The last couple of years have sometimes been called the Age of Social Media. Everybody is talking about it, and entire companies base their business models on social media. But are the tools that can also be used in the non-profit world? And does every NGO need several social media profiles to operate today, or could this even hurt your mission? In this article, we give you the first glimpse into the complicated area of social media management and give you tips on how to maneuver it to profit the maximum for your organization.
Social Media for NGOs
Social media offer a great chance for NGOs to present their work to the outside world and to get into contact with their supporters, their beneficiaries and other people interested in their work. These profiles do not have the same function as a website though, as they are – as the name already suggests – much more social. It is important to use this social and interactive side to engage with the audience and make them a part of the work. Only in this way, social media profiles have an extra benefit for NGOs.
On social media, you can share pictures, short texts and little videos that give an insight into your work instantly. You have the chance to get in contact with people who want to know more and will get direct feedback for your work. You can also network with others working in your area or with potential donors through your social media profiles. With new tools that are becoming more common now, it is even possible to directly fundraise through social media. So if your NGO has the need to present the work you do to the outside, using social media channels makes a lot of sense to tap into the potential that lies here.
Social media for NGOs – the more profiles, the better?
There are countless social media platforms out there. The most know ones are probably Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and Google+, but this list doesn´t even scratch the surface of what exists. A first instinct is often to open accounts on all these well-known platforms and sometimes even some additional ones. But be careful with this, as more is not necessarily better. Before you open a new profile, you should ask yourself carefully what you want to achieve with it, how much time you can invest in managing them and what your target group is.
Some social media platforms are more geared towards younger people, some towards middle aged. If you want to be known better amongst a very young target group, a Snapchat profile makes sense, if you want to present your work to potential donors, it would actually hurt more than do you good. The same goes the other way around if you only publish on Google+ you will not reach a young target group.
Also, consider the time and resources you can invest in social media management. Opening a profile is only the first step, afterward, you have to maintain it and constantly fill it with content. If you have very limited resources, limit your social media profiles as well. It is always better to have no account than to have an unkept one.
Discuss with your team which profiles you think could benefit your mission and who would manage them. It is always a good idea to work on a manual early on, so everybody knows how to run your accounts.
Do you have social media profiles? Please drop the link in the comments so we can check them out and network with you. We are present on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ and would love if you join us there!