Friday, August 8, 2014

10 Tips – The Social Media Buffet: Something For Everyone

This blog post is far (far!) outside my area of expertise, so I invited social media and communication expert, Starr Durrant to be our guest author.
In 2014, not using social media is like not having a telephone in the 1970’s or deciding not to sign-up for the Internet in the 1990’s. If you feel mystified about exactly how social media could benefit your organization and confused about where to start then join the club and read on to discover how to get started.

Social Media refers to forums through which we can share information, network and connect with others. Some of the most familiar types include, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin Blogs, and Pinterest.  For a quick and easy overview of the most popular social media sites and what they have to offer view What are the key differences between the big 6 social media platforms? by Success Matters.

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Tip #1 Find The Right Fit. Social media does not have to be all or nothing – knowing what the benefits and time commitments are for each type of social media will help you to determine which if any options are the right fit for you. Visit Is Social Media for Everyone?

Tip #2 Do Your Homework. Don’t be afraid to ask other agencies what the costs, benefits and drawbacks have been for them. There are also many wonderful resources and training options. A few hours of reading could save you a lot of time and money. Check out: Social Media Toolkit by idealware.

Tip #3 Set Goals. Why are you pursuing social media? Is to attract new potential employees or volunteers, to increase donations, or to broaden public awareness of your organization and its services? Being clear on what you want to achieve is key to choosing the right social media options. Goals, Objectives, and Setting Your Social Media Radar on Success by Social Media Today How to Set Sensible Social Media Goals and Objectives by ExactTarget

Tip #4 Integrate Communication Strategies. Traditional communication strategies like email newsletters are still important ways to share information with your target audience. Email newsletters, your agency website, and social media efforts should be integrated. For example, share your newsletter on social media and add links to your social media in your newsletter.  View 9 Ways to Integrate Email and Social Media Marketing.

Tip #5 Don’t Let Your Posts Go Unseen. One of the challenges organizations have to contend with on social media site like is how fast posts get buried by incoming new posts. It makes a big difference if you know when your followers are online. On Twitter, consider trying Tweriod – a tool that analyzes your tweets and your followers’ tweets so you know the best time and day of the week to tweet to obtain the highest visibility for your content.  On your Facebook page you can go to the Insights dashboard, click on the Posts tab, and select “When Your Fans Are Online.”

Tip #6 Visually Inspire Your Audience. Video`s shared on social media sites are an excellent way to stand out and educate viewers about your organization. A video allows viewers insight into to your initiatives and the people you serve. One road block for many organizations is the cost or expertise required to make a video but don`t let that stop you. Website tools like “Animoto for a Cause” gives non-profit organizations full use of their services absolutely free and allows you to create amazing, professional-quality videos using your own photos and music. Distribute videos widely posting and sharing on websites, YouTube and social networks, or downloading them to DVD for distribution at events.

Tip #7 Have a Policy for Employees and Social Media Use. You may have concerns about a number of issues related to social media including employees airing their grievances and using work time for their own social media endeavours. Having policy in place and ensuring options for unhappy staff resolved issues can help avoid some of these issues. Here are four great links to help you sort out the policy challenges.

Should Employees Be Allowed To Vent About Work Over Social Media? By

Should You Allow Your Staff to Use Social Media at Work? Benefits to the Psyche of EmployeesYahoo Voices

How To Set A Social Media Policy That Won’t Get Your Employees Fired by

Social media and discipline and grievances by ACAS

Tip #8 Measure Your Success. Social media offers great ways to share your initiatives, seek donations, recruit new employees or volunteers and connect with clients, families and supporters. Measuring the return on your investment of time and money with social media should be part of your social media program. Visit Tools for Measuring Your Social Media Efforts to learn more about the tools that can assist you measure your success.

Tip #9 Recruiting Future Employees or Volunteers Means Reaching Local Audiences.
It’s great if you have 1000 people linked to your social media network but if 900 of them aren’t local then it might not be worth the time and effort you’ve expended. One way to attract local audiences is by “liking” or “connecting” with local groups or individuals. Consider requesting your staff to share recruitment opportunities on their own social media sites. Using Social Media as an Effective Recruitment Tool for Nonprofits by nonprofit HR
Volunteer Recruitment and Social Media by Innovation For People Blog

Tip #10 Plan Your Social Media Budget. Many Social Media sites are free. However staff time to administer a social media initiative is a real cost. Set an annual budget for start-up and ongoing management of your social media activities. Here are three articles with more information on budgeting.

3 Best Practises For Creating a Social Media Budget by Media Orchard

How Much Should You Spend On Your Social Media Budget by viralheat

10 Variables For Social Media Marketing by Social Media Fuze

Starr Durrant is the Website Manager at the AASCF and spends much of her time searching for and distributing resources to support individuals in the nonprofit human service sector.

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