Last week I was very pleased to be part of the panel for a Q&A about how the voluntary sector is using social media, hosted by the Guardian website. At the end of the two hour session, the host asked us for our three top tips, and this is what I said:
- Work out why your organisation wants to use social media in the first place. How does it fit with your other marketing or fundraising activities? How will it help you reach your organisational goals?
- Start small: perhaps just with a Twitter account or Facebook page. See who’s out there on these networks that you want to build connections with, and then see what conversations you can create or join.
- Be real! Don’t be cheesy, robotic or corporate! People want to speak to people, not androids! This really isn’t about technology, it’s about human connections.
I’ve now had a chance to think some more about this, and have a scan of the blogosphere, and so here are 2 more tips that could help you make social media really work well for you and your organisation:
1. Encourage social sharing. All Facebook cites a very interesting report by ComScore which suggests that we need to move beyond just chalking up Likes and followers and instead try and make our postings more relevant, interesting and – this is the crucial bit – more shareable. Getting your fans to share your messages with their friends, not only increases the reach of those messages but also seems to encourage people to take some action – which is, after all, why we’re doing all this. There’s plenty of detail about this and more besides in the report itself – you have to jump through a few hoops to download the report, but it’s worth it.
2. Be relevant, authentic and not pushy. Mashable suggests that we will be more effective if we add value to conversations with followers and others, and by not trying to turn every interaction into a pitch for our organisation’s work or campaigns. In another article, Mashable also recommends we make the most of the connections (both on and offline) that we have cultivated. Meanwhile, Frogloop has four excellent tips for ‘humanising’ your social media output, including listening and responding to your community. Only by building those relationships are you then in a position to ask those people to take some action for you.
What are your 5 top tips?