Kristy and Alyson trying to channel Gatsby during their social media match photo

Kristy and Alyson trying to channel Gatsby during their social media match photo


Take it from a self-proclaimed media junkie – there is a lot of media out there.  


And trying to get your message out can be incredibly challenging, especially for nonprofits, who often run their social media on a shoestring (or no string) budget.  


It can feel like you are screaming into the internet void, trying in vain to promote your organization’s programs and events amidst a black hole of updates, tweets, and alerts.


This was Kristy’s challenge at Thrive Thrift Shop, the social enterprise operated by Thrive Community Support Circle in Winnipeg’s West End neighbourhood.  She was creating content for the store’s Facebook and Instagram but it wasn’t making the impact she wanted.  Essentially, She was battling against the black hole. She came to Spark requesting a social media marketing expert to help her develop a social media strategy to meet her goals of building awareness of the store and drive donations.  


Enter Alyson Shane.


Alyson has been publishing digital content for over 15 years and is the founder of Starling Social, a content marketing agency specializing in social media management.  With her background in social media marketing and her enthusiasm for community development work in Winnipeg, we thought she would be perfect for the task.


A social media strategy isn’t posting advertisements about your organization every hour on Facebook and hoping for the best.  Rather, as Alyson laid out, it is a multi-step process. 


Step 1: Goal Setting


Kristy and Alyson dove right into the project at our match meeting by having an in-depth discussion on what Kristy and the team wanted to achieve with the strategy.  Kristy wanted to build awareness of the store, specifically throughout the West End but also all of Winnipeg.


Step 2: Audit 


The next step required Alyson to go through Thrive’s current social media. As she poured over the organization’s Facebook and Instagram analytics she got a greater understanding of their audience, what content worked, and what didn’t.  It also opened up the space to explore marketing strategies of similar enterprises that could be applied to Thrive.  


Step 3: Strategy Design


With the market research and audit complete, Alyson got to building Thrive’s social media strategy. In the end, she created a document that included best practices, key analytics, and how-to guides.  The design also included the creation of a content calendar, a tool that streamlined the work and also allowed for the store’s volunteers to engage with social media and put their own unique twist to the content.  


Step 3: Review 


After a few weeks of following the new strategy, Kristy and Alyson met to review and identify the areas that were working and ones that needed improvement.  Review, Alyson stressed is essential and on-going.  With social media’s ever-changing landscape it is important to continuously review your strategy because what may work today may be obsolete six months from now.  


Step 4: Execution


After the review and the tweaks made to the strategy, the Thrive team got to work. Within a month, the likes and notifications came rolling in, evidence that the strategy was well on its way to achieving its goals.


There will be no more screaming into the internet void for the team at Thrive anymore. Today they are creating fun and unique content that shows off the life and colour of the store. Check them out here and here


Interested in learning about other social media Spark matches? Click here to read how Spark helped three other organizations get social.