Jul 28, 2015
While more nonprofits accept online donations, it's important that they maintain a stable online presence. One of the best ways to do that is by utilizing social media applications. For some, the ability to garner thousands of followers and likes comes naturally, while others find themselves making some very common mistakes. To be sure you avoid unnecessary bumps in the road, here's a list of some of the most common social media mistakes:
Being repetitive: Chances are, your nonprofit will want to have multiple social media accounts to reach more people. But each social media application comes with a different audience, culture and set of methods. If you copy and paste a post from one to the other, it may not be well-received by your audience. For example, a 140-character tweet could be expanded to become a 250-word Facebook post with more interaction and links.
Not enough interaction: Social media is meant to be a give-and-take exchange among users, which is something that a lot of companies and nonprofits forget. You don't have to sit in front of a screen peering over every single comment that's made to the account, but it's wise to keep tabs on it so you can be aware of anything that needs to be addressed. If it's known that your account quickly responds to inquiries and comments, users will be more likely to look at social media as a way to answer questions. If you can show a sense of humor as well, you may even build a larger audience from people looking for a good laugh.
Errors: Grammatical and spelling errors sometimes get more attention than the message that was being presented. Making a post with blatant misspellings or incorrect information may get your organization a lot of attention, but not necessarily for the right reasons. While it can be used to promote positive messages, it can also be used to berate the mistakes of others - even ones that appear to be harmless.
Trying too hard: A strategy used by a lot of companies' social media accounts is to make current events relevant to their audience. This is often done with the use of hashtags to make posts easier to search. But there are often instances where accounts appear to be desperate to claim their stake in the latest social media frenzy by forcing relevance that doesn't exist. You should assume that your audience is intelligent and able to pick up on this.
Not handling negative feedback: A time may come when you experience the other side of social media - the one where it feels like everyone disagrees with the same thing. If this occurs, the best thing may be to address it and move on. Sometimes, ignoring problems makes them worse and silence brings on suspicions of guilt. Even if things aren't this drastic, you should still use social media to respond to negative criticism on occasion. If you're lucky, you can use this to your advantage to respond to more widespread complaints and answer questions that other people also had.
Buying numbers: There have been instances where people and companies thought that it was more important to show a high number of followers and likes than to earn them over time. But there have also been times when those accounts have suddenly lost millions of those same followers and been exposed for what many consider to be a social media taboo.