Social media can do wonders for an NGO. With the kind of reach and visibility it provides, it is an ideal platform for NGOs and startups to spread the word about their business. In fact, Brenda Wambui from the micro-lending NGO, Milaap says that it is key to their business.
Milaap is an online platform that enables you to lend to the underprivileged working people in India, so that they can get access to education, clean water, energy, etc. Going by the philosophy of combining the power of the internet and human intent, Milaap is trying to create a sustainable social change. What you loan is delivered 100% to the borrowers, who in turn use the money to improve their lives and grow. Once the borrower returns the loan, Milaap can set up further lending or repay you.
The many layers in this model calls for access to people networks and what better medium than social media. We caught up with the social media manager at Milaap, Brenda Wambui, to understand how social media is being applied at the NGO that specialises in peer-to-peer lending.
Social media: key in social enterprise
Brenda is not only quick to acknowledge the value of social media in a social enterprise but also states that social media is key to this business.
“Social media channels like Facebook and Twitter have been key in meeting would-be lenders and converting them into lenders, updating our supporters on the status of some of our projects and in some cases, receiving and trying out new ideas and even getting our borrowers fully funded!”
She cites an example where Milaap puts up the profile of a borrower and motivates the fan base to make sure the borrower is fully-funded by the end of the day, which does happen in many cases, thanks to the power of social networks.
Content strategy aligned with objective
Milaap has an active presence on Facebook and Twitter, apart from a beautiful blog. One can see that the content is fresh and perfectly aligned with the objective of being online and in keeping with the specified network.
Content on Facebook focusses around activities and stories by Milaap and Twitter is alive with shares and conversations alike. I was particularly delighted when Brenda shared that Milaap does not believe in auto-posting, as their audience varies widely between channels, and auto-posting would deny them the value that Milaap hopes to provide them with.
Brenda shared that the content strategy of Milaap is simple and in line with its objective,
“To communicate about Milaap and its activities to our supporters, to inform them and add value when it comes to fields where we have expertise, such as microfinance, social enterprise and doing good, and to learn and hear from our fans and followers on what they think about our work, and how we can make it better.”
When most brands are happy with a Facebook and a Twitter, Milaap employs a blog too for the simple reason that it is a great channel to communicate bits of information that may be too long for social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. Also, it is an important way to keep their supporters informed on what is happening at Milaap week by week. For instance, you can find more stories about their latest Independence Day campaign ‘Adopt an Entrepreneur‘ in the blog.
Creating interesting content for the blog is an art and Brenda has shared 3 important tips that can help you in doing this,
“(i) Share new developments in your organization, maybe weekly, (ii) Have different people in the organization write blog-posts so as to keep it interesting, and (iii) Write with the end reader in mind - keep it simple and informative.”
Leveraging social media the in-house way
Creating a variety of content on the various social networks is a challenging task, one that calls for passion as well as the constant intent to bring out the message. While most brands and organisations choose to outsource their social media, Milaap believes it is good to handle your own social media.
Brenda is of the opinion that for an organisation to be able to communicate effectively, everybody must be a part of the team. One needs to understand the organisation well and keep tabs on the latest activities, be it in the IT, marketing or admin team.
[pullquote id = “lhipull” class = ”center_pull”]Synergies are also developed when you work closely together as a team, this makes activity within the organization fluid, including on social media[/pullquote]
As a result of which there is room for everybody to participate, as each one is aware of what they want to achieve through the online presence. At times, when the founders have something to share on Milaap’s page, they can do it easily without it seeming to be ‘out of character’.
Social media: any different for an NGO?
Social media is about being social, whether you are a business for profit or not. One needs to connect, engage and measure too. Social media for an NGO is no different.
Employing social media as a communication channel is great but not effective if you do not measure and monitor it. Milaap does measure its engagement with fans and followers using tools and apps. In addition, it has set targets for the number of posts on the site as well as the blog for a given period of time. For someone in the content business, it becomes imperative to have a content target much like a sales target for the marketing business.
Milaap is doing it right for an NGO on social media. It connects, communicates, shares and listens to its community. Moreover, it does all this by involving only the required networks and building a strong presence on them alone.
For NGOs who are trying to engage on social media, Brenda does have a few words of advice, that she shares quite generously.
“I would say know your audience, and serve them with relevant information. Also, engage with them and have two-way conversations, as opposed to just pushing content to them. Innovate, and try new ways of communicating your message - be it videos, pictures or even contests. Lastly - it’s social media - socialize, interact, and learn from your followers online!”
Essentially, these tips are applicable to all and not just NGOs. In a scenario, where it is a common practise to cross-post links across all networks, the content strategy at Milaap comes across as fresh and inspiring. We are grateful to Brenda for sharing Milaap’s social media strategy with us.
What do you think about the social media strategy at Milaap?