Pressure. You feel it. I feel it. Every nonprofit communicator and fundraiser out there feels it. Social media pressure, that is.
Whether the source of this anxiety (Am I keeping up? Do I have a billion Facebook likes or Twitter followers? Is my Instagram strategy driving action?) is your immediate boss, board chair, or colleague in programs, it’s there. The pressure to generate a social media miracle.
Breathe—There Is a Solution
You can boost marketing and fundraising impact, and you can deflate that pressure. Here’s how:
1. Get to know your people. Research, via online survey or calls, where your current supporters are when it comes to social media.
For those of us who live and breathe tech and social media — me in Silicon Valley and George, CTO of DoSomething.org, in New York and Washington, DC — it’s always a good reality check to come to gatherings like this and see how the non-early adopters are faring.
The three-hour session we led yesterday offered a range of tips on how to use social media strategically for campaigns, for collaboration, for building community, and I invite you to browse through the presentation above, since the attendees found it useful: “AMAZING session” (thanks, Volunteer Centre) … “awesome, fantastic session” (thanks, NCVS) … “Great session!” (thanks, Groupon).
But there were more beginners in the crowd than I expected. For instance, only about five out of 50 particpants were using Google Analytics (the free tool every website and blog ought to have). None had heard of the Grassrootsmapping.org effort to document the Gulf oil spill, even though we’re right here in New Orleans. And only one out of 80 people (not counting me) at today’s session on data had ever used Tumblr, an easy way to post blog entries and photos.
These are good, smart, motivated people — we need to break through the barriers and connect the tools and strategies with the organizations and causes that need them, starting with the basics.
So let’s take a deep breath and remember: We still have a lot of work before us, and there’s a lot of education yet to be done.
Twitter is one of a growing breed of part-technological, part-social communication media that require some skills to use productively. Sure, Twitter is banal and trivial, full of self-promotion and outright spam. So is the Internet. The difference between seeing Twitter as a waste of time or as a powerful new community amplifier depends entirely on how you look at it — on knowing how to look at it.
He goes to lay out some reasons why he finds Twitter valuable, a nice counterpoint to Jakob Nielsen’s critique in BusinessWeek where he suggests that Twitter gives you ADD and can damage productivity. Clearly, if you use Twitter efficiently and in the right way it can provide value.