How a Social Media Plan Sets You Free
Posted: Aug 6, 2014
Let’s face it—you’ve probably got seven different things staring back at you on your to do list right now. At least. You’ve got the latest fundraising appeal to worry about, the monthly reports that need to run, the Google AdWords account that needs updating, and the design for that upcoming community event, all waiting patiently for your next free moment. And you want me to do what? You’re probably thinking. Add social media sharing on top of that?!
We hear you. Social media management can sometimes feel like too much when you’ve already got a long list to focus on. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution that is often overlooked when taking on social media: make an effective plan and let that guide your priorities.
Taking the time upfront to put together an informed, thoughtful plan for your social media program will actually help save you time in the long run. These important considerations can help guide when you share, where you share, and why you share, and can help you feel comfortable saying “no.”
People have a tendency to treat their social media program like it’s the catch-all for everything. Maybe you have staff constantly sending you their "high priority" items to share out, even though it’s not really relevant to your followers. Or, maybe you’re so overwhelmed working on details for the annual fundraising gala that you forget to share anything for the two months leading up to it. Both of these missteps can do a disservice to your organization. Before you get started on social—or even if you’re well into your sharing and need to back track—set a clear goal for your organization about what you want to achieve. Being intentional about WHY you’re investing in social media will help bring focus to how and where you should spend your valuable time and resources.
Challenge yourself to go further when you say, “With whom are we trying to connect on our social channels?” Resist defaulting to “everyone." You may be working on a valuable cause, but there are a lot of valuable causes out there that you’ll be competing against. Being crisp and clear about whom you’re trying to reach will help you curate the content that will hold their attention and keep them engaged.
We’ve all got a lot going on. Work with your team to determine how much time you'll have to dedicate to your social media presence. Don’t just start up a Facebook page because you think you should or a Pinterest page because a board member happens to really like that platform. Proper social media management requires a lot of time and people power—from curating or creating content, to crafting the post, finding imagery, monitoring reactions and comments, and assessing performance. Let your goals inform which channels you should prioritize based on how much time you realistically have to dedicate to your program.
If you’ve made the investment in setting your plan and outlining your goals, don’t let drifting or reactive interests veer you too far off course. Yes, social media is a dynamic environment and new opportunities come up all the time to help you get your message out. However, always vet those opportunities by reflecting back on your desired goal— will that new shiny object help you accomplish what you set out to do? On the flip side, if you’ve committed to starting or continuing your social program, make sure the staff person in charge of managing it has the time to do so. Your program won’t be helpful if you’re only posting once every two months.
If you’re curious to learn more about what goes into your social media plan, check out these slides from our “Unlocking the Power of Social Media” webinar.