I first started using social media, specifically Facebook, in 2010 after much prompting from my husband. I couldn’t understand the purpose of it, and why would I want to see updates from friends who I am already in regular contact? And why? And seriously, why would I want to get updates about people from my past, specifically people I had not prioritized in keeping in touch with? It is pretty funny that I was soooooo reluctant to be on social media and now I spend way too much time on it. It seriously is a great way stay connected and to be social.
And to some extent, everyone wants to be social. The opportunity AND the challenge with social media is that it is changing constantly. In order to better position your nonprofit to use social media you must first determine your different types of audiences and what platforms they are currently using. What does this mean? It means, you need to identify the stakeholders you want to engage through social media. I would recommend identifying no more than 3 types of stakeholders (at least in the beginning).
Next, you have to determine what you want to achieve with social media. Don’t use social media just for the sake of using it. What’s your ultimate goal? Are you trying to engage potential constituents? Give insider information to your stakeholders? Recruit new volunteers and donors? Whatever your goal, you need to articulate for yourself and your social media team.
Once you know your goal, I recommend creating a content matrix that outlines the different types of content. Professionally, I suggest nonprofits follow the “Rule of Thirds:”
- 1/3 Promote your organization and inspire readers to become invested in your mission
- 1/3 Share ideas and stories from other organizations who help to advance our mission
- 1/3 Interact personally with your audience
In order to determine if your social media presence is making an impact, you need to determine your metrics and these metrics need to align with your goals. And please remember, if you’re just starting out with a strategic social media plan, don’t think that you’re going to see immediate results. You need to be realistic, and make sure you’re monitoring your social media engagement weekly. Look at each post to see what type of posts are getting the most engagement and tweak your social media plan based on what you see.
A word of caution, don’t try and create a social media plan that will be difficult to implement. Consistency is key and you need to make sure you have a dedicated person who can devout some time to it. Social media should not be reactive or an after-thought. If you’re going social, you need to fully embrace it and be strategic in how you use it.