Slide 1 Strategic Social Media for Small NGOs Presented by Amy Coulterman http://linkd.in/amyc101 @AmyCSays for ICAD-CISD, 20 Feb 2013
Slide 2 BUT, I HAVE TO DO IT!Have you created social media accounts because you thought you had to? Everyone’s doing it!It’s free! People will like us! Now you’re probably using 1 or 3 tools and it can seemoverwhelming because you’re a small NGO with already overextended staff. But did you thinkabout your strategy much before you created an account for the first time?The aim of my presentation is to offer you some thoughts about strategy instead of offering ahow-to. The practical aspects of Twitter, Facebook and other platforms can be easily learned andyou can find a lot of tutorials online, but how best to use them for you is something that NGOsoften overlook. I also don’t want to throw around a lot of examples because I think they can raisehigh expectations around what social media can do that don’t match your realities. That is why Iam going to get you to rethink your approach about why and how you use them and even if youshould use them.
Slide 3 Do you have a communications strategy?First things first: do you have a communications strategy?Social media is just a component of a larger communications strategy. Social media can NOTtake the place of a communications strategy. You need to get the communications basics in orderbefore you take on social media because it is one tool amongst many that supports your largerplan and vision and your organization’s larger mandate and goals. When you do this, you’ll havea better picture of your next steps.
Slide 4 Forrester Research’s “POST” method • P = People • O = Objectives • S = Strategy • T = TechnologyA good first approach to organizing your thoughts about how to and why use social media is theForrester Research’s “POST” method, which is used by a great HIV social media team fromAIDS.gov in the US. I’m going to use this general outline to work through how you should thinkabout your relationship to social media in your NGO.
Slide 5 P = People •Who is your target audience? •What tools are they using? •What are they most comfortable with?
Slide 6 O = Objectives •Do you want to listen, talk, raise awareness, increase website traffic, improve your reputation or collaborate with your audience?
Slide 7 S = Strategy •What do you want to accomplish? •What resources do you have?
Slide 8 T = Technology •Once youve defined your audiences, objectives and strategy, then you can choose the most appropriate technology.
Slide 9 Your social media audience Lesson 1: You cannot create a communityI credit this insight to a fellow social media enthusiast, Hugh Stephens: you can’t ‘create’ acommunity because you can only build on what is already there; go where your community is,otherwise, it will be an uphill battle.Social media platforms, in general, are ideal for connecting with those who already know youand like you or are like-minded - so you should aim first to deepen your relationships with thesepeople. What will actually grow your community the most are still your traditional outreachmethods that draw people in and get them excited to be involved.# These opportunities are thingslike fundraising walks, traditional media campaigns and protests. So, although many of you wantto increase your followers, you should be realistic about the numbers you can gain.Go to your communications strategy and consider your target audiences and stakeholders. Thinkof their characteristics and then figure out where you can most effectively target yourcommunity.
Slide 10The following information is a representative analysis, but it gives a good overview of thedemographics of social media users to provide an idea of where you can find your targetaudiences.Facebook obviously has the largest overall audience. On average, LinkedIn has a proportion ofmore educated users.
Slide 11Twitter numbers are probably lower than you thought. Pinterest is dominated by females.
Slide 12Instagram and Tumblr are heavily used by younger users, but Instagram users actually comefrom a high income bracket.
Slide 13 Your social media audience Lesson 2: Not everyone ‘uses’ social media • 46% of users create photos & videos to share • 41% of users share content that others makeNow the 2nd lesson: Not everyone uses social media or they don’t use social media in they wayyou’d hope they do. Only 46% percent of internet users create photos and videos to share; 41%of users share content that others make. This means that there are a lot of people out there whodon’t use social media and, if they do use it, don’t engage very much with it meaning manypeople are passive listeners. You may need to realize that your audience isn’t in reality using thetools you’ve set up in the first place in order to reach them.
Slide 14This means, you may need to rethink your strategy about where you’re focusing your efforts. Asthis age graph shows, if you are running a design contest targeted at youth, you may try to findthem on a site like deviantArt.
Slide 15 British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDSHere’s an example of ICAD member the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDSFacebook page. With a primarily academic, policy and medical audience, they are targeting theirsupporters with an appropriate balance of content it knows interests them amongst its internalnews, external news that highlights its work and its staff and other organizations’ campaigns,reports and presentations. They also have a well run Twitter account. But, in terms of lesson 1, Ialso think that they could use LinkedIn or academic.edu effectively, too, because of the types ofprofessionals it works with - on there they could share their reports and create a network ofpeople researching their interests. If, after trying LinkedIn for a while, they found it was a betterway to connect with their target audience, they could drop their Facebook page so they don’t feeloverwhelmed. Also, while they have a news section on their website, they don’t have a blog andI think a blog would be an ideal feature in terms of reaching out to the general populationbecause in a blog they could introduce their research in a way that would allow the public tounderstand it better.So, think again about where your audience is and what you want from them and focus on thesites where you can reach them.
Slide 16 Objective Realism Lesson 3: Social media takes time
Slide 17 Posting guidelines • 2-3 times/day on Facebook • 4-5 times/day on Twitter • 4-5 times/week on LinkedIn • Blogging...it depends!Now, your objectives. Think realistically about the time involved in ‘doing’ social media and thefrequency with which you have to offer content: ideally posting 2-3 times/day on Facebook, 4-5times/day on Twitter, 4-5 times/week on LinkedIn and, depending on your content and needs,you may blog a few times a week or a few times a month, but what matters with blogs is thequality of content and the consistency with which you post.
Slide 18 http://gigaom.com/2010/12/01/how-much-time-does-social-media-marketing-take/The amount of time you can offer will determine the level at which you can realistically engage.If your objectives are high, then you have to budget for the time needed. If you can’t or don’twant to put in the time to use a platform properly then lower your expectations about what youcan get out of it or don’t use it because it’s better not to have something than to use it poorly.Nothing’s worse than seeing a Twitter account that only has a few tweets a month - that means itdoesn’t add value to what you are already doing and is a waste of time.Also, think about what kind of resources you can provide. Will you use the time of a volunteer,one or two employees, a consultant or everyone in the office? What kind of training or supportdo these people need? Assess your assets because how much time, resources and energy thesepeople can commit will also determine what you will use and how you will use it.
Slide 19 Objective Realism Lesson 4: You need to own itMost importantly, think of the long term implications and investment. Don’t depend only onshort term solutions like interns and volunteers. You need to make sure that social media usage isan investment by the whole organization - everyone in your NGO needs to ‘own’ it, which meansthat everyone should at least understand the importance of social media to your public presenceand give you the space to do what you want and need to do. Your employees understand the‘voice’ of your organization and you should trust them to represent it online.
Slide 20 Josette Sheeran, WEFIt’s clear that an organization is dedicated to social media when their leader is heavily involvedin it as well. Josette Sheeran, present vice-chair of the World Economic Forum and previouslyvery active as the head of the WFP, is a great example of this. In her tweets she highlights hercause, speaks to other Twitter users and gives something of her personality.I’m not saying that everyone should do this because a personal account is not for every NGO but,in addition to an official account, if you have or you want a strong personality-led organizationor if you don’t think you can properly keep up an official NGO account because of time or youdon’t have much to post about, an employee spokesperson account can be an alternative.
Slide 21 Using your technology Lesson 5: Take time to research and listenMany of you are looking to pick up the pace of interest in your organization online. You have theaccounts set up and you want to increase numbers and really use the tools in the best ways. So,here are some pointers.First, take the time to RESEARCH and LISTEN to the conversations out there. Read blogs,explore what news people are talking about and note what other organizations like yours aredoing within their means. This will help you to figure out how best to use the tools.
Slide 22For example, you can follow certain hashtags related to your cause and see what people aresharing and talking about like under #hivcan, Canada’s HIV hashtag. And lurk or start sharing inweekly Twitter chats like the non-profit #commschat which happens once a week at a specificdate and time.
Slide 23 Using your technology Lesson 6: Share, collaborate, converse - ENGAGE
Slide 24 • 80% of posts should be entertaining, helpful, informative • 20% of posts can be self-promotional • Respond and say thank you!Now, sharing your news and sharing others’ news can offer interesting content to your followers,but in the long term you really need to focus on the key aim of social media: engagement.Collaborating and conversing is how you help your supporters be ‘more awesome’, so rememberto respond to people, engage in debate and say thank you. So get out and ask for conversations -this deepens your relationship with the people who like you. And you can easily get intoconversations with the more active users, other organizations, politicians, journalists and thosewho in fundraising speak are your ‘key influencers’.And make sure your content follows good social media guidelines: 80% of posts should beentertaining, helpful or informative and 20% can be self-promotional.
Slide 25 International Planned Parenthood FederationThe International Planned Parenthood Federation Twitter account is an excellent example ofgood practices. First, they employ humour and they have a ‘personality’. Most importantly, theyoffer support, retweet like-minded organizations and actually engage in conversations - in thepast even I’ve even had a couple of chats with them about news items they posted!
Slide 26 • Make sure you have metrics and measure! http://socialmediamarketinguniversity.com/google-analytics-news-metrics-blog/You will need to create metrics that you will monitor and evaluate for whichever tools you useand goals you have. Social media measurement is actually done very infrequently by manyNGOs, but you need to realize it can be very valuable for your strategizing and reporting.Based on your objectives, what would success look like to you? Donations of money orvolunteer time; increased website hits, reach or awareness, improved relationships, engagementwith stakeholders, changes in behaviour of the target audience, etc. You can measure these thingswith tools like Google Analytics. Then your reports and results can help you adapt your approachin the long-run - it takes time to figure out what works best for you and for your audience, sogive it a few months.
Slide 27 • Have a wider communications strategy • Write out your POST (People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology) • Pick your tools based on: your intended audience(s); where the communities are; the time and human resources you have; how much time each tool needs to be used in the way you want • Create a culture of ownership • Learn about how best to use your tools (listening and engagement) • Create and follow metrics based on objectives • Keep trying!
Slide 28 Key takeaways • Do only what’s possible to do well within your means • It’s okay NOT to do it all!
Slide 29 A few great non-profit resources: Techsoup Canada http://www.techsoupcanada.ca/ NTEN http://www.nten.org/ Idealware http://www.idealware.org/ AIDS.gov http://aids.gov/using-new-media/ Beth Kanter http://www.bethkanter.org/ Health hashtags http://www.symplur.com/healthcare- hashtags/ Non-profit hashtags http://www.nten.org/blog/2011/11/08/30-super- useful-nonprofit-hashtags-%E2%80%93-twitter-chats- too Twitter/Facebook Guides http://mashable.com/guidebook/