One of the most important forms of new media available today for non-profit organizations is that of Social Media. This broad category of communication includes such applications as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flicker, blogs and more (many more!) While the number of applications can be overwhelming, the ultimate strategy of sharing information, events, and connections is critical in spreading your passion for the cause you represent.
While many organizations have internal staff that are engaged in preparing, monitoring and updating one or more social media applications, others find that adopting such campaigns are not realistic within their current organizational structure. Or at the very least, feel that they need a guiding hand to get started.
How we can help…
CL Graphics has developed a two-phase Social Media strategy that can help you get started:
Starting with an initial consultation we examine exactly where you currently are in communicating with clients, friends, employees, donors, etc. This would include not only the forms of communication (newsletter, e-mail, letters, video, etc), but also what messages you are sending out (timely news, program services, milestones, event information, etc.) During this we look at what kind of media you might be best utilizing, what other similar organizations are doing and what some realistic goals might be.
Once we complete the consultation, we will then prepare a strategy to follow. This might include one or more of the following: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Blogs
Once the strategy is finalized, this phase will include creating personalized pages for your organization (if needed) and beginning to develop initial content. We would ask for current information to be given to us in advance and contact information for which we could obtain additional information as needed. We would then start with daily/weekly posts to establish a presence for your organization and involve your staff as fans as well. This phase would be a 4 – 6 week process in order to establish a presence and achieve basic goals.
After you have developed a solid social media presence and good social networking habits you can then move on to building your online community. The ultimate goal of social media advertising is to build a fan base that grows on its own and generates it own content. In phase two we begin linking your entire online presence, encouraging fan generated content and creating site specific events that will create more followers and encourage the current ones to stick around.
Connecting it all - Once you have established yourself in different forms of social media it’s time to put them all together. Concentrate on linking all sites to each other on a regular basis and especially through your organization’s website. Look to develop specific events that can encourage online participation. Seek out partner organizations that support your cause. Plan video recordings at events or from fans.
It is recommended this phase would be a 2 – 3 month commitment in order to establish a strong presence and achieve a strong fan base. This will include daily and weekly posts and promotions to encourage fan participation. At the end of this phase we would also look to begin training of your own staff to continue facilitating your current information online.
The end result of your Social Media campaign will be that you have a strong online presence that reflects the size of your fan base and that is continually encouraging new fans to learn about your cause. Even though constant updates are still needed, it should be largely self sustaining with the current information and content supplied by your staff on a regular basis.
One of the great things about social media is that it is a conduit to an entirely new demographic with an unlimited upside. This effort can help provide your organization with potential volunteers, employees and donors. One disadvantage though is that you will continually be competing for people’s attention – just like with your current donors, it is imperative that you stay connected and current.