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How Nonprofits Can Use TikTok for Growth [Case Study + Examples]

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How Nonprofits Can Use TikTok for Growth [Case Study + Examples]

TikTok has shaken up the digital landscape — and its explosive growth over the past year suggests that it’s here to stay.

Although it’s an entertainment-first platform, TikTok is more than just Gen Z dance challenges.

We’re seeing more and more social impact and non-profit clients use TikTok to inform, educate, engage, advertise, and raise funds and awareness.

Here, let’s explore tips and best practices for nonprofits looking to leverage TikTok for growth.

Is TikTok right for your nonprofit?

Building a presence on a new social media platform can be a big undertaking. As with any platform, it’s essential to assess whether it’s a good fit for your organization, and whether it will help you meet your goals.

Before diving in, it’s important to ensure that your efforts go into spaces and platforms that your audience already uses.

First, make sure TikTok helps reach your organization’s target audience. Remember: over 50% of the apps’ users are under 32 years old, and over 41% of TikTok users are between the ages of 16 and 24, according to Qgiv.

You’ll also want to assess whether your organization can manage a TikTok channel. If you’re considering whether your organization has the capacity to build a TikTok presence, the first step is to ask — and trust — the person or team who manages your social media.

Another thing to consider is the way TikTok prioritizes raw, real, unedited, and people-first videos. On this platform, link posts or polished graphics and copy won’t cut it. Think about whether you have employees willing to make videos for the account, or if you have the budget to hire creators and influencers to build your presence.

Having an employee kick off your TikTok account is a great starting point, but it’s not the only way. TikTok’s creator marketplace is the platform’s official collaboration center that connects brands and creators to execute paid and reward-based campaigns. This is a great starting point for nonprofit’s that are new to TikTok.

8 Tips + Best Practices for Nonprofits on TikTok [+ Examples]

Once you’ve determined TikTok will help you reach your goals and target audience, and you’ve ensured you have the resources to manage the platform, it’s time to get into some tips that can help nonprofits move missions forward with quality TikTok content.

1. Creative is the primary factor for success.

Your content is everything on this platform. As noted above, polished photos and videos won’t cut it. You need a real person (whether that be an employee or creator from TikTok’s Creator Marketplace) to commit to making videos that have high-performing elements.

2. Use the principle of “entertainment-first”.

Remember that TikTok is an entertainment platform first and foremost.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) uses Facebook to share tips and articles about dog care — like this post featuring the best dog raincoats — to establish its place as an expert in dog welfare.

AKC’s TikTok, however, has a different goal: to engage audiences with cute dog videos. This TikTok post succeeded not by educating about dog care, but by showing off the incredibly cute Pekingese breed at a dog show.

3. Leverage talent to bring your videos to life.

More than one in three viral videos featured a person speaking within the first three seconds, according to a recent analysis of over 600 viral TikTok videos by SemRush. Featuring actual people in your video content is essential, and it gives your organization the chance to spotlight and uplift a diverse group of voices.

There are a few key places you can source talent from — for instance, consider inviting folks from different departments of your organization to create or star in content, or tap into the platform’s vast supply of creators.

The It Gets Better Project taps into a network of creators that they have established relationships with — like this video featuring Zoe Stoller — to create fun, informative content for their page.

 

4. Stay ahead of trends and find inspiring creations from the Discover page.

Trends are constantly circulating on TikTok, and the best way to know which content, audio, hashtags, or concepts are going viral on the platform is to engage with the Discover page. Think of this page as the hub for the most popular content on the app. This space also includes featured placement for paid media.

On the Discover page, you’ll see a series of trending hashtags that you can click through. The set of videos that appear under each hashtag are videos that either started the trend or popular videos that are relevant to the trending hashtag.

It’s a good idea to use these examples as inspiration when developing new videos, but a TikTok strategy should not focus solely on reacting to viral trends.

5. Approach TikTok like a regular human — not a brand.

Establishing your organization’s identity or persona is critical when building a content strategy because this is the first step in attracting an engaged audience.

As noted earlier, Gen Z — a primary audience on this app — favors authenticity more than their millennial counterparts. Instead of trying to appeal to a massive audience, lean into your organization’s unique knowledge base and informative storytelling.

If you aren’t sure how to build a TikTok persona for your organization, start with your mission statement! From there, you can narrow down which content buckets you would like to focus on, and ultimately the type of videos you want to make.

AKC posted this video of a dog competing in an agility contest — and despite being filmed on a smartphone, the TikTok earned over 2 million views. Expensive equipment is not necessary to produce highly engaging content.

6. Use a story arc.

Videos should have a concise beginning, middle, and end. Consider mapping out key story fundamentals such as a hook, introduction, interesting turn, and final pay-off before executing a TikTok. Storyboarding can help to streamline the filming process, and it provides guidelines for those who are new at creating this sort of content.

In preparation for It Gets Better Project’s organic TikTok campaign promoting the “50 States. 50 Grants. 5000 Voices.” grant program, the Media Cause team developed a narrative structure and sample script to correspond with the campaign’s branded hashtag.

Mapping out a sample narrative arc and example script was important to illustrate how the overarching campaign would function on the platform. It also served as a useful tool to share with talent who would eventually participate in the creating content for the TikTok campaign.

Media Cause partnered with the TikTok team to gain feedback on the narrative arc and branded hashtag — and, as a result, It Gets Better Project’s campaign was featured on the TikTok Explore page.

7. Keep it concise (15-30 seconds), and get to the point.

Be sure to show your followers the lesson or purpose of the video within the first three seconds … That’s all the time you get before the average user swipes.

You can easily achieve a captivating introduction by using text on the screen, narration, or front-loading the video with the most salient information.

Consider, for instance, this Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) TikTok video, which educates viewers on the infrastructure package in a mere 30 seconds: 

8. Inspire co-creation.

When crafting a content strategy, you don’t need to start from scratch. Leverage in-app tools to promote conversation and engagement with existing audiences that overlap with your own — this can be through TikTok’s duet, react, reply with video, and stitch features.

Inspire your audience to have a dialogue with your organization through the use of polls or Q&As. Also, community management is key on TikTok, so be sure to answer any questions you receive in your comments (or in the comment section of other viral TikToks).

Ultimately, TikTok is here to stay, and it provides the opportunity to connect with an audience you may not otherwise reach. As with any platform, it’s essential to assess whether it’s a good fit for your organization and goals.

Once you’ve determined whether a TikTok strategy will help your organization reach its desired audience and goals, embrace these tips to ensure success. Remember: Experimentation and creativity are key! The time and energy you invest in this platform to gain brand awareness could lead to audience loyalty and high-quality conversions.

Media Cause’s Patricia Camerota (Social Media Strategist) and Janine Guarino (Associate Social Director) contributed to this post. 

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3 Smart Bidding Strategies To Help You Get the Most Out of Your Google Ads

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3 Smart Bidding Strategies To Help You Get the Most Out of Your Google Ads

Now that we’ve officially settled into the new year, it’s important to reiterate that among the most effective ways to promote your business are Google Ads. Not only do Google Ads increase your brand visibility, but they also make it easier for you to sell your services and products while generating more traffic to your website.

The thing about Google Ads, though, is that setting up (and running) a Google Ads campaign isn’t easy – in fact, it’s pretty beginner-unfriendly and time-consuming. And yet, statistically speaking, no platform does what Google Ads can do when it comes to audience engagement and outreach. Therefore, it will be beneficial to learn about and adopt some smart bidding strategies that can help you get the most out of your Google Ads.

To that end, let’s check out a few different bidding strategies you can put behind your Google Ads campaigns, how these strategies can maximize the results of your Google Ads, and the biggest benefits of each strategy.

Smart bidding in Google Ads: what does it mean, anyway?

Before we cover the bidding strategies that can get the most out of your Google Ads, let’s define what smart bidding means. Basically, it lets Google Ads optimize your bids for you. That doesn’t mean that Google replaces you when you leverage smart bidding, but it does let you free up time otherwise spent on keeping track of the when, how, and how much when bidding on keywords.

The bidding market is simply too big – and changing too rapidly – for any one person to keep constant tabs on it. There are more than 5.5 billion searches that Google handles every day, and most of those searches are subject to behind-the-scenes auctions that determine which ads display based on certain searches, all in a particular order.

That’s where smart bidding strategies come in: they’re a type of automated bidding strategy to generate more conversions and bring in more money, increasing your profits and cash flow. Smart bidding is your way of letting Google Ads know what your goals are (a greater number of conversions, a goal cost per conversion, more revenue, or a better ROAS), after which Google checks what it’s got on file for your current conversion data and then applies that data to the signals it gets from its auctions.

Types of smart bidding strategies

Now that you know what smart bidding in Google Ads is and why it’s important, let’s cover the best smart bidding strategies you can use to your advantage.

Maximize your conversions

The goal of this strategy is pretty straightforward: maximize your conversions and get the most out of your budget’s allocation toward said conversions. Your conversions, be they a form submission, a customer transaction, or a simple phone call, are something valuable that you want to track and, of course, maximize.

The bottom line here is simply generating the greatest possible number of conversions for your budget. This strategy can potentially become costly, so remember to keep an eye on your cost-per-click and how well your spending is staying inside your budget.

If you want to be extra vigilant about keeping conversion costs in a comfy range, you can define a CPA goal for your maximize conversions strategy (assuming you’ve got this feature available).

Target cost per acquisition

The purpose behind this strategy is to meet or surpass your cost-per-acquisition objective that’s tied to your daily budget. When it comes to this strategy, it’s important to determine what your cost-per-acquisition goal is for the strategy you’re pursuing.

In most cases, your target cost per acquisition goal will be similar to the 30-day average you’ve set for your Google Ads campaign. Even if this isn’t going to be your end-all-be-all CPA goal, you’ll want to use this as a starting point.

You’ll have lots of success by simply leveraging target cost per acquisition on a campaign-by-campaign basis, but you can take this one step further by creating a single tCPA bid strategy that you share between every single one of your campaigns. This makes the most sense when running campaigns with identical CPA objectives. That’s because you’ll be engaging with a bidding strategy that’s fortified with a lot of aggregate data from which Google’s algorithm can draw, subsequently endowing all of your campaigns with some much-needed experience.

Maximize clicks

As its name implies, this strategy centers around ad optimization to gain as many clicks as possible based on your budget. We recommend using the maximize clicks strategy if you’re trying to drive more traffic to your website. The best part? Getting this strategy off the ground is about as easy as it gets.

All you need to do to get started with maximizing clicks is settle on a maximum cost-per-click that you then earmark. Once that’s done, you can decide how much money you want to shell out every time you pay for a bid. You don’t actually even need to specify an amount per bid since Google will modify your bids for you to maximize your clicks automatically.

Picture this: you’ve got a website you’re running and want to drive more traffic to it. You decide to set your maximum bid per click at $2.5. Google looks at your ad, adjusts it to $3, and automatically starts driving more clicks per ad (and more traffic to your site), all without ever going over the budget you set for your Google Ads campaign.

Conclusion

If you’ve been using manual bidding until now, you probably can’t help but admit that you spend way too much time wrangling with it. There are plenty of other things you’d rather be – and should be – spending your time on. Plus, bids change so quickly that trying to keep up with them manually isn’t even worth it anymore.

Thankfully, you’ve now got a better grasp on automated and smart bidding after having read through this article, and you’re aware of some important options you have when it comes to strategies for automated bidding. Now’s a good time to explore even more Google Ads bidding strategies and see which ones make the most sense when it comes to your unique and long-term business objectives. Settle on a strategy and then give it a whirl – you’ll only know whether a strategy is right for you after you’ve tested it time and time again. Good luck!

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Is Twitter Still a Thing for Content Marketers in 2023?

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Is Twitter Still a Thing for Content Marketers in 2023?

The world survived the first three months of Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover.

But what are marketers doing now? Did your brand follow the shift Dennis Shiao made for his personal brand? As he recently shared, he switched his primary platform from Twitter to LinkedIn after the 2022 ownership change. (He still uses Twitter but posts less frequently.)

Are those brands that altered their strategy after the new ownership maintaining that plan? What impact do Twitter’s service changes (think Twitter Blue subscriptions) have?

We took those questions to the marketing community. No big surprise? Most still use Twitter. But from there, their responses vary from doing nothing to moving away from the platform.

Lowest points

At the beginning of the Elon era, more than 500 big-name advertisers stopped buying from the platform. Some (like Amazon and Apple) resumed their buys before the end of 2022. Brand accounts’ organic activity seems similar.

In November, Emplifi research found a 26% dip in organic posting behavior by U.S. and Canadian brands the week following a significant spike in the negative sentiment of an Elon tweet. But that drop in posting wasn’t a one-time thing.

Kyle Wong, chief strategy officer at Emplifi, shares a longer analysis of well-known fast-food brands. When comparing December 2021 to December 2022 activity, the brands posted 74% less, and December was the least active month of 2022.

Fast-food brands posted 74% less on @Twitter in December 2022 than they did in December 2021, according to @emplifi_io analysis via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

When Emplifi analyzed brand accounts across industries (2,330 from U.S. and Canada and 6,991 elsewhere in the world), their weekly Twitter activity also fell to low points in November and December. But by the end of the year, their activity was inching up.

“While the percentage of brands posting weekly is on the rise once again, the number is still lower than the consistent posting seen in earlier months,” Kyle says.

Quiet-quitting Twitter

Lacey Reichwald, marketing manager at Aha Media Group, says the company has been quiet-quitting Twitter for two months, simply monitoring and posting the occasional link. “It seems like the turmoil has settled down, but the overall impact of Twitter for brands has not recovered,” she says.

@ahamediagroup quietly quit @Twitter for two months and saw their follower count go up, says Lacey Reichwald via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

She points to their firm’s experience as a potential explanation. Though they haven’t been posting, their follower count has gone up, and many of those new follower accounts don’t seem relevant to their topic or botty. At the same time, Aha Media saw engagement and follows from active accounts in the customer segment drop.

Blue bonus

One change at Twitter has piqued some brands’ interest in the platform, says Dan Gray, CEO of Vendry, a platform for helping companies find agency partners to help them scale.

“Now that getting a blue checkmark is as easy as paying a monthly fee, brands are seeing this as an opportunity to build thought leadership quickly,” he says.

Though it remains to be seen if that strategy is viable in the long term, some companies, particularly those in the SaaS and tech space, are reallocating resources to energize their previously dormant accounts.

Automatic verification for @TwitterBlue subscribers led some brands to renew their interest in the platform, says Dan Gray of Vendry via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

These reenergized accounts also are seeing an increase in followers, though Dan says it’s difficult to tell if it’s an effect of the blue checkmark or their renewed emphasis on content. “Engagement is definitely up, and clients and agencies have both noted the algorithm seems to be favoring their content more,” he says.

New horizon

Faizan Fahim, marketing manager at Breeze, is focused on the future. They’re producing videos for small screens as part of their Twitter strategy. “We are guessing soon Elon Musk is going to turn Twitter into TikTok/YouTube to create more buzz,” he says. “We would get the first moving advantage in our niche.”

He’s not the only one who thinks video is Twitter’s next bet. Bradley Thompson, director of marketing at DigiHype Media and marketing professor at Conestoga College, thinks video content will be the next big thing. Until then, text remains king.

“The approach is the same, which is a focus on creating and sharing high-quality content relevant to the industry,” Bradley says. “Until Twitter comes out with drastically new features, then marketing and managing brands on Twitter will remain the same.

James Coulter, digital marketing director at Sole Strategies, says, “Twitter definitely still has a space in the game. The question is can they keep it, or will they be phased out in favor of a more reliable platform.”

Interestingly given the thoughts of Faizan and Bradley, James sees businesses turning to video as they limit their reliance on Twitter and diversify their social media platforms. They are now willing to invest in the resource-intensive format given the exploding popularity of TikTok, Instagram Reels, and other short-form video content.

“We’ve seen a really big push on getting vendors to help curate video content with the help of staff. Requesting so much media requires building a new (social media) infrastructure, but once the expectations and deliverables are in place, it quickly becomes engrained in the weekly workflow,” James says.

What now

“We are waiting to see what happens before making any strong decisions,” says Baruch Labunski, CEO at Rank Secure. But they aren’t sitting idly by. “We’ve moved a lot of our social media efforts to other platforms while some of these things iron themselves out.”

What is your brand doing with Twitter? Are you stepping up, stepping out, or standing still? I’d love to know. Please share in the comments.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

Creating content isn’t always a walk in the park. (In fact, it can sometimes feel more like trying to swim against the current.)

While other parts of business and marketing are becoming increasingly automated, content creation is still a very manual job. (more…)

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