Social Media for Social Good: Using Personal Stories to Inspire Action. #SproutSessions

hello and welcome back to sprout sessions I'm Sara Nagle city manager of brain advocacy and community here at sprout and I'll be your host for this session so the goal of sprout sessions it's really to bring our industry together and arm you with insights to inspire you to take action and own social strategy to gain new perspectives on topics that are relevant to your brand's bottom line and really just to inspire your own audiences to take the actions that will help you grow as an organization a few things to note before we get started that these sessions will be recorded and live on a YouTube page you can access them immediately following the presentation we'd love for you to engage with us adding social by tweeting a hashtag especially in tweet to us at sprout social I share takeaways insights um you know network accordingly with your other peers who are online watching this digital conference and the session will only be about 20 minutes but whilst and spend about 10 minutes post presentation answering any questions that you have they'll be sure to use the chat panel to the right of your YouTube screen to ask questions throughout the presentation third ooh let's get the session started I'm so excited to pass it over to Boren Gephardt okay in the fridge from March of Dimes to introduce themselves and shared some insights with you ladies go ahead thanks so much sarin hello everyone i'm leanne la virge and i'm the social media team lead here at the March of Dimes along with my colleague Lauren Gebhardt and we're so happy to be here today to talk storytelling and inspiring our audiences to take action for all of us in social media and marketing this is always a very hot topic and it feels especially timely given the recent news from Facebook about changes to their algorithm and how more than ever it's going to be crucial for brands and organizations to be sharing content that's relevant authentic and engaging engaging is really the key word of the day so where to start I imagine that no matter the industry our organization that you're in today we all struggle from time to time determining what kind of content to share it can be very intimidating to open up that editorial calendar and see blank spaces in the days or weeks ahead right and as more deny that content for our channels when in doubt I think we both go back to basics it sounds really simple but taking the time to review your mission statement your core values as an organization and even your manifesto if you have one can really help guide the way when determining what stories to share and even when and this has been really crucial to us in the last few weeks not only have we been going through a celebration of our 80th anniversary as an organization which is a super exciting time but with it a brand refresh to propel us into the next 80 years and beyond so here is our mission statement we've added it here for you to see our mission statement is the merge of dimes leaves the fight for the health of all moms and babies so this statement is seemingly pretty simple at face value but when we as a team dig deeper into its layers and partner it with our core values it certainly helps gives us a clear lens by which to think about if content whether it's ours or from a third party or user-generated does it help us achieve and inform our mission statement so these are our core values and one thing that's been really interesting this year so far to embrace are these identified core values for our organization along with our persona and these are really the heart of whom we are here at the March of Dimes were bold were empowering we're supportive we're dynamic we're empathetic and we're positive we are championing the needs of moms and babies and we're bringing communities together to discover new solutions so when it comes to storytelling and inspiring action these core values again are really helping inform us of not only the kind of content and stories you want to share but how can we best communicate it are we channeling that champion spirit are we making people feel inspired and supported are we conveying a sense of belonging and community and are we making it clear to our audience what they can do to help in the fight for the health of all moms and babies these questions are ultimately really critical to our storytelling success so I challenge all of you to leave here today thinking about your own mission statement and values it's a great opportunity to bring not only the social media team together but other partners in your organization to have a dialogue about these very things because if you can't articulate them chances are other people or having that challenge as well and ultimately everyone in your business or organization is a brand ambassador they are frontline storytellers for you so this is our manifesto and I won't read the whole thing to you right now but I love their manifesto really embraces the mission statement and our core values and really kind of brings them to the next level I love that we have this as an organization to me it's super inspiring I love that it's bold and from a social media perspective it again helps really give us great direction when it comes to sourcing and vetting content because again and we should all be asking ourselves if our message is ultimately support our mission and core values if the answer is no then it's really not worth the share so when we go back and look at our manifesto and look at the statements about believing that every baby deserves the best possible start and knowing that not all babies get one and talking about our advocacy education education talking about the amazing research that not only has been done in the past eight years to help propel some of these advances that have been half thing but what's coming to really again level the playing fields that moms and babies are healthy and supporting a society and making it better for everyone again this manifesto was a great lens for us if you don't have one within your organization again great opportunity to sit down as a team and really talk about what that could look like because it not only certainly helps in a social media space it certainly helps across the organization so that brings us to audience and I'll ask Lauren to take it away hi everybody so once you've kind of taken this time to investigate your brand and who you are you're also going to want to be able to define who exactly it is that you want to be speaking to so your first question that you can ask yourself is who are you talking to you can take stock of the audience that you already have in your fan base and figure out what demographics they are so taking a look at things like age gender location and language will help you to understand who you're talking to here at March of Dimes a lot of our information is geared towards moms towards babies towards women who are pregnant so that is really the strongest way for us to resonate our stories is by channeling those audiences and you're also going to want to take stock of what audience you want to be reaching so if you take a look at the audience you already have by using things like your sprout tools you'll be able to find a little bit of information about who we are already reaching about who you're engaging about who's already on your channels but then the most important part is to determine if this is the right audience for you so if you look at this information and all of your key demographics and think yes this is exactly who I want to be reaching then great it's easy to find stories that will get to those demographics but a lot of people us included sometimes look at these demographics and think no maybe we aren't reaching the right people or maybe we're reaching some of the right people but not everybody we want to be reaching and that's another opportunity for storytelling not only are you able to tell a story that talks to the audience you have it's a way to be aspirational to share stories that reach the people that you want to be reaching that help you talk to the people you want to be talking to and the way you can do that is also through tools like sprout and through other free and paid tools that allow you to target your posts so targeting key audiences with key stories that make the most sense so once you've already kind of dug into all of this information and looked through your demographics you're gonna have to figure out what story you want to tell so once you know who you want to talk to once you know what your brand is you have to actually find the content to talk about and the great thing is that your brand is already out there your story is being told by so many people even if you're not telling it yourself so you just need to be able to find it and use it to your benefit so the first way to do that is through user generated content there is content out there all over the place that is relevant to you to your brand's to your story so one way to find that is by looking through people who are already talking about you look for mentions of your brand on social media look for people who are tagging you in posts for people who are using a hashtag related to an event you might be hosting or a sale you have going on and looking for their content it's there already brand advocates for you and they're posting about you so it's a great way to do it for us that means looking for things like hashtag March of Dimes people who are already talking about us hashtag March for Babies during events and being able to use the stories of our walkers and our supporters however there's also plenty of other relevant hashtags and accounts out there things like hashtag healthy babies it's something that we care about and that so many other people care about and it's content that we can use and these are authentic photos they're great family shots like this one of the little girls in the superhero capes that just feel real and they feel like home to us and there's stories that will resonate with your audience because they are real and they're not manufactured and edited they are your genuine family stories your second option is influencers so sometimes these are paid to speak about your brand and sometimes they're not but these are people who are already using their voice and their influence to inspire action and amplify messages this is what they do so being able to employ some of them to speak on behalf of your brand is a way to amplify your message some people like bloggers news personalities who may be talking either about your brand or about a relevant content area so there may be a prominent blogger who is having a baby so we're able to take her story and share it with our followers to give a little bit of a more relevance maybe a little bit additional reach to some of our stories your next option is something that we find is sometimes the most easily accessible but also sometimes the least utilized and that's your volunteers and employees these are people who already care about your brand who are already connected to your company and who have stories to tell there's a reason they work where they do there's a reason they're dedicating their time to your mission and you just need to be able to share that story so we encourage all of you to do an internal internal rallying call ask your employees and your colleagues your friends why they're inspired to work for the company they do what has inspired their mission activity as a volunteer and then ask them to share things videos photos quotes anything that might inspire your audience to act there's a reason that your volunteer is walking for example for us all of our board members and our walkers are people who are inspired by our mission so many of our employees are moms and dads and grandparents aunts and uncles and they have babies and children and their family who inspire them to be a supporter of the March of Dimes and by using their stories it really shows our connection to our mission and how much we care about the families we support and last is third party stories things like celebrities and stuff that's just happening in the new that is so closely tied to what you're trying to already say so sometimes a celebrity is announcing a pregnancy and when I say sometimes I mean every other day lately and so we have all of these opportunities to share their healthy pregnancies and their stories also Jimmy Kimmel was in the news recently talking about his son Billy and his struggle with it's his heart defect so by using this we're able to really amplify our message because we're reaching such a large audience with a story that's already being shared so now that you've found where you can look for all this content you can find a lot of stuff to share but just because it's there doesn't necessarily that you mean that you need to be the one sharing it or that it's worth sharing so there's a couple questions you can ask yourself first is is it you is this something that aligns with your core values like we had gone through in the beginning knowing yourself and knowing your brand is the best way to understand if a story would resonate for us we're also able to rely on these when we're looking at how to be less self promotional if we're sharing a story about a healthy pregnancy we can tie it back to our brand by saying something like we're working towards a day when all moms have the opportunity to have a healthy pregnancy like this mom in this story we're still tying it to our brands but we're not pushing that we are the focus of this on social media the second question is permissions this is just this kind of a standard question you need to ask yourself especially if you're sharing something more sensitive something with a family something with children or a health concern is can you share this first we always like to ask there is no reason why you can't ask somebody if you can share their story and also clarify how it's going to be used in the case of people's children and their families you want to make sure that you're using it in a way that really respects the story being told and respects the source so we'll be sure that you are crediting the photo also like using a child's name correctly not eliminating important details from the story that help share the whole picture and not changing the context of a photo you may find a great photo on Instagram with the hashtag that's relevant to you but if you take that photo and suddenly use it just to promote your brand without telling the family's story that photo kind of loses its effect and also on kind of a more logistical level legally are you able to share the photo or are there HIPPA regulations that may be prohibiting you from doing so this is an opportunity to connect with the rest of your team and your company to determine what your guidelines are um we've worked with our legal department to create some forms to fill out if we think that we need additional permissions for something so just working with your team to make sure that you're always in the clear to share the story you want to share and finally and most importantly think about the feeling you want to share stories are the strongest way to elicit emotion from your audience and we know that emotion is what causes people to be inspired to take action but make sure that you're sharing the feeling that you want sometimes trying to inspire action can look a lot like a scare tactic and that's something we try to navigate when we're sharing some more sensitive topics within our organization again you can take this back to your core values one of our core values is positivity and another is empathy so making sure that we're sharing feelings like that in our stories for example when we're sharing something about a healthy baby then is a good positive story and it's easily easy for us to tie those core values back to that story but when we're sharing something about loss about a family who lost a child this is a very sensitive and meaningful topic but we were able to frame it in a way that shows that we are being supportive and empathetic to this family we will encourage people to support the March of Dimes in the hopes that no other family will have to experience this kind of loss and that we are fighting for families like this instead of creating fear about this loss we are creating hope for the future we encourage you to look at the same kind of thing for your brand what do you want people to feel and what do not want people to feel and how can you elicit that emotion from them great thanks so much Lauren and lastly but nonetheless important is determining if your posts are working we included this meme this meme always makes me laugh because it to me it's kind of similar to the age-old if a tree falls in the forest and no one's around to hear it does it make a sound in social media we know that it's just it's not enough to put content out into the world and hope that people will see it and then like your post or give you a follow that we we have to use data to help inform our storytelling it's absolutely crucial so data tells its own story and when you take the time to listen it can really help make or break your strategy moving forward identifying key performance indicators and having a system in place to regularly measure that data is is key are your posts measuring up to the KPIs you've identified are there patterns emerging about what kind of content is being shared the most or getting the most comments perhaps sentiment is one of your KPI so are you trending positive are you getting negative feed all of this data can even help you determine what's worth 3 sharing or if something underperformed but still is really relevant to you maybe help you determine how you can perhaps repackage that content and try it again all of these things are really helpful to explore and there's a variety of tools that can help you do it and obviously if you use social the reporting tools and exports make this really easy you can look at your main channels look at data buy – Karen competitor analysis the sent messages report is one we look at a lot just because of all the data you can glean you can also use channel insights to get a bigger picture obviously Facebook Twitter and Instagram all had these built in to the platforms as well so take the time to view things like when your folks are online your top performing posts have been the impressions you generated again going back to what Warren said about the importance of demographics and there are many free and paid tools that allow you to dive deep and even compare your post success to light competitors out in the marketplace or to see which of your posts are even over performing standard benchmarks and that can help you determine hey these things are doing really well we should keep on this track these topics are relevant or people clearly like this kind of content so as we wrap up we included three takeaways for you from our conversation today the first being evaluate take the time to evaluate your stories as they relate to your brand voice and audience demos audience demographics are key and like Lauren said don't forget the targeting can be a great way to help ensure that you're reaching the right folks with the right message we have a we have a broad mission we talked pregnancy like Maureen mentioned loss we have a NICU community we want to reach people with preconception health messages meaning you may not have had a baby yet but maybe in the future you need to and every message might not be relevant to every single person in your space so taking that time to target can really be useful secondly mix it up share your stories in a variety of ways one thing we're thinking through right now is video strategy because we all know when it comes to Facebook definitely Instagram video has given some extra love in that algorithm so it's something that we're definitely talking about and exploring more than ever here and explore different tactics for your channels how might you share something on Facebook it might differ from Instagram where your content may be serve better in something like an Instagram story when a different caption or copy work better on one channel than another experiment with your visuals and don't forget relevant keywords and hashtags that can help extend the reach of your story and help connect you to those target audiences that are so important and finally engage your audience wants to feel connected to you it's not enough to share the story but you need to engage that and be part of the conversation happening in your communities relying replying to comments watching for and responding to responding to direct messages and taking the time to view hashtags and comments that are important to your audience and take the time to give them a like or comment that can go a long way and you just might find that people are more willing to share their own stories with you because they see you as an engaged and valued and trusted source so thanks everyone and I think Sarah that brings us back to you yes thanks so much Lauren and LAN that was wonderful folks are welcome to stick around for the next ten minutes or so to ask any questions and remember that you'll be able to access this recording of this session following the completion of the Q&A so with that let's get started with a question from YouTube from Food Depository and they asked how do you develop your brand manifesto that's a really good question so it took a lot of thought and planning and process to develop that manifesto it really started with the top of our organization over several months as I mentioned the beginning we've gone through a brand refresh so working with and that we've worked with an agency partner but certainly you can work with your own marketing staff or bring together key staff that really take that mission statement and kind of expel that a few steps further so in its and like I said it's a great tool I love that man that manifesto right now it really brings to life some of our key words and the feelings that we want to impart on our audience and make sure that they feel so if you don't have a manifesto I'd encourage you to go back to you know your your colleagues in your marketing department and have a conversation about perhaps trying to develop one and see where that goes I love that everything you said throughout your presentation too does someone back to that Menace manifesto and your core value so great job there and thanks for sharing that insight with us the next question comes from YouTube again from NARS and they asked how do you target demographics for influencers you're working with to ensure that your audience matches those influencers Lauren do you want to take that one sure when we're working with influencers we try to reach a broad spectrum of individuals and we also pull them off in topic based so if we're talking about something specific we pull influencers who can speak most relevantly to that topic sometimes that's easier than pulling something for an entire brand but looking more campaign specific so for us January is birth defects Prevention Month so we have a group of influencers who are either recently pregnant currently pregnant or are in the process of becoming pregnant who can talk about strategies for developing healthiest pregnancy possible so we're able to kind of hone in on one group for that particular need in different times of the year we have different topics we're talking about and we can pull a smaller group targeting also comes into play when you're actually deploying your social media messages so you can use things like sprout to build in facebook targeting options so you can be reaching just specific locations ages genders with your posts and that will help kind of amplify your message just to the target that is most relevant – yeah we find targeting super useful being such a large organization we obviously represent families and and staff all around the country so quite often news comes up that's particularly relevant in one area of the nation in in one state a great example of that is some of the targeting that we're doing around some of our advocacy messages right now celebrating the great work that our volunteers have done in different states and the the advocacy and legislative wins that have happened in those states recently we've been able to specifically target and make sure that people in texas or Florida know the great work that's happening right in their own backyard so targeting is definitely something to look at that's a really valuable got your consulate really does resonate so much better when you do use that targeting so thanks for sharing that next question comes from Mary Kate Moran she asks how do you want the line between strategy and sensationalism one timing the stories whether you're working with an influencer or sharing stories with the community how do you do that that's a really good question and one thing that we try to evaluate very carefully because there is so much sensationalism in in the news nowadays and the stories that are shared so again kind of going back to the core value is that if is the sharing of that story something that ultimately matches who you are and and the core values of the organization like Morin said if you know there might be something out there that's generating a lot of buzz but in the end could it be hurtful to your organization to be affiliated with a story or commenting on a story that ultimately doesn't best serve your purpose and your audiences so we really try and weigh that as we as we look at stories and how we balance you know kind of our own our own content like Warren talked about that promotional versus sensationalism it's really important to strike that right balance that people don't feel like you're simply kind of always newsjacking something to get you for a better term to get yourself into the news and look relevant when it might not even be something that's completely relevant to your organization so again going back and kind of sticking to those simple things and that we talked about in the beginning about does it align with mission and core values and are you prepared to enter those kind of sensational conversations and if and when they come up great takeaway Ally's coming back to those core values and that core manifesto that's why I'm story is you know seems to be too sensationalized or really fits with your brand the next question comes from YouTube again and it's from Mackenzie Matson it asks what he suggests encouraging youjizz and some people who are aware of your own but they may not be actually talking about you on social media so I don't know much of times is a big brand and you get a lot of content that you could potentially use but how did what do you suggest smaller brands that are so one of the ways that you can do this is by starting with some of the things like your employee stories these are some stories that seem kind of more organic even if you are pulling them and asking for them specifically and then within the context of the post just giving a little shout-out like on Instagram help us share these kinds of stories use hash tag whatever that hash tag may be and that's it like a little way just to give a little reminder another way we like to do it is on Facebook if you are sharing some kind of relevant story and people start to flood in comments like this happened to me too I understand I was also a mom who's gave birth too soon commenting back to those people and engaging them in a conversation because they may not have shared their full story with you in that comment or if they just posted a little photo but if you engage back-and-forth with them they may then be willing to share a photo and a little bit more of their story with you similarly people look out of people who are direct messaging you with questions they may have a question about your brand because they are really engaged so if you're able to answer their question and do some dialogue back and forth you may be able to find a story there that you didn't know was there if you had just left to kind of finish the question and not continue the conversation that's a really solid example Lauren looking at that historical UGC or turning towards those direct messages for them from your community and with that it looks like we're running pretty close to time thank you Lauren and Leanne so much for sharing your insights with us here in the sprout session and to everyone who tuned in keep your eyes peeled we're going to share some of the major takeaways from this session afterwards with all of you you can feel free to continue the conversation on social media using hash tag sprout sessions and from all of us here at sprout social thanks for joining

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