by Maria Lahiffe
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:
Boss: “What’s the big campaign idea?”
Comms Manager: “We’re going digital: Facebook, Youtube, a mobile app, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn…”
Boss: “What are we going to do with all those channels?”
Comms Manager: “I dunno. We’ll figure that out later.”
Sound familiar? Certainly, you probably need to be on social media. After all, more than half of Canadians use it. Plus, it’s free.
You need a strategy.
First off, remember that Social Media is just a way to get your word out and engage with your stakeholders. There are lots of ways to do that, like flyers, phone calls, website, third parties, and many more. Before you start using these channels, you need to step back and make a strategy.
Your communications strategy needs to start with your organization’s goals, which themselves will be rooted in its mission, vision and values. Say your organization runs after-school programs for children. What programs do you run? Why should parents choose your programs instead of anyone else’s? How will you let parents know about your programs and persuade them to sign their kids up? Where do the parents hang out? These are just a few starting points for turning your organization’s goals into communication goals.
Any time you do anything, you need to make a plan. Part of your plan should include a definition of success, which should be measurable. Do you want a lot of people to like your page on Facebook? (hint: this is essentially worthless) How about shares? What about responses? Once you’ve decided on measurable success metrics, then measure them. If you are not meeting your goals, then you tweak your activities, then measure again.
So you’re not entirely successful when you first start. Welcome to the club! There are a number of reasons why you may not be getting the results you want. The biggest one is that your content could probably be improved. Think more carefully about who your primary target audiences are and what they need. You’ll probably have a number of target audiences, for example, volunteers, parents, children, teachers, and donors. Each one needs to be engaged differently.
Another thing to remember is that Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest do not exist to help you reach your communication goals. They exist to make money, and they have sophisticated algorithms to help them do that. The good news is, these algorithms are learnable.
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