You Need a Social Plan Before You Start Playing With the Social Channels
As I mentioned in last week's post, a few weeks ago I had the distinct pleasure of presenting to about 60 members of the nonprofit industry at the Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association monthly meeting. My presentation was about demystifying social media for nonprofits, and the discussion across the hour was a combination of questions, challenges and sharing of best practices.
Last week I blogged about Facebook and "Doing It Right." Now, we're going to deal with the larger issue: As an industry, a large portion of nonprofits are not planning or measuring their social media.
Follow these steps to create a plan. Even if you are already running 100 miles an hour in a bunch of social channels, take the time to walk through the steps to ensure your prior decisions about those channels are right.
1. Where are you today?
This is a tough question but one that is important to take the time to answer. You should break this down into the following categories:
- What are your capabilities within your company?
- Do you have social-media marketing strategy assigned to someone, or is it perceived to be an add-on to someone's job?
- What do you all believe is your current success with your social media?
- Are there challenges with how you are doing things today?
- Is there something you really want to be doing but you cannot get done?
2. What does the organization want from social media?
Start from the high-level thinking, and move down when you dig in to this topic. What was the vision for getting involved with social media? Sometimes this can be as simple as understanding which department is driving the conversation. In other words:
- Does the organization want money?
- Does the organization want to engage a different audience?
- Does the organization want to grow its online audience?
- Is the goal to achieve greater awareness for the organization?
3. What do the key stakeholders in the organization want for their specific areas?
I know this sounds a lot like item two, but this is where the rubber meets the road. The individual departments that see social media as a way to achieve their goals need to be very specific about what they want. How do they define success for their staff time and funding spent in these areas? This is also important to make sure you don't have conflicting expectations or goals.
4. Now, assign the channels.
Based on what you want to accomplish, identify the specific social-media channels that are best aligned to deliver your results. If you are already in social media, just review how you are using it and how it is best used, and match that up with your goals.
Recently, someone said that using social-media channels without a plan was like turning on the oven and picking a temperature before actually deciding what you wanted to cook or the ingredients you need. So, make sure you put this step in the right place for your organization.
5. Finally, what metrics should be assigned to each of the goals?
What does success look like for social-media efforts, and who will be tracking the key metrics? You should be looking at things like volume, shares, retweets, likes, comments, feedback, revenue, etc.
As an extra step, take the time to develop content and frequency plans for each channel. This will ensure that your channels are working together and creating a cohesive social experience for your constituents.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.