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.
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.
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.
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.
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.