In online marketing for volunteer associations, we covered why online marketing helps with visibility, credibility and, as a result, sustainability through more funding and partnership opportunties.
In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at what you need to get started with effective online marketing:
- A clear strategy
- A brand graphic charter
- A strong social media presence:
- A professional website
Key elements of a good digital strategy
- Responsive website with engaging content: You need a professional website that has engaging content. Whenever someone visits your website, they need to see easy to understand information that relates to your mission.
- An SEO strategy: This is specific to each association. We won’t go into details here but keep this in mind if you are working with a web designer. It can include carefully choosing the words on your website, having a blog so that your website will appear higher in Google search results and even the coding of the website.
- Email marketing campaigns: It’s important to have a database of people you can reach out to. Even if your target audience isn’t using email, you can still think about how to reach current or potential partners and funders.
- Social media marketing: Who are you talking to and where do you talk to them online? What are you going to share with them? You need to have a plan that is long-term and cohesive.
- Digital advertising campaigns: You can run ads on social media and you can use ads to target specific people who you want to reach.
The basics of a good brand graphic charter
- Logo: Should be appealing.
- Typography: The fonts that you will use on all of your marketing materials.
- Colour palette: Having specific colours helps people recognize your association.
- Digital templates: Profile picture, cover, stories, frames, email signature, newsletters, etc…
- Other applications: Clothes, goodies to offer to people at events or meetings (ie: notebook, pen), business cards, etc…
Check out this example of a brand graphic charter from an association of returnees called Greet Esan Returnees Association (GERA) here.
How do you build a strong social media presence?
Social media is likely the best option for you to market your association online. To build a strong social media presence you need:
- Social media platforms
- Apps & tools
Every social media platform is different.
You may want to start with just Facebook and WhatsApp and LinkedIn and later add Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. You should always be promoting your website through your social media platforms. That is the main place you want people to visit to learn more about your association.
- Facebook has the most users and owns Instagram and WhatsApp. Even though younger people tend to use other platforms like TikTok more often, Facebook continues to be important for associations and businesses. You also have access to audience insights through Facebook so you can see who you are reaching and how they are engaging with your content.
- Instagram is more popular with younger people and it’s highly visual. It’s a good platform for collaborations with influencers who have a large following. Send them a direct message to ask if they would be willing to collaborate for free to raise awareness about an important issue – in this case, safe migration. You can also find other people who are creating content about migration and share their content on your platform.
- WhatsApp is widely used in West Africa. WhatsApp Business is growing but not all functions are available in West Africa yet. It’s important for two-way communication. You can also prepare common questions and answers for so people can click on a question and get the answer immediately. It’s useful for creating groups too. You can easily share information about events and activities.
- YouTube allows you to centralize your content. If you make a lot of videos, having one YouTube channel with all the videos can be useful. YouTube has a huge audience and you can pay for ads to promote your content. Having a YouTube channel gives your association as higher ranking in Google search results.
- LinkedIn is a professional networking platform. You will have a higher ranking in search engines but also access to other people working on the same issue, which gives you more credibility and potential access to funds.
- Twitter is a platform where you can raise brand awareness and users are very engaged. You can build a brand community there.
Content needs to be strategic. This statistic comes from the DataReportal. Check it out for more insights about connectivity in West Africa.
Since 75% of African homes connect through mobile devices, your content needs to be mobile-friendly.
If you’re creating a video to use in more ways than posting online, different formats will be required.
Apps & tools
There are many different apps and tools to help you create and share content. These are just a few of the most popular but you can find more by Googling! Many have free or low-cost versions.
- VSCO: Photo and video editing. Good selection of filters.
- CapCut: Video editing. Add music and post online.
- Canva: Graphic design with many different templates.
- MailChimp: Email marketing service for managing mailing lists and creating email marketing campaigns.
- Hootsuite: Social media management platform.
- Trello: Project management platform. Helpful for organizing work in charts and sharing documents.
What does a professional website need to have?
Most people in West Africa will be viewing your website from their phones so it needs to be mobile-friendly. Make sure it’s easy to navigate with a clear call to action.
Be strategic about what content you include. Think about your mission and vision and make sure your content is related.
Having a blog allows you to share more information and it helps with your search engine rankings.
Start with a simple website and you can add from there. Check out the websites of other volunteer associations and organizations working on migration to get ideas about what to include on your own website.
Now you’re ready to get started with marketing your volunteer association online!