The arithmetic around using social media to expand the impact of your work and brand is undeniable. A small committed group of staff members on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook can reach thousands of people. In the non-profit world, organizations compete for students, funds, prestige and recognition. Your employee voices online can give you a competitive edge. Most importantly, enlisting your staff to share stories and successes provides a window into the life-changing work that your organization does on a daily basis. Special thanks to Linda Kern Pelzman from the McLean School in Potomac, Maryland. Linda commented on one of my previous blogs and asked me how to get the social media “party started” at her school. Here goes…
1) Someone Needs To Lead: This is number one for a reason. Your leader is the firestarter, collector, coordinator, motivator and monitor. This person can start by simply figuring out who is already on social media and encourage their efforts. The coordinator can repost content onto your website and onto various social media platforms. This person should be passionate about your organization’s mission and serve as catalyst for others to join your social media soirée. Your coordinator will also be someone who sifts through all of the posts, videos, photos and blogs, separating the gems from the junk. Not all staff-created content needs a wider audience.
2) Clearly Communicate Your Social Media Goals: The overarching goal should be to use the power of social media to spur awareness, engagement, influence and action that furthers the mission of your organization. This doesn’t have to be one size fits all. For some of your staff, using social media is a form of self-expression, for others it is simply fun. Your social media leader can work with individual staff members to tailor goals that work for them. Perhaps you have a volunteer coordinator who takes amazing photos, but never uses hashtags when tweeting. A goal for that person might be to find ways to make their photos more shareable. A larger goal might be to encourage your head of school to write a bi-monthly blog addressing global education trends.
3) Educate Your Staff: Get some early adopters on board and leverage their knowledge to influence others. Do you already have a staff member who writes a great blog? Their posts can be emailed to all staff, followed by that person leading a lunch conversation, or a more formal workshop on the joys of blog writing. Do you have a prolific tweeter in your midst? Could they share their passion and posting tips with other colleagues? Peer to peer learning is a wonderful way to organically spread your social media mission. Some of your staff may gravitate towards YouTube, others might enjoy posting on LinkedIn. Meet your staff where they are and offer links to webinars or people who can assist them in their social media exploration.
4) Make It Fun And Easy: It is worth mentioning that not only should delving into social media be voluntary for your staff, it should also be something they want to do. Perhaps you have a teacher at your school who loves to take photos of students working on science projects, but never thought to share them on social media. Once they have the experience of a photo being liked 50 times on Facebook they might start to really enjoy the recognition of their work. In order to make social media easy, your coordinator can send out canned messages that are simple to repost. Your organization can also consider allowing a different staff member to take over the Twitter feed for one day a week. Not only will this provide a unique view of your organization, it might hook a person previously unfamiliar with tweeting. Another way to make social media fun is to include a photo station at your next gathering. Your employees can be photographed holding placards with quotes related to your mission.
5) Provide Recognition: We are back to number one, the leader. When a tweet has been retweeted ten times, tell your staff, give a shout out! When appropriate, share the data on how many views a blog has received. If a community member mentions being influenced by some of your staff’s social media postings, tell people. If a posting leads to more online fundraising, celebrate that achievement. It is up to your organization to decide how public you want to be with recognition, but a little head nod goes a long way. Not only are you acknowledging social media success, you are building morale by witnessing and learning from your various staff members.
-I welcome your comments and questions. Perhaps my next blog will help investigate something you are thinking about.
For tips on why you should be blogging, please read:
To learn more about creating a social media ambassador system, please read:
To learn more about providing recognition using social media, please read: