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DIY Engagement Benchmarking Survey Section 10: Social Media

Resources for engaging supporters via social media channels.

If you’re still delegating “that social media stuff” to your unpaid intern, it’s time to get with the program. While email remains an important communication channel, for many organizations social media is an equal,  if not more important, channel for connecting with supporters and would-be supporters. If you’re trying to reach folks under the age of 40, it is especially critical that you invest resources into your social media work.

Here are the basics:

integrate Social media with your other communications and mobilization work.

Organizations who communicate well plan well. They have a shared editorial calendar, their digital team is in constant coordination with the rest of the communications staff, and every campaign plan has a social media plan.

You need clear policies about who manages and contributes to your social media presence.

To keep up with the increased demands of daily social media publishing, you'll need staff outside of your communications team to contribute. Your communications staff should remain at the center, working with field or program staff and empowering them to create content and manage online conversations. Every staff person should know what they’re supposed to do and when to do it.

Strike the right tone.

Repurposing content from your printed magazine for Facebook doesn't work well -- Facebook and Twitter have their own unique styles and conventions. Follow organizations who are rocking social media (@WTA_hikers and @netimpact come to mind) to get a sense of how to start. Then, track how your followers and fans are interacting with your content. Facebook Insights will tell you how often your content is being read, commented on, liked and shared, and there are a variety of tools to track re-tweets on Twitter. Take note of what works and what doesn't, and set goals around improving those numbers.

Be a good listener (i.e. respond and share).

The primary difference between social media and traditional media is conversation. Social media is a two-way street -- make sure you respond to comments, comment on other posts and share and re-tweet interesting content from allies and constituents.

Got Goals?

Like the rest of your campaign and program work, you should set goals and track results. You should have broad goals about number of followers and interactions, but also campaign-specific goals. For example, if you have a campaign that’s dependent on a handful of grasstop activists, increasing the broad social media conversation on the issue is probably not the best use of your airtime. Your goals in that case might be related to the posts and conversations you’re having directly with those grasstops.

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