What Can Brands Learn from Nonprofits, Science Educators and Public Service?

When it comes to social marketing, we naturally think of brands. But what about public interests? How are they leveraging the power of social to achieve their goals? To find out we picked some of the most engaged nonprofits, science educators and civil servants on Twitter, and measured their performance. Check out our infographic below, and see what social marketing lessons they can teach us.

What Can Brands Learn from Nonprofits, Science Educators and Public Service?

Although social marketing has several definitions, it’s basically about influencing behavior in a positive way. As marketers, we typically we think of consumer behavior – for example, interactions on social media – that enable us to measure, research, communicate, and convert more effectively. But these goals, of course, are not limited to brands.

It may come as a surprise, but some of the profiles on our list – including Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and UNICEF – can compete with large commercial brands in followers, engagement and mentions. Check them out!

Nonprofits, Science Educators, and Public Servants

3 Social Marketing Lessons

So what have we learned? Here are three of our observations on what makes social marketing a successful part of any campaign, commercial or political.

1. Have Clear Objectives

All profiles on our list have clear objectives that match their interests. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is not tweeting about his holidays or favorite spot on the beach. On the contrary, followers of his Twitter feed can expect a blend of science education and pop culture, and learn why a working knowledge of physics is both personally and publicly advantageous.

2. Keep It Authentic – Be Transparent

“As with all social media, authenticity is the key to success,” writes the Guardian. Celebrities and politicians alike have come under scrutiny for their impersonal uses of social media by having staff or interns post for them. On Twitter especially, the expectation is that if the profile says Mick Jagger – I’m talking to Mick Jagger.

We encourage authenticity as best practice. But even if you do have someone tweeting for you, you can avoid fallout by being transparent. Admit publicly that few if any tweets are coming from the person at large, and be clear about the content people should expect when they click Follow.

The lesson of transparency is a crucial one, and marketers would do well not to underestimate the fact-finding skills of their audience.

3. Don’t Abandon Your Followers

Social media is broadcasting 24/7 – not just when you have a campaign. Acquiring fans and followers is a necessary part of any social strategy, but don’t let the conversation stop there. Every one of your followers represents a connection to an even broader audience. Prospects aside, staying in touch with your audience goes a long way towards building support and nurturing affinity for your brand.

The Guardian writes, “Two-way communication should be the essence of social media marketing – especially in the public sector, where citizens are not merely consumers but also stakeholders.”

Her Majesty Queen Rania, for example, began using Twitter five years ago when Pope Benedict XVI visited Jordan. Long after the event, she has continued to use Twitter – amassing an impressive 3 million followers – because of what she describes as social’s power to “change the world.”

As she told TechCrunch:

“It’s about using social media for social change: creating a community of advocates who can use their voices on behalf of the voiceless, or leverage their talents, skills, knowledge, and resources to put more children into classrooms, or pressure their elected representatives to get global education top of the agenda.”

In Conclusion

Social media is a powerful means of communicating your story and mobilizing support. And as our study demonstrates, leveraging that power can achieve great results if you’re clear about your mission, don’t take your audience for fools, and stay connected at all times. These three values will drive your brand to provide excellent social content and care. When in doubt or in need of inspiration, just look to some of the examples listed here.

Stay tuned to this blog for more Socialbakers insights, tips, and industry reports on social media marketing.

Social Media Analyst

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