Last week I taught a social media class at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, IL, USA. The group represented a range of not-for-profits in the area; from organizations that support young children and families in the community to private clubs and retirement homes. 

Social media icons on iPhone screen

Having prepared a presentation, which included the basics when it comes to Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter, as well as Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat we had an open discussion about the importance of social media when communicating with an audience. We also addressed the need to set objectives in order to measure the success of campaigns and we talked about quality over quantity when it comes to content. 

What I discovered, is that for many working in the non-profit sector, those responsible for social media are also taking care of fundraising, admin and human resources activity too. What this means is, as with many of us who lead hectic lives, time is precious. So, we also talked about curating content and maximizing its potential. 

News sources, local, national and international, are a great way to find content. You can even access feeds that filter topics relevant to your audience. This cuts down on your search time. Perhaps one of the most important things to remember, when curating content is to tell a story through words, pictures and even videos. Don’t be afraid to take your audience behind the scenes of the organization, to meet the people in it and the projects and activities for which they are responsible. Like I said in my presentation, it’s our nature to be nosey, so use this to your advantage.

 Investing time and effort in social media can pay off.

Investing time and effort in social media can pay off.

What also came out in our discussions is proving return on investment. Address ROI through the use of analytics tools available to you on the platforms themselves or through social media management tools, such as Sprout Social, Hootsuite and Buffer. Like any marketing or public relations campaign it’s important that you gain feedback -  whether you do this face-to-face, through correspondence or on your website - find out how your audience is reaching you. Figure out what works best for your organization, and its audience, and use it to inform your social media campaign.