Resources are at a premium. Everyone understands that. But creativity is not… nor will it ever be.
Take for example leveraging social media
So much value is placed on new content that it simply no longer matters if the source material is created by the organization, curated from other sources (copyright laws notwithstanding), or in the best possible scenarios, user-generated.
User generated content is by far the most appealing. It is also the hardest to generate and find. However, if you take some steps to have those who have a love and passion for what you do, and combine that with the love and passion for photography, writing or videography, you’ll be amazed at what stories can be told by your fans.
Be forewarned though that user-generated content has its drawbacks. First, it’s very hard to plan for, unless you have a very strong brand or a system in place for submissions to be entered, reviewed and posted. Otherwise, you may wind up knee deep in content with no real way to select and use the most post-worthy items.
Timeliness too is an issue. You don’t want to be posting items that happen too far after the fact. Your audience is already ten miles down the road from you and your organization if you aren’t at least trying to post things in real time.
At our organization, we are in year two of a program that is beginning to build its own level of buzz and where photographers are hooking up with one another in order to cover our dozens of fall events. In essence we’ve created our own network of content producers, who for little more than a t-shirt and credential, are able to share their love of our programs through their passion for photography.
Because we are a youth-based organization, the participants and their parents can’t get enough of the photos and we’ve solved a huge challenge we once had of collecting relevant, time-sensitive images from multiple sites in a timely fashion.
Every week during our busy season, volunteers are heading out, shooting photos and video and sending it back to us to be edited and posted on a variety of content platforms. While Facebook advocates state that a 2-5% engagement rate is the industry standard across all organizations, we are in the 38-40% at all times… just don’t talk to us about the off-season when we go dark.
That said, our fans, participants and parents can’t get enough and our likes are growing by the hundreds each week, while our more important engagement number is at record highs versus others like us in this same space.
But how do you take that interest and turn it into business results? How does engagement on Facebook or Instagram reveal itself in sold tickets, merchandise or donor contributions? We’ll delve into that in an upcoming post.