Maybe you already know them. They certainly already know you. They are your constituents, your supporters, and donors. Want to know who they are? Keep reading…
As a product marketer, I am very familiar with the concept of using personas to help me understand my audience. At Innogive 2012 in San Fransisco, Jeff Dunlap of MobileCause, described the three key personas who interact with causes online.
First, there is the internet artist. He actually doesn’t really care about your cause. What he wants is to impress his friends. He is motivated by the number of retweets and likes he gets in social media. So he makes up something clever–like make up a t-shirt that says, “F**K CANCER.” You can’t say that, but he can! He is, in effect, a “free agent” as Beth Kanter describes in her concept of a Networked Nonprofit.
Next, the curator picks it up. She likes to put things into collections that are easy to browse. She pins that “F**K CANCER” t-shirt in Pintrest, where it gets picked up by Martha-Stewart-types everywhere, and creates a flurry! She doesn’t really care about your cause either, but loves it when her “pin” get shared around.
Now meet mobile grandma. She loves using her smartphone to share mobile photos on Facebook. She posts a picture of her niece wearing the infamous t-shirt. That post gets picked up by another mobile grandma in Denmark, who translates the t-shirt into 3 different languages (in effect, another internet artist) and the cycle starts again.
As you can see, these personas have the power to give your cause a huge boost, even though they may not actually donate cash (or buy the t-shirt) themselves. By understanding what motivates these personas, you can create (or, at least, not squash) opportunities to go viral!