NTEN’s 09NTC just wrapped up in San Francisco and many conversations at the conference focused on social media use by nonprofits. With so many tools out there, and different options for individuals and other organizations to engage with you, how do you manage it all? April’s Net2 Think Tank focused on the multiple entry points of engagement used by nonprofits. It was a tough question, but someone had to answer it: Idealist’s Scott Stadum!
How can nonprofit organizations successfully manage multiple entry points for social media engagement?
Does the message you send depend on where people connect to your organization? Do you provide different content or appeals to your Twitter followers than to your Facebook group? How do you decide what kind of information or campaigns are delivered to your various community members on different social networks? Do you track how people find your organization?
When developing your online presence, remember that you’re developing a community first, and generating site traffic is a by-product of that community. Speak directly to your users and interact with them; they have amazing stories and experiences. A passionate user base is invaluable.
There are plenty of best practices to follow and philosophies to think about and you’ll discover those as you research your own ideas. Below are a few simple thoughts of my own:
- Use the social media tools that are appropriate for your work and that will connect you to your target audience. For example, you don’t need to spend an abundance of time on MySpace if the service doesn’t match the demographic you’re wanting to reach.
- Your organization doesn’t need to be everywhere. It isn’t vital that you post to Twitter AND Pownce AND Jaiku or that you upload photos to Flickr AND Picasa AND Photobucket. Invest fully in a few tools, and use them well.
- Develop your voice for each tool. How you use Twitter is going to be different than how you would use Facebook Pages. Develop a unique strategy and voice for each service, based on your research into the strengths and limitations of each tool.
- Consider how tools from one site may complement your posts on another site. You can post YouTube videos to your blog posts and Flickr photos to your Upcoming.org event listings. Your approach should be integrative.
- As your communities grow, your approach to sharing information and stories will change; nothing is formulaic.
About Net2 Think Tank:
Net2 Think Tank is a monthly blogging event open to anyone and is a great way to participate in an exchange of ideas. We post a question or topic to the NetSquared community and participants submit responses either on their own blogs or on the NetSquared Community Blog. Tag your post with “net2thinktank” and email a link to us to be included. At the end of the month, the entries get pulled together in the Net2 Think Tank Round-Up.