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Jessica Edmonson 6 min read

Social Media Tips for Nonprofits

There’s little question that social media is growing in popularity and becoming more of a mainstream activity. According to a November 2011 study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 66% of adult Internet users are using a social networking site, up from 30% in 2008. Although there’s a seemingly limitless potential for nonprofit organizations to tap into that online audience, the ability to engage successfully with the audience remains limited based on an organization’s social media strategy.

Here are a few tips to help maximize your nonprofit’s social media strategy.

Keep Your Audience Engaged

Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter enable organizations to connect with an audience through fans and followers. But a common obstacle for organizations is their ability to continually engage with their audience: Once you have a following, how do you keep their attention?

The answer is to post fresh content – daily. However, the content itself must be engaging. In many cases, when an organization posts multiple times a day about its efforts or objectives, the audience will filter out the posts as spam.

Instead of blasting out material and hoping it will be read, focus on producing a variety of posts. Even if an organization decides to post a “Quote of the Day” or “Today in History” blurb that doesn’t directly relate to its objectives, the message may still benefit the organization’s online strategy by helping it develop a relationship with its audience.

Incorporate a Call to Action

Whether it’s raising awareness and developing relationships or raising money and furthering the organization’s budget, each message should have a defining call to action for the audience.

For instance, if your company is posting a Quote of the Day, make sure to include a relevant question that will ask the audience to chime in with responses. If you post information about a fundraising event planned for later in the week, ask the audience to donate or volunteer.

Avoid the Temptation to Duplicate

With multiple social media platforms comes the temptation to duplicate content. Facebook posts and Twitter tweets can be set up to post on both platforms via social hubs like Hootsuite and Spredfast. Be careful, however. As convenient as it may seem to synchronize posts, it could actually work to the detriment of an organization’s online marketing strategy.

If your company has a Twitter account and a Facebook page, the messages should be different for each platform based on that site’s individual strengths, even if the platforms attract a similar audience. For example, Twitter tweets are limited to 140 characters. That diversity also will give your audience a reason to connect with you across multiple social networking sites.

Continue the Feedback Loop

With every response from a fan, whether it’s a Facebook post or a Twitter tweet, an organization should recognize the comment and reply in a timely manner. Even if the comment is negative, it is still feedback and should be addressed.

By keeping up with responses to your posts and tweets you will develop a better relationship with your audience, which in turn will encourage further feedback.

Having a Facebook or Twitter page is a step in the right direction when engaging with online audiences, but actually knowing how to use both (as well as other social media sites) to incorporate your organization’s objectives is the main goal. What other tips do you think will help an organization’s social media strategy?

This guest post was written by Jessica Edmondson who discusses Marketing and Online Business Degrees for the University Alliance, a division of Bisk Education, Inc.