2 min Read
July 7, 2011

Your Org’s Personality Through Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare, Quora…there’s a world of social tools out there. How can your nonprofit choose the ones that will help you reach your audiences without overwhelming you? It’s simple, really–let your brand lead the way.

photo by Frank Micelotta, PictureGroup

There are two important concepts that provide the foundation for all of your communications efforts: positioning and personality. Positioning is big idea you want people to associate with you, and personality is the tone/style you use to communicate to guide how your audience experiences you.

We Ducks are often asked how brandraising impacts fundraising, social media, and other types of day-to-day communications. So we thought we’d dedicate this issue of the Duck Pond to highlight a recent example.

At the end of April, SCO Family of Services got an opportunity to dive into the deep end of the social media pool. They were one of five nonprofits selected to compete for up $500,000 to support their work with homeless and disconnected youth through an online voting contest sponsored by Lady Gaga and the Robin Hood Foundation.

As an essential provider of effective social services for New York City and Long Island, SCO Family of Services has traditionally prioritized direct service delivery over external communications. But they couldn’t miss an opportunity like this.

SCO emailBecause we previously worked with SCO to update its brand, they came back to Big Duck to figure out how to compete and win the contest. Over an intense two-week period, we used their personality traits–vital, nurturing, expert, and trusted–to guide the strategy, choose the right communications channels, craft the copy and design of messages, update the website, and engage new fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter.

As their staff and board rallied friends to get out the vote, SCO was able to leverage what makes it unique in the stories it shared. On the flip side, when someone mentioned the idea of buying a print ad, we agreed that this decision would run counter to the organization’s personality and its commitment to efficiency.

SCO ultimately won the contest with 40% of the one million votes cast, and they took home the big $500,000 prize.

How can personality guide the way you build relationships with your supporters? Here are a few examples:

  • If an organization wants to be a vocal thought leader on a particular issue, it might create a YouTube channel that presents videos of experts on topics related to its mission.
  • If an organization is nurturing and inspiring, their blog might feature stories of people being helped or helping others.
  • If an organization is assertive and bold, it may use its Facebook page to ask provocative questions and encourage spirited conversations among its fans.

So what about you? Tell us how your brand personality guides your use of social media in the comments section below.