This Is Your Organization on Social Media
FS: How well is your audience receiving this social-media strategy? What sort of results are you seeing?
JK: Our initial social-media strategy involved building two dedicated WordPress blogs — one focused on parenting teens and the other focused on early intervention (for alcohol and drug use by teens and young adults). The early intervention blog, called Intervene, has been very well-received based on the conversations between our contributors and the parents. Our goal was to create a dialogue between experts and parents, and we achieved that. We also saw this as an ideal tool to add to our existing resource. The blog is a cultivation tool to build deeper engagements with parents and lead them to get involved in other ways with our cause.
We began networking on Facebook Causes because it's a popular platform for nonprofits to build awareness and fundraise online. It was an opportunity for us to build community and connect with people who want to make a difference. Our Causes community has been very supportive, and many members have taken an active role in recruiting their friends, spreading awareness in their status messages and reaching out to see what more they can do to help. In response, we are in the process of developing opportunities for our active online members.
FS: What unexpected lessons have you learned through your social-media outreach?
JK: It's fairly easy and inexpensive to start, but you still need a plan. You need real budgets to fund staff to maintain and leverage content across channels. Fortunately, there are many built-in metrics at hand to measure success and drive optimization. Again, this is dependent on dedicating staff to the effort.
Relevancy is key. Are you targeting the right people? Does your community care about the content? The bottom line is: If you're connecting with people who care (and know other people who care) and sharing information and resources that they want to know, then your community will grow naturally. FS