10 Steps to Building a Successful Social Media Strategy

Post by Chris Tuttle - 4.14.2010 - Follow me on Twitter

In my work with non-profit organizations across the country I’m often asked one of two questions regarding social media; “Should we be using social media?,” and “How do we use social media successfully?

 

Getting Started with Social MediaTo answer the first question, ask yourself:

  1. Do your constituents and organizational partners use social media?

  2. Do you want to build better relationships with your constituents and organizational partners?

  3. Do you want to increase your organization’s brand or name recognition?

  4. Do you want to increase the number of people who know about your cause and organization’s mission?

  5. Do you want to increase the number of your organization’s prospects, volunteers and donors?

If you answered yes to 2 more of these questions, then your answer is also, yes!—you should be using social media! In fact, where as a website became an organizational necessity in the 90’s, I would suggest a social media strategy is quickly becoming the necessity of today. 

 

So let’s get started with the “how” you can best do that in 10 easy steps:

Step 1 – Sign-Up!

Even if you’re not ready to use each social network, it’s a good idea to register your organization’s name or acronym before someone else does—at least with the major networks, Facebook (Pages) and Twitter, and also consider some of the additional 250+ social networks. Even if you’re not immediately putting it to use, it’s also a good idea to register your organization’s name upon hearing about a rising social network. And, don’t forget to maintain a list of these.

Step 2 – Prioritize & Goal Setting

Choose one or two social networks to get started with, most likely Facebook and/or Twitter. You’ll need to determine where your constituents are active. You can do this by researching demographics, checking website statistics for traffic, asking your most engaged volunteers or even conducting a poll or survey for constituents. This is also a great time to determine what exactly your organization’s social media goals are. Use the questions at the beginning of this blog post to get started, and prioritize three.

Step 3 – You Need a Leader

Determine who will be updating your account. Many organizations may not have the staff to dedicate one person, so consider having a few people with access to update. Of course, who has experience and is comfortable with the social network(s) you are prioritizing is also a consideration.

Step 4 – Create a Plan

How often will you update? Will you focus on announcements or conversations? How will you measure success? How will relate your new social media strategy to your organization’s larger communication’s strategy? The answers to these questions will vary for each organization, but are best determined by internal conversations with key stakeholders, the resources you have available, your social media goals

Step 5 – Getting Started

Of course, the two most important reasons for using social media are to better engage your constituents and gain new constituents. Start doing this by asking your existing constituents to get involved. Create announcements, add icons on your homepage, add to both print and email newsletters, add to the staff email signatures and voicemail greetings, and ask your most engaged volunteers, donors and constituents to help spread the word by asking their friends! In addition, some social networks have tools to help you find people your organization already has a relationship with, such as importing an email list.

Step 6 – Integrate Social Media Online

Ensure your website has tools to more easily promote social media usage among your constituents. A simple tool such as AddThis can allow your website visits to quickly share website pages to their social networks. And by creating a free account with AddThis you can customize the website widget to promote the social networks you most want, customize the integration (such as ensuring Twitter includes a mention to your org’s Twitter account), and also gain valuable analytics reporting regarding usage and return clicks.

Step 7 – Track Statistics

Keep track of weekly or monthly statistics on the number of updates, followers/fans, mentions, AddThis usage and significant actions you took during each timeframe.

Step 8 – Build a Social Media Strategy

Good news is, you’ve already started with Steps 1-7. Next, review your organization’s communications plan and ensure tie-in’s everywhere appropriate, such as issuing press releases, highlighting new resources, articles or blog posts, responding to news, action alerts and current events.

Step 9 – Engage Your Constituents

Regularly watch, search for and respond to mentions about your organization and mission. Ask constituents and partners, especially your most engaged, to share important messages with their networks, and add you to their lists. 

Step 10 – Commit to Learn, Track & Test!

There is no exact science to social media strategy, or else everyone would be doing it. Different constituents act and use the internet differently, social n networks rise and fall (who remembers Friendster?) and the internet is forever changing—and so must we.   The best way to ensure success is to dedicate 30-60 minutes a month to studying statistics, testing different strategies and learning more about social media.

 

Last, but not least, share what you’ve learned and network with others using social media. In fact, now is the perfect chance for you to get started! How about adding a comment below to what you like or would add to this post and even use the AddThis tool above to share this article to your existing social network.

Photo by jorbasa

 


Your Organization in Eight Words or Less – Go!

License and Registration, Please

Reach Out or Round Up: Which Social Networking Strategy Should Your Organization Pursue?

Social Media Strategy: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Is Facebook Right for your Nonprofit's Community?

5 Tips for Writing Effective Web Content

Content Inventory: Never Fun, Always Needed

Go Beyond the Typical To Reach Your Base

Continuing the Conversation with Custom Confirmations

A Guide to Facebook Social Plugins for Nonprofits

Get More Twitter Followers Today [Ethically]

Twitter Hits 15 Billion

FIRST

Increasing Website Traffic with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

7 Tips for Successful Online Fundraising

Video Interview with Andre Blackman of Pulse + Signal

10 Volunteering Sites to Help You Do Some Good

OPEN CALL: Do Nonprofits Make Films? We Say Yes!

Stacey Monk talks Epic Change, Tweetsgiving and more …

When In Doubt, Hit Something!

American Idol’s Help Me Give Back Program Rocks Team Fundraising

Chris Brogan Talks Nonprofits and Trust Agents

Chris Noble on Check in for Charity, Pepsi Refresh and Social Media for Nonprofits

10 Steps to Building a Successful Social Media Strategy

Measuring Matters

Video Rules!

Do You Know Your Supporters?

Heading to NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference? Don’t miss these sessions!

Building a Facebook Fanpage – Part 3 – Adding Photos

Video Interview: NetSquared with Amy Sample Ward

Building a Facebook Fanpage – Part 2 – Configuring the Homepage

Video Interview: Facebook for Nonprofits by Randi Zuckerberg

SXSW Do-gooding, Inspirations and Nonprofit Takeaways

Spotlight on We Can End This with Scott Henderson

Turn Your Success into New Opportunities!

What to Watch For at SXSW 2010 - The Nonprofit Edition

Building a Facebook Fanpage – Part 1 – The Background Info

Blackbaud Announces March Web Seminars for Nonprofits

Learning is Everything!

Building a Facebook Fanpage – Part 0 – The prelude

Online Giving and Rapid Response Trends

Why Would I Use Social Media?

Independent Fundraising Event Trends

Connecting Advocacy to Fundraising: Free Nonprofit Webinar

It’s Kind to Give In Kind

Nothing But Net - Aid for Haiti Gets Webby

Make it Visible

Unlocking the Power of Online Forms in Sphere- Part I

Support Disaster Relief in Haiti

Getting Started with Twitter

Give your 2010 Strategy a Jumpstart with these Free Nonprofit Webinars – Starting Tomorrow!

The Power of One

Email Communication in 2010

The Science Behind the Art - Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS - Part II

Foursquare: 8 Ideas for Nonprofits

Using Social Media to Improve Your Nonprofit's Efforts

How to Choose a Website Vendor- The Solution

2009 in Review

How to Choose a Website Vendor- The Partnership

Use Your Year End Giving as a Starting Point

The Science Behind the Art - Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS - Part 1

The Science Behind the Art - Nonprofit Website Case Studies

Your Network Matters: Fatcyclist Raises Over 135K in 8 Days

Black December?

Obama, Then and Now: Lessons Learned in Online Advocacy and Fundraising (Part I)

Are Nonprofits Ready to Play Foursquare?

A Facebook Success Story: Charleston Animal Society

NetWits Know-How Event Fundraising Webinar Series

#Tweetsgiving Rocks

Watch for Roadblocks: The Road to More Successful Online Fundraising

13 Twitter Search Examples for Nonprofits

50 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits

10 Ways to Make Your Website Fundraising Friendly

10 Tips for Online Challenge Event Fundraising

Social Media Strategy: A Small Nonprofit's Experience

7 Webby Sessions Not to Miss at BBCon

2009 State of the Not-For-Profit Industry UK Survey Results

How to Leverage Your Newsletter Subscriber List to Solicit Online Donations

Cause Marketing and Social Media go Hand in Hand

How Independent Schools Can Embrace Online and Offline Worlds

Creating a Social Networking Strategy (Part 1)

Jumpstart Year-End Giving with eCards

NTEN Webinar - The State of Online Fundraising

Branding Your Nonprofit: Part 2 of 2

What is Google Search Doing for You?

Generation Thumb

Social Media Strategy: National Association of Dental Plans

4 Internet Competencies You Need for a Career in Nonprofit

Turning "Brochureware" into a Fun and Interactive Website

Help Inspire Your Fundraisers!

16 Starter Tips for Nonprofit Blogging

Dive into the Flickr Pool!

Supporting Independent Event Fundraisers Using Online Tools - LIVESTRONG Day 2009

Want More Constituents on Your Website? Don’t Annoy Them! Part 2

How “Intelligent” is Your Nonprofit?

Using the Social Web to Make Local Impact

Mixing Traditional Media with Social Media

New England Province of Jesuits Wins Award for Faith-Based Standard of Excellence

Index of National Fundraising Performance- Q2 2009

11 Quick Tips to Enhance Your Facebook Fan Page

The Answer to Nearly Every Online Fundraising Question Is...

How Blogging and Tweets Generate Support for a Family

Measuring Success Online- Is This Internet Thing Worth the Effort?

Nonprofits and Social Media: Seth Godin, Beth Kanter and The Chronicle of Philanthropy All Chime In

Inside a Website Redesign: Plan Canada

Want More Constituents on Your Website? Don’t Annoy Them!

Twitter 101 for Nonprofits

Branding Your Nonprofit: Part 1 of 2

Are you Ready for the Next Facebook?

What is Google Doing for You?

6 Characteristics of a Nonprofit Trust Agent

(INSERT POST TITLE HERE)

What Not to Do on a Fundraising Call

Tips to Strengthen Your Email Campaigns

Listening Dashboard via Email?

On-site and Online Fundraising Best Practices

The Power of a Thank You

Abundant Options & Opting In

Why Twitter Matters

5 Questions Nonprofits Should Ask Before Sending an Email

Help Your Nonprofit Listen Like Starbucks and Dell

5 Mistakes Nonprofit Websites Make

Peer to Peer Fundraising- Painting a Better Picture with Video

Networking at a Grassroots Level

Thank You for Your Permission

Sign Up for NetWits Summer Camp!

A Challenging Economy = More Donations

Have a Contest to Increase Web Traffic

I’m Listening, Now What? 5 Tips to Make Your Listening Worth It

Are Twitter and Facebook Important for Event Fundraising?

Start a Movement!

Set up Your Social Media Listening Dashboard in 30 Minutes or Less

An eCard Experience

Sink or Swim? Nonprofits in 2010

Social Media Strategy: ChildFund International

How to Boost Event Fundraising with Facebook

The Web 2.0 Rummage Sale!

Summer Festivals: Where Music & Philanthropy Collide

Can Social Media Help Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Efforts?

Design for Good: 4 (More) Nonprofit Design Principles - Part 2 of 2

A Recipe for Search Engine Visibility: Part II

Payment Processing- You Raised the Dollars, Keep Your Cents

Nonprofit Blogging: Goals, Strategy and Tactics to Crush it

Recurring Gifts: Are You Missing Out on Easy Money?

Members Only!

We Need Facebook (?)

The Healthcare Industry is Stuck – 5 Strategies to Overcome and Resources to Assist

4 Tips to Keep Your Recurring Gifts Recurring

Social Media Strategy: LIVESTRONG and the Summer of Social Good

Social Media Strategy: United Methodist Church and 10THOUSANDDOORS

Design for Good: 4 Nonprofit Design Principles - Part 1 of 2

Social Media Strategy: 12for12k Challenge with Danny Brown

Tangible Love

A Recipe for Search Engine Visibility

Social Media Strategy: Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles

5 Email Sins to Avoid

Are Your Alumni Bored with You?

How One Multi-Chapter Organization is Succeeding with Virtual Accounts

6 Ways to Build Your Email Subscriber List through Social Media

Power to Your Peeps! Why Real-time Fundraising with Twitter Works

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due...

4 Facebook Tips for Nonprofit Success – See What Others are Doing

Reach Your Audience Where Your Audience Already Is!

Is Twitter Important for Thon Participants?

Mastering "The Google"

What's Really Going on with Events this Season?

Podcasting, Podcasting, Podcasting

Social Media Strategy: Athletes for a Cure

Does Your Website Further Your Mission?

Is Mobile Fundraising the Next Big Thing?

Help a Nonprofit This Mother's Day

4 Keys to Building a Successful Nonprofit Web Site

To Tweet or Not to Tweet is No Longer the Question

Expanded Functions in Sphere Connect API

Are Your Recipients Tired? Look No Further Than List Fatigue: Part II

15 Clay Shirky Quotes That Blew My Mind at NTC

Facebook Launches New API

Facebook to Open a World of Possibilities

Stewardship Isn’t Just a Thank You Letter

Connect Usage Goes BOOM!

4 Ways to Jump Into ‘Fundraising 2.0’

A Good Fundraising Appeal- By My Standards

Design for Good: The Hidden Potential of Footers

Website Omnipotence

When Social Networking Worlds Collide– The Facebook-Extended Personal Fundraising Page

2009 Target User Forum- Day 2

YouTube Video, $10,000 Dollars and Your Nonprofit

The Social Media Nonprofit Event Planner

Facebook & “Old People*”

Are Your Recipients Tired? Look No Further Than List Fatigue.

Don’t Fall Behind, Fundraising is Moving On!

SXSW Recap

Things I liked from SXSW Interactive

Five Things I Saw at SXSW

2008 donorCentrics Internet Giving Benchmarking Analysis

Why should you get your event participants to send more emails?

To Moderate or Not to Moderate? That is the Question.

Skittles and Your Nonprofit

Takeaways from the Run Walk Ride Conference

Taking Five Website Staples to the Next Level

Assigned Affinity

Don’t Dump – Learn to Listen

Twitter: Time Waster or Valuable Tool?

Using Twitter for the First Time

Bigfoot Sighting

RSS: Best thing since sliced bread

One Life is Enough!

Get free updates of the the blog articles sent to your inbox by entering your email address:

Make sure to check out our Social Media for Nonprofits resources section or browse by topic ...

Popular Posts

Recent Posts


Nonprofit Tech Featured Blog