Friday, July 10, 2009

Social Media Success Starts with Strategy

The most successful social media endeavors occur when the organization recognizes that social media is a distribution channel rather than the be-all-end-all communications solution. Social media success means integrating the various platforms into the rest of the outreach/communications plan and dedicating time/resources to keeping them fresh.

Social media can be a big distraction for many resource-strapped nonprofits (many of whom don't have dedicated communications or outreach staff). A few questions that can be helpful for the nonprofit in setting the stage:
  • How does the social media platform complement other efforts?
  • Does using social media allow the nonprofit to streamline other things it is doing?
  • How will you leverage the culture of each social media platform to reinforce your intent?
  • Do you have an effective Web site to reinforce your online presence and reinforce/validate the messaging you are sharing?
  • Do you have a messaging strategy to ensure focus of intent, purpose and desired outcome across platforms?
Experimentation is a great thing and social media is one of those areas where the field of experimentation is quite vast -- and fun! Nonprofits should be experimenting, trying different things, talking with stakeholders (donors, funders, clients, employees, etc) about how they are working ... but not at the expense of its strategic intentions for moving the organization (and the mission) forward.

Thanks to Chuck Zdrojowy for sparking this post.
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