5 ways to use social media more effectively


It’s easy to set up a Facebook page and begin posting, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to effectively use social media. In order to take advantage of social media’s power to reach and motivate large audiences, be strategic and follow these tips:  

Plan. Create clear goals and objectives with measures to track progress. Connect your social media goals to your organizational goals. Are you hoping to increase attendance at events? Use Facebook and Twitter to build excitement before events and sustain community engagement between events. Do you want to increase fundraising? Share stories through videos on Youtube to connect with potential donors.  Track responses. How many re-tweets? How many shares? Clear goals are important.

Consider your audience. Platform preferences are relatively consistent across generations. Facebook is the most popular platform for sharing content across generations and YouTube is the second most popular. What time do you post? Most people consume content between 8pm-12am, but Baby Boomers are more likely to be online in the morning and Millennials stay up late. Look up information for how to reach your target audience before posting.

Remember that social media is social. Create an interactive online presence. People don’t join networks to be talked at; platforms are supposed to foster conversation. Engage your volunteers, staff, and board of directors. It is likely they would love to share photos and videos about the organization with friends, colleagues, and family. After that, your network will grow if you are engaging. Ask questions, share news stories, and collaborate with other organizations or thought leaders. Listen to others and be social!

Dedicate time to social media. Staff time is the biggest cost of social media, but it is critical to success. Remember that social media can include many people in your organization. Draw on young volunteers who are confident online and involve senior staff who understand your organization’s voice. Having more than one person blogging or tweeting will make your organization more dynamic.

Experiment! Evaluate and adjust your social media strategy until you find what works for your organization. There are applications that allow you to track clicks, shares, and likes so you can understand how people interact with your organization online.  Use tools like Facebook Insights to help with these metrics. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t immediately have thousands of followers– creating a strong social media presence takes time! Keep working and be creative! Social media is powerful and if your organization takes advantage of the digital community, you will see results.

Do you have other useful social media tips? Further questions? Want to provide suggestions for future blog topics? Let me know!

Contact Fiona Bare, NNAAC Capacity Building Intern, fbare@accesscommunity.org

Resources: Fritz, Joanne. "12 Social Media Tips for Nonprofits." Nonprofit About. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 June 2015. <http://nonprofit.about.com/od/socialmedia/tp/Tipsstartsocialnetworking.htm>.

Nemovicher, Sivan, Elizabeth Good Christopherson, Jill Nagle, and Jonathan Kartt. "Tweeting For a Better World." Bridgespan Group. N.p., 6 Mar. 2012. Web. 03 June 2015. <http://www.bridgespan.org/Publications-and-Tools/Strategy-Development/Tweeting-For-a-Better-World.aspx#.VW28TWTBzGc>.

Sharma, Ritu. "How Nonprofits Use Social Media to Engage with Their Communities." Nonprofit Quarterly. N.p., 13 Mar. 2014. Web. 03 June 2015. <https://nonprofitquarterly.org/management/23837-how-nonprofits-use-social-media-to-engage-with-their-communities.html>.

Walgrove, Amanda. "Infographic: How Millennials, Gen Xers, and Boomers Consume Content Differently." The Content Strategist. Contently, 19 May 2015. Web. 10 June 2015. <http://contently.com/strategist/2015/05/19/infographic-how-millennials-gen-xers-and-boomers-consume-content-differently/>.

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