Social Networking

This is sort of a new thing for most of us--this using THE INTERNET to communicate with our members, volunteers and donors.  Sure--we've been using e-mail to communicate since the 1990's, but in the past few years, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, and e-mail services like Constant Contact and Vertical Response (not to mention hundreds of other little gadgets and doohickeys) have taken the wheel.  And left a lot of us behind.

Many people just don't like the thought of using these newfangled technologies to communicate with members.  Nonprofit leaders often complain that they seem ineffective or faddish. Others just don't want to learn a new way of doing something when they're pretty sure that system is going to be phased out in the next couple of years in favor of something else.

It's true that social networking doesn't provide the perfect solution to all our communications woes, but the truth is, it's not going away.  So here are some places to find great information about communicating with your audiences.  Good luck!

GENERAL INFORMATION

Kivi's Nonprofit Communications blog has tons of resources that help you stay up to date on the ever-changing world of social media.

Email service Vertical Response has a great blog to help with questions regarding social networking.

This article has basic tips on what to do and NOT do when it comes to social media.

FACEBOOK: What's the best way to use Facebook? This article gives you pointers for using Facebook to connect with your members.

And what do you even say to Facebook Anyway?

TWITTER: This slideshow explains the basics of using Twitter in your nonprofit

YOUTUBE: YouTube has a special channel just for nonprofits to get the word out about their programs and issues! YouTube has even provided useful information on their website about the best way to make videos.

BLOGS: This article describes the reasons you'd want to start a blog for your organization and how to use it to provide information to your audiences.

TRACKING HOW WELL YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA EFFORTS ARE WORKING

GOOGLE ANALYTICS: A nifty tool to help you track how many hits your website is getting each day, where the people looking at your site are located, how long they spend on the site, what pages they're looking at, etc.

EMAIL SERVICES: Services that send out those sharp looking mass email newsletters can be a little pricey, but they might be worth it.  They also help you track who is opening your emails and let people subscribe to different email lists.  Three good places to start are Vertical Response, Constant Contact and MailChimp (free).