As you’ve probably experienced yourself, the social media tactics that could help your organization are many, and they can be pretty difficult to keep up with. To make things easier, I wanted to share five things that definitely will help you succeed on social media.
So here it goes – five things you absolutely must do on social media.
- Be personal, and be authentic. I’m sure you’ve heard it said before – people connect with other people, not with companies or organizations. This is particularly true in the social media realm which makes it all the more important to give your organization a clear, genuine personality. Try to stay away from messaging that is institutional or is not engaging. The ONE Campaign provides an excellent example: They genuinely interact with individuals on a regular basis and they regularly use personal phrases such as “yay!” “Aww, thank you,” That’s so sweet,” and “you rock!” which helps put a human face on their organization. It’s okay (even encouraged) to be informal.
- Try (and test, test, test!). It is not possible to always accurately predict what will succeed on social media – and the tools and tactics available are constantly changing. That’s why success on social media requires a willingness to try new strategies, tools, and tactics. Not sure what’s working and what isn’t? Test, test, test! Then, once you’ve found something that works, test again a little ways down the line to make sure it still works the best. Don’t be afraid of failure!
- Remember – it all depends on your audience. No seriously – I get questions like “What’s the best time to post?” and “Should I post XYZ type of content?” all the time. My advice? Worry about what works best for your audience, not what works for someone else's! Bottom line: your organization should keep track of its social media activity and engagement in order to determine what works for your own audience.
- Customize the link preview title and description on Facebook -- it matters! To get a bit technical for a moment, this is a missed opportunity I frequently spot in my news feed on Facebook. When posting a link on Facebook, the link preview title and description information can make a world of difference. It doesn’t just affect that initial person’s decision to share your content; it also impacts the decision to share (or not share) of every subsequent person who sees that piece of content in their newsfeed. It has an exponential impact.
Luckily, you can edit the link title and description before posting to take full advantage of the space available. To edit the title and description that goes along with the link before posting, simply click on the title or description and type in your own information. Or, if the link is to a page of your own, you can define what shows up using meta data.
- Create a plan. Last, but certainly not least, it’s crucial to have a plan. At a bare minimum, always know what you hope to achieve with social media before you start. Focusing on a specific set of goals and objectives will make deciding what tools, tactics, and strategies to try less overwhelming – plus it will make implementing, measuring your progress, and re-evaluating much easier to manage. Once you’ve decided on a set of goals and objectives, don’t forget to define what success looks like.
And remember: social media doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it is very important to think through how your social media strategy will integrate with, support, and enhance your organization’s overall mission.
Megan Yarbrough is a Social Media Specialist at M+R Strategic Services where she works with clients like the American Heart Association, the Wildlife Conservation Society, USAgainstAlzheimer’s, and others to develop effective social media strategies. Megan specializes in helping nonprofits use social media to grow their audience, strengthen their advocacy campaigns, and take advantage of emerging trends. She recently co-authored M+R and NTEN’s Benchmarks Extra: Facebook report, offering tips for how to better measure the effectiveness of nonprofit social media tactics.
If you haven’t read it yet, download “The Essential Guide to Social Media for Nonprofits” now. Right now. Seriously, do it. If you did it already, give yourself a pat on the back. You’re one smart cookie.