Yes, Social Media for Nonprofits Works and Everyone Should be Using It

During DC’s first annual Social Media Week, I stopped by Salsa’s panel, “Spicing Up #Social Media: A Recipe for #Nonprofit Success.” The room was packed with marketers and the energy was palpable. Everyone was looking, it seemed, for The Answer: “What is the key to social media?” with the implied follow up, “…and how the heck do I use it at a nonprofit where budgets are tight, staff is overworked, and we’re fighting with big brands for our constituents’ attention?”

The panel allayed the fears of the audience, assuring them that from their experience social media can and does work. And I agree wholeheartedly. If (and only if) you set appropriate expectations, understand what ROI means in the social sphere, and make it a priority – at least one of the many, many priorities your organization has. Bonus! In this case, “priority” doesn’t mean a lot of time, it just means quality time and an understanding of the power and value of the medium.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the power of social media nonprofit organizations and how you can put it into action today. Let’s get started!

Social media is absolutely a direct response tactic… if you completely redefine direct response. The power of “social media” is that it’s SOCIAL. You have direct access to your constituents in a way that you’d have to pay big, BIG money for through research organization and marketing tactics. If you want to know about your audience, ask them! “What interests you? What do you care about? What do you love about us? What would you like to see us do?” Commenting on posts is a primary feature of Facebook, and Twitter allows you to get feedback in real time. And if you ask a question, check back and respond. These are community members who care enough to take the time to talk to you. They are raising their hand – sure it’s just a Facebook comment or Tweet now, but if you take the time to respond to them, if they feel connected to you, another action could be just around the corner.

Do you engage your community with questions or polls on Facebook? What kind of responses have you received? And, more importantly, how have you used that information?

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