While it is becoming more commonly accepted that social media outreach can be a vital tool for nonprofit organizations, a solid understanding of its power and purpose are, at times, hard to come by.
At all levels of an organization, it is critical that social media channels and the campaigns produced to utilize them are benefitting the organization, without exhausting staff time with fruitless work OR putting your reputation at risk.
- Tip: As a rule of thumb, set aside about two hours every week for each social media channel in your mix. If your time is limited, start with a single channel. It’s far better to utilize one channel well than many channels poorly.
To ensure the effective management of this new wave of communication, one must first understand what social media is and why it is critical for nonprofits to Plan and implement it correctly. In this series, we will explore why social media outlets should be a priority in nonprofit organizations, and to what extent they can be used to support our missions. To ensure everyone has a solid foundation of understanding, let’s begin with the basics.
What Is Social Media?
When one thinks of the term, social media, it can be an overwhelming thought. There are numerous channels that are touted as such, but let’s keep it simple. Defined, the term describes online content, which can include text, photos, messages or video, that is social in nature; it is material that prompts some level of conversation and can be easily shared with others. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram all meet the standard for a social media channel. While understanding which mediums are used as part of the online social scene is relatively easy, the distinction that makes each of these sites “social” in nature can be less so. Are we simply sharing information, such as dates for upcoming events, pictures of our work in the community, and articles written by our staff; or are we truly prompting interaction with our followers?
No matter the channel(s) used – making connections, and inspiring action from those connections, is the top priority. And developing a plan for a campaign is an essential step that can’t be glossed over or forgotten.
The next post, Understanding What Your Social Media Followers Want, should be helpful in developing a quality social media campaign.