One of my favorite quotes is this one from marketing expert Seth Godin. “Is more always better? Sometimes, better is better.” I’ve been exploring ways this applies to nonprofit communications. In Part One I covered email newsletters. Choose Quality Over Quantity – Part One – Your Email Newsletter Part Two is about social media.
If you are on social media, you know it often seems to be more about quantity than quality. People will post just about anything, such as what they ate for lunch or that they are at Starbucks. But to be successful on social media you need to focus on quality.
Social media is social
In this post, I’m going to focus on Facebook and Twitter. For both of these, the number of followers you have isn’t as important as how good they are. Some of your followers may not be paying that much attention to you. How often do people comment on or share any of your content? If you receive a comment, do you respond back? Don’t forget about the social in social media.
Putting your face on Facebook
Post content your followers will be interested in. This can include links to success stories on your website, links to newsletter articles that show how you are making a difference, engaging photos, and high-quality videos.
One of the great things about Facebook is that you can start a conversation. Ask questions and encourage feedback from your followers. Respond to comments you receive. Keep the conversation going.
Navigating the Twitter stream
To me the Twitter stream is more like a fire hydrant. A lot of information is pouring out of it. Some of it good – some not so much. Make whatever you send out something that will rise above the waves of constant information.
You only have 140 characters, so use them wisely. Can you make your tweet clear and compelling? Don’t abbreviate so much that your message is not understandable. Make sure it looks professional and not like teenager’s text message.
Remember that good social media is sharing other people’s content. Retweet messages your supporters might be interested in. You can also use Twitter to engage in a conversation. Ask questions. Replying to tweets is another way to engage. If someone retweets any of your content, be sure to thank them. Keep it social.
Think it through
Social media can be an “in the moment” type of communication, but it shouldn’t be when you use it professionally. It should require just as much planning and strategy as your other types of communication. Also, be sure your content is consistent with your organization’s messaging.
Bridgegspan recommends organizations spend between two and six hours a week posting to Facebook and Twitter, and one to four hours a week responding to comments. You can use Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or a similar program to set up posts in advance. But some spontaneity is good, too. That’s why you should try to go on at least once a day to see what’s new and to check if you have received any comments.
You can post several times a day, as long as you have quality content to share. But don’t send out a lot of messages at once. Spread them out over of the course of the day.
Be consistent with how often you post. If you only have time for one or two posts a day, then stick to that. What’s most important is that you have something good to share. Quality trumps quantity.
Use an editorial calendar for all your communication including social media. This way you can keep track of when your newsletters go out, events, and other relevant dates, and use social media to promote these. LightBox Collaborative’s 2012 Editorial Calendar
In addition, keep track of your engagement. Both Facebook and Twitter have analytical tools to help with this, so do platforms such as Hootsuite.
Still the new kid on the block
Social media is still fairly new, and may not be your primary mode of communication right now. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth investing a little time in creating well-written, high-quality content so you can engage with your supporters.
Before you post anything on Facebook or Twitter, ask yourself:
Does it include information our supporters care about?
Is it high-quality?
If in doubt, don’t send it out.
How does your organization use social media?