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Social Media: A Day-By-Day Guide
By now, many of you have put up a Facebook page for your organization. Or started a Twitter account. Or maybe you’ve talked about doing one of these, but haven’t actually gotten around to creating it because – well, what do you do once it’s up?
Social media is, by its very nature, dynamic. It requires constant attention – updates, responses, links to other organizations or articles. And this can be overwhelming.
The key is to set aside a specific amount of time every day (yes, every day!) to manage these various accounts and focus on your core goals. This doesn’t need to take more than 30 minutes.
First, pick one person at your organization, preferably someone in communications or fundraising, and put him/her in charge. This staff member shouldn’t have to run every written word by a committee for approval, but should be trusted enough to post and respond on his/her own.
Second, find a social media outlet that works well for your organization and stick with it, rather than chasing after whatever is the hot new thing. For most organizations, that means Facebook. With over 500 million users, most of whom are active, Facebook is the most far-reaching social medium and it’s only going to expand further.
Third, set a schedule. Commit to updating your page at least three times a week. To make it easier, pick one broad topic for each day. For example, on Monday – feature a donor/volunteer/constituent story. Wednesday – comment on and link to a similar organization’s page. Friday – give a tip to your audience that relates to your mission.
Also commit to responding to posts. Thank people who have nice things to say. Answer questions and reply to legitimate negative posts (e.g., “Thanks, we’re looking into it.”) so fans know there’s a live person behind the page.
Fourth, track everything! Create a spreadsheet for recording the day/time of your update, how many people “like” (or “retweet,” on Twitter) your status, how many comments you get, how many followers or friends you have, etc. Whenever you post a link, use a service like bit.ly, which allows you to track how many people click through on your link. On Facebook, explore the Insights program, which gives you even more information about your metrics. On Twitter, try HootSuite for the same function.
The hardest part about social media is getting started. You have to join the conversation to truly understand how it works. Engage other organizations or other people who are already doing a great job; you’ll learn from them, and who knows, maybe one day they’ll link to you! Ask them questions. Or maybe just “like” their statuses. They may not respond but, trust me, they’ll notice.
It will take time to ramp up your social media presence. But the only way to grow is to get started. It’s ok if you stumble or struggle at first; as long as you stick with it, it will get better. Of course, if it doesn’t, give me a call; I’d be happy to give you a few specific pointers! You can contact us at: email@example.com, (215) 625-9955.
Schultz & Williams is a national consulting firm based in Philadelphia providing management, fundraising and marketing consulting for nonprofit organizations, along with full-service direct marketing, database and creative/production services.