Create and Execute a Social Media Strategy

The NGO wanted volunteers who could help them create a robust social media strategy, manage their social media for the project time period and train the team on how to successfully enhance their reach online.
Mohana Vaishnavi Achuta
Deputy Manager - Customer Services (Tata Bluescope Steel)
Pune, India

Mohana Vaishnavi has been a part of the Tata family for the last 5 years, and currently works for Tata BlueScope Steel Pvt Ltd in the Project Management Department, specializing in project management, supply chain and inventory management. Having previously worked with an NGO, educating the children of migrant workers, she was no stranger to volunteering, but this project was her first venture into digital, online volunteering. The causes of women and youth empowerment, and environmental conservation that the NGO championed really resonated with her. Furthermore, her personal interest in organic products made her the perfect match, to help the NGO promote theirs online.

Vedhashri D
Executive - CTS Department (Titan Company)
Bangalore, India

Vedhashri serves as an Executive in the CTS Department at Titan Company. This ProEngage project marked her first time volunteering with an NGO since her school days. As a member of the Research and Development Department, she has experience in complete Product Lifecycle Management from idea generation, the development process, Go-To-Market strategy and creating the product roadmap which is a key component of the social media strategy for an organization. In addition, during the Covid-19 lockdown, she found her new interest which is in digital marketing, where she started to explore and learn new concepts. “When I came to know about ProEngage, I read through the categories and digital marketing was an option. I thought I could upskill myself, and I love to volunteer anyway,” she explains.

Global Environment Educators and Motivators society
Laxminarayana Yamagani, Project Coordinator
Suryapet, India

Global Environment Educators Motivators society focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals in connection with UNO and global platforms for the same. The work towards Sustainable Social Development through the promotion of the Millennium Developments Goals by UNO. A major area of focus within the organization is the promotion of local farmers and eco -friendly farming techniques, with the aim of doubling the incomes of the farmers. GEMS also places a lot of emphasis on promoting social entrepreneurship by engaging tribal communities in skill development, and then helping them sell the products they create.


Project Execution

“We realised that social media is one of the most effective methods to propagate our agenda towards sustainable living practices,” says Laxminarayana when explaining how the need for this project arose, “We wanted our motto to reach as many people in the committee as possible.” Thus, they decided to invite applications for volunteers who could help them create a robust social media strategy for their organisation and to execute it by promoting the products made by the tribal communities they support. 

Mohana Vaishnavi really appreciated the clarity with which the NGO started the project, praising how “the agenda was set very clearly in the initial stages, we were all on the same page from the beginning.” They initially planned that they would be dividing the work based on skills, with one volunteer working on the content and one strategizing and designing. “We identified which skills we are good at and we divided the work according to that. I was good at content creation and Mohana was good at strategizing, so we were able to divide the work equally and support each other,” Vedhashri explains. As the project progressed, they realised that it would not work well if they both work on completely separate aspects. Hence, instead they divided the products and themes amongst themselves, and started working on the marketing of each product from start to finish. 

The initial weeks of the project were spent on understanding its scope and objectives. The goal was to market the products that the NGO was getting from the beneficiary tribal communities after training them on various activities. Along with the NGO, they shortlisted the products that they would be highlighting across social media and started to create content around them. The third month of the project was focused on traffic generation, for which the volunteers put in a commendable effort according to Laxminarayana. The end result was a very successful increase in the online reach of the organisation, ensuring their products were made available to larger audiences, and the work the NGO was doing was showcased effectively. 

Challenges faced

“Four months for developing large amounts of online traffic for the NGO was a challenge,” says Mohana. “The deliverables were a little difficult to deliver in the timeline we had, but we did our very best to ensure that we met them.” Laxminarayana echoed her sentiment, stating that it would be even more beneficial for an NGO if they are able to engage the volunteers for a longer period of time. 

What motivated Mohana to stay dedicated despite the difficult timelines was the project progress itself. Personally seeing the traffic that was being generated on the pages, and the organic inquiries that started coming in after the volunteers took over really encouraged her. “On top of that, the weekly mailers were the best thing to keep me motivated. The continuous support we received from Chezuba and TataEngage really made it possible for us to complete the project successfully,” she says. 

Before the start of the project the NGO thought that the volunteers lacking subject knowledge would be a challenge. Since the work they do and products they showcase are from a niche category, they were worried about the volunteers being able to properly create content and promote them due to their limited exposure. This, however, did not prove to be a problem for the volunteers who according to the NGO “overcame it because of their passion and dedication towards the project.”

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According to Laxminarayana, this project had a huge impact on GEMS, and really helped them establish a strong base for their future social media presence and engagements. “This project marked a new era for GEMS. As an organisation we never concentrated on social media, but because of this project we were able to reach out to the communities, and it was a good reach we achieved. We also learnt how to manage social media and how to use it to our benefit.”

He goes on to praise the volunteer:, “The volunteers were qualified and had good knowledge about the project. You could tell they were motivated and were attached to the cause. From day one itself we connected as a team and everything went as per schedule.”

“One thing we will always remember is that we have contributed something to the community,” explains Mohana Vaishnavi. “I was really connected with the tribal community that the NGO was working with. With the help of the forest officials, the  NGO is providing training in Organic Farming and Organic Products making to the tribal community whose traditional way of life was based on hunting and gathering They are distributing food and other supplies to vulnerable communities, which we captured and developed the content about. We were giving backend support by digitally marketing the Organic Products, thus spreading awareness and increasing the product’s reach to the consumers.  I believe that the best contribution we can make is giving immediate support. If you help the person right next to you, and they go on to pass this on, we can create an impact on society as a whole.”

Vedhashri elaborates: “There was something new to learn every day. I got good feedback from different social media users that my posts were creative and engaging. It was so encouraging, because here it was the customers who started appreciating us, not just a boss in the office. As a marketer and a designer I feel like I have achieved something and shown my talent to the world.” 

She further mentions: “Everyone is taking life so seriously, but our life is not so hard. We must lend our hand to those in need. It makes you really happy at heart as a human.”