Should non profits use social media?
A non profit CEO group posed this to their members and this was our response:
Big Cat Rescue believes in the power of social marketing and has strategically used these platforms with mind-blowing success.
In descending order of reach:
BigCatRescue.org is our website where we publish daily updates (sometimes up to 6 a day). 9,700+ pages of photos, videos and areas that encourage commenting via Facebook plugins and a native comment area for those who don’t use Facebook.
This past year we had 2.5 million unique visitors who viewed over 5 million pages. This is up a million since last year’s figures and growing steadily.
YouTube.com/BigCatRescue has 162,000 subscribers and over 82 million views. We post a new viral worthy video weekly.
YouTube.com/DailyBigCat has 6,000 subscribers and over 1 million views. We post 2-4 new long form videos weekly.
Facebook.com/BigCatRescue. has 281,000 fans and at any given time 12-15 thousand people are currently on the page. We post 5 times a day and carefully balance fun pictures, with calls to action and requests for donations. About a 6 to one ratio of fluff to substance.
We are experiencing 9.6 percent growth per week and our closest competitor (World Wildlife Fund) is growing at 4.8 percent.
Google +/BigCatRescue has 142,000 followers and over 12 million views. We post 5-6 times a day, using the same posts as Facebook.
Twitter.com/BigCatRescue has 13,500 followers We post 5-6 times a day, using an app called If This Then That, which automatically reposts all of our Facebook posts to Twitter.
Because we have amassed over 600 great quality video clips we were just accepted into Roku’s Channel Store. In our first week we are up to 3,600 users and expect this to expand wildly because 15 million people use Roku. This makes it possible for anyone with a $50 Roku box to sit back on the couch and watch all of our shows: The short fun clips, the reality TV show styled videos, the Cat Chat Show (a weekly interview show w/ cat experts) and Big Cat Vets, where we take the viewer into the surgery room with our cats via video.
How do we do it all?
We only have 14 paid staff and about 100 volunteers. Our annual budget is about 1.7 million and animal operations our size typically have 30 or more paid staff. We are able to utilize free help because they love that their contributions matter. They love that we catch them in the act of doing good and share it with the world. We have about 8 people who can post to our social channels, but it is mostly done by three of us, in between our other work loads.
What’s the bottom line?
That can be hard to measure. We have anecdotal reports of donors who have given in the tens of thousands of dollars saying they found us on one of these channels. More often we hear from our donors how much they love being able to keep up with us on their favorite form of social channel. The numbers for this year are already up 1 million over last year, so that says a lot about how we are engaging the donors we have and attracting new ones.
It is easy for other charities to say that social doesn’t work for them because they don’t have the charismatic big cats to depend on, but frankly, we hear that from other big cat facilities as well and can tell from the way that we outrank them in popularity (such as FB’s ranking display) that it isn’t just the subject matter. Great social success has to come from the top down and be made a part of the every day routine, with a demand on high quality posts, that will drive engagement with those who care about your cause.