The Smoke Break has been Replaced with the Facebook Break
Recently, Facebook reached a milestone. One billion users. If it were 1804, that would be the entire global population "liking" and "tagging". We decided there was only one thing to do to mark the occassion; join Facebook, and countless other social media outlets, at the 2nd Annual ‘Social Media for Nonprofits’ Conference. We were happy to act as a regional sponsor of this traveling conference tour and promoted the one-day event when it made its stop in the Capitol on October 5th.
Ritu Sharma co-founded the organization with the hopes of giving nonprofits the tools to utilize social networks and emerging social media trends to their maximum benefit. People attended the conference from organizations run by 5 of less people to organizations with considerable staffs and financing. From the start, Sharma told us it was a day of inspiration, insight and learning. And she was certainly correct. With a rotation of over 10 speakers, the topics touched on the value of a re-tweet, how to engage social influencers, the importance of tracking your online impact and ROI, and the meaning of being a fearless social media practitioner.
While each speaker had different “best practice” suggestions, three themes rang true throughout the presentations. Theme 1) Be authentic. According to Libby Leffler of Facebook, “Social media has forced organizations to get a personality. Other people now have control over your brand so you need to jump in. Talk to people in a way they would connect with a friend.” Theme 2) Be fearlessly creative and bold. There are no fixed instructions for social media outlets and taking risks often produces the best new idea. The online language is changes as fast as one could learn it so don’t necessarily follow ‘rules’…because there are none. Theme 3) Engage. This IS the point after all. Forget the PR language or the marketing techniques. Connect with people in ways that they are not only listening to you, but you are listening to them as well.
Connecting with supporters through the Internet is no longer a choice for nonprofits with advocacy goals. And yes, while everyone knows they should be 'connected' to their supporters, few are reaching their online potential. It's important to realize this is not a new way of communication, but also an entire new way of thinking about innovative outreach. Online sites have been created for most organization's needs. With the right Google search, nonprofits can likely find a tool they are comfortable with and will resonate with their intended audience.
Still not convinced? Hire an intern and let them have a stab at creating you an online presence. If you haven’t furthered your reach or mission at the end of their internship, deleting the accounts is only a click away. But just in case you have, be sure to have them keep a document of ‘best practices’ so you can pick up right where they left off, keeping your new audience engaged!
Thanks for coming to DC, Social Media for Nonprofits! (@SM4Nonprofits)
See you in 2013!....until then, Happy Tweeting! (Come say hello at, @Ctr4SocialMedia)
Helping People Make Media That Matters
We investigate, showcase and set standards for socially engaged media-making. We organize conferences and convenings, publish research, create codes of best practices, and incubate media strategies. More...