What do volunteer community groups, not-for-profits and associations have in common? Each runs on little or no budget but need to reach as many followers as possible. Social Media platforms allow these groups to reach, engage and grow their following through little to no cost.
Understanding your cause and the information you would like to highlight is the best place to start, and then watch it grow.
Over 3 years ago an Australian association saw the growth potential that social media had in reaching the membership base around Australia and the World. By starting with the question: “What are the Social Media platforms that our people will be drawn too?” the association was able to build a profile and direct their community to it and is now one of the best known groups in the Built Environment.
Beginning with Facebook and Twitter (as these are the most talking about platforms), create accounts and profiles which are an extension of your website. Followers will feel more confident about following you and the information provide on Social Media if your branding is identical.
Ground rules for volunteers
Your volunteers are passionate about your cause; let them show that on Social Media. Set some basic ground rules such as:
- Posts must not be offensive, racist or abusive
- No private selling can be conducted
- If quoting another Association/Business use their account identifier
- Include a disclaimer that you are not responsible for 3rd party comments
- Delegate one or two people to monitor all posts
Start posting pictures about your group, events that your volunteers are attending, news articles which highlight your cause, ask questions about a hot topic. Just post and share what you can to engage with the community around you.
What content do you have?
After several months the association found that they had several videos and a mountain of pictures that would be useful for their members. Opening a YouTube channel and a Flickr account encouraged people to view videos from events that they could not attend and photos of the large number of people at events.
Your volunteers/members will appreciate the time that you spend providing them with information and imagery which, until recently was only available to a handful that could be in attendance. It is amazing how many people love to see a picture of them at an event and look forward to catching up with everyone again.
Don’t hunt followers
Don’t be over-excited and hunt for followers. Provide your community/members with relevant information, images that they can relate to and a chance to meet each other. If you try to sell yourself, appear to be aggressive with your posts or over post the same information your followers will become tired and move away from you. You must engage, engage, and engage with your followers.
Tips for getting the best out of social media
To achieve the best from social media for your community group, not-for-profit and association remember:
- Correct branding
- Interesting, varied posts
- Images and videos
- Ask questions
- Mention like groups
- Encourage your volunteers/members to post on your behalf
- Remember you followers are people and still need to engage with you on a personal level
So, ensure your Group is aware of these new networks you will be building and encourage others to build the community with you. Once you start there will be no stopping the change your Group can make.