Social media campaigns are made up of two equally important parts: listening for what people want and sustaining an open dialogue. To get the most bang for your buck (or your time), it is crucial to understand that both factors are equally important. Yes, information can be shared and shared and shared, but if those who follow the organization could care less about the specific information being shared, valuable resources will have been wasted – time, money and skill – in the worst kind of way.
In order to create a positive space for ongoing communication, understanding what followers want from the sites we use should be the first step. So, how do we do this if we are just starting to wander down the social media path?
1. Know the mission, inside and out.
There is a reason nonprofit organizations exist – to be of benefit to the community, and impact a particular cause. Whether it is education, social justice, fair housing or animal welfare, the greater good that nonprofits strive to serve should always be the primary priority of leadership and staff. (Believe it or not – when caught up in the daily grind many staff and board members often make decisions based on income or reputation, with some decisions even working against the mission.)
When the staff and board maintain a habit of always considering how each decision and communication will impact the mission, everyone will connect more quickly with the work that’s being done. In other words – if we are passionate about our mission, our supporters will be as well.
2. Use analytic tools to ensure your social media efforts are beneficial.
Most social media platforms have analytic tools free ‘ for your use. Facebook, for instance, provides clear analytics as it relates to the reach of posts, both paid and organic, as well as the engagement with those posts. Remember that engagement is as important, or even more so, than the number of followers. If you gained 500 followers but no one liked or shared the information, it is a sure fire sign that what you are giving to your followers isn’t hitting the mark.
Keeping tabs on this information is pertinent to long-term success in the social media realm, and can even help steer the entire organization in the right direction as it relates to what connects most deeply with followers.
3. Google your organization.
It is safe to say that individuals Google themselves on a regular basis, either for fun or to gain insight into what is being said about them on the World Wide Web. While it seems natural to research your personal online reputation, very few think to do the same with their nonprofit organization. There is no reason why this shouldn’t be done on an organizational level; in fact, it is irresponsible not to.
If you are avoiding this step because of the fear you won’t find anything (or worse, you will find something negative), there is a good chance you will be pleasantly surprised with the results! Even if the organization itself is not yet social media savvy, many of your supporters are; and if you are lucky, some may have been promoting your nonprofit since before you even considered social media for communication!
Tip: Put a hashtag in front of the nonprofit’s name and be prepared to be astounded at the amount of information that is returned, even for a small or start-up organization. The results can be incredibly insightful in understanding what reaches our audience and what they are more than willing to share with their networks.
Taking the time to go through the steps here is important for an organization seeking to better understand and enhance its online presence – but why should this be a priority in the first place? To learn more, check out our next post, Why Is Social Media Important for Nonprofits?