Developing a social media presence
To connect with funders and to engage stakeholders (e.g., people looking for services and other service providers), it is imperative that your SOAR program has a social media plan that includes the use of at least one social media platform. While this may seem like a daunting task, there are some simple and easy things that you can do to make sure you organization is active. Remember, the majority of people looking for services learn about them online; in 2016, non-profit organizations raised over $20 billion dollars online. This section includes tips and information you should consider as you work to increase your organization’s reach with social media.
Determine Your Goals
The first thing you need to consider are the goals you are trying to accomplish. This will determine the platform(s) you choose to use and the content you choose to provide. The answer to this question will vary depending on your specific situation, but some traditional options are as follows:
- Sharing news about your accomplishments
- Building your SOAR brand
- Providing education about SOAR
- Informing potential clients about your services
- Recruiting volunteers
- Recruiting employees
Determine Your Target Audience and Platform(s)
Once you have determined your overarching goals, you need to also consider the audience you are trying to reach. Is it service providers, so they can refer people to your program? Are you looking for people to donate to your organization? Are you looking to engage people who work and are involved with foundations to fund your SOAR activities? The answer to this question will then determine the answer to your next question - the platforms you should use. To do this, you should take a look at the demographics of the users for the different platforms, along with the goals you have and the content you want to share.
Create a Conversation
Social media differs from more controlled traditional forms of marketing in that you are actually trying to start and keep a conversation going with your stakeholders. Post questions and polls to encourage conversation and remember to respond to the responses you receive! Include pictures, stories, and videos that highlight the way SOAR has been effective in supporting peoples’ recovery.
Create a Content Schedule (and Stick to It!)
Not having full-time staff dedicated to marketing and managing social media doesn't mean that you cannot still be effective. Have a calendar to schedule out your updates to keep your posts consistent and the conversation moving forward. Instead of building a social media calendar from scratch, try using tools like Outlook or Google calendars.
Track Results and Frequently Review Goals, Results, and Marketing Plan
As with all parts of our work, it is important to track outcomes and see if we are meeting the goals we set out to achieve. Make a regular schedule for when you will check your analytics and potentially alter your practices.
You're ready to start marketing your SOAR program!