Digital Marketing, SEO and My Life as a 20-Something

Tag: Social Enterprise Marketing

The Best Of…Social Enterprise Marketing Resources

Over the last few weeks we’ve talked about what a social enterprise is, why marketing a social business is a little bit different, best practices for marketing your social enterprise and a fabulous social business brand example. Hopefully, you’re feeling inspired with some tangible ideas to improve or get started on your social enterprise’s marketing.

Today, it’s time to hand out some awards for the best social enterprise resources out there. These tools and resources will help you achieve marketing success, and hopefully save you some time and money along the way. Happy marketing!

The academy (errr, I) would like to congratulate the winners in the following categories.

 

Best Resource To Learn about Social Enterprise Branding

Brand the Change book

Brand the Change

 

Without this book introducing me to this world, this post wouldn’t exist. Brand The Change by Anne Miltenburg is an excellent resource for marketers and social entrepreneurs, whether they are building a brand from scratch or looking to strengthen their existing brand. The book provides a helpful mix of actionable steps, real world examples and anecdotes and exercises to help you bring the book’s wisdom to life. The information is clearly presented in an easy-to-digest manner that doesn’t require a marketing or business degree to understand. I ordered it when the new edition first came out so it took a while to arrive from the Netherlands, but it was absolutely worth the wait!

 

Best Website for Social Entrepreneurship and Business Planning Resources

MaRS Social Enterprise Resource

MaRS

 

As one of the world’s largest innovation hubs, MaRS has a wealth of online resources available about all aspects of social business from business planning to legal issues and everything in between. You can browse their extensive library of articles and videos or enroll in their Entrepreneurship 101 online course. For those in the Toronto area, you can take advantage of their workshops, events, funding or job board.

 

Best Online Courses – Marketing

 

HubSpot Academy to learn about marketing

HubSpot Academy

 

HubSpot is not a social business focused resource, but it is one of my go-to places to learn new marketing skills. They have a large collection of free articles, videos and courses about various aspects of marketing from social media marketing to inbound marketing. HubSpot also offers certifications so you can prove and display your newfound marketing knowledge. If you’re looking for a CRM or marketing stack for your social enterprise, HubSpot is one of the options you should consider.

 

Best Online Courses – Social Entrepreneurship

+Acumen Online Learning

+Acumen

 

With a mission “to provide anyone, anywhere the skills and community to drive social change” +Acumen offers free and paid online courses for social entrepreneurs and change makers. The courses are both on demand and scheduled on a wide range of topics including social entrepreneurship, human centered design, leadership, business planning, social finance and more! Having taken their Social Entrepreneurship 101 course, I can vouch for the quality of this online learning experience. If you want to learn more about social enterprise marketing and social business planning, +Acumen is the place to go.

 

Okay, enough learning! The tools below will help with your day-to-day marketing activities.

 

Best Social Media Management Tool

Hootsuite for social business social media management

Hootsuite

 

Entrepreneurs often complain they don’t have enough time for marketing. With Hootsuite, you can make the time for marketing by managing your social media platforms in one place. Hootsuite also lets you schedule posts in advance (amongst many other awesome features!) to save time and plan out your social media messages in one sitting. If you want to learn how to use Hootsuite or improve your social media marketing, the Hootsuite Academy offers excellent free courses and certifications (for a fee) in these areas.

 

Best Tool For Easy Graphic Design

Graphic design for social entrepreneurs

Canva

 

Can I use Photoshop? Yes. Do I usually just go to Canva because it’s so easy to use? Also yes. Canva’s easy-to-use and free platform means you can create beautiful graphics for your social business without being or paying a graphic designer. You can make images in all different sizes with one of their templates or start from scratch. While Canva is free, they do have paid options if you want to take your creations up a level. If you want to learn a bit about design, you can use the free Canva Design School.

 

Best Content Management System for Your Website/Blog

Best CMS WordPress

WordPress

 

Whether you use the easier WordPress.com or go full-in with WordPress.org, WordPress is my go to content management system, and not just because it’s a free, open source software! WordPress is extremely user friendly for all users from beginners to expert web developers, and offers many different theme, structure and hosting options to meet any social business’ needs. Need more proof of how awesome WordPress? Well, WordPress powers 32% of all sites on the internet, so they must be doing something right!

Well, this is it! As I wrap up my blog series on social enterprise marketing, I hope you are now equipped and confident with not just the knowledge, but the tools and resources you need to help your marketing and social business succeed. Social entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart; I wish you the best as you continue on your adventure and look forward to seeing the change your social business will create in our world.

Have you used any of these resources? Are there any good social enterprise marketing resources that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!

Social Enterprise Brand Feature: Who Gives A Crap

In my previous post, I talked about how social entrepreneurs can create strong social business brands and effective marketing campaigns. This week I’ll be highlighting a social enterprise who’s brand and marketing activities put all of my social enterprise marketing best practices into action. (DIdn’t read my last post? Don’t worry. Scroll to the bottom of this page for a checklist that will get you caught up!) Who Gives A Crap is a fantastic social enterprise with a unique, memorable brand and an important social mission. Keep reading to learn more about them, their work and their marketing!

Introducing Who Gives A Crap

Who Gives A Crap is a social enterprise that sells toilet paper. Yes, you read that right, toilet paper! When their founders learned that 2.3 billion people in the world (about 40% of the global population) don’t have access to a toilet, they were inspired to act. Who Gives A Crap sells toilet paper made from environmentally friendly products, with 50% of their profits donated to non-profits working to improve access to toilets, clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in developing countries.

Who Gives A Crap Toilet Paper

Their Brand

I fell in love with Who Gives A Crap’s branding the moment I saw it. The funny, attention grabbing name. The bright and eye-catching, yet simple colours and design. The humorous brand voice. This unique, colourful branding remains consistent across their website, product packaging and social media accounts so you always know what to expect. When I discovered Who Gives A Crap, I knew I had to include them in this article because they are such a memorable, unique brand.

Their Product and Packaging

As I mentioned above, Who Gives A Crap sells primarily toilet paper, but also other household products such as tissues and paper towels. They offer a high-quality product comparable to, if not better than traditional toilet paper brands (they were Australia’s #1 toilet paper, after winning the award for most satisfied customers in Canstar Blue’s 2017 toilet paper review!). As far as pricing goes, it wouldn’t beat the bargain brands but has a reasonable and competitive price point that makes it a strong contender when shopping for toilet paper. They even have a subscription service so you can get your toilet paper delivered to your doorstep.

Each toilet paper roll is individually wrapped in paper packaging with a colourful design. Their customers often share pictures of their toilet paper rolls on social media…I can’t say I’ve ever seen that for any other toilet paper brand! Beyond being eye-catching and insta-worthy, wrapping each roll individually in paper helps them avoid using plastic packaging (which we all know is bad for our earth).

Their Digital Marketing

Who Gives A Crap is not a social business who is afraid of marketing; they have an excellent website and use both social media and e-mail marketing. Who Gives A Crap does an effective job of balancing sharing and leveraging their social impact story with putting their product first in their marketing messages. Visitors to their website are certainly aware of the positive impact the product has beyond meeting their own needs. As they say themselves, “Good for the world, good for people, good for your bum.” But their value proposition is not centred on the social impact, it is simply an added bonus of the customer’s purchase.

Who Gives A Crap keeps their colourful and humorous brand consistent across all of their digital marketing platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. They share both owned and curated content with a focus on being funny. They utilize lots of images and graphics that stick to their colourful brand, often using their own products and packaging in the posts themselves (sometimes with a dog thrown in!). In the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom they use paid social media ads that focus on driving conversions by advertising free shipping on most orders and sharing their subscription service.

Who Gives A Crap isn’t afraid to be funny! This humorous tone is consistent across all of their marketing channels.

 

Transparency

While they may not make their model of change their unique selling point (remember, that’s good!), they do an excellent job of being transparent about their model of change, their business activities and their social impact. In clear and easy to understand language, they explain and provide proof of how much they donate to charity and what it’s for and how their product and packaging itself minimizes its impact on the environment. They also explain how the 50% of their profits that are not donated to charity are used to grow the business. In addition, Who Gives A Crap shares regular social impact reports that go into more detail about company activities and how they are creating a positive change in our world.

The Verdict

Overall, I definitely give a crap about Who Gives A Crap! Their colourful, humorous brand pulled me in and stuck in my mind. I really felt that while buying their toilet paper would support a great cause, there was no doubt in my mind that I would be getting a high-quality product that would meet my needs just as well (if not better) than anything I would find in a local store. What more can you ask for from your toilet paper?

This post was supposed to highlight multiple social enterprise brands, but Who Gives A Crap is such a great brand example that I just couldn’t stop writing about them. Their unique and consistent brand, excellent digital marketing strategies and transparent business practices and model of change are an A+ example of good social enterprise marketing that all social entrepreneurs should learn from . Keep up the great marketing Who Gives A Crap!

Social Enterprise Brand Marketing

Does your social enterprise use these marketing best practices? It’s never too late to get started!

 

6 Best Practices for Marketing Your Social Enterprise

This is the second post in a four-part series where I explore marketing and branding in the social enterprise industry. Don’t miss out on part one where I define social enterprise, week three where I feature an awesome social enterprise brand and week four where I wrap it up with some useful marketing resources.

You’re ready to make a change in the world, and you’ve created the social enterprise to do it. Now, how do you spread the word? Keep reading for 6 best practices you can easily implement to effectively market your social enterprise and create a sustainable, long-term business that will change the world.

1. Be a business-first; focus on your product or service

Let’s start with a little math; social enterprise – social = enterprise. Too many social impact businesses rely on pulling on heartstrings to make sales. This can be an effective short-term strategy but is rarely sustainable long-term.

Market yourself as a business first, and then use your social impact story to complement and amplify your marketing message. Do some market research, identify your target market and create a marketing strategy and implementation plan. Then, hold yourself accountable to make it a reality.

It’s important to ground your social business marketing strategy in the core principles of marketing. This means creating a high-quality product or service, identifying your target market, pricing it appropriately (if you have a higher price point than competitors, you need to justify it with more than just your social mission!) and using the best distribution and marketing channels to reach and sell to consumers.

2. Don’t just tell your social impact story. Showcase it!

It’s one thing to tell your story, it’s another thing to truly showcase it to the rest of the world. Combined with the business-first approach to marketing as discussed above, a powerful story can create magnetic marketing that draws in consumers to power your social enterprise for the long term.

How can you showcase your story in an effective way?

Visuals and Videos

In today’s digital and mobile world, visuals are a key part of modern marketing. Showcase both your product as well as the benefit of your social enterprise through pictures, videos and graphics. This will help consumers understand, connect with and hopefully support both your product and the positive change your business creates.

Not a graphic designer? With free, user-friendly tools like Canva you can be!

Numbers

So, you claim to make an impact? Prove it!

Numbers help communicate your story and can also build your trust and credibility, all of which contribute to effective social enterprise marketing and building a sustainable operation.

social enterprise video marketing

The world is on their phones, watching videos. Will they be watching your social enterprise?

3. Be transparent

This is part of telling your story, but in social business marketing this deserves its own point. What is your impact? Do you use volunteers? What organizations do you donate money to, and how much? Who are your suppliers?

Being transparent builds credibility. A spectacular marketing campaign won’t get a response if nobody trusts you. Individuals increasingly demand transparency from socially responsible organizations. If you are transparent from the start you will build trust, and with time, a bigger audience and group of loyal customers.

You also need to be clear on what your model of change is. Consumers want to see that your profits really are creating a meaningful impact. If what you’re doing for the world and how you go about it isn’t clear, don’t expect consumers to open their wallets for you.

4. Utilize digital marketing – strategically

Digital marketing can be a very effective and cost-efficient marketing medium, but it can be easy to fall victim to the belief that a business needs to be present on every online platform.

The key to choosing the best digital marketing platforms is to think about your target audience. Who are they? Where do they spend their time? What type of content and topics are they interested in? Ask yourself these questions, and the platforms you need to be on should become crystal clear.

If there’s one digital marketing platform that you must have, it’s a high-quality website with your own domain. High-quality does not have to equal high-cost, thanks to many easy to use and free or low-cost templates and website builders.

You should also ensure that your website is optimized for SEO to improve its chances of being seen in search engines. While a website does not need to be a large expense, it is your social enterprise’s digital home. If you only have a small budget for marketing, SEO is where you should be spending it.

social enterprise

No matter the cause or budget, every social enterprise needs to have a website. Don’t forget SEO!

5. Build a consistent social enterprise brand

Branding does not have to be an extensive or expensive endeavour. But investing a small amount of time into developing your brand will go a long way.

Beyond the basic branding activities of choosing a name and creating a logo and colour scheme, the best thing to focus on is brand consistency. While your messages need to be tailored for each platform and its audience, you still need consistency, especially as most customers will encounter your messaging across multiple platforms and mediums.

To build a strong brand, keep your colours and logo consistent. Use similar and predictable tone and language. If there’s more than one person creating and managing external communications, you may want to make a style guide to keep everybody on the same page.

As your social business grows, building a strong brand is something you should dedicate more time and money to. Until you reach that point, consistency is the best thing you can do to develop a trustworthy and memorable brand.

6. Don’t be afraid to spend money on marketing

A misconception that seems to carry over from the charitable sector is that social impact organizations need to spend less on overhead costs, including marketing. Some people think that any money not spent directly creating social change is money wasted.

Similar to the saying ‘you need to spend money to make money’, you need to spend money to create change. To create social change, you need to leverage a marketing strategy to let the world know what you’re doing and how they can support your business and social mission.

For social entrepreneurs without a background in marketing, taking on the task of marketing a social business can be overwhelming. Even hiring a marketer or outsourcing it can be daunting if you’re not familiar with what your marketing needs are. Even for experienced marketers, social impact businesses still present a challenge in finding that optimal balance between product and story (often on a limited budget).

But in the end, social enterprise marketing doesn’t have to be as complicated as it may seem. By implementing these 6 best practices and making the most of our social enterprise marketing resources, you’ll be well on your way to running a successful social enterprise marketing campaign that will help generate long-term business, and social change, for years to come.