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12 tips on social media use for nonprofits, from YNPNdc’s Social Media Summit

August 8, 2010

About 150 young nonprofit professionals gathered in DC on Friday to learn about how social media can be used by nonprofits to further their goals. It was a fast-paced, information-packed day organized by the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of DC. Tamara Rasberry’s event recap details many of the speakers and topics covered.  Here are some key tips from the amazing speakers and panelists at the conference, from tweets and notes.

  1. Start small with social tools. One person doing well can lead to greater organizational buy-in. Have a short-term plan for what to do in the first 30, 60, and 90 days.
  2. Internal education and communication is essential. Education will help others in your organization understand the value of what you want to do, why you should be in the social media space. Share this Social Media Revolution video with skeptical colleagues to demonstrate the importance of having a dedicated social media presence.
  3. Promote and communicate your successes. Formalize regular internal reporting of what you’re gaining (awareness, followers, positive mentions, etc.) by having a social media presence. If something big has happened, such as a huge jump in website traffic, donations, members, or campaign actions, market your social media success story assertively to your colleagues and organizational leaders.
  4. Find and follow tweeps who cover and talk about your subject or issue using tools such as WeFollow and other Twitter directories, and event and topic hashtag searches. (Bonus tip: WeFollow used to allow only three tags on your account but now allows up to five. If you signed up a while ago or have changed your focus, you may want to update your listing.)
  5. Keep your content retweetable. Keep it short enough that your handle and additional characters can be added without requiring editing.
  6. Keep in mind that social media can act as a democratizing force for smaller organizations, allowing you to spread your message, gain followers, and even win contests and mentions, no matter how big you are.
  7. Twitter and Facebook can foster a higher level of interaction and more interactions than blog or news article comments. People often use their real identities, pictures, and names and have an easily-findable presence on social media forums.
  8. Cross-generational information sharing can be a great way to help older workers better understand new media and younger workers better understand the organization’s goals and processes. Institute formal mentoring or info-sharing sessions to make this happen.
  9. Keep an eye on what people are talking about, the top news stories and trending topics. If trending topics are related to your programs, messages, and goals, jump in the conversation! Use hashtags to be found more easily. Think about unique connections you can make, such as using a hot-button political issue as a way to encourage more voter registration.
  10. What do you want your audience and community to think about you, to know about you? What reputation are you trying to build, what are your goals for participation? Answer these questions to stay focused. (This point was also an exercise in the Blogging for Branding 31 days to a brand new blog challenge from Rosetta Thurman.)
  11. Content curating is becoming a highly valued skill; seek out and share the most relevant and important content in your area of expertise or practice. Keep in mind the 80/20 rule: no more (and often less) than 20% of your posts should be self-promotional. 80% should be engagement and sharing others’ content and successes.
  12. Combining social media with traditional PR is all about building relationships. Be where key reporters are, follow them on Twitter, comment on their articles, help share and fulfill their requests. Be a resource for them, and they’ll be more likely to think of you for a story or respond to a pitch.

And finally, I have to share this funny cartoon shared by Lisa Byrne. Attendees were eagerly soaking up, taking notes on, and tweeting the great information and examples presented by all the speakers. A big thanks to YNPNdc, John Chen, Malcolm Furgol, and the organizing committee for organizing a valuable, fun conference.

Thank you to speakers and panelists Tammy Gordon, Brian Dresher, Reggie Henry, Peter Panepento, Alison McQuade, Chris Golden, Ayofemi Kirby, Jason Rosenberg, Rosetta Thurman, Ashley Parker, Debbie Friez, Mariah Craven, Amanda Miller Littlejohn, Kye Strance, and Jordan Viator for sharing your experiences and insights.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2010 10:56 pm

    Great tips, Grace! There was so much information shared on that day. I’m so glad that I attended. Thanks for the shoutout!

  2. August 9, 2010 12:49 pm

    Thanks for sharing these great tips from Friday’s conference! I was happy to be a part of the PR panel.

  3. August 10, 2010 10:20 am

    This is another great recap Grace, that I will be sharing with my YNPN (Triad Area NC) chapter. I personally will be taking the advice to join WeFollow as I tweet quite a bit about my cause area and I know that’s a good way to get more followers.


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