Nonprofit Social Media Basics

Recently I was at a launch party for the new website that my team and I created for a nonprofit organization.  This project had been a lengthy one, recreating the entire visual identity of this organization, creating a new highly functional website and setting up all of their nonprofit social media.  There were people there that were part of the organization and people that were friends and family and a lot of the discussion at the party was about everything that was accomplished during this project.  At one point, someone said, so did you set them up on Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram and on and on.  My answer, to this person’s dismay, was no.

Here’s the reason and here’s the point I feel very strongly about: they are an organization with limited resources including time, money and staff (none of whom have more than limited social media experience).

Yes, I could have set them up on all of the possible social media platforms, and as part of the project, I would have managed those platforms for the first 90 days.  After those 90 days though, the more platforms they had to deal with the less likely they would have been to keep up with high quality, engaging content.

And from my experience, that’s the key – the high quality, engaging content.  There is nothing worse, as a consumer, to find a nonprofit organization that you are interested in, on social media, and then see the dreaded dead page. I know you know what I’m talking about – the profile page that was created, updated for a month or so, and has now been stagnant for a year.

With my experience and my understanding of the nonprofit organization I was working for, I set them up on Facebook and Twitter – that’s all.  And I did set up their first 90 days of posts to help get them started.  Already, just a few weeks in, they’ve taken over and have had very few problems understanding how to manage either platform. They’ve also started to easily develop their own content and their pages are growing. With less to learn so quickly, they felt empowered to take this on themselves.

So, that’s my short and sweet point.  While everyone is going to tell you that social media is the end-all-be-all marketing tool and you have to use every bit of it you can; I’m saying no. As a non- or not-for-profit organization – consider your resources, consider your strengths and then pick one or two platforms that you know you can keep up with.  Then, do them well and watch them grow!