how to:How to Craft a Social Media Strategy to Advance Your Cause
Overwhelmed by the shear number of social media spaces where you feel like your group should have a presence? Wondering how you should be managing your Facebook page? What should you be tweeting about? Do you need to create a YouTube channel?
We offer a number of how to guides for learning about different tools and tactics you can use. Mary Joyce’s guide on choosing the right technology for your campaign provides a helpful overview for thinking through the right technologies.
From our case studies, you can learn how other individuals have engaged with social media to support their cause. But first, let’s cover some basics. When it comes to crafting an overall social media strategy. There are a series of steps you can take to figure out your social media strategy. In this how to guide, we’ll walk through setting goals and preparing your overall strategy.
Assess. In a recent presentation, social media guru Beth Kanter of Beth’s Blog described the different stages of using social media to promote your organization. They are: Listening, Engaging, Social Content, Generating Buzz, Movement Building and Multi-Channel. Which stage are you in?
Stage 1: Listening - You are curious about what is happening online and what people are saying about you and the issues you care about on the internet.
Some great listening tools include:
RSS Feeds and following blogs
Setting Google Alerts with keywords
Stage 2: Engaging - Interacting with users online.
You can engage by:
Using Facebook for interactive listening. Use conversation starters to engage your audience and have two-way conversations by asking questions and replying to posts.
Twitter: Use hashtags, ask questions, reply to posts, share links to news items related to your mission, and connect with other Twitter users interested in your cause. Check out the Twitter ladder of engagement:
Reaching out to partners and building relationships with influencers on social media
Reading and commenting on other blogs in your issue area
Stage 3: Social Content - You are moving beyond just listening and engaging; now you are adding more content to the mix. This can be by writing original blog posts and posting digital media like photographs and video.
Provide links to connect with others and share content.
Co-create, remix, and share content, collaborate!
Integrate content between social media spaces (for more on this, check out this guide to cross posting for advocacy).
Stage 4: Generating Buzz - People are talking about you, your campaign, and your issues. You may be losing more control of the conversation.
Stages 5 & 6: Movement Building and Multi-Channel - A full-blown movement!
Once you’ve examined what stage you are in you can start thinking about moving to the next stage. If you have just been listening online, maybe it’s time to start interacting with people who care about your organization and your issue area. Ready to take the plunge and create a video or share photographs?
Set goals. Ask yourself the following questions:
What are my communication goals?
What are my program goals?
Who do I want to reach online?
What do I want to accomplish?
How and where can social media improve or supplement what I am currently working on?
What is my available budget and time?
What opportunities do I have to use social media in some pilots? Look ahead at your calendar too - what events, campaigns, content, opportunities do I have coming up?
Use these questions to guide you in creating goals for you and your mission.
After you have set goals, look at the questions you are trying to answer. Some may include:
How are you spending your time and money related to your website: to drive people to your site? On improving content, design, and/or navigation?
Are you trying to get more people to sign up for your email list?
What is the first ask you will make of people who signed up for the list?
Do you want visitors to stay on your site longer?
Want to see how many people have viewed your newest campaign video?
Look back at the different stages. What types of activities going on at the next stage do you want to take part in?
Instead of trying to change everything at once, start small. Maybe you have an upcoming event you want to promote. Perhaps a member of your team has written an important blog post. Begin implementing your new social media strategy around this one event or piece of content. That may mean posting to your Facebook wall with details, reaching out to partners and asking for their help promoting it, and/or creating a Twitter hashtag (if its an event.) Use your new social media strategy to get more people to read and react to the post.
Take advantage of our how to guides and learn how to use different tools like Facebook, Twitter, and social bookmarking. Explore our case studies to learn about how other individuals and groups have used social media tools and spaces to gain momentum for their cause.
How did things go? Use analytics to measure carefully against the goals you set. See how closely your benchmarks align with what is actually happening. It is important to look at what worked and what didn’t.
Adjust your strategies accordingly. Use your analytics reports to make sense about how you’re doing.