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Jun 23

Social Media for Non-profits

Posted on June 23, 2015 at 1:40 PM by Web Master

Get the Word Out!
Now more than ever before, non-profit organizations are encouraged to expand their reach and use social media. It appears that social media is here to stay, so organizations may want to integrate at least one network or platform into its traditional communications plan and marketing strategy.

Social media is a category of internet tools that allow for social interaction and the sharing of content. Some of the most popular social web tools are: Facebook; Twitter; LinkedIn; Instagram; YouTube; Pinterest; and Google Plus. Let’s not forget about websites! Be sure to create and maintain an appealing yet functional website and add social media buttons to your homepage.

So, why should your organization jump on the social media bandwagon? It is important to get the word out about your organization and to tell its story. Usually, heightened awareness leads to heightened action. When the public knows more about your cause, it may translate into more members, donors, volunteers, and advocates.
Assign someone to be your organization’s social media coordinator who will post on your organization’s behalf. It can be a volunteer or a paid staff member. Either way, there must be clear policies and procedures to address legal concerns and to protect the organization’s professional reputation. Always pause and think before you post. Ask yourself if the content is professional, respectful, sincere, and relevant. Avoid personal posts on your professional accounts.

Dedicate time to post a variety of relevant news and other interesting content. Content should be ever changing. In addition to plain text, people enjoy visuals like photos, videos, and cartoons. Rather than filling your space with random pictures, choose visuals that tell the story. How about a video to evoke emotion or an infographic to present statistics? Remember that the goal is to have your audience share your content with the rest of the world!

Social media is a two-way interaction, so before you choose a tool, think about who you are trying to reach and why. Social media is designed to be a dialogue. Make the effort to reply to those who ask questions or comment on your content. It can be a real eye-opener to see what your followers have to say and how they relate to your cause. If your audience doesn’t get what they are looking for, they leave and typically don’t return. Your posts are to inform the public, but also to elicit a response. The best possible outcome of social media is when the public decides to take action on your behalf. For example, join your society, make an online donation, fill out a volunteer application form, or bring a friend to your special event.

What social media network or platform will you choose for your non-profit organization? If a website is not the best choice at this point in time, then think about another option. Nevertheless, get your organization on the World Wide Web and tell its story. Like it or not, social media continues to be one of the most effective ways to get the word out.