15 September 2017 / akkanto / reputation management /

Communicating the goodness

As a social entrepreneur, chances are that you aim to mobilise others. You want to convince whoever you engage with that they should believe, buy or support your product, your service, your ideas, your solutions for a better world. Derek Sivers, “American writer, entrepreneur, avid student of life”, has an interesting view on this. He believes that the most underrated people in a social movement are not the leaders, but the followers. “We’re told we all need to be leaders, but that would be really ineffective. The best way to make a movement, if you really care, is to courageously follow and show others how to follow.”

And what do people need in order to follow you? First of all, they need to know you! That’s why we believe that part of the collective mission of all social entrepreneurs is communicating the goodness. Below are some practical tips.

You have a story

Why do you do what you do? 9 out of 10 of you will be able to answer this question without too much thought. NGOs and social entrepreneurs are a step ahead of companies who retroactively formulate their purpose to fit into a moulded and marketing-driven storyboard. Take advantage of the fact that you have a genuine purpose-driven mandate, leverage your ‘raison d’être’, and communicate proudly on your vision for a better world. Don’t let your story go to waste.

…but you still have to do your homework

Who are you trying to reach? This is a decisive factor when choosing a communication medium. Take the time to create a plan- determine your communication goals and make sure the channels you choose are suitable for the audience(s) you want to reach. In shaping your channel mix, you should be aware of the constantly evolving (social) media landscape and adjust your mix accordingly. It is important to keep up with changes such as journalists shifting research domains or editorial office, and to keep abreast with new news sources that may be instructive in spreading you message.

News value is everything!

Why should your community care? There are only a limited number of ‘World Water Days’ a year (actually, there is only 1). That’s why it is important to tune in to what is going on in your local communities. Local events can serve as a hook for your communication. Understanding news value helps you with the selection and creation of a strong idea for your outreach strategy, with conducting your research, with designing and most importantly, pitching to journalists, publishers or other influencers.

Don’t just do social... be social

As more information is available on social media, the media pulls story ideas from there. Did you know that at least 80% of all journalists research their stories on social media? If you can manage to build a bit of buzz on your social channels then they may pick up your story. Finally, keep in mind that social media are communication channels of strategic use. We believe it’s not about doing social but also about being social. Your spokesperson and ideally your CEO can be external ambassadors of your messages. Does this seem daunting? Then read our blogpost on 5 reasons your leaders won’t do social media - and how to change their mind!

We hope this has given you some inspiration on what to keep in mind when communicating your awesomeness. Please contact us if we can be of any more help with the set-up of your (social) media strategy!


Julie Bleeker & Sarah Cattrysse

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This summer, akkanto held a Media & Communication Academy specifically geared towards NGOs and social entrepreneurs. The above is a snapshot of our experiences.