Gone are the days when social media was thought of solely as a time suck. Today, effective social media engagement is crucial to the growth and impact of every nonprofit. Nonprofit leaders are seeking out savvy professionals who know how to use social tools to drive their organizationsâ€™ missions forward.
So what social media skills should you focus on building to make yourself truly valuable? Here are a few ideas:
1) Content Creation
Effective social media starts and ends with good content. Your content, whether it’s a pin on Pinterest or a blog post, should tell an engaging story that both illustrates your organization’s impact and highlights elements of your work that your stakeholders value. If you can write well and build a distinctive voice for your organization, you’ll be one step ahead of most.
Social media is becoming more visual. The best social media managers are proficient enough at design to create custom branded photos to accompany their Facebook posts, brief videos to accompany their Tweets, and engaging graphics to accompany their blog posts. Stock imagery won’t cut it anymore it’s time to get original. Don’t have design skills? Fear not! Easy-to-use, low cost tools likeÂ PixelmatorÂ are accessible even to novices.
3) Social Listening and GeoTargeting
The best social media managers don’t just talk they also listen. Did you know that you can use social media to monitor the online use of a specific keyword or set of keywords, in real time, limited to a specific geographic area (such as your home base)?Building a proficiency in social listening, and then setting up and monitoring for relevant conversations in targeted areas can tell you so much about your stakeholders. You can learn what they care about and how they spend their free time. You can use insights into their preferences to build more targeted communications campaigns. Here are step-by-step instructions for using geotargeting with the popular social media management toolÂ Hootsuite.
When social media first came onto the scene, it was fairly easy to build up a large and active following organically. Boy, how times have changed. Networks like Facebook and Twitter have monetized and as they’ve done so, they’ve made it harder for your organic content to get exposure. Today, it’s tough to be effective on social media without at least a small ad budget.
if you can’t afford to advertise, you should simply focus on educating yourself about the power of social advertising so you can have a productive conversation with your team about making room for it in the budget. Because of the way networks give preference to advertisers, today’s best and brightest social media professionals need to be proficient at running ad campaigns on the all the main networks, from targeting through to reporting. Lynda.com providesÂ great instructional videosÂ that will help you build skills in this area.
Social media can have a real impact on bottom line organizational goals.Â If you want to set yourself apart, you should focus on becoming proficient at utilizing tools such as Google Analytics to evaluate data on everything from the demographic profile of your stakeholders to the amount of traffic social media is referring to your site. You can even utilize tools such asÂ True Social MetricsÂ to determine the economic impact of a new follower on your organization. How’s that for proving the worth of your work?
Are you getting more social media savvy this year? What new skills are you working on learning?
If you have any questions or comments, tune into Facebook or LinkedIn to share them with us.
About the Author
Alyssa Conrardy is the President and Co-Founder and President ofÂ Prosper Strategies, a Chicago-based marketing firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations.