[SLIDES] Getting started with social media: Why and how

Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting a webinar for Good360 called, "Social Media 101: Why Is It Worth My Time? How Can I Get Started?" It was aimed at smaller nonprofits (though larger ones could certainly benefit, too) who are just dipping their toes into social media.

The slide deck is below, and some of the key points from the presentation follow.

You can't afford to ignore social media.

Social media is more than just a new way to communicate; it's a cultural revolution. A large part of the cultural revolution is based on the pervasiveness of mobile devices. For example, did you know:

And lest you think Facebook is just for kids, or is a fad…

People are sharing more than ever.

Social media has changed the way people and brands communicate. Whereas the old model of traditional media can be likened to a megaphone - one-way communication, like ads or PR - social media gives everyone a seat at the table. People can now interact publicly with brands in a way they never could before.

Social media, therefore, presents tremendous opportunities for your nonprofit to engage in conversation with the people who are - or could become - passionate about your cause. Given how many people check social media daily, having an effective presence on social media gives you the opportunity to find your donors/members/prospects where they spend the most time (compared to other media channels). It also gives you the opportunity to humanize your brand and give your donors/members a sense of ownership and power within the movement.

Still can't wrap your head around how social media is different and how you can approach it?

This Rocky Horror Picture Show analogy may be helpful to you.

What's Twitter? How do you use it?

Check out this blog post for the quick and dirty.

What's Facebook? How do you use it?

Check out this blog post for the quick and dirty.

What about all these other networks, like Pinterest and YouTube?

We've got some bite-sized strategies for those as well.

Before you begin...

Ask yourself:

  • What do we want to get out of this?
  • Who is our audience?
  • What stories resonate for our audience?
  • What/who do we need in place to start?


  • Listen: Diving in with both feet is great, but I recommend you set up a personal account on each network first and figure out how other people and brands express themselves. What kind of content interests you? What kind of phrasing? Do short messages or longer messages resonate better?
  • Engage: Try a few posts. Ask questions. See what people like and respond to (bear in mind responses will come very slowly at first).
  • Test: Try new things. Experiment with message length, time of day, different types of messages, and so on.
  • Wash, rinse, repeat: You're always going to be in this cycle. Test things, engage with people, continue to listen…all these things will help you be more effective in your work. And it doesn't have to take your entire day, either.

Listen, be nice, and measure

Promote others and engage others in conversation more than you promote yourself and ask for donations. Consider a 10 or 12 to 1 ratio for the number of tweets about others or asking for others' input vs. asking a favor or blasting information about your organization. This will vary depending on your organization's needs and approach, but keep that in mind.

Be sure to measure at least a few key things as you go along. Facebook has built-in analytics and Twitter is getting some, too, and there are other tools that can help you with this (including Small Act's Thrive software). See which of the links you post are getting clicked most often. Learn which posts get the most shares/retweets, comments, and Likes/favorites. Analyze not only for content, but also for the time of day and type of message you're posting, when determining what gets good results.

From there, replicate your successes, avoid repeating failures, and continue experimenting.

Recommended reading

During the presentation, I mentioned a couple of books that can be helpful:

And here are some others you might want to check out as well: