A reflection from two talks

In the past week I’ve given two talks to two different groups on the same subject – social media and fundraising. The first group was a group of 32 professionals who work or volunteer for nonprofit organizations through the Foundation Center located at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. The second group was a group of 18 graduate students in a Nonprofit Communications course at Point Park University. Some of the students already work at nonprofits while others hope to when they are done with the program.

A couple of key questions that arose with both groups were:

  1. Should you schedule future posts to social media?
  2. How do you measure success using social media?
  3. What platform is the right one to use?

Well, the correct answer to each is what is usually my least favorite answer – it depends. Scheduling future posts is great idea if you don’t want to be tied down to your social media account 24/7. But, if you do use scheduled-posts to social media don’t forget about them. You need to be able to reply to questions and inquiries for people who respond. You still need to be social. Some people think that scheduled tweets are bad. That doesn’t have to be the case if you remember the posts!

How do you measure success using social media? It’s not always the number of posts retweeted or share, number of likes, number of people following you on social media or even the number of comments. Sometimes it’s the number of people who took the call to action you wanted, whether that’s making a donation or calling a legislator. Sometimes it’s what is spelled out in your strategic plan, your marketing and communications plan and your development plan.

Is Facebook the right platform? What about LinkedIn? In addition to the major social media networks there are so many niche social media networks and tools and its hard to say. It depends on your intended audience. Just because you have an agency page on Facebook doesn’t mean everyone will interact and engage with you on it. Just like some people prefer email to phone calls, others preer Facebook to Twitter or Tumblr to Facebook or something you may not have heard of before like BlueLine (a social network for cops). What you need to do is try a network to see what type of engagement you receive in addition to just surveying your constituency to see what they use. Just because one network is best of agency X doesn’t mean it will be the same for agency Y.

If you want to see my slides from the two talks just look below

It depends.

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