The following is a guest post from Paul Cheney (@prcheney), the mastermind behind The Blog Raiser. Paul helps nonprofits and fundraisers figure out how to make blogging and social media work – and today he's offering 10 lucky Wild Apricot Blog readers an hour of telephone consultation with him, free of charge! Read on –
Social Media Not Working For Your Nonprofit? Here's How to Fix It
Sometimes life doesn't work out the way you want it. Sometimes all the planning and preparation in the world amounts to absolutely nothing. It's a hard fact of life.
The same goes for social media. A lot of times we hit a wall. Things stop working. Twitterers aren't banging down doors trying to follow you. Facebook pages go limp. Blogs dry up. It happens.
The thing is, you're a nonprofit. You don't have time to figure things out. You don't have the money to fix it.
So what do you do?
Step Back, Breathe, and Re-evaluate Your Goals
The first thing we tend to do when things aren't going our way is panic. You might be tempted to start haphazardly changing your strategy and hoping for the best.
Take a step back and look at what's been happening. Remember those goals you started with? Have they changed? If not, remember what you set out to do with social media. Was it fundraising? Was it advocacy? Whatever the case, go back and check the data.
What were the steps and actions you took that brought you a little closer to those goals? Which tweets got the most retweets? Which posts got the most comments? Which email got the most opens and click-throughs? Take a look at what you've done right. Then try to recreate that success.
Stop doing the stuff that doesn't work and start doing more of the stuff that does.
Figure Out What's Working for Other Organizations
Here's a good idea I got from a post by Jason Dick on copying good ideas: copy good ideas.
Assuming they're succeeding, find out how other nonprofits are using social media and see if you can imitate them.
Read their blogs. Follow them on Twitter. Check out their Facebook pages. Take a look at the kinds of things they're writing about. What strategies or techniques can you lift and fit to your own organization?
I've found that this, more than almost any other thing, has helped me get out of my own ruts personally, professionally, and in dealing with social media. Try to get into people's heads. Get on their sites and start digging around. Look at what they're doing more than what they're saying (though you can learn a lot from that too).
Here's a couple to get you started:
- National Trust for Historic Preservation: I like their style a lot. Free reports, resources, and a super-informative blog are just a few of the strategies they've got working for them.
- Share Our Strength: Be sure to check out their Facebook and Twitter pages. The blog is something to see as well.
You might even learn a lot from Wild Apricot (aside from the great content they put up on their blog). They may be a business, but there's still some serious strategies to be gleaned. They're helping people out with their blog and those people buy from them. How can you help people out when you talk to them through social media? Are you giving people real value so that they donate/pay attention/love you?
Of course, it's one thing to learn what others are doing and an entirely different thing to apply it to your own situation...which brings me to the one thing that can fix your social media rut better than anything you could possibly do on your own.
Ask People for Help
Ask those people you've been examining for ideas to help you out. They'll more than likely show you things you would have never found on your own. And because they've had so much experience, they'll probably know a lot better than you how you can apply it to your specific situation.
This is HUGE if you're like 99.999% of nonprofits and have zero time and zero resources to figure out how to make social media work. I can give you tips and tricks on social media till I'm blue in the face, but if you don't have the time or money to make them work for you, it's all for naught.
With that in mind, I'd like to make Wild Apricot readers an offer. Here's what I propose...
Get On the Phone With Me for 1 Hour...FREE
It saves you time, because you're not figuring this stuff out on your own. And it saves you resources because...well, it's free.
Ok, now for the catch.
I'm not Superman (no matter how many times I wear the costume around the house). I'm only going to be able to do this for a limited number of people...ten to be exact.
The other thing is, in order to be considered you'll have to leave a comment on this blog post explaining the biggest problem you're facing in your own social media efforts. What do you think is holding you back? Where are you stuck? What would you like to see happen that simply isn't happening no matter what you try?
Tell me anything you're having trouble with and we'll figure it out together, one-on-one over the phone.
Sound like a plan?
Alright then, what are you waiting for? Stop reading and get commenting! :)
Photo credit: James Vaughan