Nonprofit organizations don’t always have as broad a reach on social media as big brands with big budgets, but ambassadors can help connect charities to a wider audience to bridge the gap. Here are some simple tips on how to find, connect and foster relationships with social media ambassadors.

 

Identify your ambassadors

It’s important to look inward when seeking out ambassadors for an organization. By monitoring and engaging with people on your social media channels, it’s easy to identify supporters. These are the people who cheer you on when you share great news, who defend you when you’re facing criticism, who interact with you on a regular basis. Ambassadors do not need to have celebrity status, have tens of thousands of followers and fans, or a verified account on Twitter to be important to you and your organization. It’s about their level of commitment rather than numbers.

 

Connect with supporters

Once you’ve identified key supporters of your organization on social media, it’s time to come out from behind your organization’s Twitter handle and start getting to know them on a deeper, more personal level. Connecting with supporters will help you better understand the reasons why they’re engaging with your organization. In many cases, it could be that they’ve been personally impacted by the work of the charity or that the mission or objective is closely aligned with their own values.

 

Ask for support

It’s not a huge leap to go from supporter to ambassador, in fact, most supporters would be more than happy to formalize and increase their support of a cause they’re already deeply committed to promoting. It’s just a matter of making that ask. The ‘ask’ itself should be specific yet simple with realistic expectations for both parties. It can be as simple as asking ambassadors to share information about an annual campaign, blog about your cause or retweet your updates.

 

Share information

Once you’ve assembled a team of ambassadors who can help your organization tell its story and connect with more people, you need to keep the lines of communication open. You can do this by sharing regular email updates, or save your updates for when you are calling for their support. You can also provide ambassadors with more concrete ways to help, online and offline, by inviting them to events and involving them in your organization’s work as a way to provide an insider’s view.

 

Give them a voice

Stewardship of these relationships can also include providing ambassadors with additional opportunities to lend their support. Examples include publishing guest blog posts, providing them with information to share on their own social media networks, blog or website, inviting them to speak at events and conferences, participating in Twitter chats, etc.

 

Give them recognition

Social media ambassadors are volunteers. You may not see them every day in your office or at events, but they are just as deserving of recognition, praise and thanks. When it comes to volunteer recognition of social media supporters, it’s best to focus on giving them kudos online, such as featuring them on your blog or giving them a #FollowFriday shout-out. Saying thank you can take many different forms, what’s key is that you express how much you appreciate their support.

 

While it does take time to build this support, social media ambassadors can be highly effective in helping you reach more people and attract new supporters to your cause. Start slowly, by reaching out to one or two trusted supporters, and grow your team of ambassadors over time.

Janice Babineau
Janice Babineau is the Community Manager at the Canadian Red Cross. In this role, Janice oversees day-to-day management of the Canadian Red Cross’ presence on social media, from customer service and donor relations, to communicating important information about disaster preparedness and emergency responses. She frequently interacts with Red Cross supporters on social media, including a group of dedicated ambassadors.
Janice Babineau
Janice Babineau

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