Some of my first experiences in social media were with small business owners such as myself and nonprofit corporations. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many nonprofits jumping into social media with both feet. Many nonprofits seem to be ahead of the game as compared to their small business counterparts. Maybe this is due in part to the tough economic times and having to think outside the box to try and raise public awareness and thereby raise much needed funds. If you are struggling with the idea of how to get started, I have some ideas.
People passionate about an idea or a cause and who are eager to bring about social change connect through social media. It is so important that nonprofits learn how to become visible in social media by using the right medium for the task at hand. It’s so much more than just having a Facebook account.
Social media is a low-resource (but not a “no resource”) way to connect through trusted networks to new supporters of all kinds. Social media is the e-version of word of-mouth advertising which, as everyone knows, is the best advertising you can get.
Start down your social media path by:
Spending a few minutes every day reading, listening to, and watching social media. Pay attention to what gets noticed by others (comments, retweets, hot blog topics) and what appeals to your nonprofit. Determine the style that resonates with your nonprofit’s image.
Participate in other people’s conversations by commenting and retweeting before you start your own blog or start tweeting on your own.
Invest in training.
Knowing how to use a computer doesn’t necessarily translate into instant ability to use social media. The hardware is the same, the software is not. Learn to use the Big Four sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn) effectively – by creating or joining groups, making comments, participating in discussions. Many tutorials are available online to help you.
Staff members who use social media in their personal lives may not know the best ways to use them on behalf of an organization. In fact, their personal social media habits may not conform with the image you want for your organization.
If you have a 501(c)3, visit google.com/nonprofits for some great information on what’s available for your nonprofit.