Social media essentials for nonprofits

So your New Year’s resolution (or maybe you just want to do it regardless) is to increase your organization’s presence on social media--specifically, Facebook. What you are probably asking yourself first is: What works? How can I effectively engage the Facebook world?

I think there are two important things to remember as you get started:

  1. It is a very large world;
  2. And that shouldn’t frighten you.

There are over one billion monthly active Facebook users, according to a report from Statistic Brain.[1] The potential for growth is enormous. You have the single largest captive audience in the world, all at the click of a button. Engagement is the trick, and how you attempt to achieve this will determine your level of success. Here are five things I would like to recommend you keep in mind as you develop your organization’s presence on Facebook.

Like clockwork
Your enthusiasm for this endeavor may be at an all time high, but will it last? Use that enthusiasm to develop a plan for your social media efforts, like writing down what you are going to post and how often you will do so. It might seem boring and pointless, but I promise you the blueprint will be effective as you move forward.

Start small
Zero to 60-like efforts are noble, but you may not have enough in the tank for the home stretch! Make sure that your efforts are long lasting. Over the course of the next few months, steadily increase the frequency of your posts. If you are posting twice a week now, commit to posting three times a week for the next two weeks. Once you have accomplished that, up the ante--but do it steadily.

Is there a human behind that screen?
Can your followers see personality behind your posts? Or is there too much individuality that followers might not relate to? Is it genuine? When it comes to posting, I think it is best to mix it up a bit. It is nice to see a variety of messages, and as the consumer reads between the lines of your post, they should be able to see you as the author.

Be courageous in your efforts to step outside the box of your current modus operandi. What is it that your organization believes in and does that differentiates you from other like-organizations? Take what is unique about you, and find creative ways of expressing it. Pictures are a start, but only a start. Good content will bring it home.

Last of all, and fundamental to your success, is a willingness to commit to a long-term plan that flows with creativity and innovation. You may not get there right away, but one day you will realize out of the blue that you have reached a point where social media efforts become second nature to you. Be patient and you will find your reward.