The How To’s of Social Media

More and more potential volunteers and donors use social media to gain information as well as find causes they believe in.  Therefore, many organizations are using social media to recruit new volunteers and raise money. Of course social is not a single tool but many tools from Facebook to Twitter not to mention blogs and Instagram. How does a nonprofit turn opportunity into engagement and donations?

Creating an account is the first step but without content and resources, the account will not attract viewers. Strong content is developed around a message and the message is developed through a communication plan. The communication plan stems from the strategic plan. Both of these documents identify activities leading to increased services or expanded advocacy efforts.

Communication and strategic plans are created to be used not sitting on a shelf. Working together to develop them ensures buy in and commitment. It is everyone’s role to identify content and push potential leaders to the platforms.

Although, everyone is involved, the organization needs dedicated personnel with special skills to create regular new contact on the social media channels. Resources, particularly in small to mid size nonprofit organizations, are limited. Dedicating resources to social means these resources are not focused on other opportunities or communication tools.

Often entry staff and interns maintain the social media channels. Creating a transition plan ensures the platforms do not suffer each time dedicated staff leaves. Supervisors need to also understand how these channels work to encourage content  from across the agency and evaluate efforts.

Engagement is a conversation with answers and feedback in real time. Creating regular content encourages viewers to check the site often. Material is engaging when it asks viewers for their feedback.

Social is also a great space for pictures, graphics, contests, and puzzles. Leaders and potential leaders like to see themselves and will forward pictures to others. More and more sites are developing contests to attract users.  Contests are beneficial when they encourage new followers or visitors rather than merely requesting current viewers to push a button many times.

Social media does not work in a vacuum instead it attracts other communications tools. The best social media campaigns are written about in newspapers and magazines. The best traditional marketing materials draw consumers to websites and social media.

Creating engaging and interesting content on social is the first step in connecting with potential leaders. What kind of material encourages sharing? That depends on the person sharing. We will explore the six personalities of sharing in our next post.


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