heather linford headshotGuest Post from Heather Linford, Community Engagement Coordinator, everydayhero. Heather manages everydayhero’s international social media presence. By leveraging multiple social platforms, her efforts have led to a major increase in reach, engagement and interaction with everydayhero supporters. She specializes in nonprofit strategy, and engaging communities across networks.

At everydayhero, we’re always looking for ways to engage with our community. From celebratory content to sharing fundraising tips via email, we want our members to feel connected to us.

These days, the best way to do this is through social media. And it’s become necessary to cultivate a robust presence on social media, in order to both interact with your community, and raise awareness for the work you’re doing. This can be an overwhelming field, but we’ve found that defining clear goals, and laying out an executable plan, is a great way for nonprofits to effectively navigate the social landscape.

My top tips for kicking off your social media program.

  1. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Prioritize the social networks that make sense for your audience, rather than going halfway on all of them. We’ve found that the most popular social media sites for nonprofit audiences are Facebook and Twitter — make sure your presence is strong on those networks.
  2. First step: figure out your voice. Think about your organization’s culture, values, and mission statement. What makes you stand out? How do you want to come across? Make sure everyone within your organization is happy and involved in this decision — this tone will be representing everyone.
  3. If you ask, you will receive. Audiences will like, share, retweet, and comment if you ask them to! But, do it with restraint. You don’t want you community to get bored of the constant calls-to-action.
  4. Do your research. Before launching a presence on any site, research it! Check out what other charities are posting and the content that is most successful for them. It’s also important to note where your fundraisers are most active. Be sure you know the content you want to post and the audience who will be on the receiving end of it.
  5. Post at the same time each day! This is a simple rule to stick to and ensures that your audience know when to expect to see your content. If 5pm is the time you find the highest engagement from your audience on Facebook then make sure you stick to this time. Worried about forgetting? Use scheduling tools like HootSuite, Sprout Social, or Facebook’s built-in scheduler.
  6. Listen to your audience. Are they letting you know if they are happy, unhappy, disinterested? Are the conversations they are having accurate? By listening to your audience you can better judge how you are being received by them. If there is a bit of a ‘lost in translation’ situation, then go back to the drawing board, make changes straight away, don’t sit and hope for the best if all signs point to trouble.
  7. Don’t be intimidated. Remember, when you first launch, your audience will be smaller than you hope for. This gives you room to maneuver and find your feet. Making mistakes is fine (as long as they are small ones!) — no one is waiting for you to get it wrong, so be confident. Celebrate your wins and don’t berate yourself too much for mistakes.
  8. Talk! Social media is about building relationships and celebrating your supporters. So, answer their questions, proactively join in Twitter conversations, and give them a reason to reach out.
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