Creating an online presenceCommunicating with the community

Having an online presence using your own website and social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have become part of our daily lives. This has created a new method of engaging and communicating across communities.

Having a social media strategy is now an important tool for any organisation.

The social media sites build a network of people and organisations who share a common interest. This can cover anything from a group of friends who want to share information on what they’re up to, photos and videos (as Facebook does) through to organisations sharing best practice, working collaboratively and building contacts.

It is important to know what these sites do and how they work so you can use them right for getting your messages out. Social media like any form of communication comes with a list of ‘dos and don’ts’ and all people involved in the delivery of this should have a clear policy and guidelines to work within.

Here’s some tips to consider when thinking abut your social media presence:

  • Make sure you know what your organisation’s communications aims are. Social media is simply a vehicle for your message, not the message itself. Just because everyone else is using social media, doesn’t mean you have to! You could use it just to advertise your organisation’s events, or opt out altogether.
  • Make sure you have enough time to devote to engaging with social media. There is an investment to be done before the rewards are reaped! If you’re new to social media, it’s best to spend some time watching how others use it and learning from them before adding your own content.
  • Think about where your current and potential supporters spend time online, or better yet, do some research on it. This will tell you which sites to focus on.
  • Learn about your audience. While it’s important to share your news and upcoming events, the best social media users don’t just use it to broadcast their organisation’s news. Talk to your supporters about what’s important to them, respond to their questions and talk about other issues altogether.
  • Establish what elements of your organisation’s work you are going to promote, whether that’s your fundraising events, political communications or news. Plan your content as far ahead as possible.
Click here to access a step by step guide from NICVA on creating a social media strategy