I am still shocked when I speak with people in the not-for-profit world and hear some reason why they are not yet investing time developing their brand and communications with a wider audience in the social media world. It’s usually one or more of the following:
“We’ve tried social media and it didn’t work”
You’ve developed a Facebook page, posted links on your website and haven’t yet delved into the world of Twitter because you didn’t get floods of traffic or any interest after a relatively short period of time on Facebook.
What I would say is you haven’t ‘tried’ social media. It’s not a magical advertising tool and it’s certainly not something that will be developed overnight. Building an online brand takes consistent use and is not a place for posting press releases or news of your events. It’s a two-way tool for communication, finding and building relationships, ‘overhearing’ what others are saying about themselves and subjects that are important to them. Focus on your relationship goals and over time, used correctly, social media can enable the message of what you do to others.
“We’re not tech savvy”
Many smaller not-for-profits have limited resources and skills, you may not even have people in your office who know how to create an account on Twitter. It’s going to be a learning curve but the internet provides a great deal of information on this. Get comfortable with the etiquette, vocab, customs and best ways of working. You’ll learn there really isn’t a lot to it!
“I don’t care about social media”
I’m most interested in the first part of this sentence. You need to care about what’s going on out there, what millions of others have hooked onto – this wonderful world of social media. It’s chit-chat, small talk and profound thoughts, nosiness and careful consideration. This is how humans are engaging in each other’s lives, reaching loved ones from millions of miles away to those the other side of a crowded room. If you can communicate in person, you can communicate through social media – and you should care!
“Our donors really aren’t into Facebook”
Make sure that if you are making this excuse you’re not underestimating your stakeholders!
I hear lots of stories from friends about their parents/grandparents/aunts etc. requesting to be their ‘friend’ on Facebook. These are the older generation, those who didn’t grow up using computers in the classroom or a mobile phone when they left the house as a kid. If a social media strategy isn’t right for your audience now, ok, but your audience are people and people use social media.