Keeping Your Head in the Game: How to Build a Long-term Social Networking Strategy

February 2, 2012

Talking from the heart may be what motivates supporters, but when it comes to building a long-term social network strategy there's no substitute for having your head in the game.

The Environmental Working Group, whose disciplined and data-driven outreach has multiplied its supporter network by nearly a thousandfold since joining Salsa, generously shared its social media playbook with Salsa. It's a few common-sense strategies that any organization can utilize ... and a whole lot of shoe leather.

"We're really aware of our audience and meeting their needs," said Colleen Hutchings of the Environmental Working Group. "When we post an action, we're being really conscientious of who our audience is and of meeting them where they are, which may not always be the same as an email audience or a blog audience."

The thousands of nonprofits and campaigns who, like EWG, count on the Salsa online communications platform can light up sharing features on any page with the flick of a switch. Salsa Sharing helps visitors channel the message to their own friends on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ worlds.

Hutchings credits the extra effort EWG puts into curating specifically for each social network for its burgeoning Twitter and Facebook footprints. Crib from the Working Group's social media playbook by using a few of these easy strategies.


  • Craft custom suggested sharing messages (under 140 characters, natch) to make sharing super-easy for your social network people
  • Have appealing linked images in the action page -- essential for making Facebook shares pop
  • Use a trackable link-shortener like bit.ly to capture metrics (EWG's last campaign as of this writing: 2,344 Facebook shares on an action with 31,095 online advocacy messages sent)
  • Try (gentle) cross-channel recruitment: for instance, suggest a Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ share in your acknowledgment auto-response to folks who take the old-school webform action
  • And most crucially, care for your community beyond your "asks"

"We get into the comments and foster dialogues and direct people to resources they ask for" Hutchings said. "People are coming to our Facebook page because they are involved in a conversation. We try to talk about actions in a way people care about, and care for the community that cares about them -- and we do see new email signups and actions as a result."

EWG is definitely a power user that keeps us on our toes at Salsa, and our Social Media feature set has been expanding like gangbusters to help our managers execute their own smart social media strategies.


Custom Share Content

Specify channel-specific share messages for each social network (and, for Facebook, a share image).


Event Sign-up via Facebook

Allow one-click registration via Facebook Connect for supporter sign-up and event registration. We'll fill in their registration from their public Facebook profile, making sign-up quick and simple.


Share Your Email Blasts

Add sharing code to an e-mail blast. Just copy and paste the code where you want it to appear in the blast. When the blast goes out, all e-mails will contain links to share the corresponding web version.


Tracking

Tracking how many times your pages have been shared on Facebook or Twitter, then monitor it with our handy Sharing Statistics sticky. Plug into your own bit.ly account, or just use Salsa's default.


Link Facebook ID

Need to link your Salsa sharing utilities to an organization's Facebook account? No problem, just give us your ID and we'll take care of the rest.