Welcome to Non-Profit Week on the Pixel/Point Press blog! We’re featuring guest posts this week from around our community. Our first post comes from Florence Broder, an independent consultant in Tel Aviv, whose prior experience includes work with the UJA-Federation New York and The Jewish Agency. Enjoy!
Congratulations! Your organization has decided to move forward in launching an online community. It’s time to launch a Facebook page, Twitter feed, YouTube channel, and a Pinterest board to stay current with online trends. Both lay people and professional staff are on board about the value that this new marketing channel can provide. You sense that this new venture has great potential, so you have earmarked a full-time position rather than appointing an intern to run it. You feel like you thought everything through, but it doesn’t seem to be working as you had hoped it would.
This scenario is one that I have observed at many nonprofit organizations. They realize they need to have a presence on all social media channels but forget one thing: content. Organizations often underestimate its importance. The person hired to manage the online community doesn’t always have expertise in content development but knows how to engage loyal supporters. This Web expert knows how to connect the various social media channels, when to post content, and how to measure engagement. But if there is no content, the community manager doesn’t have any work to do. Content development is truly a field in and of itself and should not be taken lightly.
So, what kind of content should you be posting? Here are some things to consider:
1. Who is your audience? Are you addressing supporters or donors?
2. What are your goals? Are you “friendraising” or fundraising?
3. What can you provide on social media that you are unable to do solely on your website?
These guiding questions will help you create your content strategy. However, it is clear from Facebook’s purchase of Instagram, and Pinterest’s emergence as a successful social network, that all of the social media channels are emphasizing visual content. Even LinkedIn and Twitter have recently upgraded the company/profile pages and now allow organizations to feature a prominent cover image. The good news is that users are actually more engaged with this content, which helps search engine optimization and referring traffic back to your website, according to a recent Mashable article.
When selecting a cover image, consider the message you want to be sending to your target audience.. Another thing to leverage is your Facebook timeline. Are you using it to tell your organization’s story and mission properly? Highlight some of your organization’s successes and milestones. This is important to build your organization’s credibility; it demonstrates how you fulfill your mission. Part of the challenge today is that new Facebook pages are not showing every page’s update.. Now organizations need to invest in promoting posts, a feature that is only available if you have more than 400 fans on your page. This makes it considerably more difficult to connect with your audience. Many companies and social media experts are reporting drops in their Facebook page interaction. So if your organization has determined that Facebook is a cornerstone of the social media strategy, the budget for promoted posts needs to be in the mix.
Pinterest allows you to create a range of boards highlighting your work. Create boards that align with your organization’s mission and pin content from your website. Also try to post supporting content from other sites and partners that work with you. Also remember that YouTube videos can be pinned, giving your videos another opportunity to go viral.
Many nonprofits do not take advantage of visual opportunities on YouTube. You can apply to become a YouTube Nonprofit partner. This allows you to customize the header of your channel, have pop up ads on videos, and allow annotations to external links. Yad Vashem’s YouTube Channel is a great example of an organization maximizing the features that YouTube provides. It categorizes videos using playlists, making content more relevant, and also links to a range of foreign language channels.
Social media is an amazing communication tool. It helps you get the message out there to the people you are trying to access. Just always keep in mind that “content is king” — without quality content no one will want to stay engaged.
Florence Broder was formerly employed at both UJA-Federation New York and The Jewish Agency and is now an independent consultant living in Tel Aviv. You can follow her on Twitter @flogolightly.
More posts from NPO Week at Pixel/Point Press:
- Using Competitive Intelligence to Stand Out
- How to Stay Sane When Social Media is Your Job
- Perfecting the Act of Not-For-Profit Task Juggling