As part of Social Media Week: Toronto (2019), I planned and facilitated the Big Impact, Small Budget: Do More with Less panel discussion that explored how not-for-profit/charity organizations use organic strategies and best practices for social media marketing to raise awareness, generate engagement and drive change–on smaller budgets than most businesses.

I was blown away by the social-savvy marketers on the panel who shared some great insights and practical tips for how their teams of 1-5 people do social media marketing. Our panel members were: Jennifer Whyte @ Oceana Canada, Jonsaba Jabbi @ SKETCH Working Arts, Jason Shim @ Pathways to Education, and David Basco @ Make-A-Wish Canada. This article includes a video of the panel discussion, the highlight moments and hot takes, and one example of a smart, simple social moment @ Ryerson University in downtown Toronto.

Panel discussion @ Social Media Week: Toronto 2019

Highlight Moments

Do not TL;DW this…I encourage you to invest the time to watch the full 40-minute video of the panel discussion. There’s a lot of good learning in it. Here are the questions that fuelled the conversation:

  • 4:55 How is your social media marketing team staffed and organized?
  • 9:30 How do you stay interesting 24/7/365 with content for social media?
  • 14:40 How do you use social media to complement other digital platforms?
  • 18:10 How do you answer when people say “social media is free”?
  • 20:05 How do you complement organic strategies with paid social? (boosting content, paid advertising and/or influencer campaigns)
  • 24:40 What do you do during Giving Season to generate donations?
  • 31:25 Time. Money. People. Which one resource do you want more of? And why?
  • 35:25 Audience question: What’s THE one skill essential for somebody who wants to work in social media marketing?
  • 36:30 Audience question: You’ve done well. With limited resources, how do you decide what’s next?

3 Hot Takes

The conversation featured some hot takes that got people laughing (in a good way) or were really insightful. These are my picks for the top 3 hot takes:

  1. “Social media is free, the same as free kittens are free!” from Jason Shim (at 8:40)
  2. Communication vs. storytelling (or touchpoint vs. moment) using a simple, wonderful example just outside the event venue @ Ryerson University from me (at 36:30)
  3. THE one skill for a social-savvy marketer is…from everybody (at 35:25)

A Smart Simple Social Moment

It could say “Warning: Construction Happening” or “Nothing to See Here” or nothing but coloured construction barrier fabric. It could be a simple communication touchpoint. Which would be fine.

But it spins an arguably bad brand experience into an engaging story about building a photogenic campus. People are encouraged to interact by taking selfies. Somebody or team @ Ryerson University saw the opportunity to design a more positive emotional moment. Which is amazing!

Instagrammable construction barriers at Ryerson University
The difference between communication and storytelling (or creating a moment…out of a shitty experience) @ Ryerson University

My one bit of feedback to really make this a social moment is to include a #hashtag to encourage more social sharing.

As you can see, the panel covered a lot of territory in a 40-minute discussion. We all left gushing to each other how much we each enjoyed it–and would love to do it again. Maybe at Social Media Week: Toronto in 2020? I hope you enjoyed the discussion as much as we did.

Do you have a question you would want to ask the panel? Enter it in the comments below.

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