A lot of non-profits think that their supporters will come to them. "I contact them regularly, via email and snail mail...why wouldn't they want to find me on the internet?" So a hastily created Facebook page is thrown up, some meta tags are tossed off to make a website searchable and voila! I've done social marketing, haven't I?
Tsk, tsk my friend. You've STARTED to do social marketing. You really need a strategy.
In the BKV Non-Profit group, we like to tell our clients to slow down, think about the implications of a social initiative, and how you are going to engage these folks down the line. Always make sure there is a plan in place to keep the conversation going; you don't want your supporters to fan, follow, or share without an idea of how you're going to keep in touch.
Some basic best practices:
• Start with your house file first. Your current supporters are the best way to build a social presence. Send out an email asking supporters to follow your organization on Twitter, like your page on Facebook, post links on blogs, and share your organization with their social networks.
• Come up with a plan to communicate on your social pages frequently. A good rule of thumb is to post updates two to three times per week.
• Make sure to respond! When you receive a comment, comment back.
• Create ideas to engage social supporters over time. Encourage them to post stories or share photos of their interaction with your organization, and always make sure to include them in online fundraising appeals.
The lifetime value of a social supporter can be measured in more than just dollars; they are building brand awareness and organizational goodwill throughout their social networks.
Wild Apricot, a non-profit technology company, has posted a document for creating a social media strategy. This document asks organizations to figure out how their supporters use social media, and how a "social relationship" can be enhanced by having an organizational social presence.