Social media provides an opportunity to extend the reach of not-for-profit organisations and develop further dialogue with stakeholders. Far too many organisations, either ignore social media due to a lack of understanding, or rush into it while failing to recognize the need for an integrated marketing approach.
This morning I delivered a workshop for not-for-profit organisations based in the Yarra Ranges, covering Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs, as well as regional townships like Healesville and Warburton. The workshop covered marketing fundamentals, ensuring that social media is seen as a potential marketing tool that requires a strategic approach.
Like other forms of marketing, there is a need for a consistent approach to social media. Each social media platform, has its own target demographics, and it is important to use the right tools to reach the right people. Platforms like Facebook, can be useful in establishing active communities around organisations. Twitter can be used to provide short and sharp updates on activities. LinkedIn however, enables the fostering of business connections and dialogue through its interactive groups.
Integrating social media with your website, saves time by replicating content across multiple channels, meaning that you are able to provide a consistent message, regardless of how someone connects with your organisation. Most websites support social media integration, with this approach providing time to foster communities, rather than manually adding content.
Like any form of external communications, there is a need to establish policies that guide the use of social media. Spokespeople should be identified and charged with the responsibility of posting official content. Other members of the organisation should be encouraged to discuss these topics and to interact with the community.
The official spokespeople should also manage any adverse commentary that may occur. Organisations should engage negative comments, seeking to resolve complaints outside of social media while highlighting the resolution. Offensive comments, however, should be immediately removed with an indication that the content violated the organisation’s policies.
Social media can be an extremely effective communication tool when it is used to complement other marketing activities. It is critical that all marketing and communications is consistent to provide cohesive messages that cut-through and prompt a response.
Today’s workshop discussed the context of social media and delved into the practical components on Facebook and Twitter. A subsequent course will be held at the Yarra Ranges to exclusively examine the practical elements of using social media.