Marketers have been honing their social media skills for well over ten years. Yet everyday nonprofit communications teams hear well-meaning suggestions from co-workers, board members and even dear Aunt Sally. While it may feel like you're working in a silo pecking out social media updates, creating the perfect ad and carefully targeting an audience, you are not alone. In fact, most of us feel your pain because we’ve heard that awful advice ourselves.
Because we all need to take a break, roll our eyes and even giggle a little, we’ve compiled the top 12 worst social media advice we’ve received for you to enjoy.
- You don’t need a website, just Facebook. We’ve heard this one so many times we aren’t even listening anymore. Just one experience with a hacked or banned page will remind a marketer why they can’t rely on a platform they don’t own. Non profit websites aren't just about sharing updates, but making information about your organization easily accessible.
- You shouldn’t be spending money on Facebook ads, just keep posting and it will market itself. We love organic posts as much as anyone, but as Facebook tweaks its algorithm to show fewer and fewer posts from pages, the need for advertising increases. Not to mention how easy is it to create your perfect audience and show your social media ads to people who may have never heard of your organization before.
- Let’s focus all our fundraising efforts on social media. From banning all ads to putting all your eggs in one basket, this advice goes from one extreme to another. Just as we don’t want to ignore social ads, we can’t pretend they are the silver bullet. A good marketing plan includes diversification.
- Put “pls RT” after every Twitter post. Surely we have a better use of those six characters in our tweets. How about if we make our content so good, so witty, so fabulous people just WANT to retweet us and we don’t have to ask them to do it?
- Just let the ED post to Twitter. Two words: President Trump. Even his staunchest supporters have to admit sometimes he needs someone to take his phone away. Not every ED is ready to be set free on Twitter. Whether they have no filter or no time or no interest, just handing over the reigns to someone without insight into your marketing strategy spells disaster.
- Let’s put all our website content on social media. See #1. By driving traffic to your non profit website, you have an opportunity to ask your followers for donations, to capture email addresses for news updates and to educate them more about your organization. We love social media, but it’s not a silver bullet.
- Can’t you get members of Congress to follow our Twitter account so they’ll see our content? While it is possible to get your state’s members of Congress to follow you, it doesn’t guarantee they will see your content, or that they are even running their own Twitter accounts.
- Get a guy from IT to build our Facebook page. Interestingly enough, IT and marketing are working closer together than ever before. While we need the technical skills IT offers, they need the people knowledge your marketing team offers. Before you task IT with social media, talk about their experience with social media. Building a healthy social media presence takes more than tech skill.
- Just get a kid to handle the social media for you. Would you let a kid lead your press conference? Then, no. Social media is your press conference, every day, with every post. Some teens may be social savvy and responsible enough to create both engaging and sensitive posts, but they are still kids and need some guidance as they grow.
- We know what we’re doing so just follow our lead. Board members. Other departments. Your VP. Everyone thinks they understand social media. Before you call their bluff, take a look at the analytics. If they do know what they’re doing, use the opportunity to learn. If they don’t, offer some kind guidance based on established social media for non profitsbest practices.
- You should respond to every negative comment to your Facebook page. We mostly agree with this one, except we don’t like using the words every, always and never. Don’t feed the trolls, those people who comment for the sake of stirring up a mess. Sometimes leaving a comment alone allows your community to come to your defense which is actually stronger than defending yourself.
- User handles don’t need to be the same across social media platforms. Let’s start with consistency people. Make it so easy for people to follow you on every platform they love. That means making your handle the same on as many platforms as possible.
Which of these “worst of” have you heard this week? Which one have you caught yourself saying?
Looking for some guidence on your social media? Check out our social media checklist. It makes social media easy.