If your nonprofit organization is large enough, you may have staff specifically assigned to social media. (If it is new enough, you may have started online before you opened an office!)
But many nonprofits are small, few are rich, and only a tiny number have social media in their DNA. You may be one of the many saying to yourself, “I know I need to do something with social media, but how do I start?”
I’ve been there. A few years ago, I was the only communications person at a community-based nonprofit organization. (I was also the development person, and the outcomes person…but that’s another story!)
I knew that my agency couldn’t possibly do Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube, and the next new thing that came along–let alone do them well.
Here’s what I think will work for you: start small.
- Start with your website. It’s not social media as such, but everything you do leads back to it. When someone arrives on your website, will they find something that’s valuable to them? Is your site attractive and easy to navigate? And a really simple thing that too many of us overlook: do all your links work? If you can do only one thing online right now, it should be to improve your website.
- Know your audience. You don’t have time to send out messages at random hoping some of them will touch your readers’ hearts. Click on the link for a humorous guide to audience research.
- Think about your objectives. Let’s imagine you succeed beyond your wildest dreams in getting the audience you address actually to pay attention. What do you want them to do as a result? Try to narrow it down to one primary objective for each specific audience. I know how hard that is. Do it anyway.
- Now, pick one medium. Ideally, it should be the one your supporters use. If they’re on Facebook, choose Facebook. If it’s Youtube, choose Youtube. Practically speaking, you will probably pick a medium that your organization uses already. However you pick, do pick one, and only one–and then concentrate single-mindedly on learning how to use that medium better.
Give yourselves at least six months to become really good at connecting with your supporters on just one of the social media you use. That’s do-able, isn’t it? Try starting small, and watch your influence grow.