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Following is a list of problems many non-profits will not consider or will get wrong in social media for their special events. How many are you addressing?
- Not using social media at all. In this day and age the fastest way to get ignored is to ignore social media. Embrace the trend and jump into the abyss, TODAY!
- Using limited channels. Facebook and Twitter are great but they aren’t the only options. LinkedIn is gaining more and more ground in social updates, especially in the corporate world, Pinterest is still getting all the attention of the cute new girl in school, YouTube is wonderful for videos, and email and blogs should definitely be considered as additional avenues. Worried about time? Post the same message across multiple channels using programs like HootSuite or TweetDeck.
- Having multiple channels and not using them. Yep, sort of the opposite of #2 above. If you have the channels and followers on that channel, you have to keep them engaged on it.
- Posting the same message across all channels. No, I’m not contradicting the point above. You CAN post the same message easily across multiple channels and if that’s all you have to time to do, don’t stop. But, to do it better, know your audience and adjust the wording accordingly. Language matters!
- Believing “once is enough”. Messages must be repeated – daily, weekly, monthly – depending on their importance. Calls to action especially should be repeated. Several sources have reported that the average half-life of a Twitter update is less than 3 hours; Facebook and emails are just over 3 hours and YouTube is about 7 hours. This means that after about 3 hours, your message is probably not getting much more attention through most channels and you need to get it out there again. Repeat the message, but adjust the wording so you don’t sound like a broken, desperate record.
- Not including links. For events, calls to action are imperative. Whether it’s to purchase tickets or register, become a sponsor or volunteer, view photos or submit stories, followers and fans need to be engaged for your event to succeed. And when you give them an action, make it easy for them to act on it – add the link! And it should also be stated that links where people can tell where they’re going (like www.kcsweaterparty.com) are more often clicked than shortened, generic links.
- Not knowing your audience. You need to know not only your desired audience but your actual audience. When do you get the most responses and retweets? Do they react more to positive or negative messages? Do they respond to calls for purchases or donations? Adjust your topics, language, and posting times to match who follows YOU.
- Not acknowledging your followers. When someone follows, tweets about, re-tweets, or comments on your sites, you should respond! Acknowledging new followers when possible, answering positive AND negative comments, and even simply “liking” a response all show your followers that you are engaged WITH them, not just throwing information AT them.
- Working without a plan. Planning is a big deal for social media – make a calendar, make a spreadsheet, make a list, whatever works for you. Plan out what you want to accomplish with your social media usage and then follow that plan.
- Planning for “event time” only. Fans and followers don’t follow you just for 5 months out of the year. Update them on how the money raised is being used after the event. Tell them of other events and other ways they can help. Keep them engaged and interested year-round, not just during your event timeline. Otherwise, you might have to rebuild your fan-base every year.