Social media has become an increasingly significant part of our modern world and the way we function. Small business owners to huge multinational corporations to government organizations have been able to make huge strides forward in terms of communication, integration and impact using social media tools and platforms. The latest statistics published by internetworldstats.com states that there are 3,222,200 Internet users in Sri Lanka for June 30, 2012, a 15.0% penetration. Internet and mobile internet usage in the country is increasing at an increasing rate and so is the usage of social media. According to 2012 statistics from Social bakers, the social media monitoring firm, 78.59% of the whole online population of Sri Lanka is on Facebook, making it the 74th on the list with a total user base of 1,395,960 as of September 2012. As analyzed and explained through our previous posts social media is now being used by many businesses from various industries, digital consumers, politicians and Government Institutions in Sri Lanka. With internet technology continuing to advance and take over almost every field, Nonprofits can no longer afford to stick to traditional methods and ignore social. In this analysis, we look in to the nonprofit, NGO and charity social media usage in Sri Lanka.
Many nonprofits around the globe have already recognized the increasing importance and benefits of social media and are effectively utilizing it in their marketing strategies. Organizations such as unicef global has over 2.6 million likes on Facebook and over 1.8 million unicef Twitter followers. humanrightscampaign , officialpeta, charitywater , tedtalks are great examples of International nonprofits that have effectively used social media with over millions of likes and followers worldwide. According to 2012 infographic by MDG Advertising incorporating social media can dramatically benefit a fundraiser, with the addition of Twitter generating almost 10 times more money raised. Friendly persuasion also plays a very important role, with a friend’s mention of their donation leading 68 percent of their contacts to learn more about the foundation and 39 percent to give to that charity. In recent times local non profits too have started adapting social media to spread their message and reach out to people. Analyzed below are some great examples of inspiring local non-profits which are hot on the social media trail.
International Non Governmental Organizations using social media
WorldBankSriLanka is one of the most active Facebook pages of a nonprofit with over 23,000 likes. The page is regularly updated with all of its posts receiving a large number of Likes and comments. They have strategically used the page to increase awareness, keep the public informed and up-to-date regarding related tropics and projects carried out by their organization.
The INGO’s social media accounts have used creative content such as pictures, videos and articles, providing people a greater glimpse into the type of work they do and the impact and differences made by organization’s work, donations and volunteers.
There are many pictures, posts and articles posted in the Facebook pages and Twitter accounts of nonprofits such as World Bank and Red Cross that shows a more personal side of the organization and the people running it.
Sharing such content moves and inspires people and makes people feel connected to the organization. When such connections are made in cyberspace where there are countless options to share and millions can be reached content such as the picture above can turn Likes and followers into activists, donors and volunteers.
While there are other Facebook pages of Sri Lankan INGO’s such as Save the Children http://on.fb.me/14fzxPr and US AID http://on.fb.me/1anyeT6 that has a few followers, few posts and has been inactive almost as immediately as it has been set up, many INGO’s in Sri Lanka that use social media, as analyzed with examples in this blog post have been able to successfully leverage the benefits of social across platforms using content that suits the organizations and its goals.
Not all social media tools, platforms and content will suit the needs of all nonprofits or drive the right audience into action, therefore it is important to start with the correct approach and right plan rather than start with a social media tool.
A great example of this would be the Facebook page of srilankaredcross. Since the organization’s main mission is to focus on risk prevention, disaster relief and rehabilitation their social media accounts carry content that keeps to their mission. Unlike the pages of UNICEF Sri Lanka, UN and World Bank which shares success stories and creative content such as pictures that trigger emotions and action, the redcross Facebook page focuses more on current events, important statistics, news alerts and campaigns that provides crucial and timely information to the public and creates awareness thereby achieving their overall humanitarian goals.
EarthHourSriLanka is another nonprofit that has used all major social media platforms to run massive campaigns to promote their cause. One of this year’s campaigns “Go beyond the hour” was effectively launched and promoted through social media. The success of their campaigns can be judged by how the visually driven and creative content has got business corporations, media agencies, hotels, restaurants and even schools to participate in their movement through displaying their images, relating their stories about pledges and commitments to protect the environment via Facebook, Twitter and Youtube accounts of Earth Hour Sri Lanka.
And one of the key reasons for their success with social media is how they have effectively used it to engage, interact and start conversations with their audience. Earth Hour Sri Lanka posts content that encourage people to interact, comment, share pictures and engage with its social media accounts.
Although their Youtube account is relatively inactive compared to their Facebook and Twitter, the few videos they have posted has received a large number of Likes and views. The regularly updated Twitter account @EarthHourLK too has a huge number of followers but they do not make use of the popular hash tag feature offered by Twitter. They would be able to further increase their visibility and reach if they effectively use hash tags which would place their tweets on search results.
Through their social media accounts we can see that their strategic content that dares the community to save the planet has not only received many Likes, followers, shares and comments but has also inspired people to take real life action.