Our Fall Training Series is in full swing. We facilitated a training yesterday for nonprofit professionals on engaging with their audiences through social media. I was pleased and proud of this group. They were inquistive, open to ideas, and ready to get down to work. They had their Thinking Caps on and were ready to go.
What continues to surprise me; however, is how many nonprofits in Indianapolis do not have any kind of social media plan in place. This puts nonprofits far, far behind their for-profit counterparts and means that they may not be as effective as they could be in reaching their audiences and constituents through social media. Think of a social media plan as a roadmap (or, if we want to be hip, a GPS)–you can’t get to your destination if you don’t know where you’re going.
We utilized a fantastic tool yesterday and I wanted to share it. Last July, Idealware published the “Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide.” In all the research I’ve done, this is, hands-down, one of the best tools out there. The Decision Guide also has a Workbook (at the end of the PDF). I would encourage ALL nonprofits to take a look at this tool and use the Workbook to start the planning process. (Even if you already have a plan, it’s a good refresher). The Workbook is straightfoward and easy to use. Click here to download a free copy of the Decision Guide.
Here are some key points from yesterday’s training:
- Inclusiveness is crucial. All programs and departments should have goals/objectives in an organization’s social media plan. It adds richness and authenticity to your social media presence.
- You can’t know where you’re going without a plan to get there. Setting goals and objectives is important. (Download the Decision Guide to get started)
- Know how to measure your success. If you don’t have a measurement strategy in place, you’ll never know if you really met your goals. Click here for a great blog on 6 metrics to use when thinking about measurement.
- Know what social media outlets best fit your goals. You don’t have to be everywhere. Pick your best matches and work on creating a quality presence.
- Be flexible. It’s okay if something doesn’t work. Go back to the drawing board and come up with another idea.
- Know your limitations. Not enough time? Not comfortable with the tools? That’s okay. Reach out to others in your organization. Don’t be afraid to use interns or volunteers to help. Or, take the time to learn more. Click here for the Top 25 Social Media for Social Good blogs.
- Social media can be a great place to engage your constituents–clients, consumers, volunteers, donors, board members–and allows space to create a unique and authentic voice for your organization.
Social media is always changing. Having a plan helps us to stay current and ensure that we are meeting our goals. It also helps us to be flexible and change as social media evolves. A plan ensures that we are speaking with an inclusive voice to engage the community in our mission. A plan allows us to get where we want to go. So, nonprofits, what are you waiting for? Start planning!