10 Common Mistakes Made by Nonprofits on Social Media
For the past six years I have spent 50 to 60 hours a week utilizing Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, LinkedIn and Foursquare to promote nonprofits. I've watched the early adopters of MySpace in 2005 propel themselves into the national and international spotlight using social media, and I've seen latecomers begin to dabble with Facebook and Twitter just this year. The range of nonprofits using social media and their subsequent levels of commitment vary widely — as do their expertise, implementation and, of course, returns on investment.
That said, I have literally "liked," "followed" and "friended" more than 100,000 nonprofits. The brutal but honest — and hopefully well-received — truth is that the majority of nonprofits are making mistakes on social-networking sites that directly undermine their ROI. It's sad, really, that so many nonprofits are utilizing social media (with the best of intentions, of course) but not getting the proper training they need. If your nonprofit is making five or more of the 10 mistakes below, odds are that training and a re-examination of your social-media strategy are required.
Mistake No. 1
Using a horizontal logo for your avatar
Your nonprofit's avatar is your visual identity on social-networking sites, and with the exception of LinkedIn Groups, all social-networking sites require a square avatar. Unfortunately, many nonprofits upload horizontal logos to serve as their avatars, resulting in the obvious cropping of the images. Would your nonprofit ever put a cropped, completely wrecked logo in print materials or on its website? Absolutely not! Yet tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of nonprofits every day send messages to their communities on social-networking sites with completely wrecked logos. Craziness!
Mistake No. 2
Posting more than one status update a day on Facebook
Everyone seemingly has a different and passionate opinion on this, but in my research and experience posting more than one status update a day on average on Facebook has a negative effect. People either start ignoring your updates because you're always in their news feed, or they "hide" you altogether. I am a big believer that less is more on Facebook.