Far too often, nonprofits waste precious time worrying about all the noise, when in reality less is more when you’re trying to create stress-free social media.
First, we were told to worry about Facebook, then Twitter came along. Then Pinterest. Does anyone remember Path? Foursquare. Instagram. Now Snapchat seems to be the shiny object these days. This list could go on and on.
Overwhelming to say the least.
And this “free” marketing isn’t free. Think of all the time it takes to keep track of all this stuff.
Today, I give you permission to just forget about social media.
Now doesn’t that feel better?
Okay, obviously you can’t just completely quit social media, but I guarantee there are aspects of social media that you can completely ignore to remove the stress.
Now that we’re calm, here are three essential tips to take into account when determining your stress-free social media strategy.
Location. Location. Location.
Before you can decide how your organization is going to engage in social media, every organization should follow rule number one of this marketing beast: own the real estate. Own all the handles and usernames; think of it as insurance.
Even if you don’t plan on using all of them right away (and I beg you not to), your strategy may eventually change and you’ll want to be sure someone else doesn’t snatch up your username on that new platform you were unsure of at first.
Take Apple as an example. The company is infamous for not using Twitter. But if you search for @apple, you’ll find that username has been locked down since 2011 but never tweeted. Coincidence? Assuming it’s not owned by a third party, Apple recognizes that Twitter doesn’t make sense as part of their social strategy.
Go With Purpose
Now that you own everything, you have to decide what your organization needs to accomplish on social media. Sit down and figure out your social media strategy so you know when a social network is worth your time and how you’ll measure success.
Don’t worry about industry standards. Set up some reasonable goals to measure success. If you’re hitting those, you’re doing just fine. If not, it’s time to reconsider.
Don’t put the cart ahead of the horse; start small and develop an audience. Often times, I see accounts with a small following do something like ask a question to their audience and they don’t get a single response. If they wait until they have a significant following, they can actually gain valuable engagement, rather than getting left hanging publicly.
Know the strengths and weaknesses of the different platforms. For example, Facebook is an excellent place to promote events. Twitter is best for updates and news. Instagram is the place to go for awesome standalone photos and captions (but if you’re looking to upload several photos at once, use Facebook).
Don’t Forget Where Your Home is.
Every bit of the content you curate for social media should act as a tentacle from your website. The arms increase your organization’s reach and should always be pulling people back to your website, as a tool for fundraising. Once they get to your site, they’ll find your mission, impact and hopefully the donation page.
You can never truly “own” social media accounts. They’re essentially leased property; you could log on one day to find either the design or functionality (or both!) changed, so the goal should be to drive people to your site, where you have complete control of every aspect.
So, no. You probably can’t forget about social media completely. But you also don’t have to pull your hair out stressing about it. Have a plan and carry it out. It’s easy to not only get drowned out by all the social media noise but also dilute your message by stretching it thin across too many platforms. Know that it’s okay to take a good hard look and let social media walk the plank every now and then.