Recently, I came across a question regarding how to best use social media for a nonprofit organization. The subsequent replies and comments were enough to make anyones head spin. I believe this was due to the false mantra that we’ve all heard, “you need to get on social media, because once you do, the gates to nirvana will open and you will find floods of people just waiting for you!”
Over and over again, I hear the confusion of “I’m here! What am I supposed to do now?”
This confusion is due to the notion that social media is the solution. I argue that it is but a tool.
Social media is a simple way of referring to computer programs that allow people to interact and converse in a variety of ways. It is a form of “media” that has a “social” component. That social component is what makes it so powerful. Suddenly I am able to respond to the “media” that is presented to me rather than just receiving it.
This is all well and good, but what about the question. How should a nonprofit organization use social media? I regret to inform you that I will be answering a question with a question. What does your organization want to do?
Are you trying to organize a future event? Distribute information to volunteers? Show donors the successes you’ve had this year?
If you know how you’d like to make improvements to your organization, your chances of finding a social media tool to get you there will sky rocket. So first determine what “solution” you’d like to achieve, then go find the “tool” that will help you get there.
On a final note, don’t forget the content. Your organization is full of amazing people and amazing stories. Make your social media dabblings more engaging by going beyond words and photographs by including web video. And if you need help putting the video together, gimme a call, it’s what I do.