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For Donald Trump, Sarah Palin’s Fall Shows the Limits of Media Obsession – Vanity Fair

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The former Alaska governor dominated coverage while she was seen as a GOP kingmaker and potential presidential candidate—until reality (or at least reality TV) set in. The spotlight on Trump, too, may dim without a social media megaphone and as new outrage makers, like Marjorie Taylor Greene, grab headlines.

Back in the before times of January 2015, when I was a reporter for CNN, I did a weekend live shot from the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, one of those political cattle calls where Republican presidential hopefuls take turns onstage professing their Christian faith before a crowd of people harvested from a Grant Wood painting, hoping to impress the state’s conservative activists. Most of the supposedly serious 2016 contenders had flown to Iowa: Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee. But the CNN anchor that day, Michael Smerconish, asked me a reasonable question about two attention-grabbing Republicans who were also there, Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, and whether they might run for president too. Like most Very Savvy political journalists at the time, I laughed off Trump’s appearance as just another thirsty White House tease. And having covered Palin up close since she was chosen as John McCain’s running mate, I knew her best shot at the Republican nomination was back in 2012.

Soon after the segment aired, CNN president Jeff Zucker, who is always watching, emailed me and a few other producers demanding that we not cover Trump or Palin, explaining that both Republicans were carnival acts, attention-seekers, two unserious distractions from the real presidential race to come. At the time, few in politics would have disagreed. I think about that moment from time to time, and not just because CNN’s position on covering Trump so famously changed once he actually became a candidate, delivering ratings galore. But the Iowa story is worth remembering, too, because of the way Trump and Palin were lumped together by the smart set as little more than a sad and desperate right-wing sideshow, when in truth, they were two of the most consequential political figures in American history.

These days Palin has receded to a historical footnote and a punch line for a news media that’s become even more cocooned in its urban bubble since 2008, with Trump now receiving most of the credit for upending the presumed order of national politics. But it was Palin who opened the door for Trump, the first politician to fuse together backlash politics and anti-elitism with the mighty American power of celebrity. “The impact that she has had on rejuvenating almost the Republican Party, it’s been unbelievable,” Trump said of Palin in 2008, soon after she was picked from obscurity to join McCain on the ticket. After McCain lost, Palin resigned from the governorship in Alaska but continued to gather strength as a fixture on the conservative political circuit, publishing a best-selling memoir, headlining Tea Party rallies, joining Fox News, and coming close to running for president in 2012. And she did most of it while bypassing the “lamestream” media by posting her musings and rants on Facebook for an enormous community of die-hard fans.

Like Trump, Palin had powers beyond the campaign trail: She wore a celebrity halo rarely seen on a politician. Her traveling circus in the fall of 2008 proudly embraced redneck America, Hank Williams Jr. and Gretchen Wilson, hunting and fishing, Carhartts and Walmart. Her crowds were rapturous. Rural Americans and working people who didn’t go to college saw her as one of their own, while liberals and journalists loved to mock her lack of sophistication and manner of speaking. It was a partisan culture clash that only gave Palin more strength. Tina Fey’s scornful impression of Palin on Saturday Night Live was only the beginning. After Palin came on the scene, as Nancy Isenberg recounted in her book White Trash, a history of class in America, Hollywood unleashed a crop of new TV shows that played off the redneck trope that Palin ushered into the mainstream: Swamp People, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Redneck Island, Duck Dynasty, Moonshiners, Appalachian Outlaws. Her family dramas became tabloid favorites. And Palin would go on, fittingly, to star in her own reality show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, produced by Mark Burnett, Trump’s beloved reality-show producer.

Barack Obama later wrote in his 2020 memoir, A Promised Land, that Palin’s explosive rise was “a sign of things to come, a larger, darker reality in which partisan affiliation and political expedience would threaten to blot out everything—your previous positions, your stated principles, even what your own senses, your eyes and ears, told you to be true.” More than any politician that came before her, Palin made politics purely about cultural identity—and there would be no turning back. Obama left readers to draw the obvious comparison to Trump. Whether Trump was watching closely or not, Palin carved out a new path to power. And now, in his postpresidency, Trump’s future might also look a lot like Palin’s. Out of the White House and essentially deplatformed from Twitter and Facebook, Trump is inhabiting something of a media time warp, now much more dependent on traditional media for attention. He’s still the hottest story in the world, but Palin’s moment in the sun, which began more than a decade ago, offers a possible glimpse into how the next few years will unfold for the former president—and how his hold on Republican politics and the media, which seems overpowering today, will fade with time.

Between 2009 and 2011, Mitch McConnell might have controlled the official levers of GOP politics in Washington, but no Republican occupied the public consciousness more than Sarah Palin. The country might have had its first Black president in office, grappling with seismic economic distress, but Palin was the entertainer in chief. Her face was splattered on magazines, on cable and broadcast news, on Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood, on Oprah and CBN, on Facebook and Twitter, on weirdo fan blogs and international news sites alike. She was inescapable. In 2009, my colleague Michael Calderone wrote for Politico about the “Palin-media codependency,” noting that Andrea Mitchell had hosted her MSNBC show from a Barnes & Noble in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Palin was scheduled to stop on her book tour for Going Rogue. That year Andrew Sullivan blogged about Palin more than 24 times in two days for The Atlantic. National Review launched a blog dedicated solely to observing Palin. The Huffington Post helped usher in the “outraged fact check” genre, with “The 18 Biggest Falsehoods in Palin’s book” driving plenty of clicks. Palin sat down for a big exclusive with Barbara Walters, with ABC dripping out teaser clips across Good Morning America, World News Tonight, and Nightline. She was inescapable.

As the Tea Party movement forced its way into the national conversation, she emerged as its de facto standard-bearer. Political pundits were at once confounded and bewitched. Matthew Continetti of The Weekly Standard placed Palin’s defiant anti-intellectualism in the tradition of American populism. Maureen Dowd wrote that “Democrats would be foolish to write off her visceral power.” Matt Taibbi, in Rolling Stone, celebrated her ability to trigger know-it-all political reporters. Any of this sound familiar? Her arrival in politics came just as the legacy news media was succumbing to its current social media addiction, but Palin held attentional singularity, commanding clicks and TV ratings alike. In 2010, my colleague Gabriel Sherman wrote in New York that no politician in history had “marketed herself over multiple platforms with the sophistication and sheer ambitiousness that Palin has shown.” Every time she appeared on Fox News, where she signed on as a contributor in 2009, ratings shot up 10-15%, Sherman reported, a phenomenon that repeated itself at MSNBC. Fox even sidelined one of its own reporters after she delivered a tiny morsel of Palin criticism on air. With a $100,000-a-pop speaking fee, TV contracts, and a best-selling memoir, Palin was monetizing the whole time, making upward of $12 million in the year after leaving the Alaska governor’s mansion, out of power but more powerful than ever.

Palin leaned into the media chaos with a smile and not an ounce of restraint, giving her limitless political abilities. When Palin coined the phrase “death panels” during the fight to pass Obamacare, it became the Tea Party’s signature rally cry, repeated endlessly despite being a falsehood. Her appearances at conservative conventions and Tea Party rallies, often while wearing jewelry festooned with American flags, were aired in full on cable news, with reporters assigned to follow her every move. Her ability to raise small-dollar donations from grassroots conservatives was unparalleled. In 2009, when Palin was waffling about speaking at a Washington fundraiser for Senate and House Republicans—a D.C. micro-drama if ever there was one—the back-and-forth was covered exhaustively by NBC News, CNN, The New York Times, Politico, and dozens of other outlets. Republican elites were sick of her: The National Journal conducted an “Insiders Poll” of 85 GOP strategists in Washington, and Palin was the top response when asked: “Which voice in your party would you most like to mute?” Of course those insiders only uttered their concerns on background, fearing a GOP base that felt differently.

When Palin started picking favorites in GOP primaries during the 2010 midterms, she instantly became the most coveted endorsement of the election cycle. With her small-staffed political outfit, SarahPAC, Palin didn’t bring much of a political machine to the table, but a single social media post could generate enough media coverage and fundraising dollars to flip the direction of a primary overnight. In May 2010, when Palin endorsed Nikki Haley just before South Carolina’s four-way gubernatorial primary and appeared with her at a rally in Columbia, Haley was left for dead in last place. A few weeks later she was the Republican nominee. Former Haley adviser Rob Godfrey, who was then working for a rival candidate, told me at the time that Palin’s endorsement was “an earned media blowtorch.” The Washington Post launched a “Palin endorsement tracker” to follow along. Some of Palin’s picks were conspiracy lunatics and helpless eccentrics—Republicans like Sharron Angle in Nevada and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware—who won their primaries but went on to lose in November, infuriating Republican strategists in Washington who saw their more electable candidates swamped by a single Palin tweet.

It’s memory-holed now, but Palin’s stardom continued unabated all the way through late 2011, a full three years after her arrival on the national scene. Her flirtation with running for the 2012 Republican nomination—never ruling out a bid and allowing supporters to build an operation for her in Iowa—kept her in the headlines. While dancing around a bid of her own, Palin threw carefree darts at declared candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. Her newest adviser, a filmmaker named Steve Bannon, helped position Palin as a populist alternative to the “crony capitalism” that had infected Republican politics. Advisers to the Republican candidates all groused privately to reporters about Palin’s headline-grabbing ways, but on the record, they politely welcomed Palin’s possible endorsement and shied away from criticizing her. In the summer of 2011, she announced a “One Nation” bus tour of historical sites up the East Coast, making stops at Fort McHenry, Gettysburg, and Bunker Hill, teasing a presidential run with her telegenic family in tow. Local TV news choppers chased the bus driving up Interstate 76 to air live coverage. ABC News, clearly interested in service journalism, added a helpful interactive map of the Palin bus tour to its website. The only event that managed to push Palin’s bus tour off of cable news was the “hacked” picture of Anthony Weiner’s junk that surfaced on Twitter. But some two months later, Palin was back at it, drawing a horde of press during her visit to the Iowa State Fair.

Only that October, when Palin declared that she wouldn’t run, did her influence begin to wane. Media attention drifted from Palin to the presidential race—and to wackier Tea Party characters like Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and the birther kingpin himself, Donald Trump. Romney wrestled the nomination away from his conservative rivals, temporarily snuffing out the restive grassroots wing of the GOP. Palin lingered on the scene, still showing up at conservative events, posting on Facebook, and handing out endorsements. But her schtick just got old, fading with time. Fox News dropped Palin in 2015. Her husband, Todd, later divorced her, a story that made barely a ripple. She surfaced recently with a strange Instagram video threatening to primary Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski, and she showed up in Georgia to campaign for Republicans ahead of the January runoff elections. The appearance was met with a shrug and, according to script, a handful of snarky reporter tweets about her wardrobe.

Right now, for Trump, that kind of political trajectory—from the center of the known universe to a lesser moon orbiting Pluto—feels like an impossibility. Unlike Palin, Trump was an actual president who changed the course of history, with a vise grip on the Republican Party and most of its voters. Trump has only just left office; he has yet to give an interview; his second impeachment trial is underway; and his influence on the GOP seems secure enough. The media will cover him for a long time to come, and hangers-on like Matt Gaetz will always be available for #content. He will tease a presidential run, and maybe box out other Republican contenders in the process. But the center of gravity in politics always changes, whether he decides to run or not. Trump’s shocking deplatforming following the January 6 Capitol Hill riot, predicted by no one, immediately neutralized the predictable “Trump 2024!” takes that followed his November loss. What is Trump without his tweets? It was proof, yet again, that the political class is permanently addicted to the present, rarely looking up from Twitter to think about future possibilities that might contradict it. With his social media megaphone gone, Trump is quite obviously a diminished man, operating in a media environment that looks a little more like 2011, when the establishment media had a bit more power, and a little less like 2021. Yes, there are more conservative outlets today, and more discreet communities where the cult of Trumpism can flourish. But going back to his real estate days, Trump’s power has always depended on the mainstream media’s addiction to his antics. Without social media, his influence moving forward will now be much more dependent on the media and the Republican Party, and how much they choose to accommodate him. Right now they are. But they won’t forever. Bad politicians like Missouri senator Josh Hawley will try to Xerox Trump and fail. Better politicians, as always, will find ways to win by wresting power away from those who hold it, marshaling voters with messages of their own.

It’s already getting dark out there for Mister Trump. Without the presidency, he already commands much less of our mindshare than he did only a few weeks ago. Like Palin, Trump himself will recede over time, even if the damage he has inflicted on our political culture remains. The media has started to search for the next ambassador from Crazytown, the next ratings grab. In just the last two weeks, as cable-news ratings started to tumble without the constant drip of Trump outrage, Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon Karen, became the new hotness. The Washington Post reported last week that Greene’s name had been mentioned about 400 times on MSNBC and 200 times on CNN since November. The writers, as the Twitter joke goes, have embarked on a new season, with some wild new plot twists and characters. “Palin is the perfect analogy here,” said Adam Kinzinger, one of the few Never Trump Republicans in Congress, who also happened to be blessed with a Palin primary endorsement back in 2010. “She was this fierce populist figure, and people couldn’t get enough of her. And then it stopped. Trump will certainly be relevant and a player in the next cycle, but that will decrease over time, and without Twitter and the trappings of power, I think people will get tired of him. People will finally start to see he’s not as powerful as he claims to be.” As a hockey mom from Wasilla once said: You betcha.

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Social Media Buzz: Crypto Mogul Bids $2 Million for Dorsey Tweet – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — What’s buzzing on social media this morning:

Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder and chief executive, is selling his first-ever tweet — “just setting up my twttr”– on a website called Valuables that auctions tweets. The highest bid is $2 million as of Saturday morning in New York, by Justin Sun, the Chinese crypto entrepreneur who earlier won an auction for Warren Buffett’s charity dinner.

  • Valuables said on its website that owning any digital content can be a “financial investment, hold sentimental value, and create a relationship between collector and creator,” just like an autographed baseball card.
  • The website, launched three months ago, allows people to purchase a digital certificate of a tweet, which can be issued only once and signed by the creator using cryptography. The tweet itself will continue to stay on Twitter.

Microsoft is trending on Twitter after a report shows a China-linked hack affected at least 30,000 organizations across the U.S., including small businesses and local governments. The hackers exploited previously unknown flaws of the software. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the incident is an “active threat” and could have “far-reaching impacts.”

The Senate is on track to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill as early as midday Saturday after a compromise reduced added unemployment benefits to $300 a week, one of several ways moderate Democrats shaped the bill to be less generous than the House version.

  • Biden has moved rapidly to shape his the image of his presidency, drawing obvious contrasts with Donald Trump. The president starts his days with an early morning workout in the gym of the White House residence, watching MSNBC or CNN, and doesn’t read Twitter unless someone shows him a tweet, Bloomberg News reported.

A trending op-ed on The Washington Post said, “If you’re upset about Hunter Biden, Elaine Chao should send you into fits of rage.” The author argued Republicans have been much more muted when it comes to the matter of the former transportation secretary and wife of Mitch McConnell.

  • Chao attempted to include members of her family, who run a shipping line, on an official government trip in apparent violation of ethics rules, a report by The Transportation Department’s Inspector General found earlier.

Reddit said it’s investigating elevated error rates Saturday morning after some users reported they have problems opening the website.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Forty Years of Failure to Curb Media Monopolies – TheTyee.ca

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“The shape of the newspaper industry in English Canada was then dramatically changed by an agreement between the two largest of the remaining newspaper corporations. Two papers, in Ottawa and in Winnipeg, were closed on the same day, and where there had been mingled interests, in Vancouver and in Montreal, one chain bought out its new partner.”

That’s a slightly modified excerpt from the final report of the Royal Commission on Newspapers, better known as the Kent commission, that was issued 40 years ago. I omitted the names of media conglomerates and the specific newspapers because the details aren’t terribly important when the problem is so deeply ingrained in how things operate in this country most people can’t imagine any alternative.

Historians are often reminded of Mark Twain’s timeless observation that while history doesn’t repeat itself, it often rhymes. This advice is intended to dissuade historians from seeking a deeper meaning in superficial patterns or coincidences.

But this case really makes me wonder. The Kent commission’s impetus was the near simultaneous closure of two major daily newspapers — the Winnipeg Tribune and the Ottawa Journal — in August 1980, allowing the then-giants of Canada’s news media industry, the Thomson and Southam corporations, monopolies in each of the respective markets.

The same backdoor negotiations allowed Southam, which operated the Province, to acquire the Vancouver Sun from Thomson and establish a monopoly in Vancouver as well.

The similarities with the 2017 Torstar-Postmedia “swap and chop” don’t end there. In November that year, the two media corporations swapped 41 publications, immediately closing 35 and ending competition in communities. Almost 300 people were fired, and a Tyee investigation found the companies exchanged emails about the terminations in advance.

In both cases official actions fell short — a commission whose recommendations fell on deaf ears in the case of the former, a quietly shelved criminal investigation in the case of the latter.

In both cases, the public was largely indifferent. In both cases, media companies — whether directly implicated or not — said nothing.

Kent’s recommendations were considered extreme 40 years ago, but everything they were designed to guard against wound up becoming our reality. The commission recommended no company should be allowed to own both a national newspaper and a portfolio of dailies and warned against the danger of cross-media ownership combining print and broadcast outlets.

They further recommended special review boards be given the right to block mergers and takeovers of newspapers and periodicals, and even force owners to sell if there was already excessive concentration. They even recommended editors be guaranteed independence from publishers!

Core to the commission’s work was a belief that democratic societies function best when the Fourth Estate — the news media — is unencumbered and the public has access to diverse sources of information and a wide variety of opinion.

It is almost as though some omnipotent god of Canadian news media read the report and went about doing the exact opposite. Not only are the problems of media concentration well known, with every passing decade the situation gets worse.

It should come as no surprise there was intense opposition to the recommendations — by publishers — and the pushback fell along familiar lines: government intrusion into the affairs of private business is bad for the economy and consumers alike.

Canada had about 120 daily newspapers in the early 1980s. Today, we have 75. In 1990, about 20 per cent of daily newspapers were independently owned. Now it’s about five per cent. Nothing has changed in New Brunswick, where the Irving family still owns all the dailies and most weeklies.

Between 2008 and 2019, 189 community newspapers closed, and in vast swathes of the country, “local news” broadcasts are pre-recorded in Toronto.

And despite direct government financial support, the media mastodons continue to wipe out newsrooms, careers and the foundations of our culture and democracy with reckless abandon.

The argument that new technologies have disrupted traditional journalism has been made roughly every decade since the 1970s, and despite this, the majority of Canadian consumers still value print advertising as the most effective type of its kind.

Canadians are still hungry for quality journalism, and we’re fortunate a number of small, independent outlets have been punching far above their weight for some time.

Yet the accomplishments of Canada’s independent media are often overshadowed in a media landscape where dinosaurs are kept on corporate life-support without any accountability to the public. As Kent said, “freedom of the press is not a property right of owners. It is a right of the people. It is part of their right to free expression, inseparable from their right to inform themselves.”

Media consolidation benefits the elites, not the citizens. The consolidation of media leads to a consolidation of information and a narrowing of the mind. Canadian news media in 2021 doesn’t have a liberal or conservative bias, it has a bias toward power and populism.

The comfortable cannot be afflicted, nor the afflicted comforted, as long as the majority of information and opinion serves to buttress the elites of our society.

Consider this the next time you see a politician grin through a non-answer at a press conference, or read a press release masquerading as a news story. We were warned. We were told what the problems are and offered a set of solutions too.

We have no real choice but to demand serious, structural change. Journalism without activism is public relations.  [Tyee]

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How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media To Increase Donations And Boost Visibility – Forbes

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By Jacqueline Tabas

Amidst the Covid-19 crisis, nonprofit organizations have faced onerous financial burdens. There has been a high demand for their services, which taxes their resources, yet their ability to bring in volunteers and host in-person fundraising events has been limited.

Nonprofits rely on donations in order to survive, and during the pandemic, fundraising has become even more challenging. As a case in point, The Salvation Army reported in December that fundraising was down 18% compared to prior years.

However, thanks to the power of social media, there are strategies nonprofits can use to achieve their fundraising and marketing goals. As people become more comfortable with their digital devices during the pandemic, they provide nonprofits with a captive audience for engagement.

If you run a nonprofit, here is how to take advantage of the unique opportunities offered by social media to increase the success of your organization.

Benefits of social media marketing for nonprofit organizations

Social media is an effective marketing tool for a nonprofit organization. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Social media significantly increases an organization’s reach (billions of people use social media).
  • Social media spreads the word about an organization’s mission.
  • Social media postings are free.
  • Social media attracts new donors and keeps existing donors engaged.
  • Social media assists in growing a network of volunteers.
  • Each social media posting can include a link to the organization’s donor page.
  • Interactive content posted to social media allows the audience to participate and feel more engaged.

Many well-known nonprofit organizations, have employed social media tactics in successful marketing campaigns:

World Wide Fund for Nature: The World Wide Fund for Nature created a successful interactive content campaign called Earth Hour. The annual Earth Hour campaign requests that people turn off their lights for one hour and uses the #EarthHour hashtag (among others) to invigorate followers. In 2020, 90 countries and territories took part in the event and it generated over 4.7 billion global social media impressions.

Make-A-Wish Foundation: The Make-A-Wish Foundation has granted wishes to a myriad of children since 1980. Reportedly, the Foundation’s efforts fulfill a child’s desire every 40 minutes in the United States. Make-A-Wish shares all its video wishes on its YouTube channel. Videos of the children receiving their wishes are also published on the foundation’s website as well as its Facebook and Twitter accounts. This strategy has increased Make-A-Wish’s interaction. You can view the success of their efforts here.

Save the Children: The goal of Save the Children is to improve the lives of children around the world. Notably, the organization targets children living in war zones. Save the Children created a video where a Western child was shown in a situation that a child living in a war zone would face. The footage helped donors better understand and empathize with these children and was responsible for a multitude of donations and video shares:

Amnesty International: Amnesty International uses Twitter to raise awareness of ongoing campaigns and current social issues. Its Twitter profile has 4.2 million followers and has posted nearly 33,000 tweets.

Wings of Rescue: Pet rescue organization Wings of Rescue transports at-risk shelter pets from disaster areas and overcrowded shelters to shelters with empty kennel space. The organization has done a great job posting videos on YouTube, images on Instagram, and posts on Facebook to bring in donations.

Most popular social media platforms for nonprofits

While there are many social media platforms out there, here are the most popular ones used by nonprofits:

Facebook

With over 2.8 billion monthly active users, Facebook continues to be the most popular social media channel.

Facebook success strategies:

  • Most successful posts on Facebook are short because people generally do not like to read lengthy paragraphs. If you write a long post and the action link is at the end, there is a chance the viewer may never see the donation link. Ideally put the donation link at the beginning of your posts, followed by brief copy.
  • Including hashtags on Facebook posts helps popularize your nonprofit’s content and helps you gain more followers. If you utilize the hashtags that potential donors typically use, this will improve the page’s visibility and hopefully generate more donations.
  • Another way to gain more followers on a Facebook page or Facebook group is to run ads on Facebook. The Facebook Lookalike Audience tool helps you target people similar to your supporters and donors to increase engagement.
  • Share live events on Facebook. Live events allow supporters to see real-time updates of a fundraising event and inspires them to donate within the moment.
  • Consider generating a Facebook survey to boost engagement and followers.
  • Ask followers to share their connection to your organization by posting on their status section with a tag to your nonprofit.

YouTube

With over 2 billion monthly active users, the online video-sharing platform owned by Google is extremely popular. Many businesses, nonprofits, and influencers use YouTube to market their products and services.

Video content is more expensive and time-consuming to create than articles or images, but this type of content has the biggest engagement among audiences. With your nonprofit, you can set simple, yet stylized ways to shoot content, even from your office (or home office).

YouTube success strategies:

  • A YouTube channel is an essential component of a social media marketing program. Your nonprofit should have an established, central channel that is search engine optimized. You might even make money from your YouTube channel if it becomes popular.
  • Educational videos and content create awareness of the issues of importance to your nonprofit and are good ways to make your brand visible on YouTube.
  • Sign up for a free Google for Nonprofits account at google.com/nonprofits and click on the “Get Started” button. To create a channel and find an ID, click here. With a Google for Nonprofits account, you can raise money via YouTube without requiring donors to go to outside sources. YouTube has also implemented various features to help nonprofits raise money, such as:
  • Fundraisers, which resemble Facebook fundraisers. They display a donate button next to the video or livestream.
  • Community Fundraisers are when multiple YouTubers target the same cause to raise money on various channels.
  • Campaign matching is when other businesses or YouTubers show their matching pledges during fundraisers or community fundraisers.
  • Super Chat allows users to pay to have their messages emphasized during a live chat with numerous participants. Super chats are popular forms of advertising during fundraisers and community fundraisers.

Additionally, Google covers all of the starter fees, so that nonprofits will receive the maximum funds raised.

Instagram

With over one billion monthly active users, Instagram is a video and photo-sharing app owned by Facebook. It is popular among 18 to 34-year-olds.

Instagram success strategies:

  • Hashtags are vital on Instagram and use them liberally when publishing content. Hashtags help build a following because people search for content and accounts by searching hashtags related to their interests.
  • Instagram offers the option to host a live event. Nonprofits can specifically use Instagram live events to share fundraising events, allowing followers to participate actively in donating.
  • Gain more followers by hosting interactive question and answer sessions through your Instagram stories.
  • Stories, in general, are viewed more than regular Instagram posts. People are more likely to look at stories rather than scroll through an entire Instagram feed. Highlighting your best stories will increase followers and inspire donations.
  • You can easily add donation stickers to your Instagram stories to inspire others to donate. In addition, by sharing your Instagram stories on Facebook, you allow Facebook followers to take advantage of the donation sticker too.
  • In your stories and posts, you can increase engagement and visibility by tagging other organizations or individuals whom you work with. Also when you create a story or post, Instagram has a feature that allows you to post your location, which gives your content a broader reach and further establishes your credibility. There are also ways to apply these same features to Facebook stories and posts, and you can publish the same content shared on Instagram to linked social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • Reach out to influencers who may be interested in supporting your nonprofit, asking if they would be kind enough to include a mention of your organization in their content.

Twitter

With over 330 million monthly active users, Twitter is a site where users post and interact with other users via mini-messages called “tweets.” Many businesses have used Twitter to increase their visibility and engagement with consumers.

Twitter success strategies: 

  • It is vital that your message/bio in the “About” section of your Twitter profile contains a cohesive and clear message for people learning about you for the first time. Donors need to understand and care about your organization if they are going to donate.
  • A simple way to gain more followers on Twitter is to advertise your Twitter account on other social media channels. Connecting other channels in some form draws more followers and helps grow an account.
  • Always be concise in your wording, and if possible, support your tweets with images or videos.
  • Post often or daily to Twitter. Frequent posting with hashtags offers a greater opportunity for people to discover your organization’s content and account and provides more opportunities for engagement.
  • Increase your number of followers by engaging with other Twitter accounts. Social media is primarily about instantaneous communication. Vital social media thrives on reciprocity and interacting in the moment; engaging with related accounts inspires reciprocal engagement. When you interact with other users on Twitter, there’s a chance that those accounts will share your nonprofit’s account and content with their followers, which can lead to even more followers for you.
  • Live tweeting allows supporters to watch real-time updates of a fundraising event, increasing followers and donations. Similar to Facebook Live events, this could inspire people to donate instantly.
  • The Twitter Poll is an excellent tool to use. It allows you to create your own poll and immediately see the results. A poll inspires more engagement because it requires more effort than reading text or watching a video. Also, if people enjoy voting, there is a high likelihood they will share the poll amongst their followers, hopefully helping your charity gain more followers and boost engagement.

Pinterest

With over 469 million active monthly users, Pinterest is a platform for promoting, saving, and finding information via visual content, and has evolved as a way to showcase a brand, a business, or a nonprofit. It provides an optimal outlet to showcase strong visual content and can serve as an additional engagement tool to drive traffic to a nonprofit’s website.

According to Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council, “Pinterest is a place where people get inspired and then take action. Leveraging the platform gives nonprofits a unique, impactful way to share their causes and encourage people to support them.”

Pinterest success strategies: 

  • Infographics perform well on Pinterest. Posting infographics that share relevant and vital data about your organization eliminates the need for users to click on your website.
  • Pinterest is effective for collecting donations and even selling goods. You can use Pinterest to sell items related to your work, even if you already have a store on your website. Link your donation page to Pinterest images.
  • Archive donation landing pages from previous fundraisers. “Pin captions” can showcase past fundraising events. If a user is impressed with a pin that advertises the cause’s past success, the Pin could refer them to future, pertinent fundraising occasions.
  • Utilize Pinterest for networking purposes by following related accounts who may be interested in donating or following your organization. You can also connect with influencers who are passionate about your cause; influencers can promote the charity on their personal Pinterest accounts.
  • Promoting pins, especially donation-focused ones, is also crucial. Boosting such pins around important gift-giving-oriented holidays when people are more cheerful and generous is wise, especially since people browse Pinterest for gift inspiration.

LinkedIn

With over 310 million active monthly users and 740+ million registered professionals, LinkedIn is the leading employment networking platform.

Nonprofits can use LinkedIn to contact professionals involved in social responsibility or philanthropy. Large corporations have senior employees coordinating donations and partnerships with nonprofits, and these employees all have a presence on LinkedIn. You can use the platform to network with these individuals and develop advocates for your cause.

LinkedIn success strategies: 

  • Business professionals use LinkedIn for networking; thus, connecting with a donor, especially during the pandemic, is the best virtual alternative to an in-person meeting.
  • Many nonprofits have had success using LinkedIn to acquire talent. LinkedIn can help you discover new team members, board members, and volunteers.
  • LinkedIn also has a “status” feature. Use the status update line to push relevant facts and ask supporters for donations.
  • Take advantage of the “groups” feature to join several groups closely related to your mission. Try to frequently post in these groups to create more visibility and gain more connections.
  • Post articles to LinkedIn. 

TikTok

With over 1.1 billion active monthly users, TikTok is a video-sharing social platform for short-form videos. It has become enormously popular with Generation Z.

With TikTok, you can create videos tied to emotional music, and intertwine the video with a trending hashtag. Inputting emotion and having a trending hashtag has helped TikTok videos go viral and garner more followers.

TikTok success strategies: 

  • When the Oregon Zoo posted a video of an adorable elephant swimming to a heartwarming song and affiliated it with an Earth Day hashtag, the video received 4.7 million views, 861,000 likes, and 2,561 comments.

Oregon Zoo TikTok campaign video

  • Dance challenges are popular on TikTok and a great way to inspire donations. The American Heart Association conducted a “Keep the Beat Challenge.” Supporters created videos of themselves dancing to “Keep their Beat.” The challenge promoted the American Heart Association while raising money and awareness for American Heart Month.

American Heart Association TikTok campaign video

  • Use TikTok to inspire involvement and donating through storytelling. The Save the Music Foundation shared videos of young, ambitious musicians playing their music, and used text overlays in the video to tell viewers their inspiring life stories as the video played. This allowed viewers to listen to each musician perform while being able to read how Save the Music impacted the person’s life.

Save the Music Foundation TikTok campaign video

  • Charities can take advantage of informative content as a means to spread awareness. For their National Walking Day Campaign, United Way produced a short video of two people walking while highlighting the health statistics of walking frequently and the safety measures to consider during Covid-19.

National Walking Day TikTok campaign video

More social media tips for nonprofits

Here are some general tips to keep in mind no matter what platform you use:

  • Postings should be regular and continuous. Organizations that are successful with social media will post once a day or more. An occasional posting does not successfully build an engaged audience.
  • Optimize your organization’s profile on each social media site with a clear mission statement, bio, and image.
  • Use relevant hashtags, such as #dogrescue or #cancercure. People on social media use hashtags to find content and accounts pertaining to their interests. Be careful not to overuse hashtags because this makes the content of the post less relevant or visible than the hashtags themselves.
  • Consider scheduling regular postings with software tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer.
  • Monitoring the analytics of your postings is important to enhance your marketing strategy. For example, you can monitor the number of follows, likes, comments, and the traffic to your website from your social media postings.
  • Use interesting visual content.
  • Ensure that each post links to your organization’s website and particularly to the donor page.
  • Use call-to-action words in postings, such as “please help,” “please like,” “please retweet,” and other such phrasing.
  • Invest in videos—videos can result in 12 times more “shares” than text and images.
  • Make sure that your website promotes social media icons on every page.
  • Use humor and funny images when appropriate.
  • Tread lightly on controversial subjects.
  • Be prompt when engaging with your audience, answering questions, replying to comments, and responding to messages.

Additional marketing strategies for nonprofits

Consider the following marketing strategies to supplement your social media program:

  • Crowdfunding. Your nonprofit can fundraise virtually via crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is an excellent way to attract a large group of people to donate small quantities in unison, and there are many ways to share crowdfunding goals on social media channels.

For example, GoFundMe.com reported that a five-year-old boy wanted to help less fortunate children during the holidays. He led a 20-minute meditation session and then asked his attendees to donate to the Coalition for the Homeless in his name; he raised $30,000.

  • Email newsletters. Consider emailing a weekly newsletter to subscribers. This is a great way to keep your nonprofit at the forefront of people’s minds. Newsletters can include news updates, new images, new videos, references to the nonprofit on social media, links to donation pages, information about upcoming events, and much more.

You can then build up your newsletter subscriber list, which becomes a valuable asset to maintain engagement with clients or donors.

  • Content marketing. Employ content marketing strategies by creating articles for your website and other business sites. Stories should have links back to your website and especially to your donation page. These posts can help drive traffic and Google ranking. Nonprofits should employ content marketing strategies by creating articles for their website and other sites such as Medium.com or AllBusiness.com.

Social media—a cost-effective strategy

A nonprofit organization can use social media to increase donations and improve its visibility by successfully employing a comprehensive social media marketing strategy. Starting and implementing a coherent strategy may take a lot of time and effort, but it has been shown to be an extremely cost-effective marketing method for many organizations.

RELATED: 7 Rules for More Effective Social Media Marketing

About the Author

Jacqueline Tabas is a content marketer and social media manager based in San Francisco. Jacqueline has extensive experience in content marketing, content development, blogging, copywriting, posting, and conducting analytics for Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and other social media sites. She has been an advisor on social media marketing to many organizations, including nonprofits, technology companies, retail companies, and fashion brands. Connect with Jacqueline on LinkedIn.

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