Let’s start with the understanding that the more efficiently you can connect with your target audience, the more successful your social media strategy will be; the higher your social media visibility. To maximize your efficiency you must first understand some basic concepts about Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
Google is a search engine, not a Social Media site, but we’ll show you how to make it the lynchpin for your Social Media reach. As a search engine, Google makes it’s money by getting users to the most helpful place for the question that is asked. To do this they have algorithms that analyze each website. They look for currency, as measured by the posting date, helpful, as measured by whether the searcher remains on the site and goes to several pages on the site, and links from other sites, with highly regarded sites carrying more weight than others.
Facebook is a social site that encourages the making of ‘friends’. Their algorithm results in showing you on your personal page the postings of ‘friends’ and organizations that you ‘like’. This means that readers will see postings about things which they tend to agree with. The readers who will actually see your posting will depend on the settings you use, as in Public, Family, Friends Only, etc…(from Facebook Help) Although the figure is not public, it used to be that about 35% of your Friends would see your post.
Twitter is a social site that encourages ‘followers’. Your followers read your Tweets. If your Tweets are public, anyone who runs a search for a keyword in your Tweet may be able to see that message. (From Twitter Help Center).
Here is an episode of the podcast “Science of Social Media” with Michael Steltzner on Social Media Algorithms
This ends the lecture portion of this blog. Now, let’s make a technical plan that will maximize your social media impact with your target audience, and make the time you spend as efficient as possible. Every plan needs a Step One, but before we get to that, you need a mantra. This mantra should be your content plan:
Meaningful, fresh content directed toward your target audience
Where Do You Want to Be?
In order to maximize the efficient use of your time, you need to begin from a point where you can share content to the places where your target audience will be. It is nearly unanimous that the starting point should be your website. In which case the solution bends toward how to best do that? (See our Podcast Episode # 3 Getting Started with Your Org’s Website. )
Google is the most used search engine and therefore the best way to allow people to find you. To do so you need make sure Google Indexes your page and you optimize it for search engine visibility. We refer you to an earlier Podcast Episode # 4 (Nonprofit SEO Technology in the 21st Century) which will help you learn about making sure your content is relevant for keyword phrases.
Google analytics tell you how well you are doing, again an earlier episode (#5 Google Analytics with our Guest Yesenia Sotelo, SmartCause Digital) will provide you with the basics on analytics. As an aside, if you are using WordPress, we advise you to use the Jetpack plugin which will easily give you much of the analytic information. Our episode #7 (Connecting Your Website to the Social Networks) will provide you with the additional information you can derive from JetPack and other plugins.
By the way, many people don’t know that YouTube is the second largest search engine most just know that it is about videos. And yes, you can post a video, and even have your own channel. With the purchases of facial recognition software companies, you can presume that YouTube will be even more popular as a search engine……
Now you know the basics about beginning a website and connecting it to Social Media outlets.
Build an Army For your Social Media Visibility
Now let’s switch gears a bit and talk strategy. You can build the best website in the world and be prepared to have the content show in other social media locations, but if you do it by yourself, it will take some time. What we hear from quite a few nonprofits workers, is that there isn’t enough time in the day to feed content to the social webs. And there is no doubt about it, Social Networks presence takes time and energy. Let’s begin to make your time more efficient by understanding Reach on Facebook. Having a Facebook page for your nonprofit counts toward Reach, but when people Like your page or Share it, the reach goes much further. How do you get people to Like your page when you are just starting out?
We believe that if you create a team of supporters with common interests, your audiences will grow much more quickly and you reach new people.
Your supporters colleagues, donors and volunteers are also on the social webs, especially Facebook. Think of your supporters and contact nine of them. Ask them to visit your website and comment on it. Then ask them to visit your Facebook page, first Like it and then Share it. If your supporters are ‘average’ they and you are followed by about 150 people each. When we do the math the 9 of you are now reaching 1,350.
Now, let’s suppose that your interest is in “water quality” in your geographic area. When you Google the topic you will find other nonprofits with similar ecological interests. Contact them and try to make a deal to help each other. Ask them to share what you publish and in return you will share what they publish. If you get agreements from 5, and they have audiences of 1500 each you now have an audience of 9,000.
So now we have the theory and you probably ‘know’ this already, but you haven’t put any of it in action yet. Chances are you have already set-up your Facebook page and connected it to your website. If not, here are Facebook’s instructions. With the Facebook Page, once you have 30 fans you also are seeing numbers in the Insights tab – analytics about your page’s performance, reach and how individual posts fared overall, in views, shares, likes and comments. Here is a look at the Insights page:
The same system will work for you on Twitter. First, open an account, and as described above, link your website content to your Twitter organization page. Then, each time you post new content on your site that article or blog will go to your organization page. Now set up a personal page for yourself. In the Search section of your Twitter pages, search for organizations or people who have common interests. By the way, some of the same people on Facebook will be on Twitter. When you identify an organization of individual, Follow them. Pretty soon, most will follow you back, and your audience will begin to grow.
To make your lives easier, use this tutorial on Twitter Help on on how to set up an account.
Next week we will be posting a podcast episode on some of the different apps you can use to facilitate linking your posts, as well as timing them. You can find the podcast at our site
As always your comments help us to deliver more meaningful information to you.