Top 5 Social Media Tips for Nonprofits
Like super powers or gadgets designed by Lucius Fox, social media sites are tools that can be used for good or evil. In the wrong hands, they become weapons for bullying, platforms for hate, or, at the very least, black holes that easily swallow the most productive hours of your workweek. In the right hands, […]
Like super powers or gadgets designed by Lucius Fox, social media sites are tools that can be used for good or evil. In the wrong hands, they become weapons for bullying, platforms for hate, or, at the very least, black holes that easily swallow the most productive hours of your workweek. In the right hands, however, social media sites can be used to create connections, to share support and knowledge, and in ways both big and small, to make a difference. That’s why owners of not for profit organizations are putting more of an increased focus on these sites than ever before, and the Spark network team wants to help. So if you’re looking for ways to make the most of your nonprofit’s online efforts, start with these five tips.
1. If you’re clueless, don’t start from scratch. Teaching yourself everything there is to know about social media isn’t easy – especially if you’ve never sent a single tweet. So if your not for profit organization is looking to network online for the first time, set up a meeting with an expert first. Don’t let the cost of social media marketing scare you away, either – many of these professionals will offer insights and ideas to nonprofits for free.
2. Remember, it’s called “social” media for a reason. If the members of your organization aren’t engaging and interacting with your social media profiles, why should anyone else? Get everyone on board and keep them on the same page by creating and sharing a social media strategy guide with your team. Outline your goals for each site and give every single person a way to contribute. One easy way to get the ball rolling? Ask everyone to update their email signatures with links to your org’s Twitter and Facebook profiles.
3. Create a dialog, not a broadcast. No one likes to be on the receiving end of a one-sided conversation. So don’t spend all of your social media time promoting your organization, cause or website. Instead, try to create content that evokes a response. One great way to do this is to tweet a question to your followers like, “Followers who are #teachers – which new apps are you excited to use this fall?” Also spend some time searching news sites and reddit.com for articles related to your field. When you discover a story or video that’s creating a lively debate, share it with your followers and ask them what they think.
4. Set goals, schedule time and track progress. The road to social media success is paved with good intentions, but to turn those intentions into results, you need to implement strategies to stay on track. Delegate social media responsibilities just as you would any other important job, and create a shared Google spreadsheet for your team to track completed tasks. Then set aside time at the end of every month to use Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and other tracking tools to pinpoint which efforts worked, and which fell flat.
5. Stock your toolbox with time-saving apps. Choosing to spend your life on the internet is one thing – doing it against your will is another. And although social media sites are fun, if you’re like most people working in the not for profit sector, you probably don’t have a ton of time to spare. To do twice as much in half the time, use tools like HootSuite and Buffer to schedule your tweets and track your efforts. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for new apps, either. The world of social media is constantly evolving, and staying updated on new sites, strategies and apps is a great way to help your team remain as productive as possible.
Perhaps one of the greatest things about working with not for profit organizations is the atmosphere of community and mutual support they foster. Unlike competing businesses and corporations, when nonprofits discover a new tip, tool or practice that they find helpful, they don’t guard it from their peers – they share it as fast as they can! That’s exactly our intent with this post – to help organizations within the Spark network and beyond achieve the structure and support they need to succeed. We hope you’ll share these social media tips with your favorite groups and activists, and if you have a hot tip that we missed, we’d love to hear it. Just head over to Spark’s Facebook page to post your thoughts on our wall or tweet them to us @SparkPgh.
Published August 14, 2012