Jeremy Gregg and PEP Graduates

10 Things a Nonprofit Should Know About Using Social Media

old jg fundraising, Philanthropy 1 Comment

20111228-011318.jpgI am not going to write about why your organization needs to integrate social media into its communications plan; if you can’t answer that for yourself by now, I can’t help you.

But if you’re like most nonprofiteers, you’re already doing this: you just want to do it better. If that’s you, then here are ten pieces of advice that should help you:

  1. Social media is about relationships, not transactions. Don’t expect to see donations immediately spike when you launch a social media campaign. Your goal should be to build stronger connections to your existing supporters: donations will rise over time, but focus your efforts on communicating impact and sharing stories (especially photos/videos that can be shared).
  2. These relationships are long-term, not short-term. You are going to need to put in a lot of time and energy to make them successful.
  3. Nothing is free. The time that you and your staff spend on social media is a direct cost associated with it.
  4. Integration is critical. There is no point to having a social media presence (a Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube channel) if it is not integrated into your company’s Web site.
  5. Blogging is social. Just because the world seems to be talking only about Facebook and Twitter, don’t forget about blogging. One of the best ways to use Facebook, Twitter and others is to drive traffic to your organization’s blog.
  6. Make sharing easy! On your blog and on every page on your company’s site (especially on pages that feature client stories/pictures/videos), ensure that you have buttons to allow readers to easily share on the major social networks. And include a photo on every page (Facebook links are much more likely to be clicked if they have a photo).
  7. Create viral content. Use your social media efforts to create content that people want to share.
  8. Establish your subject matter expertise. Don’t just talk about yourself and how great you are; willingly share your knowledge about the industry in which you operate. This is a great way for donors to see that you are the real deal.
  9. Turn your donors into your fundraisers. Create campaigns that encourage your donors to recruit their own contacts to follow your social media sites; for example, have a giveaway/raffle to give a prize to one random follower once you reach 1,000 followers on Twitter. Maybe see if you can get a local company to donate one of their products in return for some PR — an iPad? A TV? A weekend at a hotel?
  10. Be authentic. No one wants to read a bunch of ad copy on a social media site. Have a personality to your tweets/status updates. It helps if you have one dedicated person to write the content in their own voice.

Thanks for what you are doing for your organization. Building engaging, long-term relationships with donors is not easy… but the next generation of staff/board at your organization will be grateful that you did it.

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