Social media offers an amazing set of tools that can be utilized by anyone to increase their presence. I attended a media event last night and ran into several comm people who worked for non-profits and had delightful conversations with them. We exchanged cards and talked for a bit about how best to approach the media, gain public support, and generally build a culture of advocacy.
The discussion quickly turned to social media and I began making suggestions on how best to use social media to help promote a cause. The discussion was long and involved but generally boiled down to these ten suggestions:
1. Personify your agency
Create a public profile about your agency that people can relate to, create an identity for your agency and begin discussions from its point of view.
2 Poll the public
Use open social networks to figure out if people are interested in your cause and how best to attract them to your agency.
3. Use social networks to create followers
Once you have found a public, and you agency has a personality, create social profiles of your agency and allow people to befriend it.
4. Provide a friendly face that people can associate with
Avoid generic contact information, people are more likely to reach out to a real person than firstname.lastname@example.org, allow someone in your agency to monitor and reply to all queries generated from social media.
5. Create a simple blog on your site or post on other blogs
There is no simple way around it, you have to start writing daily about what your agency is trying to accomplish. Create insightful post on your blog, and comment on other blogs that cover your issues.
6. Use RSS
All of your blog traffic needs to have an RSS feed. These simple tools allow for your information to reach your audience through their preferred media.
7. Twitter about your agency
Dedicate someone in your office to be the voice of your agency on twitter then take these tips and run with them.
8. Connect with other groups
Once your social presence is up and running invite other non-profits to follow your model and aggregate your connections.
9. Network in the real world
Use your social connections to have tweet ups or quick and easy events that your social media followers can attend in the real world.
10. Never be afraid to ask for help
There are tons of people out there who love social media, find a person you think could help you and ask. You would be amazed how many of us out here would love to help you.
I am certain I missed a ton of things here but I think I covered the basics. Let me know if you can think of any other ways non-profits could use social media to benefit themselves. If you work at a non-profit, and have social media questions, drop me an email or give me a tweet… I would love to help