What is social media?
In written terms, social media describes the online tools that facilitate 2-way conversation between organizations and their constituents, and people-to-people. These participants share content, profiles, opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives and more. The tools include blogs, message boards, podcasts, wikis, bookmarks, social networking -to name a very few. A few prominent examples include: Wikipedia, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Digg, Flickr, Ustream, and del.icio.us -again, some you may have heard of.
Non-profits thrive on the attention from the generous public. Without ongoing support and donations from its mass public, non-profits deteriorate. In a world that is constantly connected through cell phones, email, Twitter, Facebook, Linknd, and more, what better place to reach your public than through social media channel? It is daunting, yet factual that people spend over 700 billion minutes on Facebook per month, and the average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events. Social networks such as these are not only available, but easy to access. Social media is one of the most vital tactics to create relationships with your constituents -whether it be investors, donors, volunteers, or prospective employees.
Rosita Cortez, founder and blogger of Social Media 4 Non-Profits relates social media to the concept making friendships. Social media is a way to make connections, maintain past connections, and spread news through “word of mouth.” How do you launch such goals? It’s simple -and free (mostly). All you need is internet access. Cortez explains that your organization must establish “real estate,” or a page, on the web for your nonprofit. After you build your page, you begin sharing information to your Facebook fans or followers on Twitter. This process serves as a chain of reactions, thus spreading word of mouth about your organization. For example, your fans will share your page to their friends, and so forth. You will start to see your organization being talked about by a larger, perhaps exponential web of constituents.
Being engaged in everyday “2-way conversation” with your target audience, will help your organization learn what consumers really want, how to strengthen your cause, and how to sustain a strong community.
Throughout this blog, I will explore and analyze social media strategies that non-profits are currently using as well as provide tips from experts.