The truth is there are a lot of ways to use social media to engage with your audience today, how can you choose the best one?
Should we be on Instagram? I’ve heard that Snapchat is the latest, can you get us on that? Is Google+ still relevant? Why aren’t we on YouTube?
If you’re like me, not only have you heard some of these questions before; you’ve even asked them of yourself. The truth is there are a LOT of ways to use social media to engage with your audience today. It seems like I can’t get through a week without hearing about “the latest and greatest” new platform we HAVE to be on. It can definitely feel a little overwhelming at times. So how do you know if your organization should be on a specific social media platform or not?
To help answer this question, I’ve come up with a few tips I’ve learned over the years to help you narrow down which platform(s) might be best for your organization.
The first tip is… Know your audience. It’s an old adage, but, unlike the constantly changing tech environment we live in, it remains consistently true. If your audience doesn’t spend time in a social media space, neither should you. If you don’t know your audience’s social media behaviors well, it can take a great deal of trial and error to learn what platforms they engage in, which leads us to tip two…
Do your research. Not just about the platform itself, but also your audience. Take any information you have about them and turn it into actionable data. Look at where they live, and whether that might give you clues about what some of their interests are. How do they engage with your organization? If you wanted to get really in-depth you could even create a fictional profile (or profiles) of your ideal audience member(s). What are their interests? Likes? Dislikes? Cultural background? Education? Income? An easier track might be to survey those who are already engaged with you to see what social media they’re using (board members, volunteers, donors, etc.).
So now you know your audience, and you’ve done your research, what’s next? That brings us to the third tip… Be aware of your bandwidth. How much time can you realistically devote to this medium? For example, if you’ve determined that a majority of your audience is on Instagram, you should seriously consider being on Instagram, but only if you’re going to put in the time and actually use it to engage regularly with your audience. The last thing you want to do is leave your audience high and dry. Nothing is more disappointing then wanting to connect with an organization on a social media platform only to learn they haven’t posted anything in six months. It’s like when I want to listen to my favorite Podcast only to have them not post for that week – major bummer (but I digress).
Now, at the end of the day, when you’re boss comes to you and asks “should we be on Nextdoor?” at least you have some tools to help you build a recommendation.
Just as #IWishMyTeacherKnew was taking off, our May forum took a closer look at how campaigns go viral and how best to capture that attention into a sustainable project.
Going Viral: The Ups and Downs of Hitting it Big
Just as #IWishMyTeacherKnew was taking off,
our May forum took a closer look at how campaigns go viral and how best to capture that attention into a sustainable project. We defined “going viral”, crafting teams, strategies and tools to develop potentially viral content and work with audiences to share messages more broadly (and more often). We also provided real-world examples and demonstrated how to measure “viral” so attendees could show colleagues and board members what worked, what didn’t, and why.
All of this came from a fantastic group of panelists
Ted Fickes, Bright+3
Ted helps progressive, people-powered organizations with to create, manage and measure content projects that engage supporters, focus attention and raise funds.
Sara Downey Robinson, inflow
Sara is an expert in creating amazing content that has the potential to go viral. She is also well versed in all forms of online marketing.
Meghann Conter, Denver Marketing Coach
Meghann is a marketing coach for small businesses, with special expertise in the virtual realm. Meghann’s clients struggle with many of the same questions and limited resources that non-profits do when it comes to social media marketing. Meghann is all about metrics and measurement and uses data to drive marketing strategy/goals.
Peter Genuardi, Strength in Members
Peter ensures that organizations get the best ideas and the right team to develop compelling digital campaigns. While he has worked with many commercial brands, he’s most passionate about the work he’s done for Sierra Club, AARP Foundation, and the Natural Resource Defense Council.
We tweeted and posted our way through social media trends at our March forum.
What’s Working in Social Media: 2015 & Beyond
We tweeted and posted our way through social media trends at our March forum. Emily Davis started things off by sharing several overall strategies to guide your social media success. Then Adam Fox and Austin Montoya shared many examples on how they’ve been successful using social media at Colorado Consumer Health Initiative.
Emily Davis, Emily Davis Consulting
Emily Davis is the President of Emily Davis Consulting, Fundraising and the Next Generation author; 21/64 multigenerational family philanthropy consultant; and BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer. She provides consulting, publications, speaking, and training for nonprofit and philanthropic leaders on board governance, charitable advising, digital communications, and fundraising. Emily currently serves as Vice Chair for Social Venture Partners Boulder County, Board member for Social Venture Partners International, and Founding Curator for Global Shapers’ Boulder Hub. She has served as a founder, grant maker, staff, and volunteer across a wide variety of organizations locally and nationally. She has her Masters in Nonprofit Management from Regis University and was named one of the 40 Under Forty in Boulder Valley in 2015.
Adam Fox, Colorado Consumer Health Initiative
Adam is the Director of Strategic Engagement at the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI). Adam joined the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI) in July 2011, where he started as CCHI’s Membership Coordinator. As the Director of Strategic Engagement, Adam oversees all communications, media and engagement strategies to ensure CCHI’s policy and education goals are achieved. CCHI has been recognized as an innovator in digital and social media as a non-profit through campaigns like ThanksObamacare, the viral Got Insurance? campaign, and their new health insurance literacy website, CoveredU.org. From these experiences, Adam can speak first hand to what it means to go viral, get social media turned into earned media, and constantly test and evolve how non-profits can utilize social media.
Austin Montoya, Colorado Consumer Health Initiative
Austin joined the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative in May 2014. As the Social Media and Online Coordinator he is responsible for creating online content as well as engaging with community members and spreading the overall vision of CCHI. He obtained his B.A. in Journalism and Technical Communication from Colorado State University in 2013. As a Colorado native, he has a drive to be outdoors and spending time with friends and family. His hobbies include photography, drawing, and music. Austin has a background in women’s health and reproductive justice and advocacy for underserved populations has always been a passion.
How do you tell your story on social media? With Facebook and Twitter popularity close to saturation, what other platforms strengthen your message?
Digital Storytelling Through Social Media; Beyond Facebook and Twitter
We also took a look at case studies from the recent Hands on Tech Digital Storytelling series and others to explore the potential and community rules of these platforms.