NCLR Responds to a New Question on the Minds of Small Nonprofits: Why Use Social Media?
June 09 2012
The most logical reason is because ‘everyone else is doing it’. Established businesses and nonprofits have set the standard to always include a component of social media in their marketing and communications campaigns. social media has become a necessity for small nonprofit groups seeking increased public or financial support. And, on the flipside, lagging behind in social media outreach efforts often reflects poorly on larger organizations.
Second, social media facilitates advocacy work. Although larger organizations often resort to costly professional audits or specialized software to keep track of their outreach and civic engagement, smaller organizations do not have the financial resources to invest in these costly tools. Social media fills this void by providing technology that can plot an organization’s demographic data, identify membership patterns, and produce interactive reports to measure outreach.
Nonprofit organizations in the health field use social media primarily to disseminate important information in line with the organization’s mission and to promote their events. Eli Lilly, a generous contributor of our first ever Health Summit, uses the technology on Twitter to further its mission to innovate in health. By entering @LillyPad in the search field of a twitter account, people can gain access to news that resonated within Eli Lilly’s walls and take a glance at this company’s values.
Nonprofit organizations can also use social media to broadcast real-time or future events.
One of the myths about social media is that it requires tech-savvy people to use it. In actuality, social media is for everyone.
Here is list of ways in which you can get involved that do not require complex technological knowledge about the Web 2.0:
- Read a blog
- Share photos
- Post questions
- Add comments
- Write reviews
- Subscribe to the Health Summit’s Facebook group and “Like” the NCLR Facebook page
While the view that everyone is able to use social media is mostly correct, certain tools work better depending on the nature and objectives of each organization or their internal departments.
Think about the ways in which you often communicate to find out which social platforms make the best use of your time or resources.
|If you regularly…||The best tool for you is:||Description/Benefits:|
|Have relevant and interesting video footage||YouTube||
• Video is engaging and powerful
• YouTube accounts for 10% of all Internet traffic
|Have photos or visual snapshots of your events||Flickr||
• Images influence brand perception
• Flickr feeds other social media platforms
Write news or op-ed articles, publications, reports
Read news or op-eds, articles, reports
Have access to experts in your area
• Appeal to a tailored audience
• Encourage viral spread of your message
• Allows for message consistency
Critique, comment, review
Join, share, make connections
• Tap into other organizational or individual networks
• Send personalized messages
|Are very active, can provide ongoing information||
• Live streaming
• Latinos are enthusiastic users
|Research, spectate, are starting to build an online presence||Website||
• Allows you to create, edit, and share using any of the other platforms
• Everyone needs one!
Once an organization has made important connections online, its success will depend on the quality of the social interactions. Social media allows people to build a relationship with supporters, rather than “pushing” a single message or promoting a one-time event. Think about the possibilities of having multiple opportunities to share content with a relevant audience and receive dynamic (even real-time) feedback from them. The more an organization is willing to interact with its audience, the more likely it is that the public will spread their message within the social media universe.