How to Get Your Staff, Board Members and Volunteers to Participate on Social Media

When a sports team fails, whether it’s on the ice, the diamond or the court, the discussion from sports fans often leads to a single question; did the athletes just not buy into the coach’s game plan?

The same conversation can be had when an organization’s social media strategy fails. Generating online awareness is a team effort and it’s crucial for a non-profit’s staff, board of directors and volunteers to get behind your organization’s social media goals.

Getting your association/non-profit’s key contributors to participate in the social media plan is difficult at times, which is why we’ve prepared a few handy tips to help make the road a little smoother.

Make It Make Sense

You can’t play a sport if you don’t know the point of the game. This is true for social media as well.

Staff, board members and volunteers might be wary of using social media because they don’t understand why it’s important. It’s important to explain to them how online awareness can help your association’s membership.

Take any document that outlines your organization’s goals, such as a mission statement or strategic plan, and illustrate how social media can help the organization achieve it. Be specific and use numbers when relevant. Describe how social media can make each individual’s job easier and more productive. For example, talk about how the event manager can plan a better conference using social media. Use social media to help you get your point across. Videos, infographics and tweets can be great visual aids to help you make your case.

Give Them The Tools

Your team can’t be victorious without having the right equipment to play. Babe Ruth never hit a home run without a baseball bat. It’s essential to give your staff/volunteers/board the right social media tools to do the job.

Those in your workplace community may have limited knowledge of managing a social media account (personal or otherwise) or none at all. Offer to do a short social media workshop for staff and ensure that you are available to answer any questions they might have about social media. Have a written social media guideline and code of conduct for staff and make sure it is understood and updated regularly. Providing how-to videos is also a great idea, especially if you are helping board members or volunteers that may be in other cities, states or provinces.

After you have helped staff with understanding how to use social media, give them the tools to promote the organization’s efforts. Highlight the ways in which individual staff members can raise awareness of your association’s social media platforms both online and offline. For example, business cards, directories and email signatures are just a few of the ways staff, board members and volunteers can get the word out about their social media accounts and those of the organization.

Make It Fun

When teaching someone a sport, the first rule on most coach’s list is have fun. Encouraging your staff/board/volunteers to have fun with social media instead of seeing it as a chore or another item on an already too full to-do list is crucial to increasing staff participation.

Inter-office contests can be a good way to get everyone involved and give your organization’s social media a boost at the same time. For example, see who can provide you with the most relevant content for the organization’s social media platforms in one week or one month and offer a prize.

You can also introduce staff/board members/volunteers to a platform that best suits their interests and skills. If someone is into photography, suggest Pinterest. If another staff member has a special knack for writing is passionate about a specific issue, propose to have them write a guest post on the organization’s blog.

Three Key Takeaways

– Encouraging your organization’s staff, board members and/or volunteers to participate on social media will strengthen your online strategy and put you one step closer to success.

– To get these groups involved, explain why social media is important to the organization’s goals and how to use the various platforms effectively.

– It is extremely important to keep social media fun for staff, board members and volunteers. This will make social media more of a hobby and less of a work requirement.

How Often Should Your Non-profit/Association Be Posting On Social Media?

Posting on social media can sometimes feel like driving on an icy road; if you veer too far to one side, you’ll skid off the path and into the ditch. If your organization posts too little, the account will become irrelevant and people will lose interest. If you share too much content, people will likely feel overwhelmed and annoyed and will probably unfollow or unlike your account (or the equivalent).

It’s difficult to gauge how often your non-profit or association should be posting on social media. It varies with the platform, the audience and what your organization’s wants to achieve. While one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to frequency of posting, we’ve put together a guideline to help you and your non-profit out.

Facebook: 5-10 per week

This may seem low, especially because other sources suggest anywhere from 14 to 25 posts per week, but fewer posts are often better for non-profits and associations because of their audiences.

Facebook is a more private platform than, for example, Twitter and YouTube. Your followers are often restricted to those who are truly invested or engaged in what your organization works towards, such as members or donors. Fewer posts allow your organization to highlight the things that are important to this very defined audience, like highlighting a new initiative, member benefit, event or member accomplishment. Limiting the number of posts to 10 or fewer per week helps keep interest and engagement high. When you’re only providing content that appeals to your target audience, instead of posting simply because you want to meet a weekly quota, people are less likely to scroll past your name on their newsfeed because they realize there is value in every post.

Twitter: 3-8 times per day

Twitter is a different beast than Facebook. It’s more public (anyone can see your tweets) and tweets tend to be shorter and more conversational. Twitter is also a more common place for people to go to get information and content, as opposed to the more social platform that is Facebook. All this combines to make it beneficial to tweet more often.

Twitter and hashtag feeds fill up fast and your organization has to complete will thousands of other pieces of content that is flying past your target audience’s eyes. Tweeting more often helps get your content recognized. Tweeting 3-8 times per day also helps your organization cover a variety of different areas and issues that might appeal to your members, including relevant articles, photos, organization-specific news, industry updates and conversation starters. If you’re not providing value on Twitter, followers will often unfollow your account, as there are many other sources available. However, posting too much may push your connections to use the Mute button. Tweeting 3-8 times per day is often a happy medium.

Blogging: 3-8 times per month

A blog is like a newspaper, but more people with special interests. If you picked up the Saturday issue of the newspaper, expecting a nice, relaxing and informative read and instead saw last week’s articles, you might be a little ticked. The same is true of a blog.

Depending on your industry and the resources at your disposal, a blog should be updates at least once a week, or ideally 3-8 times per month for non-profits/associations. The purpose of a blog is to give your readers an engaging and informative forum to learn and get caught up on news, trends and tips. But it’s also a platform that establishes your organization as the “expert” in an industry and drives traffic to your website. If your blog is not being published consistently, people will lose faith in the “expert” moniker and will stop typing your website into the search bar, directing their valuable time to other sources.

Pinterest: N/A

Pinterest is a tricky platform to declare an exact range of frequency for your organization to post, but the situation can be viewed through two lenses; the goal of Pinterest is mainly to drive traffic to websites and the social network is similar to a combination of Twitter and blogs.

The first lens we’re viewing Pinterest through (the goals is to drive traffic), helps you determines the frequency with which to post original pins. Find out which websites or web pages you want to drive traffic to and post accordingly. For instance, if you are a Business Improvement Area (BIA) and want to highlight members, it might be a good idea to pin 2-3 times per day to cover different interests and drive traffic to your members’ pages. If you are an organization who is raising money for a cause, posting original pins 2-3 times per week may be good to keep interest high, but not reuse the same stories, stats or articles.

The second lens (Pinterest is a combo of Twitter and blogging) helps you decide how often to re-pin posts. Pinterest is very public and updates frequently (like Twitter), but is also a platform that encourages regular viewing of certain boards (like blogging). Make sure to pin enough (1-3 times per day) so that your content is fresh, engaging and relevant for loyal visitors.

YouTube: 1-4 times per month

YouTube is a platform that is often used together with other social media networks, which means that videos are usually seen on blogs, websites, Facebook or Twitter. This unique trait is part of the reason its frequency is 1-4 times per month.

YouTube can often be thought of as an addition to other platforms’ editorial plans. For example, one video showcasing a member/donor per week can be slotted into an organization’s Twitter calendar for a particular month. Since YouTube videos usually act as a supplement to other platforms for non-profits and associations, be careful not to overdue the frequency with which you post videos. Posting 1-4 times per month will keep videos in your content calendar and your YouTube channel from becoming stale.

Instagram: 1-4 times per day

Instagram is as close to a purely visual platform as you can get with the big social media networks. Pictures are treated differently than words, which is why the frequency of posting is higher for Instagram than most other platforms.

Pictures take less time to appreciate than words. Instagram’s “liking” process is also fairly quick (a tap on the screen means you’re a fan of the photo). These two elements add up to Instagram users checking and scrolling through posts at a fast and furious pace. To keep relevant, engaging and in front of people’s eyes, posting frequently to Instagram is a must for any association or non-profit who chooses to use this platform. A word of warning to any organizations thinking of using Instagram; don’t start an account if you don’t have a daily source of visual, because without this well to draw on, your followers will forget you pretty fast.

LinkedIn: 2-3 times per week

LinkedIn, like every other platform on this list, has a specific purpose that determines how frequently your organization should post on it. LinkedIn is an association’s dream platform as it fulfills a primary goal of an organization; offering professional development to members. If your association chooses to invest resources in LinkedIn, a frequent and consistent approach to posting should be taken.

LinkedIn offers an opportunity to appeal to the professional side of your connections. Posting articles, conversation points, job openings and similar content can be done multiple times a week to keep members engaged and give them a chance to get involved, learn or contribute to a discussion and keep up with the latest trends and techniques that allow them to do their job better. LinkedIn, much like a blog, will allow your organization to be known as an expert and a great forum to go to when someone wants to connect with like-minded individuals. If you are not consistent, the forum will go into disuse and lose all effectiveness, but posting too often may make people overwhelmed and unwilling to contribute. Posting 2-3 times per week should provide a great balance.

Other Things to Consider

Determining the frequency with which your organization should post on different social media sites is not an exact science, but it is a type of science. The advice in the paragraphs above is simply a guide. The best path for your organization to travel is to experiment with different frequencies of posting, collect the data, analyze it and see which strategy turns out the most favourable results.

You will also have to be flexible with your frequency of posting. The number of times you tweet or post to Facebook, Instagram, etc. will change depending on the exceptional circumstances of your non-profit/association. For instance, you will probably tweet more when your association is hosting its annual conference or if your charity is having a fundraising event.

The key to finding the best frequency with which to post is to stay organized, stay flexible and stay informed. Using these tools, you’ll social media platforms will go from good to great in no time.

5 Pieces of Twitter Advice for Non-profits and Associations in 140 characters

We could talk about Twitter and give you advice on how to use the platform until we’re blue in the face, but sometimes it’s better if you let the social media network do the talking. That’s why we’ve compiled five pieces of Twitter strategy for non-profits and associations and put them into 140-character posts.

On Hashtags and Building a Strong Community

Twitter Advice 1a

 

On Sharing Content

Twitter Advice 2

On Asking Questions

Twitter Advice 3

On Posting Media

Twitter Advice 4

On Showcasing Member Benefits

Twitter Advice 5

A Guide to 3 Twitter Stats Your Non-profit Might Not Know About

This past August was a month when social media stats nerds and data aficionados could rejoice; Twitter Analytics had become open to all!

The social media giant now allows any user to access reams of data that was previously only available if you had invested in Twitter Ads.

Twitter Analytics will allow associations and other non-profits to chart engagement, track success and calculate ROI better. Aside from the usual categories that you may use to measure engagement, such as retweets and favourites, there may be some unfamiliar terms within Twitter Analytics.  These terms, and the numbers behind them, will come in handy when plotting a strategy for the future of your social media efforts.

If you’re a little rusty of your Twitter shop-talk, here’s a short guide to some of the useful terms:

Impressions

What Is It: Impressions is the number of times unique users saw a certain tweet. Not every single one of your followers will see your tweet because, unfortunately, people are on Twitter at different times. This is the nature of a platform that is constantly updating and pushing older content out of the way to make room for new posts. Luckily, Twitter keeps track of the number of people who laid eyes on your tweets and gives you the number. Impressions count not only your followers, but also those who see your post through a retweet.

Why It Matters: Impressions show how broad your reach was with any given tweet and how much exposure your content is receiving. This is important on one basic level; it tells you if you’re posting in the right way. The more impressions you receive, the more likely it is that you are posting content that is relevant, informative and interesting to your target audience. It also means you are posting at the right times and on the right days.

Tracking impressions will also help you figure out if you need to give a certain piece of content more exposure. For example, if your tweet about an upcoming event received lower than average impressions, you may want to tweet the information out several more times in order to reach those who did not see the post the first time.

Engagement Rate

What Is It: The engagement rate is a ratio that illustrates the number of people who have engaged with a tweet (retweeted, favourites, clicked on a link or replied) compared to the number of people who saw the tweet. For example, if 50 people saw your tweet and three of those people engaged with it, the engagement rate would be 0.06. The numbers in the engagement rate category are typically to the right of the decimal, so don’t be alarmed if you see tiny numbers as it’s a product of the ratio system.

Why It Matters: The engagement rate is an extension of impressions and it can tell you much of the same information. High engagement rates usually mean the material you have posted is very interesting to your target demographic and is stimulating discussion or sharing. But the situation in which engagement rate becomes increasingly valuable is when calculating return on investment. Engagement rates (along with impressions) will help you measure which tweets are giving you more bang for your buck. The higher the engagement rate, the further your organization’s money is going and the more effectively it is being spent to raise awareness or add value.

 User Profile Clicks

What Is It: User profile clicks is the term used to describe how many times someone traveled to your organization’s Twitter profile from a specific tweet on their home feed or hashtag search. If the Twitter user ends up on your non-profit’s or association’s profile page by clicking on your username or handle, it counts as a user profile click

Why It Matters: A user profile click is someone saying, “I want to know more about your Twitter account and your organization.” It’s a significant piece of data to track because it will help you understand which tweets lead Twitter users to exploring your profile, being introduced to your brand, reading more content, following your account and directing themselves to your organization’s website.

User profile clicks are more than just an inevitable surface interaction, such as a polite favourite here and there; they represent a person who is actively getting to know your non-profit or association better through Twitter. Knowing which tweets lead to user profile clicks will help you discover which content is most engaging, which hashtags work best and will help give you a better overall sense of the your organizations ROI.