How to get people talking about you

Think about the last time you told a friend about a product or a service.

Why did you tell your friend about that brand instead of another brand that does the same thing?

If you’re like most people, chances are you tell friends about brands that do the unexpected. They’re remarkable, not just different.

The same is true for your nonprofit.

If you do a good job at what’s expected (fighting a cause), you’ll get donors and volunteers. But if you go beyond what’s expected and do the unexpected, you’ll turn your donors and volunteers into salespeople.

If you’re wondering what doing the unexpected looks like for your nonprofit, here are five steps to figuring that out:

1. Join their communities.

Get to know what other nonprofits do. Join their e-mail lists, follow them on twitter. Like their Facebook Page (make sure you get notifications in the newsfeed). And lastly but most important, Make a small donation to each nonprofit.

2. Document your experience

With a spreadsheet, document your interactions with each organization (here’s an excel document you can start with).

Do they reply to your Facebook comments? Are they conversational on Twitter, or do they just spit out tweets automatically?

And what about e-mail? When you join their e-mail list, how did they communicate with you? What calls to action did they ask of you? Was the tone of your e-mails formal or friendly?

Lastly, make note of anything you found remarkable. This will hint at what that organization does to get people talking about them.

3. Guesstimate the average performance

For each type of interaction, determine what the average performance is for the group. For example, if a donation receipt is only e-mail you get for the next month from most of the nonprofits, than that’s the average! So in your column for e-mail communication, simply note that they have none beyond donation receipts.

4. Talk to your core supporters

These are the volunteers that shows up when it’s raining, donors that have shared their personal story with you, that stay late at an event to put away chairs. Why are they insanely in love with you?

5. Identify opportunities

After a while, you’ll begin to see areas where your organization can easily excel. These are areas you can quickly and easily improve, given your current resources.

Don’t over-complicate this. You’re goal is to identify areas where you can leapfrog your peers, not to demonstrate how smart you are with spreadsheets.

This is bigger than social media

Some of you thought that this is going to be a blog posts only about Facebook. That’s because “talking about this” happens to be a Facebook metric.

But word-of-mouth marketing goes beyond social media. Getting people to talk about you is about word-of-mouth marketing as a whole for your organization.

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John Haydon