8 Ways to Start A Social Media Committee for Your Nonprofit

Julia Claire Campbell Social Media, Strategy 40 Comments

Don't Go It Alone in Social Media

Last week I discussed the actual work of “doing social media” and some of the time-consuming and important tasks required in doing it effectively.

The other important point I want to get across to organizations is this:  

To be effective and to get results, social media cannot be done by one person and one person alone.

A social media strategy must be embraced by the entire organization if it is to grow, to thrive and to succeed.

How to get this buy-in and support? Form a Social Media Committee.

Yes, I know, not one more Committee.

However, you need to ask yourself:

  • Is our social media strategy working?
  • Is it helping us achieve our goals?
  • Are we finding success in our strategy, or just spinning our wheels?
  • Could we be doing more?

If the answer to any of these questions is YES, then you need to consider starting a Social Media Committee. Here’s how.

1)     Identify Committee members.

Think about staff members, volunteers, Board members, donors, community members and constituents you know that love social media.

They should be active, engaged and enthusiastic about the platforms. They do not need to be super tech-savvy or know how to code an entire website. Simple knowledge of the platforms is ok.

Make another list of people involved with your organization who seem to know the movers and shakers in your community. Who is very well connected? Who always seems to know what’s going on before everyone else? These people will be very helpful in gathering timely and relevant content to post.

Make a last list of the people who are most connected to the programs and the clients. Having program staff and volunteers (and even clients) directly involved will ensure that your social media strategy stays close to the ground. You want to showcase your impact and the amazing things you are doing on a daily basis.

2)     Write up a short job description.

A sample Social Media Committee member job description is as follows:

Members will actively participate in forming and carrying out the social media strategy of the organization. They will attend meetings, bring ideas and creative energy to the group, and implement strategies as assigned, including engaging with the organization on social media platforms, promoting the social media accounts of the organization and inviting others to become involved.

Feel free to add your own wording and your own requirements – make it fun and light!

3)     Recruit the members.

Work with another staff member or the Board President to recruit a Committee of about 8-10 people.

Remember that most likely no one wants to serve on one more Committee, so you will have explain the importance of this work and why it is vital to help the organization.

One way of convincing potential Committee members is to explain that it takes a village to make a difference in the world – but it’s also true for social media!

Success on social media, Facebook especially, depends on engagement and interaction. If your Facebook page or Twitter feed is a ghost town, it might need a jump start from several committed, dedicated people to get it revved up and going again.

4)     Provide an incentive.

Could you provide pizza at the meetings? Hold a fun kick-off meeting at the local art museum?

What could you do to set it apart from other Committees?

5)     Give them training.

My advice – Hire a consultant or attend a professional development seminar in your area.

Social media is not something intrinsic or something people are born knowing how to do. As tempting as it is, you cannot simply say, “Let’s have the 19-year-old intern explain it to us; he’s on Instagram all the time!”

It takes time and effort to develop the skills necessary to do it right.

6)     Reframe your thinking.

The Social Media Committee needs to be constantly thinking of ways that the organization can use social media to accomplish its goals. They need reframe their entire way of thinking about communications and marketing.

Every single thing your organization does should be examined as a potential post, tweet or Instagram photo.

Ask these questions when thinking of content:

  • Is it relevant and timely?
  • Is it of interest to our audience?
  • Does it help them understand what we do and increase trust?
  • Is it appropriate and does it represent our brand well?

7)     Make it simple and easy.

Send out a weekly email to the Committee with their top 3 tasks of the week. The tasks could be as simple as promoting an event on their Facebook profiles, retweeting one tweet from the organization and sharing a recent blog post or video on their social media channels.

If you want to promote a specific event or fundraising campaign, make sure to provide the Committee with all the details – don’t simply say “Help us promote this event on Facebook!”

Write the Facebook post. Compose the tweet, including the necessary hashtags. Provide the Committee with graphics and compelling photos to share, and encourage them to link back to your organization website or blog.

Put all relevant materials (graphics, photos, documents, account URLs, sample tweets) in a Dropbox folder and invite the Committee to join. Set up a folder called IDEAS where the Committee can save notes, photos and other ideas for content.

Some great online tools to coordinate your Social Media Committee include SocialToaster and GaggleAmp.

8) Celebrate successes!

Show the Committee that their efforts have made a difference – that all the posting, tweeting and sharing has resulted in increased website traffic, event sign ups, even increased donations or requests for information.

In conclusion: Social media is about community and connections, not about pushing out marketing messages or purchasing advertising. You cannot succeed in a silo.

Does your nonprofit have a Social Media Committee? Any thoughts to share?

photo credit: ‘PixelPlacebo’ via photopin cc

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