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communications policy Archives - Syneka Marketing

Alex delivering marketing and social media essentials at Third Sector Expo 2013

Social Media Essentials at the 2013 Third Sector Expo

By | Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Presentations, Resources | 2 Comments

The Third Sector Expo is an annual conference and exhibition dedicated to the not-for-profit sector.

Syneka Marketing has received regular coverage in Third Sector Magazine, providing editorial content over the past year. We were invited to speak at the 2013 Third Sector Expo.

Alex speaking at the 2013 Third Sector Exhibition and Conference

Alex speaking at the 2013 Third Sector Exhibition and Conference

I discussed social media and marketing, outlining how an organisation needs to use the right tools to reach its target markets. Social media is a marketing activity, and should be linked to the actions identified in a marketing plan.

Every not-for-profit organisation needs a marketing plan to support its organisational or corporate strategies. A corporate plan will often identify what an organisation wants to achieve and a marketing plan looks at how to achieve these outcomes.

Marketing plans need to consider the tools that are available to achieve these goals, including communication methods such as social media. Following this approach means you will be able to communicate your key messages through an online community using social media tools.

Websites and social media are only effective if they are regularly updated. This ensures that visitors are aware of your organisation’s activities. In addition, the frequency of updates is one of the metrics Google uses for search engine rankings.

Fortunately social media can be integrated with a website, ensuring consistent messages that can be published once and replicated through tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Integration saves time by ensuring consistency, while also providing a base level of engagement. Using this approach provides the ability to foster online communities, by encouraging committee, staff, volunteers and members to interact with the discussion.

Social media should be treated like other forms of media and covered by a communications policy. The policy should outline acceptable use of social media and identify the spokespeople who provide official comments on your organisation’s social media accounts. Guidelines should be clearly published, including on the About page on Facebook, and visible within Twitter and other social media tools.

There are several social media tools, each of which are designed for different purposes. Facebook is good for building online communities and for promoting events. Twitter is great for quick announcements, and can be linked with Facebook to provide an integrated approach. Pinterest is effective through its use of photographs, and Youtube can host video content that can promote an organisation.

Social media is increasingly prevalent across all demographics. For example, over half of Australia’s population has a Facebook account. People aged 55 plus are now the fastest growing segment of new accounts. While social media has extensive reach, email still has almost universal coverage and should be included as an online form of communication. The ability to share email content should be incorporated within newsletters to encourage recipients to forward messages through social media.

The 2013 Third Sector Expo

The 2013 Third Sector Expo

Policies should distinguish between negativity and offensiveness. Offensive comments, that denigrate, or are inflammatory should be immediately removed. Negative comments, however should be managed by seeking to engage the person that wrote the content. Try and engage the person outside of social media to prevent other comments. In particular, it is best to try and resolve the complaint in person or via the phone to remove the anonymity that social media provides. Resolving a complaint outside of social media will often lead to better outcomes and enable you to demonstrate the steps you undertook to reach a resolution.

Social media can deliver positive outcomes for an organisation, if it is linked to marketing objectives.

For example, if your goal is to raise donations, ensure that messages target prospective donors and that you encourage the sharing of content to reach their extended networks. If you are aiming to raise awareness, then promote stories that creative a narrative, outlining how your organisation achieves positive social or environmental outcomes.

Audio equipment was kindly provided by ConnectingUp. A version of the presentation with audio and slides is available through Youtube:

Or view the slides delivered to the 2013 Third Sector Expo

Thank you to the many participants who attended our presentation and for the discussion on Twitter.  A transcript of the Twitter conversation is available via Storify.

Third Sector Magazine: Activate your community through social media

By | Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, News | No Comments

Third Sector Magazine has published our advice on engaging communities through social media. Alex will be discussing social media as a speaker at the Third Sector Expo on Monday the 15th of April, for details please visit www.thirdsectorevents.com.au.

The website Humanities 21 which is integrated with Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools

The website Humanities 21 which is integrated with Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools

Activate your community through social media

Is your organisation considering social media, but not sure where to start? Or has it recently created a Facebook page and Twitter feed only to be underwhelmed by the results? Syneka Marketing provides seven tips to help your organisation strengthen its social media presence and re-engage its communities online.

Know where to start

Social media is the collective name for a range of tools that enhance interactivity and discussion, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Each of these tools has a slightly different purpose and audience, but they are all designed to encourage participation.

Know what you want to achieve

Success begins with strategy and this is no different for social media. Decide the specific outcomes you want to achieve from your social media efforts, such as:

  • Raising awareness
  • Encouraging volunteers
  • Increasing donations.

Once you know what you want to achieve, you can consider the messages and tools that can be used to promote these objectives.

Develop a social media policy

Social media policies help to identify the people who will have access to social media accounts and will be authorised to provide official announcements. Other individuals can respond to comments and interact, as well as support the authorised spokespeople.

Policies should enable board members, staff and volunteers to support the organisation’s social media presence.

Each social media tool has its own audience and key strengths.

Each social media tool has its own audience and key strengths.

Engage and interact

When creating a new social media account, encourage your members or supporters to follow your organisation. In addition, promote your social media presence through your website, newsletter and other communication tools. Undertaking initial promotion will ensure that you can build a network of followers that will assist in promoting your organisation. Follow similar organisations and encourage them to follow you.

Handle negativity

Negative comments should hopefully be kept to a minimum, but it’s important to have clear guidelines to manage any adverse commentary.

Make a clear distinction between negative and offensive comments and respond accordingly. Aim to engage directly with someone that has written a negative comment and suggest that you would like to follow up further. Try and engage the person through offline forms of contact, such as the telephone, so that you can discuss their concerns directly. Attempting to resolve the issue outside of the public realm will enable a more in-depth discussion.

If a comment is deemed to be offensive, it should be removed immediately as per your media and communications policy.

Integrate online tools

One of the great aspects of the web and social media is that messages can be integrated. You can automatically post updates from your website through to Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools. Integration ensures a consistent message while saving time by replicating content across your networks.

Integrating social media means you’ll have more time to foster and develop your community by providing a base level of communications.

Share content

Re-tweeting or sharing posts on Facebook indicates that the person supports your organisation and messages. The sharing of content is the online equivalent of word of mouth advertising and is a great way to extend your organisation’s networks.

Social media, like a website, needs to be kept up-to-date. An inactive presence is worse than having no presence, as the first question someone will ask is whether the organisation still exists.

Hume Moreland Volunteer Coordinators Network

Using Social Media for Recruiting Volunteers – Hume-Moreland Volunteer Coordinators’ Network

By | Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Government, Presentations, Resources | 5 Comments
Hume Moreland Volunteer Coordinators Network

Hume Moreland Volunteer Coordinators Network

The Hume-Moreland Volunteer Coordinators’ Network is a bi-monthly forum specifically designed for volunteer coordinators and managers for organisations within the Cities of Hume and Moreland. The forum covers a range of topics that are relevant to not-for-profit organisations, including associations that are entirely operated by volunteers.

I was invited by Hume City Council to be the keynote speaker for today’s session, where I discussed the use of social media for recruiting volunteers and promoting organisations. While the usage of social media is increasing, the outcomes are not always consistent within the context of an overall marketing strategy.

The discussion highlighted the importance of utilising social media to complement existing marketing activities. This approach ensures that an organisation is achieving its marketing objectives and is able to measure the impact of social media.

The forum was designed to be interactive and there was a lot of discussion on several of the social media tools, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Computers were provided to each participant, enabling attendees to see live examples of branded Facebook pages, Twitter profiles and LinkedIn.

Like any form of media, there is always the potential of adverse publicity through social media. Organisations should have a Media and Communications Policy that covers interaction with media, including the designation of an official spokesperson. Social media should also be covered by this policy and an official spokesperson should be authorized to access the organisation’s social media services.

While board, staff and volunteers should be encouraged to use social media to promote the organisation, only the spokesperson should have authority over official accounts. Formal announcements should be made through the official social media accounts to ensure credibility.

The spokesperson should also be utilized if negative comments occur on social media. This helps prevent escalating situations and helps board members, volunteers and staff avoid negative situations. While some organisations take the approach of restricting access to social media, a more effective approach is often achieved by ensuring members utilize social media in a positive manner.

For example, social media can be effective in recruiting volunteers. Sharing content via social media is the online equivalent of word-of-mouth recommendations and this can be an effective tool in promoting volunteer experiences. Research undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates that 35% of people become volunteers because they were asked, while 29% knew someone involved. Organisations are able to reach prospective volunteers through social media by utilizing the experiences and networks of their existing volunteer base.

It is imperative that organisation’s take part in the discussion that occurs within social media, rather than simply trying to ignore this dialogue. Social media can be effective in promoting your organisation’s and objectives if it complements existing marketing activities, such as newsletters, websites, leaflets and media releases.

The Hume-Moreland Volunteer Coordinators’ Network is a valuable forum for not-for-profit organisations. I will be delivering a similar presentation to not-for-profit organisations in Warrnambool next month.

#npau TweetChat – Balancing work and personal use on social media

By | Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, News | No Comments

Connecting Up Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to enhance the information technology capabilities of other community based not-for-profit organisations.

Connecting Up hosts regular tweetchats to share knowledge between not-for-profit organisations on topics relevant to their use of social media, the Internet and Information Technology. A tweetchat is a conversation conducted via Tweeter, enabling people to participate in the chat through the #npau hashtag.

This afternoon we participated in the first #npau tweetchat for 2012, with the topic balancing work and personal use on social media. This is an area particularly relevant to not-for-profit organisations, given that many staff work on a part-time basis, while others may be interacting with the organisation in a variety of ways, such as being a client, volunteer or board member.

The conversation began with the question: Does your org have guidelines/polices (maybe unwritten) which impacts your personal use of social media?

The importance of policies cannot be underestimated, as this will provide guidance in using social media. Typically a social media policy will share some similarities with your communications policy, such as identifying a principal spokesperson who speaks on behalf of the organisation.

@ConnectingUp staff & volunteers encouraged to use social media respectfully. Difficult situations are handled by spokespeople #npau

More than one person in your organisation can utilise social media and this should be encouraged to maintain ongoing engagement with your stakeholders. It is advisable however to also establish a designated spokesperson that speaks in an official capacity via social media. Your spokesperson should be used for official announcements or to manage difficult social media situations.

This approach ensures that you are able to engage your online community while also providing support through an official spokesperson.

The second question asked how have you found staff react to a social media policy?

Staff should be encouraged to participate in policy development, with the board of management adopting policies that have incorporated feedback across an organisation. This approach ensures collective ownership, which is particularly important in communications, given that non-compliance could diminish the reputation of the organisation.

We find most staff appreciate guidelines, very similar to standard media policies – provides clarity and assurance #npau

Most staff members appreciate policies, difficulties may arise if social media usage is restricted and this approach should only be considered as a last resort.

Social media works effectively through active engagement, restricting its usage diminishes the ability to engage and create an online community. Staff members should be encouraged to consider how they could positively assist in fostering this community, while also ensuring that they undertake their job requirements.

The last question asked: Does anyone else feel “always on” when it comes to social? Where do you draw the line between work/personal?

Separate Facebook / Twitter profiles can help in creating a distinction between personal & professional #npa

Separate profiles ensures that the organisation maintains a distinct identity to that of individuals. This also assists with succession planning by enabling someone else to manage the organisation’s official social media accounts.

Ultimately the individual will need to establish their own boundaries regarding the amount of time they spend on social media. An organisation should encourage social media usage while ensuring it does not detract from other work commitments.

Connecting Up holds regular #npau tweetchats throughout the year. For the full archive of this chat please visit storify.com/connectingup/balancing-work-and-personal-use-of-social-media