I had the pleasure of running a couple of group sessions at the ACOSVO Annual Conference in Edinburgh earlier this month.
Here's a Q&As on the main issues raised on the issue of how Third Sector organisations can use social media effectively.
What should we use social media for?
Different organisations and projects use social media for different things, you have to decide what goals will help drive your business. The Social Charity Index should be able to give you a few ideas from organisations already engaged with social media.
Do you need to better connect with your client base to let them know about new and events? Do you want to have a forum for individuals to share experiences and provide support to each other? Have a look at Facebook and Twitter Pages of other organisations and projects in your area of expertise or sector and replicate good practice.
How do you get buy-in from staff?
The best approach for this is to be open and transparent with your staff and then ask for their help.
Have a session with your team to give them an introduction to social media tools and then ask them how they think Twitter/Facebook etc could help them in their own work.
Be supportive of your staff, and be upfront about your plans. You already trust your staff to speak to customers and clients in person, on the phone, and by email, so using social media is just another communication tool for this.
How can we measure the impact of our work through social media?
There are a number of free tools which can help you measure the impact of your work around social media. The ones I use most are:
Facebook’s free analytics tools for Pages. These appear at the top of the screen which you login as a page Admin. They tell you a range of stats, including how many likes you’ve had, how many people have seen your page etc.
Tweetreach.com is a great free tool for Twitter. It has a range of metrics, including how many people have seen your tweets, how many times your tweets have appeared and which tweets and followers have contributed most to your impact.
Should we link our social media channels together, and if so, how?
Different people use Facebook and Twitter for different things, so don’t hook up your Facebook page to automatically update from Twitter (or vice versa). It’s OK to share content or to advertise your Facebook content from a Tweet, but give some thought to this rather than joining everything up.
A good rule of thumb is to update your Facebook page a few times a week, and to Tweet a few times a day.