Nonprofits are jumping on social channels in greater numbers. The most important social media platforms for nonprofits are Facebook (95%), Twitter (64%), YouTube (38%), and LinkedIn (26%).
However, not every nonprofit organization and professional is ready or willing to take the plunge into the social media pool.
Here are 6 reasons that your nonprofit may not be ready for social media.
1) You just aren’t willing to be open & transparent.
If you want to keep your nonprofit operations and impact in the shadows, you are not ready to jump on social networks.
Nonprofit organizations that do not want to publicize their programs, their success stories and their services should not get on social media.
Social media is all about transparency – it is a great place for your supporters to learn more about your leadership, your back office, your staff and your organization’s values and processes.
2) You don’t want to be accessible to stakeholders.
Social media means that you are opening up a two-way dialogue with constituents, donors, volunteers and the general public.
Once you open up this delicious can of worms, you can’t “un-open” it. People on social media channels expect answers and acknowledgement, and fast.
You may not be ready for social media if you don’t want to open up conversations and build authentic relationships with your community online.
3) You aren’t willing to change your organizational culture.
Is your nonprofit unwilling to accept the huge shift in the way that people communicate?
The reality is that as of September 2013, 73% of online adults used social networking sites. Fully 40% of cell phone owners use a social networking site on their phone, and 28% do so every day.
If you still think most people prefer dial-up phones and print newspapers to smartphones, then you probably aren’t ready for social media.
4) You only want a platform to broadcast announcements.
Social media is a great place to disseminate information, but Facebook is not a billboard and Twitter is not a newspaper ad.
There is a rule of 80/20 on social media – 80% of all information you share should provide value to your audience, and 20% can be self-serving.
Remember – on social channels, it’s not about you and your agenda that matters – it’s about your audience.
5) You want to fully automate or “set and forget” it.
Automation tools have their place. I personally love Buffer and HootSuite.
However, nonprofits that effectively use social media need to be monitoring the conversations on their social channels and responding in real time.
If you are not willing to use each channel the way it is meant to be used (and they are all vastly different), and you simply want to send the same announcement to each channel and never check it again, do us all a favor and don’t get on social media.
6) You aren’t willing to think visually.
Visuals are imperative on social media channels. They are more important than text in most cases.
If you are not willing to get great photos, share great video stories and create eye-catching graphics around your mission, change this mind-set before getting on social networks.
Is your nonprofit ready to use social media? Why or why not?