Thursday, November 8th, 2012
Josh Burns, the director of web and social media for the Park Community Church in Chicago has spent years in developing online communities to result in off-line change for non-profits. His stance on social media might differ from the distant and impersonal means of broadcasting your organization that you might have in mind.
Results are harder to measure when you can’t measure sales as a non-profit. ROI is measured instead through engagement, in stories, by people affected and the value offered to your followers by sites, fan pages, Twitter handles, Instagram profile or Pinterest board. Here are some of the guidelines he suggests for having an effective social media policy for your non-profit.
Don’t always talk about yourself .
Treat social media as a community and those you interact with as parts of actual relationships. Avoid using your social media vehicles as a loudspeaker but rather as building relational equity with those that follow you. Ask questions, invite participation and meet people on the platforms they are on currently.
Create an audience offline and grow relationships online .
Focus on where you are meeting people, be it at a seminar, an event put on by your organization or a joint effort with another organization to raise awareness on an issue. Gather an audience from those who are already responding to what your non-profit is doing. As you post, concentrate on what will add value to your followers’ online experience.
Make sure to thank those who comment or retweet you.
Having a social media calendar is important for your sanity, but make sure to leave time to respond to people in the moment too. Set aside a time to respond to everyone and make sure to thank them for their attention to your site, handle or page. Your reactions to their involvement will garner more loyalty and support. Capitalize on campaigns and make sure to promote the important things o An online campaign is a great time to gather your community around a certain topic or issue that your non-profit supports too. Create a hashtag if it is on Twitter or schedule extra time to interact with those one your page during the campaign. Think about ways that you can get more people involved off-screen and affecting the change you desire.