Nakhweh, a non-profit that connects aspiring volunteers with opportunities throughout Jordan, has, since its inception as a Facebook page, has turned to social media to raise the profile of volunteer work locally. Its initiative “Give Back,” a partnership with Aramex to collect and distribute donations from Jordanian households, began with a tweet. “3ammerha,” a drive to promote the entrepreneurial ideas of underserved youth, showcases its videos on YouTube.
As Nakhweh faced some of the basic challenges that all startups face- how to reach potential stakeholders, and how to generate brand credibility- social media has provided solutions. Nakhweh’s founder, Kamel Al Asmar, explains their approach.
How do you leverage existing offline networks and try to bring them online?
When we launched Nakhweh eighteen months ago, our main tactic was approaching volunteers on social media, since it's a cheap yet an effective way to reach a large audience. We also typically approach student groups and other social media projects that promote volunteerism, to get them to join forces with us, and we then nurture our connections by promoting a volunteer’s work on our website, posting their volunteering archive, and offering follow up features to keep the community connected.
How did you develop your partnerships, and how did social media help?
Our first partnership began simply through social media. We knew that Aramex invests in community service, so we thought that our “Give Back” initiative would grab Mr. Fadi Ghandour's attention once we approached him on twitter. This first step with a big company like Aramex gave Nakhweh credibility, upon which we can now build.
With our second initiative “3ammerha,” we decided to partner with film production company KIWI Media Solutions, to produce videos that we show on YouTube and on our website. This proved to be a fruitful partnership, since KIWI, as a startup themselves, benefit from the exposure that we give them. Partnership is often not about money; sometimes getting a company to donate services is priceless compared to cash. It’s a win-win deal.
How do you use social media to promote your brand?
We typically use a variety of channels- our blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Jumo, to reach different audiences. We begin by posting quality content from our website as well as from external resources that tackle volunteerism and social entrepreneurship issues. We also do cross marketing with other nonprofits that benefit from Nakhweh’s services, to promote both brands simultaneously. Finally, we also try to increase interactivity by posting multimedia content such as videos and images.
What are your top five tips for using social media properly?
1. Have a solid brand strategy. Online brand image is not only about a logo; it’s important to have an appropriate plan and tone for social media channels.
2. Understand your audience. Keep your updates relevant and within their area of interest.
3. Build a loyal audience. It’s crucial to support early adopters, as they will help promote your work by sharing your stories within their social circle.
4. Be consistent. It’s best to maintain a steady presence all the time without overwhelming people or disconnecting for a while.
5. Stay interactive. Keep an open dialogue going. At the end of the day, social media is a two-way communication channel that can reveal what your audience is seeking.
Watch Kamel Al Asmar's spark session at CoE 2010 to hear more about Nakhweh's approach to social media.