Your title may be “Programs Specialist” or “Chief Fundraising Officer” but I can bet that you’ve worked a booth, wrote a grant, ordered letterhead and fixed the copier within the last week. Nonprofit employees wear a lot of hats. When I advise organizations about creating a social media presence, they almost always say they just don’t have time to mess around with it all. Inevitably, they feel the pressure from someone internally, create something, pass the buck to an intern or a volunteer, and forget about it all. What happens when the semester is over or the volunteer leaves? Does your social media channel go on vacation too? Worse yet, what happens when something less than flattering appears on your page? Do you really trust someone else to crisis manage on your behalf?
If the thought of posting in multiple places makes you freak out – take a step back. Pick one social channel that fits your group and do it really well. Here’s a list that will help you select the best channel (Facebook or Twitter) for your group:
Who uses Facebook?
Two-thirds of all internet users are on Facebook. Over one BILLION users in all.
Age range of user base is expansive with the core base between 18-49.
Fastest growing age bracket is 50+ and fastest shrinking bracket is 13-17. (migrating to other platforms)
Great platform for:
Having conversations on topics surrounding your cause.
Good for photos, links and text posts.
Great insights dashboard to help you know what types of posts are working.
Allows you to create events and geotarget posts.
Advertising options are many and fairly inexpensive.
Calls to action with low-bar asks work best in this format.
Could take some time to grow a following.
As with all social media channels, you risk people posting less than pleasant things on your page.
Who uses twitter?
16% of all internet users use Twitter.
Age range for twitter skews younger 18-29.
Most users are more likely to be urban.
Great platform for:
Broadcasting interesting and engaging messages.
Listening to conversations and learning what is important now.
Following hashtags associated with your cause helps you find and “meet” potential supporters.
Adding short links to your tweets can help you drive traffic to your website.
Only have 140 characters to make your point.
Using the proper twitter “lingo” takes some practice.
Advertising options are limited and more expensive than Facebook.
So what about Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest?
These sites are great for nonprofits too and many groups have done fantastic job managing multiple channels, but I caution those new to social. If you don’t have a whole lot of time, then pick one platform. Post valuable content a few times a week to start. Get comfortable and THEN think about adding additional channels. Here is a great report from Pew Internet and American Life Project that breaks down the demographics of users by social media channel.
Have more questions about what channels would be best for your organization? Interested in a social media training? Let’s chat!