As you might have guessed, I'm a big fan of content marketing and how social media plays a large role in building an authentic brand for your organization.  I'm also a big fan of Ted Talks.  I happened across this one not long ago; it caught my eye because it's titled: "The Rise of the Social Employee."  If you have 12 minutes, it will be worth your time.  While it's not the most dynamic I've ever seen, it reinforces what I have been encouraging several clients to embrace lately; your stakeholders are your brand.

Leverage your most important asset… Your stakeholders, your community, your people.

Our goal is to create impact in the community and we need funds to provide services that address the community's needs.  Since 85% of donations are raised from individuals, we should be working to increase our network of relationships.  Consider leveraging your existing relationships to build a "Social Media Legion" that in turn builds your brand by following this simple recipe.

  1. Toot Your Own Horn: I think we can all agree that what you do, how you do it, and the impact you provide to your community is vested in your team.  I know for some it's hard, but among our goals should be one that toots our own horn a bit. 
  2. Build Your Brand by Proxy: You don't have to do it on your own.  Encourage your audience: the community, donors, funders, and government entities that support your good work to sing your praise; empower everyone to be an ambassador.  It's "not mass communications, but masses of communicators."
  3. Learn From the Big Boys: IBM is over 100 years old and they are still perhaps the greatest marketing company in the world.  They understand that "Employees are the voice of IBM."  Create a social media strategy that involves your board, staff, and constituents to spread the word.  Empower your stakeholders by setting guidelines rather than rules, involve them in your social media strategy, and give them room to find their own voice.
  4. Remember it's a Conversation: Traditional branding elements (logo, color palette, typeface, style) has received much more credit for improving a brand than it deserves.  A key element of content marketing is to educate rather than pitch. It builds an authentic, realistic, and transparent brand.  Remember to answer questions, congratulate, share, and support your community.

Building a network of supporters, just like building a brand/reputation takes effort and time.  The first step is developing a strategy, the next committing resources, and finally you need to commit to the long haul.  But, if you follow these steps, I guarantee you will slowly and surely succeed.  If you would like a little help in developing your strategy, consider calling Questus Strategies.

photo credit: <a href="">Dietmar Temps</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>