5 Ways Social Media has been our Instrument of Influence
Would you believe me if I told you that in our day and age, more people own a mobile device than a toothbrush? Or if I told you that if Facebook were a country, it would be the most populous nation on earth? In our modern-day, avant-garde world, more than one billion people around the globe are connected to a social media platform. In fact, the number of worldwide users is expected to reach 2.95 billion by 2020 which is around a third of the earth’s entire population. Social media comes in a multitude of forms including our personal social networking favourites, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter along with blogs, forums, business networks, other photo and video sharing platforms and chat apps. Admittedly, we’ve adopted social media in nearly every major aspect of our lives – personal relationships, entertainment, work and studies. And admittedly, many of us are committed to carefully tending to our online presences whether for personal or business intent.
There is so much we could talk about when it comes to social media. We could argue its dangers or the issues and controversy surrounding its effects, outcomes and drawbacks. We could even discuss the personal and cultural harm of its consumption and influence on our generation. Though these issues are nonetheless real and relevant, we’d like to take a breath to reflect on everything social media has done for us as a charity since the birth of CBF in 2012. For us, social media has been a tool for transformation and a formidable force for societal change. It has helped us to communicate the heartbeat of our charity and has facilitated us to reach and connect to an extensive audience within the digital sphere. It has surely had a powerful impact.
We’d like to share with you 5 simple ways that social media has helped us a non-profit charity:
- An agent for awareness – We currently manage pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and WordPress. These platforms have been an excellent agent for raising public awareness of who we are and what we do as a charity. Social media has allowed us to express our vision, mission and values to our followers both near and far. For us, the foundation of raising awareness has been first and foremost communicating and educating those around us of the profound need of many children living in rural Zimbabwe. Our social media pages have allowed us to express and demonstrate to our followers exactly how we are working to empower and bring about social justice and change within these particular communities, schools and families. Between our 6 different pages, we have been able to provide an ocean of information to our followers and supporters which therefore establishes an understanding and awareness of exactly who we are. Ultimately, social media has enabled us to spread the message of CBF all around the world.
- A platform for promotion – The second way social media has been our instrument of influence has been through the means of promotion. For CBF, social networking has been a great source of advertisement and has served both local and global purposes, making many local fundraising and charity events possible for us. Speaking globally, we have been able to provide child sponsorship for many of our children in Zimbabwe through social media sharing and encouragement. When organising an upcoming event, for example our Out of Africa Charity Ball, social media has been our go-to and has been an effective and compelling advertiser, allowing us to break international boundaries and open up our invitations to all.
- A channel for connection – For CBF (and likewise for many other non-profits, businesses and corporations) connection is key. LinkedIn has been a valuable channel for expansion and has given us ample opportunities for engagement. It has helped us to connect, network, and create and maintain contacts with those within the Reading district and beyond. LinkedIn has empowered us to access knowledge, insights and opportunities, manage our professional identity and build our network, all of which have truly furthered and championed us as a charity.
- A voice for the unheard – One of our favourite things to share with our followers, and arguably one of the most paramount and impacting purposes of our social media, is telling the stories of the ones who cannot tell you for themselves. Our social media has made a way for us to share the testimonies of many of the children that we care for in Zimbabwe, creating a direct connection between our supporters and our children. Sharing testimonies, photos and videos has allowed all of our followers to embark on our journey of bringing hope to rural Zimbabwe, replacing statistics with realities, names and beautiful faces. Primarily, our social media has given them a voice to be heard.
- Inspiring a generation – Lastly, our social media has helped us to inspire advocates! It has influenced and encouraged our followers to unite and work together to create change –providing an easily accessible pathway for our followers to become supporters and for our supporters to become advocates. Social networking has allowed us to keep on top of the current trends, themes and ‘hashtags’ making campaigning easier and more fun than ever! Whether it’s #NationalHydrationDay, #VolunteersWeek or even World #SunglassesDay, there’s always a way to get stuck in with fundraising, advocating and campaigning for CBF.
Since today is Social Media day, we’d like to say a big thank you to Nina Epelle from Digital Gold HQ! Nina generously donated her time to us every month and carried out workshops with our team to guide us through the best ways to effectively use social media. She wrote our digital marketing blue print or ‘social media bible’ if you will and has helped us in more ways than we could count!
And of course, we couldn’t let this day pass by without saying thank you to all of our social media followers, supporters, fundraisers and CBF champions, you are the real heroes and are continually bringing our dreams to life! This photo is especially for you: