Social Media for Non-Profits

Social Media for Non-Profits

Doing Social Media for a nonprofit & running a foodie instagram with Ashley Grossman of @minnesotamunch

This week's episode is with Ashley Grossman! Ashley is the Social Media Director of the Salvation Army North. Listen as we discuss social media, blogging for fun, dream jobs and more!

Ashley and I met almost 2 years ago and we connected over our love of social media. 

You can check her out on twitter at or on instagram at

This week's episode is sponsored by Hipreneur!

Jenna Redfield is the leader of the Twin Cities Collective, the largest resource in the Twin Cities for bloggers, small business, entrepreneurs & creatives.

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I'm very excited to be introducing our guest for today. Her name is Ashley, she is actually one of my oldest friends in the creative industry in Minneapolis. I met her almost two years ago. And so she's going to be our guest today. So welcome, actually,

Ashley Grossman 0:52

I can have and thank you so much for hosting me in your podcast. This is really exciting.

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 0:57

I know, I'm so excited to have you and I thought of you right away because I was like, You are so connected with the social media world. And that's what you do for a living. So do you kind of want to introduce like what you do currently. And then we can talk maybe about how you got to where you are?

Ashley Grossman 1:13

Yeah, of course. So Hi, everyone. I'm Ashley Grossman. Um, I currently hold a social media position within the nonprofit community, which has by far been my most favorite industry that I've been working in. And I feel like it's really been my home now. So I do that. And then I also do marketing for a small board that I'm currently on to for another nonprofit. Funny enough.

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 1:41

Yeah. So I know that you are very big in the working for the Salvation Army, and you do all this stuff for them. So how did you get into nonprofits? I know that you've you've talked about before on different panels and such about how you got to that point, but can you kind of talk about how you even got to your job and kind of your journey through your through the business swirl?

Ashley Grossman 2:01

Yeah, of course. So it all started for me when I had quit on one of my other jobs. It wasn't really a good work situation. For me, just it didn't jive with what I wanted in my career. And so I left cold turkey, which I don't advise doing, unless you have a follow up or a couple of applications, you know, sent out there or you have a job offer is it makes it really hard. However, I will tell you that it was awesome in the sense that I got to really explore different areas that, you know, I had been interested in. So I started a blog, which led to freelancing, which through freelancing, I was connected to the nonprofit board that I'm currently on. And that's when I really started to fall in love with the world of nonprofit. And at the time, I was still freelancing. And while I loved it, and I thought it was amazing, I was meeting so many incredible people in the small business world, what I felt that I consistently needed was some big projects that I could put all of my energy and all of my time towards, and really see a good impact for my community, which is is the Twin Cities. So that really kind of piqued my interest in a nonprofit, which is something that I never thought that I would land in. But I can't see myself being anywhere else at this point. So while I was working on the board, um, one of my board members had done some volunteer work with the Salvation Army, and they saw that they were hiring for Social Media Manager. And they led me to the application I applied and the rest is history. I've now been with the Salvation Army northern division for almost three years coming up in a coma. Oh, my three year anniversary. Whoo. Yeah, um, but yeah, it's just been an incredible experience. And I don't regret a minute of anything that I've ever done.

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 3:59

So well, was the How did you get the job? Like you just applied? Did you meet with the people? Was there a lot of applicants? Like how did I don't know if I even know this?

Ashley Grossman 4:09

Sure. So it, yes, all I really did was apply. But um, I actually did multiple rounds of interviews with them, because it had come down to me and another candidate, which I later found out. And Funny enough, the deciding moment for my current team, all funnel down to one document that I had created for a small business when I just started. And this was a branding and strategy guide document that I put a lot of time and energy into. I mean, it was a passion project for me at the time. And so I made sure it was well designed, nicely laid out. And it was something that even a person who has no prior social media experience can use and really find valuable. And that documents was what really pushed the envelope for them, help them realize like, Okay, this is the person that I want, because, and I let it later told me this, it was just so detailed, that they couldn't possibly turn me down for that. So that was really how I got in the field.

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 5:16

That's really good, because it shows exactly what you would do on the job as well. And I feel like that really made you stood apart. So what is some advice that you'd give to someone who's maybe looking for a job in social media marketing or any type of job? And to try to like make them stand out from the crowd? Is that something that you should? They should do?

Ashley Grossman 5:36

Oh, absolutely. I mean, when you're in social media, I feel like you need to have some sort of passion project, whether that's, you know, a branded Instagram account that you just use, and you create with, um, or if that's a Twitter chat that you decided to host, whatever that one little side hustle or passion project is. Go with it and own it. Like you Jenna, I know that you do a lot with video, and you've really become like, a leader in our community with that. So

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 6:09

I think there's definitely value in sticking with one big thing and working in for sure. So I know that I've heard from people in the past that say that their blog, they don't like to share it on their resume. Do you think that putting a personal blog on a resume is a good idea? No,

Ashley Grossman 6:26

of course. Um, I actually did. But you know, I did that when I was applying at the Salvation Army. So I should backpedal? Yes, it was that document. But it was also my work with my blog, because I had submitted a piece that I wrote on a restaurant that I attended. And at that time, I was writing for a food blog, my own little blog out in the internet, that wasn't really doing too much, but it was fulfilling for me. And I submitted that with them. And from that it really demonstrated to my team, okay, this girl knows how to write and she knows how to work WordPress on the back end, is just another hurdle that they were looking for in their application process. So that really helped me land that job as well. And it's just been a fun thing for me to do through the years.

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 7:13

So you currently do all of the social media for the Northern division? Can you kind of explain how that works? How the all the different? Like, because I know you do a lot of different and we talked before about like how there's a bunch of different Facebook, like groups and different pages and stuff. So how do you keep track of all the different social media accounts that you have to manage every day.

Ashley Grossman 7:33

So one of the nice parts about being a part of the Salvation Army is the fact that we're part of a larger brand. And with a larger brand comes access to more management tools. So the biggest one that we use to manage all of these is our Hootsuite enterprise account. And what that enables us to do is form different teams, for all the social media managers involved in that. Personally, I made sure that I every one of our locations in the Salvation Army, Northern division, and when I say that that's covering any Salvation Army location in Minnesota and North Dakota. So in total, we have about 32, Facebook accounts, seven Twitter accounts, two Instagram accounts, one LinkedIn, a Snapchat and the list goes on. And so what I wanted to do is give power to those at the local level. And when I say local level, I mean those in the physical buildings that we serve people. And to do that I needed some sort of tool that would allow them to see the content and allow them to have access to resources, such as photos that I would take for them or content that I would create, and feel free to schedule that on their own time. And so Hootsuite enterprises really helped us do that, because it enables me to form these teams and communicate with them as soon as I need to, or if something immediate needs to come out, then I can schedule that on to their house and just give them a heads up like, hey, this happens, I want to let you know, I put this on your Facebook page, just run with it. So that's been really helpful with some for at least the content management part. Now, outside of that I do host monthly phone calls with my team to talk strategy and to talk about what our next content bucket will be for two months out. Just so we're just keeping with the theme. And we have a more consistent message across our whole division.

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 9:27

That's really cool. Because a lot of people are always curious about what tools, you know, certain social media managers use, and everyone's different. And I used to social media marketing. And I know a lot of people that have blogs, they want to learn how to market their blog with social media. So do you have any advice for how to promote a blog post? Or how I mean, how many times do you do it? How many times do you post it on Instagram or on Twitter? Like do you have any kind of rules of of posting, I guess,

Ashley Grossman 9:56

I would say just my biggest piece of advice on that is you're spending a lot of time to write this blog post. And there's really great information in that. What you really need to do is pick apart different things of it. And think about how you can repackage this in a different way, instead of just spewing out the same Twitter posts, for instance, to promote it. Why not take for example. And since I'm in nonprofit, I'll give this example of a family that we serve that works their way out of homelessness, why don't you repackage it as a video on one platform, and then you could reshare that video on another platform later on. Or you could write a full blog post that was related to the video. And you can have it in that medium, where you could take just even images from the video that you created, and then repurpose it for other social networks. And you don't even have to use the same lunch promoted even every time pick apart like a quote, for instance, or a unique stat that is included in the article or even, hey, do you know someone in need of help? Bring them here? Or see how this one family struggle turned into a new form of hope through this program? Do you have to think about it in different ways like that you have to make that piece of content work for you. So I say it as many times as you can come up with a new refreshing way to package it, promote it that way.

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 11:26

That's really important. And I feel like I'm not very good at that. I need to work on it. Um, so how much are you incorporating, like different types of media in the Salvation Army? Like I know, you mentioned video, but like any of Snapchat and all that stuff, but like how, like, how much are you doing different variety of different media's?

Ashley Grossman 11:45

So how much video are you producing? Yeah,

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 11:49

you know, first is like a blog post versus, like, I'm not sure exactly what your whole scheme of different types of media is. So I'm just kind of curious, has that gained a lot of traction in the past couple years? Have you done more video in the past, like maybe two or three years?

Ashley Grossman 12:04

Gotcha. So our biggest strategy right now is really focusing on that video component. Um, just because we've seen and I'm sure I'm echoing a lot of what other social media managers have seen, too, is video is huge. Right now, it's a great way to show you know, a story or to communicate that, especially with Facebook's automatically play video. And that's actually a unique thing that we've started adopting is putting subtitles into videos, because we've realized that while these 32nd videos are performing really well, people aren't clicking on them to watch, they're watching them just in their stream as it runs through. It's kind of like the tasty videos, you've seen those quick one minute meals. Um, that's really what we've been focusing on. But I say that knowing that we also really take a lot of pictures as well. Um, anytime that we do any video content, we make sure that we have a photographer there who's also taking some still images too, just because we can repurpose that across many other social media platforms as well or put that in our newsletters. Give that to our donor services team if they need to put that in email marketing, different on things like that. So while our focus this year, and for the past couple years has been to increase our video and do it in a more productive way. We still really rely on or photographer to

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 13:34

gotcha. And you mentioned that your favorite social media platform is Instagram. Can you kind of talk about why you love that and kind of what you see that the future of that being? I know, there's a lot of new stuff like Instagram stories, and live video, do you think that's going to be something big in the future for social media? marketing as well? Yeah, sure. And

Ashley Grossman 13:53

you're absolutely right. I love Instagram, that is my jam. Um, I just love it, because it allows you to not only hook in your viewers through a captivating photograph, um, but it also gives you great power to tell a very moving story. And the nice thing about Instagram is there's and what I found that there is such strong community around all of these different conversation pieces. So for example, on the side, I run an Instagram account called Minnesota Munch that just focuses on local restaurant scene within the state of Minnesota. And what I found there is that the community has been super supportive of one another, and you come to almost see these people in their daily life and you get to know who they are in her who their personalities are. And through Instagram, um, there's a ton of opportunity to meet up afterwards, because they'll host foodie events specifically, come meet the foodies of Minnesota, and, you know, share your Instagram posts. So that's what I've really loved about Instagram, and it's just broken down the barriers to, um, you know, meeting other people across the country to, I've met one of my closest Instagram or friends from a simple post related to a brewery that I was at, later found out that he was into hiking and photography. And so from there, I was able to get connected with other photographers and build my skills in that area too. So it's just a great I hesitate to say forum because it's not a forum, but it's a great space just to learn from people and ask questions and really get into the personal lives of these Instagram's

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 15:39

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Ashley Grossman 17:05

Oh, my gosh, um, where to start? I think the biggest one is just a sense of community, or particularly for me around social media, in the nonprofit realm, I tend to find that I struggle a little bit finding those who are active on social and who specifically have the role of Social Media Manager. So to connect with my peers, also in social media, and just talk about know what's happening in the industry, what are some like cool things that you're trying or just even offered by Central what we're trying, I think that's really powerful. And that's something that anyone at any age could really benefit from. And so that's probably my favorite part about networking. Um, but my other one, and I kind of alluded to this, you just get to learn, there's so many opportunities to learn about a new skill that you may want to improve on or just to connect with someone who may have that skill. And then you can form this partnership or mentorship with them. So if you haven't tried networking, I definitely advocate it, there's plenty of tools to get started. I mean, I'm a fan of LinkedIn, I've met a couple of my most closest mentors at this point on LinkedIn, just because I saw that they had a career that was pretty related to mine. And all it took was a simple, hey, I see you work at you know, this position in this company. You know, this is a nonprofit group, too. And I'm just kind of getting my feet wet within the nonprofit sector. Would it be okay, if we connected some time over tea or coffee? And just kind of chatted through a few things?

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 18:39

Yeah. I mean, I think a lot of people are finding people first through the internet, and then meeting in real life. Do you have any, like other networking events that you have really liked in the past, where you just go and show up and meet people is there ones that you'd recommend to people, just,

Ashley Grossman 18:56

personally, I love the social media breakfast, gathering those happened once every month. And like the name, it's all about social media. So beforehand, I typically arrive pretty early, just so I have time to talk with a lot of different people who are there. Because for me, it's super great being in a room filled with social media manager, the conversations are just different, and it's exciting, and it pumps you up. Um, so I would highly recommend that one for anyone is social media, um, I just attended one, the Business Marketing Association. That one was great to it. This one was a more intimate setting. And I think I love that more, just because you had time to really spend with the people there and get to know who they are into conversations. And I've actually followed up with a couple of them say that this event was last night. So that was really kind of cool. Just to see that all in action.

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 19:50

And your panelists there, so shout out to you. I was there as well. So that was pretty cool. So do you like like public speaking? Is that something that you enjoy? Or what are some of your passions on the side of social media?

Ashley Grossman 20:04

Oh, my gosh, um, I. So on your point about public speaking, that is definitely a skill that I need to grow in. Personally, I'm speaking in front of crowds is a little tough. I'm not going to lie. But I think what really helps is just putting myself in that situation. And of course, preparing for it always, you know, is a bonus. But that's something that I personally know I need to grow when I would call it definitely a weakness. But that's what made the panel last night so much more incredible for me was because it was an intimate setting. And it was a nice way to just tell my story and to get used to that kind of skill set. So public speaking, I'm getting there. It's warming up to me a little bit. Um, but on the side, I'm actually diving into photography. Oh, really? Yes, me for maybe for personal reasons at this point. Um, but I do want to move into more nature and wildlife photography, just because one of my passions is hiking, and anything that I can do to support the Lake Superior hiking trail is.

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 21:12

So where are your favorite places to like, I know it's harder to hike in the cities. But like, do do that around here. Like Where's your favorite places to go? around here, I'm

Ashley Grossman 21:23

actually at the State Park isn't too far away from here at all. It's. So if you're in the middle of Minneapolis, it'll take you maybe 3540 minutes to get to. And it's by a ski resort, remember? Yeah. But fall is gorgeous. You mean to go on the top of the block, and you can look out and the trees are fantastic. So I highly recommend going there. But there's even just get great places to walk in the cities. And when I say hi, that can mean anything from you know, going across stone arch bridge and walking around the river way. Or even just going on the grid anyway, which is a local bike trail here in Minneapolis. Yeah.

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 22:04

Yeah. So speaking of Minneapolis, most of the people listening are probably from the area. So you said you're a big foodie, what is your favorite restaurant?

Ashley Grossman 22:12

Oh, man, we're gonna have to narrow this down by different niches. Oh my, so chimeras zoo in the northeast has my heart. Um, it's a local Ecuadorian place. And it's, it's literally a hole in the wall, you can maybe fit all of 30 people in a row. But it is so worth that the food is so amazing. And just so rich with flavor, I highly recommend taking a trip to Chimborazo.

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 22:39

I need to go there, because I have never heard of that one. So, yeah, so kind of wrapping up a little bit. I mean, so going forward with your career? How are you? I'm happy as to salvation army. Are you gonna continue to do that for a while? What is kind of your your master plan? I you just happy with the way it is right now?

Ashley Grossman 22:59

Yeah, fair question. Um, I am actually really happy where I'm at right now, for a couple of reasons. I'm on a team that supports education and growing your skill set. So if ever, we do want to learn new things, I mean, they really push you, you know, go do it. You know, try it out, try again. And I think that's so crucial to any sort of role is that experimental process like, you can only grow from your mistakes. And that only happens if you're learning new skills. So that's wonderful. But I'm actually starting to become a part of more national teams, and working with people from our west coast, Salvation Army locations, and then pretty soon, I'm actually launching a whole new process with the team of from the Midwest, that will affect everyone in the middle of the country here. So that's a really exciting move for me and can't wait to see what turns out.

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 23:56

So do you have any other advice about either so social media marketing, or finding a job that you love? Like, I know, you talked about how you, you, you weren't? Sure? When you first started, you found your dream job? And then you realize it wasn't your dream job? Can you talk a little bit about like, how you know that the job that you're at is the one I guess it's kind of like dating, it's like, you, you like, you know, it's the one you know,

Ashley Grossman 24:21

exactly like day to day, that's a perfect metaphor. Um, but one of the things that really helped clarify that just one job that might x dream that I broke up with, um, was not the job for me. And I really go back to a speech that Steve Jobs gave years and years ago, and I'm sure you know it very well. It's a Stanford speech. But one point that really stuck with me is, you know, when you wake up every day, ask yourself, is what you're doing today worth trading a day in your life for? Many times, the answer is no, something has to change. And that really stuck with me through that whole time. Because that was the reality for me at that point, I was waking up. And the last thing I wanted to do was go to work, the work that I was doing was the last thing that I wanted to do. And so when I started at the Salvation Army, mean, after you know, the honeymoon phase was done. That's something that I would just kind of reflect on and ask myself, is what I'm going to do today, worth spending a day in my life for. And you know, it's been really great to this point, I haven't, there's been some no days, but that's going to come. I mean, you're always going to have those days where it's like, I would rather not produce this video, because it's bit challenging, but you got to push through it. And if you push through it, and you still love what you're doing, then that's all worth it. That's how you know you found your job.

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 25:53

That's really good to know. Because a lot of people they search for a long time, and they think that one thing is going to make them happy. Like for me when I was in college, I thought I was going to have a corporate job. And now that I've become like almost an entrepreneur, I'm like, why did I ever think that I wanted to be a corporate? Like it's just not for me. And like, it took me until I graduated even like started to think about that be like, oh, maybe I don't want to be in the corporate world. So yeah, any last minute tips, suggestions for people that have just moved to the Twin Cities, any places they should check out?

Ashley Grossman 26:27

Oh, my gosh, well, first, if you move to the Twin Cities, definitely reach out on social media, like work doesn't work. That's how I met some of my closest pals in the creative field. And it just took a simple like tweet, Hey, can we meet for coffee? It happened, but some places that you should definitely check out. Um, oh, man. Definitely go on the caffeine crawl when it comes around. If you're a coffee addict, addict like myself, this will show you all the best coffee spots within the Twin Cities in one. Awesome like, way to caffeinated day reminder water. Um, but also make sure to check out many hot falls. There's a lot of good hiking pants around there. And it's just gorgeous. And in the winter, when it's frozen, you can go behind the waterfall, check it out, and it makes for amazing photography,

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 27:26

for sure. So how can we all find you on social media if we want to follow you and get in touch with you? So what are your handles?

Ashley Grossman 27:34

Yes, speed round. So on Twitter, it's just at Ashley Grossman and Grossman is spelled exactly as it sounds. gr o SS ma n. Instagram. It's backwards. So it's at Grossman underscore Ashley had to trick you. Okay. LinkedIn, it's just Ashley Grossman. 13. Okay,

Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective 27:59

cool. Well, thank you so much for joining us on the conversations with creative podcast, episode number two. I hope you guys have enjoyed this and I'll talk to you next time. Thank you so much for listening to the Twin Cities collective podcast conversations with creatives. If you liked this podcast, make sure to give us a review on iTunes and let us know how we're doing. If you're interested in becoming a sponsor, or a guest on the podcast, please go to Twin Cities collective calm to learn more. Thanks again to Ellie Marie design for creating our cover art and for Nikolai headless for the use of the song in the intro intro. Thanks again for listening to conversations with creatives. We'll see you guys next time.