This is a guest post by Sheri L. Singer, president of Singer Communications, a PR, marketing and communications firm specializing in the nonprofit community.
As a communicator working in the association, nonprofit or foundation arena, when it comes to social media, you may identify with one or more of the following categories:
Wherever you are in your social media journey, here are a few tips to help you get up to speed.
Social media is an umbrella term used to describe using the web or mobile technologies to interact with your target audiences. Social media connects individuals through user generated rather than editorially controlled content. In laymen's terms, social media is your website, private online community, blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, podcasts, online videos, sites where you can share photography such as Flickr, online polls, etc.
For nonprofits, social media is a way to connect to your members, media, donors, sponsors, members of Congress and elected officials, and other stakeholders. It's also a way for your members to connect peer to peer to exchange best practices and industry/professional information.
In real estate, its location, location, location and in social media, it's plan, plan, plan. While it's great that your organization has jumped into the social media arena, you need to make sure you have a strategic plan that incorporates and integrates social media into your communication efforts.
Your strategic plan should incorporate your objective (umbrella statement about what you are trying to achieve), strategies (ways to achieve your objective), tactics (social media is one tactic in your plan), evaluation techniques as well as a timeline and budget.
Some organizations have gone overboard with social media. They are on every social media venue without really thinking about why they are there. Before entering the social media arena, be sure you think through all your tactics and that you have the resources to make it viable.
As you would any other tactic in your toolkit, give some thought to what types of social media will work best for your organization. Consider your:
If you run into barriers to implementing social media, try some innovative thinking. For example, your association may not have staff time or the budget to implement a successful Twitter campaign but perhaps you can hire a college intern to send your Twitter feeds. They don't need to be in your office"”just provide them with the information for the feed.
Using these suggestions will create a social media strategy as part of your organization's overall communication plan. In this way, you can leverage social media to add value to your outreach efforts and achieve your strategic objectives.
Sheri L. Singer is the president of Singer Communications, a PR, marketing and communications firm specializing in the nonprofit community. On staff and as a consultant, Singer has worked with more than 35 associations. She is a member of the American Society of Association Executives and serves as the co-chair of the Public Relations Society of America's National Capital Chapter's Association/Nonprofit Committee.