This post was written by Ritu Sharma, co-founder and executive director of Social Media for Nonprofits. It was originally posted on TechSoup.org in October, 2012 by Becky Wiegand.
As Social Media for Nonprofits (the country's only conference series devoted to social media for social good) plans its October 5 return to the nation's capital, we thought it'd be helpful to share three of the simplest, most practical tips from more than 100 presenters have shared with the 3,500 nonprofits we've educated and empowered to-date.
1. Timing Is Everything
With email, the guiding rule is that you don't want to be unread message number 38 of 62 when someone gets back to work from the weekend, so the best time to blast your list is mid-morning or mid-afternoon on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
On the other hand, with social media, your Facebook posts and tweets should be timed to catch people in their downtime. 8:45 a.m. when they’re on the subway into work, 12:30 p.m. when they’re checking their iPhone while eating a burrito, 5:30 p.m. on the bus ride home, and according to research, the single best time to post during the week is 9:30-11 p.m., after the kids go to sleep.
Of course you should experiment with your unique audience and see what works, plus bear in mind what time zone(s) they’re in, trying out weekends and weekdays.
2. Ask Questions
Simply put, if your tweet or Facebook post ends in a question mark versus a period, you can expect about five times the amount of likes, comments, shares, retweets, and so on. Why? Well, social media isn’t about monologue - it’s about dialogue. So instead of just making a statement, ask a question and invite your audience into a conversation!
3. Become a Content Curator
Imagine going to a cocktail party and winding up chatting with someone who only talks about themselves, their work, and their needs. Time for an imaginary call or text to provide cover while you excuse yourself, right? The same is true with social media. As Kay Sprinkel Grace said, "people don’t give to you, they give through you."
Your audience may care about your organization a bit, but what they really care about is the kids or animals you serve, and the impact you have in the world. So try and balance your posts by ensuring at least half of them don't just talk about your needs and updates, but rather about the issue you represent. Establish yourself as a thought-leader and the followers and dollars will follow.
At Social Media for Nonprofits, we like to say we’re not doing our job if our conferences leave our attendees inspired -- our job is to inspire them to action. The real question is, after a one-day event, what can you do differently tomorrow that makes you more effective and more efficient at advancing your cause? Hopefully these three simple tips are something you can put to work immediately to drive better results online.
We hope you can join us in Washington, DC on October 5 to see top speakers from Facebook, LinkedIn, Change.org, Salsa, CARE, Blackbaud, and Constant Contact. If you can't make it there, join us in San Francisco on October 11, Austin on October 23, Seattle on November 15, or watch for more details to come about events in New Delhi, New York, Silicon Valley, Vancouver, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to stay tuned in. Tickets are just $95 for nonprofits with budgets under $500,000, including access to the full-day program, breakfast, and lunch. Larger nonprofits can save $20 off the normal $125 registration fee with the "TechSoup" discount code, thanks to our great Global Partner, the Foundation Center, as can consultants and for-profits, which normally pay $175. Finally, there are a limited number of scholarships available for small nonprofits not otherwise able to attend, thanks to the generous support of our sponsors.
Join us and learn proven, powerful social media tips and resources that cut through the clutter of abstract theory and concepts and leave you inspired to action.
This post was written by Ritu Sharma, co-founder and executive director of Social Media for Nonprofits.
@bajeckabean on Twitter