Are you sick of people telling you a hundred things your nonprofit should be doing with social media? (We are.) Wouldn't it be nicer to be told what NOT to do so that you can feel good about not doing it?
For a change of pace, we talked with Kaitlyn Trigger, Marketing Director at Rally, a startup developing online tools for fundraising. Her unconventional tips:
Ultimately, understanding yourself and your audience is more central to a successful social media presence than mastering the minutiae of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Nevertheless, there are a few guidelines that can help you maintain good social media "hygiene" and avoid shiny new distractions:
1. Facebook tabs
Don't: Spend time developing fancy content for Facebook tabs. People rarely visit them, because they're too busy hanging out in their newsfeed.
Instead: Try using Facebook tabs for quick, simple sweepstakes. You'll get your fans' email addresses, allowing you to contact them directly.
Don't: Assume that anything with a question mark will get your fans sharing. Conversations on Facebook and Twitter are more like elevator chitchat than dinner party debates.
Instead: Ask questions that people can answer in less than 20 seconds. Use "what" and "when," rather than "why" or "how."
3. Live events in social media
Don't: Spend time and money doing live events on Facebook or YouTube. They seldom pay off, because people (correctly) assume they can just watch the footage later.
Instead: Make use of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) by making promotions and opportunities available for a limited period of time.
Don't: Over-use or misuse hashtags on Twitter. They make your tweets look like spam.
Instead: Stick to no more than one hashtag per tweet, and make sure it's tied to an existing conversation on Twitter (e.g. #nptech) or an event (e.g. #sm4np).
5. Content creation
Don't: Stress out about writing a new blog post or shooting a new video every time you need something to share with your followers.
Instead: Intersperse original material with links to good articles or videos from other people. Pair each link with a sentence describing how it's relevant to your audience and your organization.
6. New social media platforms
Don't: Be lured by the siren call of every new social media platform. It's good to experiment, but remember that a "dead" social media presence is worse than none at all.
Instead: Only start using the latest social media gizmo if you can commit to logging in and responding to your fans there. Your nonprofit has a valuable brand, which you can damage by being absent or by posting messages that are inauthentic.
Bonus tip: Do you have 5 minutes today to work on social media? Use it to respond to comments posted on your Facebook page or on your website. Let people know you are listening and responding.
Bonus tip #2: Think about this: how can we turn our fans into fundraisers and make social media work harder for our bottom line? (Hint: we at Rally.org hope our future products will help you do this. Couldn't resist sneaking in this plug.)
Before joining Rally, Kaitlyn Trigger (right) led social media strategy for clients like Target and Nike at advertising agency AKQA. Her most recent personal donation was to charity:water's September campaign. She has 755 friends on Facebook, whom she hopes will "like" this article!
See also in Blue Avocado:
- How I Raised $1,000 on Facebook Without Breaking a Sweat by Nelson Layag
- Stick with Old Media: Not Cool But It Works by Holly Minch
- What Can We Do About an Employee's Outrageous Blog? by Ask Rita's Pamela Fyfe and Ellen Aldridge
- Sample Nonprofit Policy on Employee Use of Social Media by Ask Rita's Pamela Fyfe