The How has many components to it and I’m going to try and answer as many as I can. Here we go…
How will social media fit into your organization’s overall PR and marketing strategy?
Maybe you’re laughing because your nonprofit doesn’t have a strategy! But for those who do…
Think about it: In order to fundraise, you need to market your “product” and create awareness via varied PR channels. Guess what? Social media is another avenue to market your organization’s expertise and build awareness- locally and nationally!
If you’re strongly considering entering the social media arena, go back and review your current marketing strategy. You’ll need to figure out how each social media platform can help you reach your goals- you can’t be everywhere! If you can integrate social media into the overall marketing strategy, then you have created another PR avenue for your activities.
As I’ve written before, you do NOT want to be a broadcaster, constantly patting yourself on the back for the good work you are doing. If your social media strategy is “look at me”- no one will. It has to be about “you”- the reader. By focusing on followers and engaging them, they will be more willing- when the time comes- to repost your blog posts, promotions, press releases and more.
How will you measure engagement?
Social media is all about ROE- Return on Engagement. You engage new people who never heard of you, you build brand awareness, you use it to strengthen and expand prominent programs, you recruit volunteers and down the road- potentially launch a campaign.
Here’s how you will NOT measure engagement: number of followers! If you have many followers but they do not engage you or respond to your questions/polls, what good is that? My goal is to have 150 active followers who will retweet, share, post my content when needed. Quality trumps quantity every time.
As for measuring your reach, I encourage to take a look at some of the presentations on Debra Askanase’s Slideshare dashboard. Additionally, there are many tools out there for measuring, such as Crowdbooster, Twazzup, SocialMention and more. When you create your strategy, you can look into various online tolls and see which work for you.
How will you deal with negative comments?
Do NOT delete negative comments!!! People will screen capture them and even if you delete them, someone knows what was originally there. Instead, fess up to the mistake. People on social media are very tolerant and forgiving but not of cover-ups. I refer you to the case of Boner’s BBQ- see what happened when a woman had an unpleasant experience at a restaurant and left a negative comment on the restaurant’s Facebook page. It backfired big-time and created a PR disaster for the restaurant.
Additional reading: The personality behind the logo- how to deal with negative tweets
How can you get people to your blog?
Obviously, compelling content is the quickest way for your blog to make its way around the Net. But it takes a little more than that. Here’s 2 tips:
1) Use storytelling as a way to bring people to your blog- people love a good, inspirational story and I’m sure your organization has plenty of them. Especially first person stories which I always find hit home- whether told from the viewpoint of a constituent, donor, volunteer or staff member- a well-told story makes for an excellent read
2) Have different bloggers from within the organization- take a look at the Mercy Corps blog and see how many different writers they have had recently. Each comes with their fresh perspective, viewpoint and a different tale. People do get attached to specific bloggers and writers- but diversity allows you to appeal to a much wider audience of readers and thus introduce them to your organization.
How will you help your community?
Once you build a following, the goal becomes to interact with your online community and maybe even help them (and hopefully they will reciprocate!). For example, if you run an alumni association, how can you use social media to help them? One idea might be to have alumni post job openings so that other alumni can apply or even let alumni pass resumes up the chain for others. Another idea might be to help alumni get in touch for business purposes- people looking for a lawyer, consultant, accountant or other can use the network you have created.
Whenever you can, look to help members of your community, share and retweet their content and yes- engage the heck out of them!
Now if you could just figure out how to raise millions via social media….that’s tomorrow’s post!
I work with nonprofit organizations and nonprofit consultants to create social media strategies. Be in touch- I won’t bite!