Dear Doctor Digital, I run a social enterprise and I’m really stretched for resources - how can I get my social media full of third party evangelists doing the work for me? (as I heard you mention on a Facebook livestream video!)
I say a lot of things, and I stand by them and this, this is one of my very favourites! Especially when it comes to social enterprises, one of my other favourite things. There is nothing more frustrating than having an awesome operation that really makes a difference in the community, that is struggling to be able to get the word out. The good thing is that social enterprises, when it comes to digital marketing, share all the same characteristics as other SMEs, with one subtle but powerful difference: the secret sauce of a feel good story.
A social enterprise for those who are unfamiliar with the term is basically a business set up along for profit lines, that uses its revenue to put back into specialist communities rather than for a purely profit motif. These businesses want to do good, make change, build community, create resilience and make a difference. They can be big scalable enterprises like Who Gives a Crap or Orange Sky Laundry or smaller local community focused operations like Produce to the People but they all share the same altruistic aspirations of creating value to give value back.
Digital marketing is a boon for this type of business model, as the elements of it that are low cost, emotive and shareable play right into the hands of a social enterprise. Building a marketing strategy has to factor in the usual lack of resources that many social enterprises have, especially when first starting out. Imagine that you will be resource light and plan for that. If you have a volunteer base, put the call out for someone to be responsible for your social media and blog. Ensure that they are evangelists for both the message and the medium themselves with preferably a large social media following and mad skills so they can help you get started building your community. Choose the right channels to make sure your message is hitting the appropriate audience. Facebook and Instagram are probably no brainers, but have you considered the power of utilising Linkedin too to find board members, compassionate corporates and potential social investors.
Having a website is pretty important, especially if you are wanting to have an e-commerce store for transactions or to collect donations. While lots of activity and day to day can go on your social media channels, a strong and compelling website will help you to engage your supporters and create a credible digital footprint for your SEO. With awesome template driven sites available on Wix, Weebly and Squarespace, to build your website, and with the kindness of businesses like Canva who don’t charge not for profits for their enterprise packages, setting up your digital world can be very low cost. Again, you can reach out to local designers, freelancers and businesses and ask them to help you out with a build, many businesses will be happy to work with you and share in the feel good halo effect for their company.
Check out the Digital Ready content marketing blog and the digital strategy fact-sheet to get your head around how to set up a strategy, and automate as much of it as possible to save those precious resources for doing the good hustle. Your content will drive the raving fans who will spread your message. As in any other business – tell your story, show how you are helping, why it matters and what people can do to get involved. Ask for help in sharing your stories and let people know how they can get involved. Team up with other aligned social enterprises locally and globally and share their content, which will build your SEO and widen your audience. Social enterprises are all about inspiring, helping and building community. They make people feel valued and able to contribute meaningfully, even in a small way, which can turn out to be a really big way when you have an army of individuals doing their bit to help you.