Helping Nonprofits Communicate

message. solicit. impact.

But I Don’t Wanna! (Having Social Media Anxiety?)

Well, well, well.  Last week sure was fun wasn’t it?  Facebook rolled out hashtags and Instagram introduced video. Just the latest in the ever-evolving world of social media. Something ELSE to add to your plate. If you’re on the fence with a social media plan no wonder you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed! Each week we talk with nonprofit professionals who are either paralyzed with fear or paralyzed by the ‘burden’ of constant social media engagement. These valid feelings make it very hard for their organization to move forward or convince their board social media is an essential piece of the puzzle. Does this sound like your organization?

scared of social media

Despite what you think, you can do this.  Start small. We wrote a piece last month called  5 Tips For A Streamlined Social Media Plan.  But, if you’re the person described above that’s even too much of a bite to chew. We’re taking you down to the very basics – why have a plan? If you have one, what does it look like and how would it benefit you?  What does it really look like – time and staff? How do you decide it’s worth it before moving forward? Here you go…

Why Have a Social Media Presence?

In short, to keep you up with the times and to connected to your community.  While the base of your perpetual donors may be reached through radio and print, the next generation of donors and supporters are found online.  Statistics show 75% of donors under the age of 35 donate online exclusively. Marketing tactics including websites, email campaigns and ‘print’ are being re-purposed to be tablet and smartphone friendly.  Your online presence needs to be re-purposed as well. Georgetown University’s Center for Social Change published a study on this exact topic, in summary:

People learn about causes from social media—whether they support them online or off. There are distinct categories of supporters that emerged in our research, including people who continue to support causes online only and people who support offline only. However, there was a universal way that these individuals first hear about the causes and charities they support: social media. For both groups, social media trumped all other sources of information—online news sites, friends or family in person or via email, and traditional media.

Like it or not, the Facebook newsfeed has become a vital piece of real estate, and organizations must think about ways to ensure that their information will appear where their supporters are looking. A “Like” does allow an organization to claim a piece of that newsfeed (however fleeting), as do a number of other online actions, including commenting on, sharing, or posting content. Discouraging these types of actions among your current supporters only limits your exposure in the very places where people are most readily exchanging information today; it’s akin to asking a reporter not to write about you or letting your website domain expire.”

But, Doesn’t That Take Time? We Have Limited Staff and Time.

Yes, it takes time.  But once you have things organized, you’ve decided on your goals and have a content calendar created it won’t take as much time as you think!  We would say the initial set up, branding, integration on hootsuite and creating a content calendar would take you a day or two of work. From that point on it would take about 30-60 minutes a day to make sure you are keeping your eyes on your sites, answering questions, engaging with your community, finding and writing relevant blog posts and updates.  Here is a rough time estimate for you, broken down to the basic amount of time you’d spend on social media each month: (we all know you could spend all day long if you wanted to…)

Initial set-up: 8-10 hours, Goal Setting: 2 hours, Content calendar: 1 hour = 13 hours (one-time)

Monthly metrics meeting: 1 hour/month

Planning a month in advance (relevant articles, posts, etc): 3 hours/month

Daily moderation: 30-60 minutes/day

All in all: 25 hours a month or about 6 hours a week.

Can you absorb that into your staff? Split it up between two staff members? Do you need help with the initial set-up and training? What does that look like for your organization? Only you know the answers. Once it’s broken down it doesn’t seem that daunting does it? Manageable, even!

My Board Wants Measurable Outcomes. How Does That Work?

It’s not about how many likes or follows you have.  It’s about the effect you have on your organization as a whole. According to Wired Impact (great article!) measurable outcomes can include:

  • Increased Name Recognition
  • Maintain Relationship with Current Donors
  • Connect With New Donors
  • Share Your Nonprofits Impact
  • Establish Your Authority on A Topic

With subcategories being: number of increased volunteers, increased email subscriptions, increased involvement in events, etc.

Okay, So I Understand We Need It. We Can Measure It.  But What’s the Smallest We Can Get Away With?

You need to look at social media as less of a chore and more of an opportunity to be front seat to learn more about your community and how you can help push your mission along.  It’s not a broadcasting service where you just post and dash.  It’s all about engaging and learning about your donors, your supporters, the people you serve and those you want to help.  A good rule of thumb is 80% resource, sharing or in short “goodwill,” 20% self promotion or asking for funds.  If social media is not somehow helping you serve your community, it’s probably not a worthwhile endeavor.  Change your thought process from ‘what can we get away with’ to ‘how can this best help our organization.’

Once you believe social media can help your organization you’ll be able to help your board believe it’s worthwhile!

-Lori

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