Social media is the house your organization welcomes the world into. But before you can roll out the welcome mat and host a party, you have to build the home.
The foundation of any social media house, to milk the metaphor a little more, is a profile. First impressions are crucial and your profile is where social media users first get acquainted with your organization. Creating a great profile is a crucial step to future success on any platform.
Every social media platform is different, but there are a few solid tips that can be applied to many of them to create a useful and interesting profile. Here are five of them.
Most social media platforms, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc., give you the opportunity to post a profile and background photo as a way of showing who you are and what you’re all about.
First thing’s first: chose the right photo.
It can be your organization’s logo and motto, a picture from an event or something else that represents the goals, purpose and character of your association or non-profit.
Make your background photo different than your profile picture. This gives you the option of fitting your logo and a more candid or artistic photo on the same page and showing off a more interesting, dynamic look to potential members, volunteers, donors, etc. You can always change the photos with the season or to highlight a special event or initiative your organization is putting on.
Lastly, make sure the photos are the right size. Having the photos fit perfectly in the space given is important. Awkwardly placed pictures distract visitors and send the message to users that you’re not serious or knowledgeable about being online.
The description section is the part of the profile that rolls the history, mission statement and about-me parts of your website into one box. Make that one, very small box.
Most social media platforms restrict the amount of space available for a description of your organization. That is why having a simple, creative and meaningful message is key.
It’s never easy to distill your organization’s operations into one or two sentences. It’s helpful to ask those involved in the organization, such as staff, members and volunteers, to explain what the organization means to them in just a few words. This will help you brainstorm ideas, explain your organization using passionate, yet useful, terms and see your non-profit or association from many different perspectives.
Providing links to your website, other social media accounts and additional resources helps visitors get to know your organization even better and can increase traffic and engagement. That is why it is very important that your links work.
Check and double check that the links send users to the right places. Make sure to update links whenever you change your website, social media accounts or other feeds. Display the links where they are easily accessible and label them in a way that that is eye-catching and makes others want to click on them.
Make sure all contact information is correct as well. A misplaced digit in a phone number or letter in an email address can throw many a person off your bandwagon as quickly as they jumped on.
Social media is all about connecting with people to share information. The first connections you make with a new profile can set the tone for future social media success. Making the right connections can draw influential people and organizations to your non-profit, build your reputation and establish your organization as a premier resource for the industry or cause you are advocating for.
Do your homework before starting your profile. Who are the important individuals, companies and organizations to follow? What do they talk about online and how can you engage in that conversation? Will they provide useful information and interaction?
Asking these questions allows you to establish who is worth connecting with when setting up your profile. This allows you to hit the ground running when launching your social media.
The First Post
Your first post to any social media platform is like saying hello on the first date; nerve-wracking and vital to a good first impression. Should you be witty, straight-forward, start with a grand gesture? How do you follow it up?
Writing the first post can often stop people in their tracks, but as important as it is, the first sentence on your profile will not make or break your social media accounts. The best advice we can give is to write something meaningful to the organization. That can mean stating your goals, cause or purpose, telling the world what the social media account is going to be used for or jumping right in by highlighting a specific story of someone in your organization.
If you can be inspiring or humorous, that’s great, but people want to interact with an organization that seems genuine, not one that tries too hard to be something they’re not. Keep that in mind when you get the first post jitters.
Setting up a social media profile can be overwhelming, especially with all the different variations across platforms and the plethora of bells and whistles you can add on. But there are very basic elements of your profile that need to be right before moving forward. By paying attention to detail, staying true to the character of your organization and involving those who are and have been a part of creating that character, you will be able to create an engaging, informative and interesting profile to attract the world.