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Blog > Which Social Media Platforms are best for your Organization?

Which Social Media Platforms are best for your Organization?

affiché le 28 août 2018
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by Maria Lahiffe

Chances are, you need to be on social media to reach a portion of your stakeholders. After all, over 70% of Canadians over the age of 10 are active on at least one social network. [1] [2] Chances are equally strong that you don’t need to be on EVERY social media platform. So how do you choose the best ones for your organization?

Determine your Communication Goals

Communications on social media need to be considered as part of a wider communications plan. Read our previous blog post to learn why you need a communications plan.

In order to communicate effectively, you need to start by asking some key questions: [3]

  • What is your organizational purpose?
  • Who do you want to communicate with?
  • What do you want to say?
  • How do you want to communicate?
    • This includes what channels you want to use.

Communication Channels

Examples of communication channels include: [4]

  • Press releases
  • Ads, including in or on:
    • Print publications
    • Bus shelters
    • On web pages
    • Social media
    • Search engine advertising (e.g. Google AdWords)
  • Organizational Web page
  • Letters
  • Direct email
  • Text messages
  • Telephone messages
  • Social media

As you can see, social media needs to be a part – and maybe only a small part – of your overall communications. You need to decide which communication channels are most appropriate to your needs.

Communications Objectives

You need to decide what you want people to DO as a result of interacting with your communication. Read our previous blog post to learn about measurable communications objectives.

Likes and followers are called “vanity metrics” – that is, they are meaningless. Here is a very incomplete list of potential communications objectives:

  • Sign up new members
  • Raise donations
  • Obtain stakeholder feedback
  • Conduct market research

Social Media Platforms

You’ll notice that we’re pretty far into this blog post already, and only now are we talking about social media platforms. That reflects reality. You first need to decide what you want to say, to whom, and how you want to reach those people, before you can make an informed choice of platform(s).

Facebook

Most people will tell you that you need to be on Facebook because it is the biggest social media platform in the world, with over 2 billion monthly users [5]. If you have a budget to pay for advertising, then Facebook is excellent – and the budget does not need to be that large. You can boost a post for as little as $5. [5] You should at least have a Facebook page for people to find you, [6] but think hard about how much money and effort you want to invest in posting on this platform.

The bulk of Facebook users are over 35; the age group which is joining in the greatest numbers is over 55 years old. Thus, if you want to reach young people. Facebook is probably not a good choice. [7]

Facebook offers excellent analytics and highly targeted demographic advertising. On the other hand, Facebook’s privacy policy is unclear, and their algorithms prioritize posts from friends over those of businesses. [5]

Instagram

Instagram is a fun, image-based site popular with younger people [6], which has 800 million monthly users [5]. If you can achieve your communications goals using images or video, then you may want to use Instagram. [6] It has excellent analytics, but is primarily for mobile use, which can make it inefficient in a business setting. [5]

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a professional space with 250 million active monthly users [8], where you can connect with other professionals. It could be a good platform on which to connect, for example, with potential board members, pro bono volunteers, or donors. You may also find it useful for hiring. It is difficult, however, to connect with specific supporters as opposed to other professionals in general. [5]

Twitter

Twitter is good for brief, real-time communication. With over 6,000 tweets being posted every minute, expect to post at least a few times a day if you want any sort of visibility [6]. A down side, however, is that anyone can link a tweet to your organization. Thus, if you have a Twitter presence, you need to monitor it pretty closely to make sure nobody hijacks your story. [9]

Other platforms

There are dozens of other social media platforms which can help you tell your story, including YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, Google+… and many others. Click here for an incomplete list. Every platform is popular with a particular demographic segment, and every one has its strengths and drawbacks. Do your research to determine which platforms are the best for your communications plan and resources.

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Related Blog Posts:

[1] Statistica, "Number of Social Network Users in Canada from 2015 to 2022," Statistica: The Statistics Portal, 2018. [Online]. Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/260710/number-of-social-network-users-in-canada/. [Accessed 10 January 2018]. [2] Statistics Canada, "Population by Sex and Age Group," Statistics Canada, 27 September 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/demo10a-eng.htm. [Accessed 10 January 2018]. [3] "Developing a Plan for Communication," Community Tool Box, [Online]. Available: https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/participation/promoting-interest/communication-plan/main. [Accessed 16 August 2018]. [4] "Principles of Management - 12.6 Communication Channels," University of Minnesota, [Online]. Available: http://open.lib.umn.edu/principlesmanagement/chapter/12-6-communication-channels/. [Accessed 17 August 2018]. [5] W. Elsey, "How to Choose the Right Social Network for your Nonprofit," NonProfit Pro, 11 January 2018. [Online]. Available: https://www.nonprofitpro.com/post/choose-right-social-network-nonprofit/. [Accessed 17 August 2018]. [6] S. Rand, "One Size Does Not Fit All: Which Social Media Platforms Should Your Business be on?," Business.com, 22 February 2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.business.com/articles/one-size-does-not-fit-all-which-social-media-platforms-should-your-business-be-on/. [Accessed 17 August 2018]. [7] "Comparing Social Media Platforms for Marketing," ThriveHive, 28 March 2017. [Online]. Available: https://thrivehive.com/comparing-social-media-platforms-for-marketing/. [Accessed 17 August 2018]. [8] K. Nauska, "LinkedIn in 2018 - How 5 Big Companies Use LinkedIn in Social Media Marketing," Quintly, 8 March 2018. [Online]. Available: https://www.quintly.com/blog/linkedin-in-2018-5-companies-use-linkedin. [Accessed 17 August 2018]. [9] C. Bevan, "The Pros and Cons of using Twitter," Boost Blog, 4 January 2018. [Online]. Available: https://www.boostability.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-using-twitter. [Accessed 17 August 2018].
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