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Is Someone Stealing Your Attention?

    Is Someone Stealing Your Attention?


    To get things done, nonprofits need other people, and to get them interested, to make them care, we need to capture their attention. This is one of the biggest challenges that organisations face.

    The vast amount of online information that is produced on a daily basis has led to a constant state of information overload. It is impossible to consume the information being generated. There are only so many people and so many hours in the day as a result it’s getting more difficult for marketers to find an audience, and without an audience, without people willing to read what we write we have no way of convincing them of the value of what we do. So how do we steal back attention?

    The real time aspect of Twitter enables us to communicate with people at the moment when we are most able to influence their decisions, by reaching them at the very point at which they are discussing events that relate to our work and are interested in the causes we care about. We can use Twitter to insert ourselves into media stories, join conversations and use our influence to reach new audiences.


    Real time marketing

    By identifying opportunities and reacting to events as they happen we can create amazing opportunities to raise awareness of our work and what we do. What is particularly important is that this allows us to reach audiences who are often unconnected to us and who may not be aware of the work we do.

    As our work is about effecting change and many of our organisations respond to the events taking place in the world we have an amazing opportunity to raise awareness of our work by connecting it to the topics that are trending, the events that are leading in the news.



    This is a little easier for non-profits who are involved in disaster relief, dramatic events tend to drive news, however there are opportunities that all non-profits can take advantage of, it just takes a little more ingenuity to connect your cause to events taking place.The most effective way to join these conversations is to use the hashtag that emerges from the event to connect with the conversation.


    The hashtag

    Incorporating established hashtags into your campaign communications can be an easy way to increase the reach of your messages. By connecting communications to hashtags you can connect your organisation to conversations that are already taking place and capture attention.


    Keyword monitoring

    Using a tool like Hootsuite you can set up a search for keywords, you can even limit the search to a target location. This can be a great way to identify potential supporters who care about your cause. The muscular dystrophy campaign set up a search for mentions of muscular dystrophy and specific muscle wasting conditions in the UK. By monitoring this feed they were able to identify potential supporters and offer advice and support.

    Social TV

    Twitter users love talking about what is happening on TV, sharing their thoughts and talking about their favourite shows and, because television schedules are filled with content that relates to the work we do, this creates opportunities for non-profits to connect with people who are passionate about what we do By using relevant hashtags we can become a part of the conversation, we can connect TV content back to our work, to our messages, our solutions and our impact and educate the public about the problems we face and the opportunities that exist and show them what they too can do if they wise.


    Celebrity endorsement

    Socially-minded celebrities have a lot to bring to the table when they feel genuinely passionate about supporting a non-profit initiative. Many social media projects that are otherwise unremarkable in concept or design are able to rise above the crowd and attract media attention because a celebrity’s name is attached. When you use your celebrity supporters be clever about how you incorporate them into your campaign. Getting them involved by participating in the event or creating a unique experience that involves them will likely have greater impact then a quick mention on social media.



    Sometimes it is necessary to shock people to make them see the world in new and unexpected ways. Often our perception of the world has become so fixed that we cease to question and we need a jolt to reconsider the world in its original light. Pictures that shock us, that force us to reconsider, that challenge the way we see the world can be extremely effective, but it should also be used with caution. Some organisation use shocktivism to create attention, but I believe that it should be used cleverly and with purpose to make people reconsider what it is we think and what we do.


    What is particularly important is that using these techniques allows us to reach audiences who are often unconnected to us and who may not be aware of the work we do. Too often our communications are limited to our established networks, and while these relationships are important, to grow we need to reach beyond these relationships and out to the broader environment if we are expand our influence and manage change.

    Using these techniques provides opportunities to reach audiences and raise awareness of your work, but your success will depend on the how you use these opportunities to build rapport and develop these relationships by providing content of genuine value and interest.



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