Two of my favorite social media experts hosted webinars this week. One counsels only nonprofits, and the other focuses on businesses. But they both said the same thing: people are overwhelmed with bad news these days. So positivity trumps negativity in social media.
As Heather Mansfield of DIOSA Communications said,
“People are beginning to shut down. They don’t want to pay attention any more.”
Heather consults on social media with nonprofits across the globe. Most of them are involved in solving critical social problems, and it’s easy for them to be negative. But that doesn’t work well on Facebook and other social media sites. She says that people are much more likely to “like,” comment on, and share good news on Facebook.
According to Dan Zarella, getting attention is not enough. You need to create motivation—to buy, to share, to give, or whatever it is you want people to do. Good things create a stronger motivation. (Dan is well-known in social media circles for his quantitative analysis of social media usage. He understands psychology, patterns, and timing like nobody else.)
As Heather said,
“Even in a very despairing, depressing situation, there are success stories to tell.”
Heather and Dan both suggest that we post Facebook status updates that include positive pictures, videos, statistics, inspirational quotes, and–most importantly–stories and case studies. Interestingly, Heather says that nonprofits are more successful in posting the negative news and appeals through the mobile web—but that’s a blog for another day.
Though part of our job is to educate the public about social problems, our main task in fundraising is to prove that we have a solution (or part of it). We need to impart confidence and optimism. We need to provide inspiration and make people feel that their contributions will make a difference. Or we risk losing our audiences completely.