This is a guest post by Megan Knight, intern at Dawn Westerberg Consulting LLC
- Cost-effective: Implementing social media for your organization is free. Yes, you read that right-free. As mentioned above, most nonprofits do not have the financial freedom to throw at marketing efforts. Each endeavor needs to be carefully thought out, especially if it’s costing organizational dollars. True, some sites have premium memberships that may require a fee, but the basic membership is most likely free of charge. You can promote your organization in a number of ways at little or no cost with social media. It’s certainly effective, why not go for it?
- Connect with the right audience: Social media allows an organization to connect with the right individuals who need their services or are passionate about the cause. It offers a direct line of communication- to share stories, to offer advice, anything that your audience needs- you can be aware of it and can find a way to fill the void.
- Collaboration: With so many forms of social media and social networking the ability to collaborate is substantial. Someone can reply to a tweet, a wall post, a video and that can spark ideas and partnerships to benefit business. Share ideas. Start a wiki about a topic and watch the amount of information explode. Be creative, you can find some pretty incredible opportunities.
- Accessibility: Social media can make an organization so much more accessible. Patrons can donate online, share links, videos, tweet about you, and even contact you directly (and almost instantly). On an SEO side, social media gives Google (and other search engines) more content to use to increase your rankings and visibility.
So, hopefully I have convinced you to consider (or reconsider) social media. Next, I am going to cover 5 social media vehicles and how nonprofits can use them to their advantage. Then, offer up some advice on how to utilize social media to get the most out of it.
- Be active: Social media is not for the faint of heart. If you plan on implementing social media, the best way to see results is to be active. Post consistently and update each site accordingly. Ensure that all contact information is correct as well as the organizational mission and links.
- Don’t be afraid to collaborate: Not just with other organizations but with of your sites. Link your tweets and wall posts back to your website. If you post a video, make sure you tell people about it. Embed it on your website, or share it on your tweets. If you’re at an organization event, check-in- let others know.
- Be prepared for the naysayers: Keep in mind that with social media, anyone can voice their opinion. If you have some negative feedback, address it. If the possibility concerns you, set-up some comment moderation method. If that’s not possible, that form of social media may not be for you.
- Talk back: If people ask you questions or respond! You don’t have to answer every single post, but a few here and there shows your followers that you’re engaged. Retweet good words, like wall posts, respond to video comments- show others you listen.
- Get feedback: Figure out what social media works for you and what doesn’t. Ask your fans, they’ll tell you! If you get a lot more followers than YouTube subscribers, you might want to focus more on tweets. Track your activity, use the Insights Dashboard on Facebook or Twitter Analyzer, and stay informed.