What Four Christmas Traditions Can Teach Organizations About Social Media

In case you needed a not-so-subtle reminder to do some last minute shopping or stock up on eggnog, Christmas is on the horizon. There are only three more sleeps until the big day when presents, food and family abound.

Everyone has their own Christmas traditions during the holiday season, many of them serving as a reminder about the importance of sharing, kindness and hope. However, these traditions can also teach you a lot about social media management.

Yes, leave it up to us here at Incline Marketing to link jolly old Saint Nick to Twitter, Facebook and all those other online platforms. Here’s a thing or two about how Christmas traditions can teach organizations about social media management:

Milk and Cookies For Santa

Leaving milk and cookies to sustain Santa Claus on his gift-giving journey is a fun and long-standing tradition for many families around the globe. Doing your own online version of milk and cookies can help give your association, non-profit or small business a boost.

In the social media world, cookies and milk are the content that sustains your audience. The truth is, people connect with you online because they find value in what you have to say. When they no longer find value in your content, they don’t stick around long. Make sure your content is equal parts exciting (cookies) and practical (milk). Offer a variety of content and see which posts are gobbled up quickly and which ones are left half-eaten. By taking stock of how your content is received, you can cater to the needs and interests of your audience in a more efficient, effective way while maximizing your return on investment.

Decorating the Tree

Decorating the tree is a valued holiday tradition for one key reason; it allows you to gather your family together and have fun working as a unit to achieve a goal. When you’re finished, you can stand there with your loved ones and admire the work you’ve done together.

The lesson that comes out of decorating the Christmas tree is that everything is better with company and that includes improving your organization. Social media gives you the opportunity to engage your audience, ask questions and use crowdsourcing to bolster programs and initiatives. Don’t turn down this chance to include your members, donors or customers. Ask members what educational topics they want covered at your association’s next conference. Have your customers vote on which product they want kept on the shelves. Give your donors a chance to tell their story on a blog, Facebook or a video. When all is said and done, your community will look back and feel like they are truly a part of your organization’s progress, which only strengthens your following.

Putting up the Lights

Installing Christmas lights on the outside of your house is an annual lesson in patience and creativity. The same can be said for designing and maintaining your social media accounts.

First impressions are critical on social media and when someone visits your organization’s profile, they’re going to notice and respond to what it looks like. There are a few crucial elements of designing and updating your social media accounts. Just like with Christmas lights, where one broken bulb effects the whole string, one neglected space on your profile will ruin the entire experience for potential connections. Make sure your photos are filled out, updated regularly and are sized right (which is often where patience comes into play). Ensure your About and Contact sections are clear, concise, accurate and free of spelling and grammatical errors. Pay attention to the details. Different platforms have specific elements that require attention. For example, make sure your blog posts are tagged with relevant words, your pinned tweet is updated and the profile pictures on your Pinterest boards are relevant.

Singing Carols

Getting into the Christmas spirit is often as easy as going door to door singing your favourite seasonal songs or starting a sing-along at family get-togethers. The most important thing about carolling is that everyone is on board with the activity. If one or two people are not into it or are off key, it can throw a wet towel over the whole thing. Getting total buy-in is also important with your organization’s social media efforts.

Your staff, colleagues, board of directors and volunteers all need to understand and contribute to the effectiveness of your social media strategy for it to be successful. Start by explaining how social media can help achieve your organization’s mission and goals. Use examples and numbers and relate it to everyone’s specific job or area of expertise. Keep great records and provide ROI analysis to prove the value of everyone’s efforts on the online platforms. Offer to give tutorials to those who want to get a hang of social media and give your colleagues a chance to contribute to your efforts in a meaningful way. This can be done by crowdsourcing content, asking them to write guest blogs or including them in videos, photo albums or other visuals.

Advice for Three Common Challenges that Social Media Managers Face

Social media is a pretty great marketing tool for associations, non-profits and small businesses, but it’s not perfect and it comes with its own set of challenges. Challenges can be a good thing when they push you and your organization to confront flaws or pursue creative options to get around them, but when all they do is waste time and resources, no one has fun.

We’ve put together a list of three challenges that online marketers inevitably face when striving for success and added some advice for overcoming these obstacles.

Challenge: Finding Content

Advice: Social media is a constantly hungry beast, and by that we mean your audience is always going to be looking to digest new content from your accounts. If your organization is not posting consistently, it will quickly fall from relevance and crucial audience members will lose interest in your message. The one problem with this is finding enough content to serve on a daily or weekly basis (depending on the platform).

But do not fear, there’s lots of content to be had, you just need to know where to find it. Lists can be a social media marketer’s best friend and they come in handy with solving this challenge. Make lists of where you have received content before and check them regularly. If you’re just starting out, here are some places you can mine for content gold: Your followers (they’re a wealth of knowledge in your field/industry/cause), LinkedIn groups (where people are passionate and vocal), media outlets (newspaper are always churning out hard and soft news that’s relevant), comment sections (good source of new perspectives for blog posts) and the people you see every day (whether it’s members, volunteers, staff or customers, ask them what’s new; you’d be surprised about all the interesting tidbits you can get out of it). Last, but not least, take some time, brainstorm ideas and create content yourself! That’s always the best kind!

Challenge: Gaining Followers/Likes/Views/Etc.

Advice: This is a major source of stress for many a social media manager the world over. If no one is listening, it doesn’t matter if you’re saying the coolest thing in the best way. The keys here are to focus on quality before quantity, be a social butterfly and stay patient.

When you are connecting with people on social media, make sure they are members of your target audience. For example, if you decide to follow 300 people on Twitter, but 250 of them have a vague or non-existent tie to your organization’s mission, you’re not getting value from your efforts or loyal followers for the future. Craft a description of the perfect member of your target audience and find them on your chosen platform. They will be more likely to follow back, engage with you and encourage others to do likewise.

The second piece of advice is to be a social butterfly, which means to engage, engage, engage! Talk on Twitter chats and LinkedIn groups, mention people and other organizations and share the content of other accounts (while attributing it to them, of course). The more you become familiar to people, the more likely they are to see you as both friendly and useful. In many cases, this will lead them to connect with you as well.

Lastly, attempt to be as patient as possible. Great social media accounts aren’t built in a day, unless of course you’re a multi-national super company like McDonald’s or Coca Cola. It’s going to take time to attract followers, but the pay off is great in the long run. Keep being consistent, relevant and engaging and connections will follow. Do not abandon your efforts after a few short months of discouraging months because that decision is often short-sighted and damaging for future marketing initiatives, both online and off.

Challenge: Battling the Time Crunch

Advice: Some days are busier than others; those are usually the days when social media gets left by the wayside. Blogs are left stagnant, Twitter feeds remains dormant and Facebook posts begins to go stale. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; consistency is an ever-crucial element of social media success and even one or two forgotten days can set you back weeks. However, there are time-saving methods that can help you be more efficient and effective.

First and foremost, always make a content calendar. Content calendars help you organize your thoughts at the beginning of a week or month so you’re not scrambling around every day trying to find content or things to post. It may take an hour or two to build, but a well-done content calendar will save you at least double that during a busy period at the office.

Set up a Hootsuite account. Hootsuite you to schedule Twitter and Facebook posts ahead of time, which helps you prepare for a busy week. For example, if you are heading to a conference or stuck in meetings all day for the next three days, schedule your daily tweets with Hootsuite. This help you accomplish social media consistency while not having to stay at the office late to achieve it.

Social media is one place where hoarding is good, especially when you’re looking at a packed schedule. Capitalize on down time or a light work load by writing blog posts, finding shareable content or putting together interesting visuals and storing them away for busy times. This will help you quickly post things for when the unexpected comes your way.

6 Ways Social Media Can Help You Promote Your Association’s Conference

There’s no two ways about it, conferences are a vital part of most associations. They generate a large chunk of the organization’s non-dues revenue and they provide attendees with a collection of services that make the association valuable and worth investing in, like education and networking.

The difficulty lies in signing people up to go to a conference. Annual association get-togethers usually cost a decent sum of money and often include traveling, which means time away from work and family. Therefore, it is essential to have the best product in order to entice people and make it worth their while. Promoting the excellence of your association’s conference can be done with the traditional means; direct mail, phone calls, magazine ads and the like. But it can also be done effectively and less expensive with social media. Here’s how:

Infographics

Infographics are a great way to take cold, hard numbers and turn them into engaging visual displays that highlight the value of attending your association’s conference. You can have all the statistics you want on comparative pricing, hours of education, number of trade show sales and other figures, but if no one is paying attention, it’s useless. Infographics draw the attention of potential attendees, extract the useful facts and figures from a range of numbers and illustrate the value of the conference in plain language. As a bonus, infographics can be shared on almost every online platform, from Twitter to a blog to your website.

Video Tour

A lot of potential attendees need to see it to believe it. What this means is that the conference is an abstract idea with little concrete value until they have visual evidence to make it a reality. Video tours can help make your conference a reality and assure members that your organization is doing things with quality on its mind. Making a YouTube video of the venue and the city where the conference will take place puts an image into the minds of potential attendees and encourages them to confront the possibility that going to the conference might just be a great experience. As a bonus, these video tours may help potential exhibitors and sponsors envision a role for them at the event.

Interview

Posting an audio, video or written interview on your social media platforms sends a message along the lines of, “Don’t just take our word for it, check out what attendees like you have to say about the conference.” Conducting an interview with an attendee of a previous conference provides potential attendees with the perspective of someone who in in their shoes and who they may trust a little more. Choosing to interview someone who is well-known in the industry will also provide more legitimacy to the strategy and will probably lend itself to being shared more online as this individual most likely has a larger than average network.

Pinning Conference/Travel Tips

We already touched on the potential benefits of infographics to your conference promotion strategy and pins have much the same effect, but in a slightly different way. Pins provide the visual representation of useful information to potential attendees, just like infographics, but because pins are often smaller, stand-alone pieces of information, it’s gives your association the ability to let attendees personalize the content they store. For example, you can pin family-focused travel tips for the city where the conference is being held. An attendee who might bring their family will find this valuable. You can also post various schedules of education sessions that might appeal to certain segments of your membership and potential attendees can pin the ones they find most useful.

Giving Attendees a Voice in Program Planning

Social media has the power to give potential attendees more say in some of the aspects of the conference programming. Posing questions on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter about session topics, round table discussion issues or even food choices gives your association a chance to start a discussion about the event, encourages engagement among members and boosts awareness of the conference’s quality and value. It also provides potential attendees with an emotional investment in the process and final outcome, which makes it more likely that they will make a financial/time commitment. As a bonus, this will help you create programming that fulfills the goals of the conference.

Social Media Contests

Social media contests create a win-win situation and everyone loves a win-win. Contests can help your association promote its conference in two main ways; by directly increasing registration and by increasing awareness of the event. For example, if you promote a contest through social media where every registrant is entered to win a free trip to the conference, it encourages people to sign up. Similarly, if you create a contest where every retweet, like, share, comment, re-pin, etc is rewarded with an entry for free registration, it manufactors a situation where the reach and effectiveness of your promotion is continually growing.

How Social Media Can Help Your Organization Prove Its Value

Bang for buck, return on investment, your money’s worth; it doesn’t matter what you call it, the importance of value to your clientele cannot be overstated.

Whether it’s members, donors or customers, it’s crucial for your organization to highlight its value to them. After all, they’re investing their hard-earned cash on your products and services.

Most organizations do provide as much value as they can, but it’s figuring out how to show this value that can be difficult. Words can make believers of some, but sometimes that doesn’t cut it. Visuals can be a powerful source of proof, but even those fall short sometimes. Videos can oftentimes act as the looking glass onto value. The great thing about social media is, you don’t have to pick just one of these mediums, you can combine all three!

Words

The written word is a powerful tool for your organization to underline the value it provides to its community. Fortunately, there is no shortage of opportunities on social media to use words creatively and effectively for this purpose.

Twitter may only allow you to write 140 characters per post, but even though each tweet is one drop in the bucket, it fills it up fast. Live-tweeting an event or initiative is one way words can have an impact on your community’s perception of your value. For example, if your association is advocating by conducting a lobby day, live-tweeting the process puts all the work the organization is doing into perspective. When, at first, a member may see a advocacy as a vague term holding little value, clear, brief and specific details, as they happen, will give members something more tangible. It also allows members to have more say in the process, adding value to their membership.

What Twitter does in 140 characters, blogs can do more in-depth. Having a blog section on your organization’s website allows for stories to be told about the work your organization is doing and how it is adding value to peoples’ lives. For example, conducting an interview with a customer, member or donor about their experiences with an event, benefit or product doesn’t just tell the rest of your community how valuable you are, but shows them with the words of someone who is relateable and has the same goals and needs as them.

Visuals

Visuals, like photos or infographics, can drive the value point home to many members of your community. Visuals are engaging and help put meaning to the words and phrases people hear over and over again.

Infographics are great tools to use when you have a lot of nifty data that proves your value, but you don’t exactly know how to present it to your community. Data is powerful, as many of your members, customers or donors want to quantify how your organization is of value to them. Instead of running through a list of numbers, infographics make these figures visual and engaging. For example, if you want to show how much a professional will save as a member as opposed to a non-member, charting it out with an infographic will draw the attention of individuals and make it easier for them to see your organization’s value without having to wade through long lines of text or large strings of calculations.

Photos can also act a way to highlight how your community’s contributions have resulted in something concrete and valuable. Posting albums to Facebook, images to Pinterest or snapshots on Instagram allows people to see what they getting for their money or time. For example, posting photos of your organization’s trip to build a school in a foreign country or deliver products to a local hospital gives donors a clear vision of how they are helping and where their investment is going. It also allows them to comment on and share in the experience even when they are not physically there, which also provides value.

Videos

Videos are to pictures what blogs are to words; they offer organization’s a platform to deliver more in-depth explanations and bring smaller chunks of information to life. This allows you to tell the story of your organization’s value in a more useful and engaging way.

We have explained in-depth about the advantages that how-to videos can give your organization when providing and explaining value for your community. Along with how-tos, short video interviews with members or staff showcase your organization in action, gives a look at the effectiveness of your products/services and highlights the work being done by staff or volunteers to make your organization the best it can be. For example, making a short video of a “day in the life” of a staff member shows your community how your organization is striving every day to make their lives better. The personal angle, along with engaging visuals and relevant detail helps your community get a better perspective on the value your organization provides.

Shorter snippets, such as the 6-second Vine videos, can also be used by association, non-profits and small businesses to show value. While these videos don’t necessarily give your community a lot of detail and information, they act as a teaser and provide your audience a sense of potential for value. For example, if your small business is having a sale, a Vine or Instagram video of some of the merchandise on sale will pique the interest of your audience and show them the potential value of their visit.

The Five Types of Videos That Will Better Engage Your Association’s Membership

There’s a reason FaceTime and Skype are popular communication apps; it’s always better when you see the face that matches the voice.

The above statement can help association’s learn a little something about connecting with members. Every organization has a voice they strive to speak with and that voice is developed over time through newsletters, advocacy, magazines, websites, events and similar communication initiatives. When association’s do it well, members come to recognize and trust this voice. However, putting faces to that voice can be a key piece in raising your association to the next level. Videos are a great way to accomplish this goal.

Videos can come in all shapes and sizes. So which videos are the right ones for associations? We’ve put together a few examples that can help you cover important angles of your organization and better engage members.

Highlighting Members and Their Achievements

Members are the lifeblood of any association. Without members, there is no organization. Every benefit, every event and every project is based on helping members grow and be successful. But you knew all of that already. Videos can help your organization highlight members, their contribution to the industry and society and draw attention to your association’s part in that success. A video will give your members a platform to speak about their accomplishments. It will also help people realize that you are focused on helping professionals excel. A video is important as it puts a face to the name and it allows others tell the community about the importance of your association instead of it coming from the association itself, which can often be tuned out.

Event Previews and Recaps

Events serve two main purposes; to give members a chance to learn and network and to capture a big percentage of your association’s non-due revenues. Drawing people to events is never a cakewalk, especially if you are a national association that has to persuade members to spend money traveling and attending. Videos can help your organization engage members and play a part in promoting key events.

An event preview video can come in the form of a digital tour of the venue, presenters talking about their sessions, or a long-time attendee talking about the value they get from the event. An event recap can be a bit more fun and creative, showing all elements of the event. It will appeal to an attendee’s nostalgia and encourages promotion of future events through word of mouth.

Welcome to the Office

Long-time members, new members and potential members of your association all want to know that the people working for them are dedicated, passionate and focused. Your staff are the ones working behind the scenes to ensure the organization is living to its promises and creating the best experience for members. A video can help put this into perspective for members and can go where words often cannot when describing the importance of the association.

Videos that introduce members and potential members to the association can focus on a Day-in-the-Life theme to highlight exactly what the staff does to improve the organization, or it can an introduction of the staff with them explaining what the association means to them. These sort of videos are a warm welcome to new members, familiarizes existing members with staff and provides a human element to the organization for potential members.

How-to Guides

The value of a good how-to cannot be overstated. Your members come to your association because they want to achieve more in their careers and help grow the industry. Your association is probably giving them the tools to accomplish this, but they may not be clear on how to use these tools most effectively. This is where how-to videos come in handy.

A how-to video can help members access the right programs/benefits for their goals, it can help them take advantage of the initiatives your association has instituted and it can help guide them through processes that may seem complicated at first. For example, if one of your association’s benefits is a certification program, a video showing the steps involved in achieving this certification and how to complete them can be advantageous to members who may be confused by the process. This will help members receive greater value for their money and will allow your association to see a greater return on investment.

Association News and Accomplishments

We’re guessing that your association achieves a lot. It has probably helped its members’ profession rise to new levels and redefined what it means to be part of the industry’s community. But does anyone really even half of everything the association has achieved? Maybe or maybe not. With a video, the answer leans more toward a for sure.

Videos are a great way to tell a story about the latest developments on your association. You can illustrate how the organization met with politicians to lobby on its members’ behalf, or showcase a new technology that members can use. Videos are an engaging way to showcase what can seem like mundane news because their images are engaging and capture the attention of members. So next time you need some more awareness of your association’s news, try a video on for size.

Revisiting ROI: Which Numbers Mean More in Measuring Twitter’s Impact

There’s a common phrase that gets thrown around when executives or department heads get together to determine an organization’s strategy for the coming weeks, months or years; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. In layman’s terms, the phrase means that if something has been working just fine for this whole time, there’s no need to change it in any way.

The real question is; how do you know it’s broken or not?

This query can often be answered by evaluating the return on investment (ROI) of a certain activity, especially for associations, non-profit and small businesses for which every dollar counts and providing bang for buck is the name of the game.

As Twitter becomes an important and popular part of organizations’ marketing strategy, it’s essential to know if the platform is giving you a boost, serving as a drain on your resources or if it falls somewhere in between. Measuring Twitter’s ROI can be a tricky business, although most tradition and new media give those in the C-suite similar problems. The difficulty lies in the lack of perfectly correlating numbers. In other words, it’s near-impossible to say, if my association gains X amount of followers and Y amount of interactions, it will mean Z amount of revenue.

This obstacle means that calculating Twitter’s ROI requires looking through a variety of lenses. An organization’s experience on Twitter can be analyzed in two ways; through social ROI and financial ROI.

Social ROI

The goal of measuring social ROI is to calculate the amount of engagement and interaction achieved by the Twitter account. Social ROI can help determine the degree to which an association/non-profit/small business was successful in building relationships, encouraging discussion and generating awareness. Social ROI can be measured in part by examining key engagement numbers and key influencers.

Engaging with content on Twitter is a sign of value. When someone retweets, favourites, clicks on a link or mentions your organization and its content, it means that they receive value and want to connect with the source of that value, which is the organization.

It is essential that your organization measures key engagement numbers every week and month to gauge which content is generating the most interactions and thus providing the most value to followers. For example, measuring the number of clicks on links, mentions and total engagements per day are all great ways to get a big-picture view of social ROI.

Measuring the content’s effectiveness in creating these points of contact and comparing it to past weeks or months will help you determine how well your account is doing that building relationships and expanding awareness.

Another way to measure social ROI is through the charting of key influencers. Key influencers are followers who fall into your organization’s target demographics or have frequent and significant contact with the target demographic.

It’s great to know people are following you and spreading the word about your organization, but it’s more important to know if they are the right people spreading the right words. When you keep track of how many key influencers follow your organization, it allows you to calculate the effectiveness and value of the content you are sharing. And once you have proven your value to these key influencers, you can start building a relationship with them, both online and offline.

Financial ROI

Financial ROI is a little more difficult to measure on Twitter, as it is with most other social media platforms and even traditional marketing approaches. One of the most useful ways to calculate financial ROI is to assess the increase in the organization’s reach and engagement compared to the monetary investment that was used to generate this gain.

Financial ROI can be further broken down into three categories; cost-per-impression, cost-per-impression and cost-per-key-influencer. These numbers will help put the success of the Twitter account into perspective based on the goals of an organization on social media, which are to increase awareness, connect with members/the community and provide value to these followers.

The cost-per-impression metric offers a look at how successful an organization’s Twitter account has been at expanding its reach and spreading awareness of the organization’s brand and value. To calculate the cost-per-impression, divide the money spent on gaining impressions by the total number of impressions received. For example, if your organization receives 10,000 impressions in November and allocates $250 to Twitter management, the cost-per-impression is $0.025.

The cost-per-interaction metric expands on what we have learned from the cost-per-impression ratio and highlights how well the account has been at converting those impressions into more tangible conversations and expressions of value. To measure cost-per-interaction, divide the financial investment by the number of interactions in a given period. For example, if your organization generates 203 interactions and spends $300 on Twitter management, the cost-per-interaction is $1.48. This number highlights the value that social media has in achieving the goal of connecting with the community in an efficient, effective and low-cost way.

The final indicator of financial ROI is cost-per-key influencer, which helps us measure the effectiveness of your efforts to reach the right followers, make substantial connections and build relationships that will benefit your organization. To calculate the cost-per-key-influencer, divide the monetary investment you have given to Twitter management by the number of key influencers that are followers. For example, if you have spent $2400 and gained 130 key influencers over six months, the cost-per-key-influencer is $18.46. Making this connection could lead to large investments in your organization services or further promotion of its services. This means that the return has the potential to be much greater than the $18.46 invested.

 Using Social and Financial ROI Together

Both social and financial ROI allow for a conclusion on which content provides the best value, the progression of the Twitter through the months and which steps should be taken moving forward. Depending on how intense you want to get in determining which individual tweets performed the best, you can measure both ROIs for each post to decide how certain types of content are performing. Determining how well your account is doing and where it can improve will help boost your association, non-profit or small business and give your members/board/customers a reason to support your efforts.

Seven Deadly Sins of Starting a Social Media Account

Social media networks make it easy to sign up and create an account. It’s almost a little too easy.

In about 10 minutes, give or take a few, any organization can set up an account on a platform like Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest and be ready to increase engagement and awareness. However, the ease with which one can create an account can lead people to fall into temptation.

We’ve outlined seven of these social media start-up sins and how to steer clear of these misdeeds.

Lust

When your association, non-profit or small business starts a social media account, it can fall in the trap of lusting after an unrealistic return on investment right away. And by an unrealistic ROI, we mean a financial ROI.

Don’t focus on monetization or financial stats at the beginning. It’s important to keep track of these figures, such as cost-per-impression, but don’t use them as a measuring stick of the account’s success. In other words, stay away from chasing profits and large returns because you’ll just be disappointed.

Rather than focus on a financial ROI at the outset, focus on social ROI. Social ROI is all about calculating how many relationships you have built and how much awareness you have generated. Keep track of the demographics of your community (such as followers) and make sure they align with your target audience. Measure how many interactions you have received (such as retweets) and how many good conversations have come from them.

Gluttony

Being gluttonous means consuming too much and living in excess in hope of attaining happiness, power or fame. This is as dangerous when starting a social media account as it is when standing in line at a buffet.

It’s important to know that being successful on any social media platform takes time. Don’t expect to get lots of followers, likes or subscribers right away. For example, stay away from following a large group of people on Twitter right away just to gain an equally large amount of followers. This sort of activity just means your numbers are inflated and gives you only the appearance of success.

The better strategy is to make connections slowly and integrate yourself into communities in which you can connect with your target demographics and provide value. Gaining a reputation for value, credibility and engaging content takes time, both on and offline. Slow down, focus on quality and you will see for triumphs than trails.

Greed

It’s not hard to get greedy when starting out on any social media. It’s important to connect with others and remember that sharing the wealth is one of the key reasons social media has become a popular marketing and awareness tool.

When sharing content on social media, ensure that you are giving others credit. Mention the original authors or those who posted the content before you did. This is how you build trust and relationships online. It’s also essential to use the sharing tools provided by all social media platforms, such as established hashtags or LinkedIn Groups. Stay away creating your own groups, hashtags, etc when you are just starting out just because you want all the attention on your association/non-profit/small business. Use the well-worn paths available online and your account will grow and flourish.

Sloth

Sloth doesn’t get as much play in pop culture as lust or greed, but it’s just as dangerous to those organizations that are looking to build a new social media account.

One of the worst elements of sloth is that it is so apparent. When an organization is lazy on social media, it shows and it drives people away. Being lazy online means not completing your profile, not posting consistently and failing to ensure all the little details are taken care of, such as making sure your photos are the right size or the spelling and grammar are correct. However, laziness doesn’t start, or stop, at the little things. Being lazy also means not having a plan before starting on social media. This includes a plan on who you’re going to connect with, what content you’re going to share and how you’re going to measure success.

Combating sloth is about attention to detail, time management and patience. Slow down and double check every detail before making your profile live. Run it by colleagues, board members and volunteers to ensure you have thought of everything. Draft up a plan and make sure you have smaller benchmarks that can be met along the way, such as a content calendar.

Wrath

Wrath leads to knee-jerk reactions, the kind of reactions that could harm a social media account beyond repair and damage an organization’s reputation. Wrath could even stop a successful social media account before it even gets started.

Wrath leads people to become too closely guarded. Don’t let this feeling reach your social media accounts. Avoid making your account too private, such as locking a Twitter account or creating a hidden Pinterest board. The main goal of using social media is to grow awareness and engagement and you can’t do this by being too exclusive. Invite everybody to participate, even non-members/non-customers, and you’ll get much closer to endearing yourself to these groups.

Another part of controlling wrath is recognizing how to handle criticism. It’s important not to get angry or vindictive when handling negative comments on your social media accounts. Handle criticism with patience, information and great customer service and that it what your organization will be known for.

Envy

Envy is one of the deadly sins that prevent your association/non-profit/small business from being who it really is and achieving its goals. Envy forces you to plagiarize the work of others and miss out on some of the greatest opportunities that starting a social media account offers.

It’s great to see what strategies work for others, such as what profile designs look great and what hashtags people use, but it’s crucial to recognize there is a line between being a smart strategist and a copy-cat. Combine tried and tested strategies with elements from your own brand. Develop your own voice on social media. This will differentiate your organization from others and raise you above the rest.

Pride

Pride is probably one of the most dangerous and common sins that organizations fall into when starting a social media account. Pride blinds people and causes them to miss the necessary steps that are required to create a successful online network.

One of the consequences of pride is posting too often about yourself/your organization. Having a strategy that consists, in large part, of posting about promotions, services, products, etc., that your organization provides will offer little value to those you’re trying to connect with and will give them little incentive to be a part of your online community.

Instead of being vain, recognize that sharing content, joining chats and having fun is an important part of your overall strategy. Highlighting content from others will allow you to engage key influencers and be active in conversations. Being a part of a community, and not the king of that community, is what social media is all about.