Once again, Iâ€™d like to welcome back Maureen Carruthers (pictured at left).Â Maureen is a non-profit consultant, and the force behind the excellent blog â€œLow Hanging Fruit Communicationâ€ which covers many topics includingÂ social media for non-profits.
Maureenâ€™s goal is to help nonprofit leaders reach their right people more quickly so their organizations have a greater impact,Â She has over ten years experience working in and around nonprofit organizations, most recently as the Workforce Development Program Manager for theÂ Dayton Tooling and Manufacturing Association, where she managed aÂ robot competitionÂ based on theBattleBotsÂ television series. Previously, she managed theÂ Orchestra ForumÂ program for theInstitute for Cultural Policy and PracticeÂ and served as House Manager for theÂ Delaware Theatre Company.
I have spent some time on Maureenâ€™s blog, and I highly recommend you check her site out.Â I learned a lot!Â You can even sign up forÂ Maureenâ€™s free e-class and newsletter.
4 Poor Excuses for AvoidingÂ SocialÂ Media
When I was in graduate school, we had a mantra about the work that didnâ€™t get done:Â â€œThere is always an excuse, but there may not be a reason.â€Â We used it to remind our colleagues (and ourselves) that just because we could justify our lack of progress didnâ€™t mean we were off the hook.
Iâ€™m pulling out this old gem because when I hear nonprofit leaders talk about why they arenâ€™t using social media to build relationships with the people who can help them achieve their goals, I hear a whole lot of excuses and not so many reasons.
I donâ€™t care what you ate for lunch
This is a favorite excuse of social media avoiders.Â The actual complaint differs person to person, but it starts with â€œI donâ€™t careâ€ and ends with some specific light topicÂ people tend to mention in social media (weather, traffic, flight delays, etc.)Â Luckily, itâ€™s also the easiest problem to overcome.
Get over yourself.
Personal chit-chat is a part of living in a human society.Â Â Social media is a communication tool, and humans engage in small talk when they communicate.Â If you ask after peopleâ€™s children, or inquire into holiday plans when you communicate with people in person, you can bite the bullet and learn to do the same when you use online communication channels.
I tried it and it didnâ€™t work
If by â€œtried itâ€ you mean you built a Facebook page, posted links to your website and yet, you were not flooded with new traffic, or you have a twitter account where you promote press releases about your events,Â you have not â€œtriedâ€ social media.
Social media is not an advertising tool, and itâ€™s not a magic bullet. It wonâ€™t work over night, and youâ€™ll only get benefit from it if you use it in a sustained way.Â Social media is a two-way communication tool thatÂ gives you and your organization the opportunity to find, and build relationships with, the people who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer.Â It also gives you the chance to â€œoverhearâ€ what people are saying amongst themselves about you and subjects you care about.Â Used correctly, these new relationships can be a key leverage point in your ability to get the word out about what you doâ€“but only if you focus on the relationships and not your short term advertising or fundraising goals.
I donâ€™t have the technical expertise
The internet may have been invented for geeks, by geeks, but, much to their chagrin,Â its most popular tools have been co-opted by lay people and re-built to accommodate our lack of technical know how (and interest).Â Thatâ€™s not to say there is no learning curve.Â Like any new undertaking, getting started with social media will involve learning some new vocab words, getting comfortable with new customs, etiquette and standard ways of working, but it is most certainly not rocket science.Â You will be able to learn.Â If you are nervous, or just donâ€™t feel like navigating the journey alone,Â I can help.
My people donâ€™t use social media
If this one were legitimately true, it would be a good reason to exclude social media from your marketing plan.Â But, before you check it off your to-do list, be sure you arenâ€™t underestimating your user base.
My grandmother is on Facebook.Â My co-workerâ€™s daughterÂ blogs about her mission workÂ from a part ofÂ Africa where electricity is a â€œsometimesâ€ luxury.Â I am more likely to learn about breaking news from Twitter than I am from CNN.Â In other words,Â social media is no longer a fad for teenagers and college students.Â Almost every one with an internet connection in the United States, and increasingly, around the World, uses social media in one way or anotherâ€“and those numbers are not likely to drop any time soon.Â If your organization has a need to connect with individuals for any reason (ticket buyers, donors, volunteers, clients, etc.), you can benefit from social media.Â Even if you work for one of the very rare nonprofits that interact only with other organizations, those organizations are also made up of people.Â People who use social media.
Are there good reasons to avoid social media?
In the spirit of fairness,Â there are reasons to avoid social media.Â I just hope none of them apply to you.
What are your favorite excuses for social media avoidance?Â Have I over looked any good reasons for not taking the plunge?
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