Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Building A Social Media Audience

Most every nonprofit out there wants to expand its presence to social media in some form. Whether it's Facebook or Twitter, organizations want their message to be adapted to this medium. Yet no matter how good your content is, a social media strategy will not work without an active audience.

The key to building up an audience for your social platform is to have relevant content. If you write about things on your blog that people want to read, chances are you will attract followers. If you haven't already, start reading about search engine optimization (SEO). This is the process of strategically inserting "keywords" into your blog posts so that major search engines, such as Google, will pick up your posts. Here are some hints on how to best use keywords:

  • Insert the keyword that your post is about (i.e., fundraising) into the title of your post.
  • Use that same keyword somewhere in the first paragraph.
  • Link the keywords you use to the web page where you want to drive traffic (it helps if the URL of that page has the keyword in it).
So that's how you can build an audience for you blogs, but how about your other social media sites? If you are using Twitter, research all the popular "hashtags." Hashtags are one-word phrases that start with the "#" symbol. They typically are at the end of a tweet and are used so that Twitter users who search for that hashtag will easily find your post. For example, The NonProfit Times ends most of its tweets by using #nonprofit. It's useful to use more than one hashtag so you can capture multiple audiences.

The great thing about social media sites is what we like to call the "network effect." You can invite a few of your friends to your brand new Facebook page and quickly grow a bigger audience when they share your posts with their friends. Another thing to keep in mind is that social media is meant to be social. Try to start honest dialogue with your supporters as much as you can -- this is more likely to bring new individuals to your pages, as people like to be involved in a community.

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