Integrating social media into your marketing mix can be daunting. So many options, so little time! In an effort to save you time and keep you sane, we’ve created the following six step process and actionable item checklists for the most popular tools.
Claxon’s 6 Step Process to Going Social Without Going Crazy
- Use IdealWare’s fantastically helpful workbook in their Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide to figure out which tools make sense given your goals. (If you don’t know what your goals are, first do the 1, 2, 3 Marketing Tree.)
- Pick 1 or 2 tools. Most organizations don’t have the capacity to do more than two well enough to make it worth it.
- Find the accompanying checklist(s) below and decide which items you’ll tackle. Remember: it’s better to do a few things really well, than a bunch of things only so-so.
- Identify who will be in charge of each tool and have them block out the time needed each week to do it. (Even though the tools are free, it requires time to make them pay off!)
- Review your progress monthly.
- Assess strategy vis-a-vis goals annually.
Checklists by Tool
Expect to spend 2-4 hours per week, ideally with at least one post per day.
- Create a Facebook Fan page and get a customized url for your fan page. John Haydon provides a great video with detailed instructions.
- “Like” the nonprofits you partner with that also have Facebook pages. Engage with those organizations by commenting on their posts and engaging with their supporters.
- Be consistent and commit to what you will post on Facebook. It will help you to think about who you are trying to reach and what action you want them to take.
- Use Ads to direct people to useful information on your Facebook Page or website. (Don’t try to sell or fundraise with Facebook Ads.)
- Repurpose content – post images, video, slides, etc. and drive people to take action such as signing up for your e-newsletter or visit your website.
- Promote your Fan Page in your email signatures and on your other online outposts.
- Create a “Facebook Fans Only” offer, do it to see who engages and make your Facebook fans feel special at the same time.
Expect to spend 1.5-2 hours per week, ideally with at least one or two posts per day.
- Use Twitter Search to find people to follow who are talking about your organization or topics related to your mission and aggregate into lists using free tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.
- Follow a number of people in your topic area and community and re-tweet their posts.
- Create a list on Twitter of everyone that re-tweets your posts. Then, promote your list to your other followers.
- Repurpose your content such as your blog posts and Facebook posts.
- Add link to your blog or website and customize with your logo.
- Promote your Twitter account in your email signatures and through your other online mechanisms.
- After you hold an event, help spread the word by creating a specific hashtag for your attendees to use. For example, if you are hosting a speaker, put up a sign near the speaker that says, “If you are tweeting about this event, use #xyz.” (For an example of how we did this at a recent event, search for #NPlab.)
Expect to spend 4-8 hours per week, ideally with at least one post per week (the time per week includes not only the writing time, but time spent following other related blogs, generating comments and responding to comments)
- Create a list of 5 influencers who are passionately blogging about your industry – regularly read and make thoughtful comments. (Tip: Setup Google Reader as a listening station.)
- Be consistent by having a clear strategy for what you’ll write about. Start with 5 or 6 relevant categories and rotate through them.
- Drive traffic to your blog by linking your blog to your website.
- Search engines love blogs so figure out what people are searching for related to your organization’s mission and write about that. Read this post to learn more about improving your nonprofit website’s search results.
- Ask for comments and install share buttons such as a Facebook ‘Like’ button or a ‘Share This‘ to engage your readers.
- Post customer case studies, educational pieces, and invite guest bloggers to write. This helps bring personality to your blog and can increase traffic to your site or store. Here’s an example of a guest blogger on the Getting Attention! Blog.
- Give your biggest fans another way to keep up with your blog or podcast feed by placing an email subscription form on your site with a service like Feedburner or Feedblitz.
Expect to spend 1-2 hours per week, ideally joining in at least one conversation per week.
- Read this post explaining effective uses for nonprofits using Linkedin.
- Look for groups or other organizations who are discussing your cause. Sign-up for email updates and join the conversation. As an alternative, you could also add relevant Linkedin Questions-Answers to your RSS Reader.
- Post updates on your individual account to share relevant information with your supporters who are connected to you. Note that Linkedin works with Twitter and vise versa.
- Refer and make recommendations for past employees, volunteers, and board members.
- Start a Linkedin Group, and encourage your organization’s key employees and board members to have their own profiles and join the group so that each member becomes an ambassador for your organization.
- Use for prospect research and finding out who knows who. If you start a Linkedin Group, you will be able to see all the Linkedin contacts for each of your group members, making it easy see if there is anyone to whom you’d like an introduction.
- Add your blog RSS feeds to your Linkedin Profile. Here’s one way to do it: How to Add a Blog to your LinkedIn Profile with BlogLink.
Flickr (or other photo sharing website)
Depending on your goals, time and frequency spent on photo sharing sites will vary. For example, you may spend more time after an event or while trying to build a particular group of followers.
- Tag your photos to let people easily find or submit photos. If, for instance, you have an event, tell all your event attendees to upload their pictures on Flickr and tag with your selected tag. Example: O’Reilly Emerging Technologies conference in 2006.
- Embed your Flickr account photos on your website and include a link to your website on your Flickr profile.
- Use your photos to drive people to your website in your next e-newsletter. For example, you could include a link to pictures from a recent event.
- Look for cause-related groups and comment on existing photos to discover new partners and supporters. For example if you are a organization focused on microfinance, try doing a search for other organizations posting on Flickr by searching for groups with “microfinance” in the description.
- Search for keywords that include your organization name to see what people are saying about you.
Youtube (or other video sharing website)
Again, depending on your goals, time and frequency spent on photo sharing sites will vary. However, it is a good idea to check-in at least a couple of times per week to read and respond to any comments.
- Watch Youtube’s Basic Tips
- Ask your supporters to share videos with their family and friends to spread your message.
- Share, embed and link your Youtube videos on your other online portals.
- Encourage your supporters to send in their own videos to build a repository about your cause.
- Use your videos to tell stories and drive people to your website in your next e-newsletter.
- Look for cause-related groups and comment on existing videos. For example, if you are an education focused nonprofit in Seattle, try doing a Youtube search for “education+seattle+nonprofit” to discover new partners and supporters.
- If you are a larger organization like The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, search for keywords that include your organization name to see what people are saying about you.
Are we missing any key action items that have helped you maximize your use of the tools above? Let us know!