New Year’s resolutions are often like elephants playing Twister; no matter how well-intentioned they are, it just doesn’t work out.
People often start pursuing their goals with vigor and enthusiasm. As the year goes on, the initial excitement turns into excuses and dread amid mounting priorities elsewhere. If you ever need proof of this, compare how busy the local gym is in January to how empty it is in September.
But when it comes to social media, consistency, engagement and creativity are the keys to success. Making new goals and striving to achieve them can build up your organization to new heights. However, a drop-off in the middle of the year will do worse than just stop the growth of followers; it may lead to a diminished reputation among the community, both online and off.
So here are four New Year’s resolutions for non-profits on social media and tips on how to stick to the path of success.
Resolution #1- Ask Questions
Sharing links, tweeting about news and blogging about the latest trends in the industry are all great things, but it is important to remember that social media is about having conversations. Asking questions is one of the best ways to initiate a conversation.
Asking questions allows members, donors, sponsors, volunteers, etc., to have a voice and feel like a part of an organization. It also helps the individuals of your online community grow, network, learn and have fun. Last, but not least, the answers to these questions can provide new insights and perspectives that can improve your organization.
How to Stick to it: Don’t be discouraged if engagement is slow at first. You might receive very little or no response the first two, three or even 10 times you ask a question. But keep asking. Once people begin to reply, others usually follow suit.
Focus on asking at least one or two relevant and/or interesting questions a week.
Sit down for 10-15 min at the beginning of the month and brainstorm questions for the next 30 days. Talk to staff, board members, volunteers, etc., about questions they might have and include these in your bank of questions.
Resolution #2- Post More Photos
We’ve mentioned it a few times (okay more than a few); photos are a great way to engage people and increase awareness of your organization. Pictures can convey things that words cannot, like emotion, humor, dedication and information. Post more pictures to your social media networks in the New Year and watch how far it can take you.
How to Stick to it: Carry a camera wherever you go and take pictures. This can happen at the office, events, networking dinners, volunteer orientations, etc.
Set aside an hour or two every week to go through your photos, chose the best ones and develop a plan as to how you will share them.
Make coming up with captions a contest for your followers/subscribers or a fun game with staff. This will make the sometimes tedious task of tagging and describing photos exciting again.
Resolution #3- Create a Social Media Tutorial
Social media is one of the most useful and efficient tools your organization can use to communicate with people. Social media gets the job done fast, whether it relaying important information to members after a natural disaster or updating volunteers about an event.
However, some members of your organization or the community may be hesitant to start on any platform because they perceive themselves as not being tech-savvy enough. Be a guide to those people and show them that the world of social media is not as complicated as it may seem while highlighting the benefits. Conduct a how-to session through YouTube, your website or at a conference to get people started.
How to Stick to it: Don’t do it alone. Creating a whole tutorial may may seem like a daunting task, but enlist the help of staff, volunteers and outside experts to share the load.
Do it in steps. You don’t need to do a tutorial all at once. Break it into segments and post them weekly. Make sure to have all the segments easily accessible. This will keep the task from seeming overwhelming and taking too much time from other important tasks.
Resolution #4- Have a Guest Blogger
Blogging is a great way to provide analysis, opinion and information in your own voice. This has many advantages, but it also pays off to change it up once in a while. By having a guest blogger, i.e. someone else in your organization or industry, it provides readers with a new style and new insights. A fresh face is always exciting and can lead to increased engagement.
How to Stick to it: Do your research. Take a few weeks or a month to find out which industry professionals are already blogging frequently. Make a list of those people you would like to have write a guest blog and send out a few emails. Ask around at meetings and networking events for those who may be interested in writing a blog post. Assemble ideas you can propose to people who may want to write, but do not have a subject in mind.
Take all these lists and bank them away so you can hit a goal of one guest post for every one or two months. The more work you do earlier on, when the resolution is still fresh in your mind, means less work later when you might be swamped in other duties.
New Year’s resolutions may get harder to stick to as the year goes on, but those in the non-profit and association sector are no strangers to perseverance and determination. The above are just a few goals that your organization can strive for on social media to make next year even more successful than the last for staff, members and the entire community.
Do you have other resolutions in mind for 2014? Let us know what they are and how you plan to achieve them! And Happy New Year!