For organizations social media is potentially an incredibly powerful tool to get the word out, connect with current and potential members, and promote events.
Getting the most out of social media is hard work and requires a continued effort. The rewards are potentially enormous. Social media can allow you to reach random people that are outside your network and bring them into the organization.
There are many social media platforms out there (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Instagram, etc). Facebook is the easiest to get started on and most widely used. To get started on Facebook, your organization needs to create a company page, previously known as fan pages. A company page allows anyone to join/like the page without approval like our personal Facebook pages require.
To set up a company page, log into Facebook as yourself. On the left side of the page, click on “Pages”. Click “Add a Page”. Now you choose “Organization” and fill in the information about your organization. Once your page is set up, make sure to make at least 2 different people administrators of the page.
Below are some keys to being successful promoting your organization on any social media platform.
1. Social Media is a Conversation
You want to promote conversation/interaction on social media. This is not a place to give sales pitches or constantly promote products. Ask your followers for feedback and ideas, and involve them in the organization. You want to ask open ended questions to get the conversation going. You can post relevant news articles, upcoming events, member news, photos, etc. I have found our organization loves to see photos from each meeting we have. Tag your members in the photos and then the photos will show up on the member’s page and all their friends see it. I even recorded our officer installations on my iPhone and posted those. We got a great response from these types of posts. You can set up a day/time where you are online to discuss a topic. You can get a great conversation going on Facebook or Twitter this way.
2. Be Active and Responsive
If you are going to have a social media presence you must be active and monitor it. You need to post something every few days. You need to respond to people’s comments. They can’t be left hanging. You need to remember to respond appropriately. Once a comment is out there it never goes away. It’s easier to manage if you have at least 2 people responsible for posting and responding.
3. Be Personal and Authentic
Remember, you're talking with people, not to them, so it helps if they can relate to you as a person. Let your passion for the organization show on social media. You are the best advocate for the organization. Think of why you are part of the organization and pass that on to your social media audience. Showcase your new members and member accomplishments.
4. Encourage Sharing
When you post on Facebook or Tweet your followers have the ability to “share” or “retweet” your posts. You should encourage all your members to do this often. This increases the audience of the post. By them sharing or retweeting it goes to all their followers. The number of views dramatically increases by sharing or retweeting a post.
5. Use Facebook Events and LinkedIn Events to spread the word
Both Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to post events. This is a great way to promote your upcoming meetings. Your followers can then share the event with all their friends.
6. Social Media is an Organizational-wide Activity
If you really want to get the most out of social media, then you should put as much into it as you can. Everyone at your organization should participate in your social media activities by sharing posts and activity commenting on posts.
7. Start conversations around hashtags
If your audience is active on Twitter, start a conversation around a hashtag to get people talking, whether it’s #NYSW, #equalpay or #NYSWConference2015. By using a hashtag people can search for this tag and follow everyone talking about it.