Thursday, July 26, 2012

12 Common Mistakes Nonprofits Make in Social Media

I recently received these great webinar notes from Heather Mansfield, author of Social Media for Social Good and head of DIOSA Communications. They were so good I wanted to share them here. I think #3 is particularly important--with so many competing posts and so much social media business out there, it's so important to focus on storytelling, successes, and ways your members can get involved with you, rather then just posting the typical "Give Now" scenario. Not blogging (#8) is also a mistake I often see, amd from what I have observed, this is frequently because either a blog strategy has not been defined, or there is a lack of clarity on who should actually be writing. In some cases, the CEO or Executive Director is the appropriate blogger, but this doesn't have to be the case. A strong writer with a good feel for the organization's voice and audience, can of course work out well, and there can be multiple bloggers as well.

For those of you involved in social media work for a nonprofit, what is your greatest challenge? Please post in the comments here, and thanks again to Heather for these super notes.

Webinar Notes: 12 Common Mistakes Nonprofits Makes in Social Media

1. Not Practicing Integrated Marketing

Web 1.0 :: The Broadcast Web :: Website, e-Newsletter, and “Donate Now” Fundraising
View ::

Web 2.0 :: The Social Web :: Blogs, Social Networking Sites, and Social Fundraising
View ::,

2. Not Investing in Good Graphic Design

One World One Ocean:
Charity Water:

3. Posting Boring Content!

Status updates and tweets should inspire and tell the story of your nonprofit’s mission, programs, and successes. A heavy focus on marketing or fundraising is boring!

“Help Us Save the Trees! Donate Now!!”
“Did you know we are also on Facebook?!”
“Press Release: [Nonprofit Name] Releases Annual Report #Breaking #News #MustRea

4. Automating Content

Your social media campaigns are only as good as the person behind the avatar. Automation of status updates and tweets is a worst practice.

5. Not Fully Exploring and Testing Tools

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, etc. have vast tool sets, but most nonprofits haven’t explored them. (View Facebook, Twitter,YouTube

6. Depending Solely on Volunteers and Interns

Very few people innately understand how to use social media to build an online brand. The best social media managers have years of experience with online communications and fundraising. That said, if you can not hire an experienced social media manager, make sure volunteers, interns, and staff are properly trained.

7. Not Being an Early Adopter

Even if your nonprofit does not yet have the time to regularly use new tools, at the very least you should create an account and reserve your username to protect your online brand. (View Nonprofit Organizations on Pinterest) Fans, followers and fans grow the fastest in the early adoption phase. (View Nonprofit Organizations on Google+)

8. Not Blogging

Blogging is often the missing piece in a nonprofit’s social media campaigns. (View Greenpeace Blog, Nonprofit Tech 2.0)

9. Not Activiely Building Your Digital Libraries

Every blog post, press release, tweet, status update, website article, etc. should include an image or video. Make sure that your communications and fundraising staff have easy access to a video recorder, digital camera, and/or a smartphone. Social media managers need to think of themselves as reporters for their cause.

10. Having Unrealistic Job Descriptions

Facebook : 5 Hours Weekly
Twitter : 5 Hours Weekly
YouTube/Video : 5 Hours Weekly
Flickr/Photography : 5 Hours Weekly
LinkedIn : 5 Hours Weekly
Blogging :10 Hours Weekly
Experimentation with new tools, such as Pinterest, Google+, Foursquare, Tumblr, Razoo, etc. :: 5 Hours Weekly

View: How Many Hours Per Week Should Nonprofits Spend on Social Media?

11. Ignoring the Mobile Web

Web 3.0 :: The Mobile Web :: Mobile Website, Texting, Smartphone Apps, and Mobile Fundraising
View ::

Smartphones now outsell PCs – and very soon the same will be true of tablets. If you haven’t viewed your nonprofit’s website on a smartphone or tablet, then you are already behind.

12. Not Tracking Return on Investment (ROI)

Create a Social Media ROI spreadsheet.

Conclusion :: The future of online communications and fundraising is digital and mobile. Now is the time to invest $$$ in online fundraising and communications. To begin, make sure you have a square avatar!

Heather Mansfield



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