Ten Things a Nonprofit Should Do Before Setting Up Social Media

Social Media is definitely an effective tool for nonprofits to use. However, before you jump into the pool, what are the things you need to do first?

1. Determine your message
What are you trying to say? Do you have more than one message? Develop a short paragraph that encapsulates what you want to say and continually reference it as you work on social media tools.

2. Determine who your audience is
Who is your audience? Are they tech savvy? Creating a plan to enter the social media arena is irrelevant if none of your audience will follow you there. Consider surveying your donors to determine how they want to hear from you.

3. Develop goals
What do you want to achieve from social media? Donations? Awareness? Determine your goals and remember to keep them handy as you progress.

4. Determine the exact ROI you are expecting
This goes hand in hand with #3. Get specific about the return on investment you are expecting. If you want donations, what's the amount? If you are looking for new supporters, how many?

5. Research and determine which social media tools work for you
There are multiple social media tools out there. It's important to determine which ones work for you. Signing up for everything isn't going to be the best use of your time.

6. Create a strategy
Developing a strategy for your social media activity is extremely important. You need to determine what content you want to create and where you want to put it.

7. Create the analysis method
What's your method for analysis? It's important to track what you do on social media tools so you can examine whether you are achieving the ROI that you want.

8. Determine the main contributor as well as the sub contributors
Who's writing the content for your social media sites? Is it the same person who's posting them? Are there more than one person contributing? Hashing this out ahead of time will make the process flow much smoother.

9. Develop content ahead of time
Create some of the content you need ahead of time so you aren't scrambling to find something to post/write about everyday.

10. Develop response procedure
What's your procedure if you recieve a negative comment from someone? Or even a positive one? Determine how you handle questions and comments from your audience.

14 comments:

The "Terrific" Triad Region FBLA said...

Thank for sharing the 10 things nonprofit organizations should do before setting up social media. With so many different social networks available knowing how to utilized them to maximize success is definitely needed. In a school with a large percentage of low income families, raising money for a student organization is very difficult so I recently decided to expand our area through social networking but there is much to learn and your list is a great start for me.

Thanks again!

Marion

Cbcopp said...

I think that analysis will be tricky if you are focusing on ROI...the biggest opportunity for nonprofits and social media is community building. Once you've built a community the money will follow. Thanks for a great summary of the key steps in the process.

Lindsey said...

Thanks to both of you for the comments!

@Cbcopp, when talking about return on investment, I don't necessarily mean just money. As you said, community building is the main part of it. Determining what your goals are and then getting that ROI (whether it's money, brand awareness, etc)is the best.

frank said...

Nice post. What do you think it takes, really, to get through all these steps?

The reason I ask is becaues each step defiintely has its place and inportance, but going through all these could be overwhelming and inpractical for the nonprofit space (and possibly the for profit space - with all the red tape).

I'd love to talk more on Twitter if you have a response.
http://twitter.com/franswaa

Lindsey said...

@frank

I think it depends on how solid your message is within your organization. If you have a clear message, some of those steps should be easier.

But you are right it does take time, just as any communication tool does.

Val Nelson said...

Fantastic synopsis of these important steps to consider before jumping in.

I agree with Frank that these are time-consuming and may involve costs. However, it's worth getting it right from the start. Social media posts are permanent and public. Your reputation is at stake.

I provide customized Twitter strategy help for non-profits and other good causes, and it doesn't have to cost too much.

Jane said...

I noticed the comment about nonprofits. That taking ALL of these steps would be overwhelming.

However, for a nonprofit brand or community name to jump into social media without taking these steps is a mistake.

Forming a committee, finding a volunteer with social media skills and assigning the tasks to them, or engaging a consultant, like me, would better strategy than dabbling in social media. Your social capital is important. The return for finding a way to engage each of these steps can be unreal.

Don't forget, you have community resources. Or, commit six weeks of Sunday afternoons Googling each the tasks. The research has all been done for you. You could have a great plan together by the first of October.

A nonprofits investment in social media is a potential goldmine. The more effective the investment the better.

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Nonprofit Fundraising Software said...

Lindsey, hello there! I definitely agree with your list, particularly knowing your foundation's core values like the goals and the expectations. Indeed, it is very beneficial so that the online audience will not be confused regarding one's organization. By the way, thanks Lindsey for the informative post.

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