Volunteering Victoria is the peak state-based body representing volunteer based organisations within Victoria. The organisation provides a range of activities to support its members, including professional development sessions.
This afternoon I was invited to participate in a panel session on social media to discuss my experiences in utilising social media within community organisations. The panel explored the usage of social media tools, including Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and LinkedIn to reach volunteers and encourage community participation.
It is important that social media is used to complement other forms of marketing and communication that are undertaken by an organisation. The benefits of social media are best realized that they are used in conjunction with other forms of marketing, ensuring a consistent approach in reaching potential volunteers and promoting the organisation.
Resourcing is also an important consideration when utilizing social media. Given that most community based organisations work within considerable resource constraints it is imperative that social media is utilized efficiently and effectively. Fortunately social media tools, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Youtube can be integrated ensuring a consistent and easy to maintain presence across these networks. Furthermore, new website content can be integrated with these tools extending the reach of a website and providing further content for social media.
Social media networks do need to be maintained and kept up-to-date with new content, integrating these tools and combining them with website updates ensuring an active presence and multiple opportunities to engage people via these networks.
The session was well attended, with excellent questions from attendees and I commend Volunteering Victoria for organizing a dedicated session on social media. Community organisations can clearly benefit from social media tools if utilized effectively and integrated to provide a consistent and efficient marketing approach.