Recently, my social media feeds have been anxiety producing, if not downright depressing. The parade of bad news: gun violence, hurricanes, earthquakes, nuclear war, fake news, and more. Unfortunately, if you work in digital strategy and social media, monitoring social is a daily task and as a result a bad mood has become an occupational hazard. What to do?
Quit Facebook or other social media? Um, no (go back and read the link and conversation to find out why.) You could go on a new diet and consume news mindfully. Blogger Vu Lee, who wrote the forward to The Happy Healthy Nonprofit, offers up 9 tips for self-care, including downloading a chrome plugin that replaces 45 with photos of kittens.
Today I’m seeking out examples of how nonprofits use cute dogs, cats, or babies in their social media to feel good, but also extract a social media best practice or two so it doesn’t feel like a “waste of time.”
#1: How To Handle Social Media Screw Ups: Be Transparent and Apologize
Anita Jackson, Momsrising, shared the above apology from NPR on its Facebook. NPR is apologizing for a miss-post or what every social media who manages an organization’s social media presences dreads – posting something on the brand’s social media account that was intended for your personal account.
NPR social media manager explained in this post recounting the mistake and the surprising reaction to it. He had originally posted about his daughter Ramona, but to be transparent, simply edited the post and apologized.
The reaction went viral. People were so hungry to read some good news. There were Ramona hashtags: #ramonaupdates, #bringbackramona, #ramonaforever and memes. And, of course, tons of photos of kittens and cats. Animal welfare organizations and zoos went wild.
NPR’s Social Media Manager followed the best practice protocol for handling this type of social media screw up. He wasn’t fired, and the scores of Ramona lovers even set up a petition to give him a raise. Back in 2010, you may remember one of the first highly visible social media mistakes of posting to the brand’s account instead of your personal social media.
It was the example of the American Red Cross’s beer tweet where the social media staff posted a tweet about getting a six pack of beer to the organization’s account. The Red Cross swiftly write an apology on its blog, using humor. The response? They was a spontaneous fundraiser for the organization, raising $20K, increased number of Twitter followers, and the social media staff coined a set of best practices for this mishap.
#2: Use Transmedia Storytelling to Share Stories That Inspires InspireAction
I’ve told a cat social media best practices story, so have to give equal air time to dogs. Over the summer, the local humane society in Appleton, Wisconsin shared a story of one of its dogs, a chocolate lab named Hank, who was available for adoption, but had done something very wrong. The amazing story telling went viral – bringing a lot of attention and donations to the nonprofit, but also helped Hank find a forever home.
Photo Source: Rebecca Reppert-Klich
It started with a July 7 post onInstagram about Hank, a chocolate Labrador and his fuzzy purple hippo toy, and how the shelter was going to find the pair a home. So they concocted a who-done-it story in series a posts across different platforms (an excellent example of transmedia story telling) about the demise of the hippo toy, suspecting Hank, putting the fuzzy toy back together again, recuperating, an investigation, getting legal help, public support for Hank, reuniting with Hank, and finally clearing Hank. The best ending to the story was that Hank and the toy found a forever family. And the shelter continues to post updates.
Good storytelling is a key skill for your social media team and strategy.
What some of the best examples of nonprofits using social media that make you smile or laugh outloud?