Social media, for me, is the ultimate communication tool. Not only does it allow you to connect with people you wouldn’t otherwise reach, social media allows information to spread at rapid-fire. With this in mind, certain strategies are important with communication in mind. Throughout this post I will waiver back and forth between strategies presented by certain authors, strategies I imploy and believe in, and strategies I would suggest to nonprofits to further their social media footprint. It’s important to note early on that my philosophy on social media will vary from advice I would give to a nonprofit wishing to communicate effectively via social media.
First and foremost, blogging is becoming a must-have within social media. Blogging may seem ‘old-school’ and Heather Mansfield addresses this directly in her book Social Media for Social Good, but with the rise of sites such as Tumblr and WordPress as I am already using, blogging is no longer aged. Now that blogging has made itself important again, what becomes perhaps more important is blogging frequently, and Mansfield recommends once or twice a week, less is more, especially for the overwhelmed and busy person. Blogs (and social media in general) require fresh material or you will completely lose your audience, so blogging new weekly materials will keep your audience in the know. Not only do I intend to up my posts to twice a week in order to not only gain an audience, but to keep my writing fresh and original. As far as recommendations for a nonprofit wishing to try their hand at blogging, I would recommend the same, blogging at least once a week, but I would stay inside of the issue of your nonprofit and not stray towards other issues, though it may seem tempting. Leave those issues for a personal blog.
Facebook combines blogging with social media and allows much more interaction than a simple blog can, and is often chosen by many as their primary information super highway. The most important part about Facebook is finding your voice, meaning what you want to portray with your status updates, by experimenting with tone of voice, or personality flair like pictures or emojis. Once you have found your niche with status updates it is important to limit yourself to one per day focusing on the strong content of one update and not the overindulgence of multiple per day that can overwhelm your Facebook friends. Mansfield expands saying that users who share fresh content once a day are less likely to have fans who will “…’unlike’ their page” meaning you will continue to have friends will who will ‘like’ comment and share your content thus creating more followers (76). Advice that Mansfield gives in this chapter also address sharing your Facebook profile across multiple platforms which is something I need to work harder on, especially sharing things between Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as I have been very lax on this. I would encourage anyone who wishes to reach a wider audience to do the same.
Twitter has become the greatest tool for anyone wishing to spread some sort of message and despite disagreeing with short form in general, I think Twitter has many benefits most of which relate directly to the human attention span which is ever dwindling. To combat short-form writing fears, Dom Sagolla, writer of 140 Characters: A Style Guide for the Short Form, has some advice. One of the biggest messages I took from the book was the idea of each Tweet being like the first sentence of a novel. Sagolla instills in his audience that most readers will read the first sentence of a book in order to decide to read further and advises any Tweeter to “…think of each update as a complete story of its own” (Sagolla 16). Once you have completely understood the rules of Twitter and understand that despite the short form you can say a lot through Twitter, the site becomes your greatest weapon of information. Going forward I need to step-up my game with original tweets that stick to the issues I care about, and on the advice of Sagolla, I will and would recommend sticking to the “one message” rule that he discusses early on. Splitting tweets into multiple messages, which can seem tempting when you have more than 140 characters to say, can pose a few problems like: messages arriving out of sequence, messages being taken out of context, and difficultly quoting or referring to multiple tweets (16). When sticking to these unwritten rules Twitter will be one of the easiest social media platforms to get your information to a lot of people with little effort.
Sticking to the advice that I have received, upping my participation with social media, and working on creating unique original posts/tweets are my main goals for not only this blog, but the continuation of my life with social media. I hope you will join me!