonprofit organizations on a social network like MySpace not only to show their support of a cause but also to define who they are by linking to things that are important to them. You can friend a cause from your personal or professional MySpace page and then send out a MySpace bulletin or post to your MySpace blog to let your friends on the network know more about the cause of your choice.

4. Become a fan on Facebook. Nonprofit organizations cannot have individual Facebook accounts but they can have a presence -- like any for-profit company -- through a Facebook page. You can become a fan of the organization through their page and anyone who is your Facebook friend then sees that you did this in their news feed. They can easily follow suit by clicking on the link in their feed straight to the organization's page.

5. Create a cause on Facebook. You can be even more pro-active in Facebook by creating a cause with the Facebook application called Causes. You can recruit your Facebook friends to join the cause or even to donate money to the cause. If you set up a cause yourself, you should do it in cooperation with a nonprofit organization to ensure donations go to the right place. The application called Causes tracks how many people you recruit or how many donations you've helped encourage others to make as well as the participation of those you've invited to join the cause.

Each time you use social media for a social cause, you are creating a potentially exponential surge of attention, activity, and support for that cause or an organization. But use these tools wisely so you don't overload nonprofit organizations with limited capacity. You also don't want to overload your friends and followers with too many emails, notices and invitations to support causes or you could risk diluting the power of your message.

Bottom Line: No matter what your cause, you can show your support online in many ways. Social media provides an engine to drive awareness and participation for the issues and organizations you want to support and brings your social networking friends on board.

Contact Me

That's all we have time for today. Visit the show’s website at digitalmarketer.quickanddirtytips.com for links to all of the sites mentioned in the show. If you'd like to ask a question or request a topic for The Digital Marketer, email me at digitalmarketer@quickanddirtytips.com or leave a message by calling 206-339-6279.

The Digital Marketer's Quick and Dirty Tips for Building Your Business With Web Tools is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips network at quickanddirtytips.com.

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Resources

Twitter - http://www.twitter.com

Plurk - http://www.plurk.com

Jaiku - http://www.jaiku.com

Kwippy - http://www.kwippy.com

MySpace - http://www.myspace.com

Facebook - http://www.facebook.com

Facebook Pages - http://www.facebook.com/business/?pages

Facebook Causes - http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=2318966938

Zazengo - http://www.zazengo.com/

CauseCast - http://www.causecast.org/

Social Actions - http://www.socialactions.com/

Razoo - http://www.razoo.com/

Change.org - http://www.change.org/

Care2.org - http://www.care2.org/

Social Media image courtesy of Shutterstock

 

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