by Maria Lahiffe
Nobody in the non-profit world can afford an expensive social media manager. A lot of us compose a bunch of posts, then schedule them across all the platforms and hope someone reads something.
How’s that working for you?
Social media almost certainly needs to be a part of your overall communications strategy. It is a great way to market your services to the people who need them, to find supporters and donors, and to help your stakeholders promote your cause. However, each platform is different. You need to tailor your content accordingly.
Facebook is the biggest social network on the web, with almost 2 billion users worldwide. In Canada, 71% of social media users have a Facebook account, spending an average of 40 minutes per day on the site. Canadians from all age demographics use Facebook. 
On Facebook, your posts only appear on the newsfeeds of people who have “liked” your page. Your posts may appear on their friends’ pages if they interacted with the content, e.g. liked or commented on your post. On Facebook, people generally expect a conversation. Be ready to add to your posts by responding to comments. 
The ideal Facebook post has the following characteristics: 
Twitter has far fewer users than Facebook, accounting for about 27% of Canadian social media users, mainly concentrated between the ages of 18-29. 
Twitter is a place to broadcast information, where people do not expect responses. Your posts will appear to your followers, as well as to anyone you link (using their @twitter handle) and anyone following the hashtags you use.
The ideal Twitter post has the following characteristics:
LinkedIn is the most popular social network among people aged 30-64 with a postsecondary degree. 12% of Canadian social media users have a LinkedIn account. 
When you post to LinkedIn, you can choose whether to your post publicly or to your connections only. Public posts can appear on the feed of any LinkedIn member. 
People use LinkedIn to connect with other professionals and to learn new information which is relevant to them professionally. Make sure your posts on LinkedIn are informative and useful in a professional context.  If the majority of your stakeholders do not engage with your organization in a professional context (e.g. if you run after-school children’s programs), then you probably do not need to create a company page on LinkedIn.
The ideal image size is 150 x 80 for a link image and 550 x 375 for a shared image. 
These are just three of the many social media platforms out there. Many Canadians are also on YouTube (49% of Canadian social media users), Pinterest (23%), Google+ (21%), and Instagram (20%).  Like the platforms we discussed today, every platform has its own optimal uses.
Optimal use of each platform is only one aspect of a social media strategy. Come to our professional development seminar to find out how to improve your communications online.
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