Does your organization treat social media as another place to post press releases or are you using it to its full potential?
Look at your last month’s worth of Facebook, Twitter and blog posts.
How many were about your organization’s events and happenings and how many shared stories of how you’re making the world better?
Did you post articles from others that are related to your issue area or is everything about and from your own organization?
Are there many asking your supporters and community for their opinions and thoughts on your organization’s direction or mission?
I recently scanned a ton of nonprofit social properties (Facebook, Twitter and blog posts) for examples to use during a workshop. I wanted stories of the organization’s work and was really surprised when I had a hard time finding many. Instead I found a preponderance of event related postings and others that felt more like press releases put on social media. Allyson Kapin from frogloop noted the same phenomenon in her excellent post Tips to Humanize Your Social Media:
And it got me thinking how so many organizations fighting for the environment, women’s rights, religious freedom in other countries, (insert your cause here), continue to use social media as a tool to just broadcast their blog posts, press releases, or action alerts. How uninspiring for a sector filled with passionate people who are trying to change the world and make it a better place to live.
Tips to Humanize Your Social Media
Now I’m not judging organizations for doing this. Heck, that might be their social media strategy. Mostly its a good reminder of just how new we are in evolving our communications to social media and how we all still have to transition to this medium in order to use it to its full potential.
Here’s how I see the evolution:
So how can your organization move from that middle spot, where so many are now, towards the next step in being social? Here’s some ideas:
1. Get uncomfortable – If what you’re doing on social media doesn’t feel a little risky then chances are it falls in that press release area. Try writing and sharing a blog post that covers something only your board of directors is discussing or impose a week long moratorium on Facebook postings that of anything except sincere questions to your community.
2. Listen more - Look at the time you spend on social media and make a 2 week commitment to spending half of it listening. Fire up that old RSS feed & search away on Twitter & Google+. Notice how others are talking about your issues & their own. Are there styles that you could emulate? Conversations that your supporters are having that you aren’t a part of? Take the time to learn from others or ‘steal with your eyes’ as my pal Jessica Dally’s grandma calls it.
3. Ask yourselves what’s possible now - You don’t have to be a digital native organization, that is one that was founded in the last 5 years, to start using social media to its full potential. Many established organizations are revamping their work to these tools. However you do need to take the time to ponder what is possible now with these tools that wasn’t before. If your organization was founded today, how would you work differently? What would you do if you realized you could get people’s support, not just financially, regardless of where they live? Ask your co-workers to share their wildest dreams for your programs and then ask yourselves if you might be able to do this now.