The Interconnected World of Social Media
The Internet has revolutionized the way we communicate. Accessing and sharing information has never been easier; the challenge is that this accessibility has made the Internet into a very, very big place. There are all kinds of platforms used to send messages, and it seems, as organizations, we’re expected to use almost every one of them.
An organization might have a Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, LinkedIn, WordPress, Tumblr, and even a Google Plus account. There’s a lot to choose from. We’re here to help sift through these multiple platforms and provide a window into how each can be used to build relationships around your work.
Using multiple platforms allows your organization to communicate in a wide variety of ways with audiences seeking different kinds of information and ways to engage. Different online platforms show different facets of your organization’s personality. Websites are a more serious, straight-to-business face, while Twitter sheds light on a more chatty, social side. If coordinated correctly, different platforms can be woven together to tell your story and promote your organization by actively engaging targeted audiences in ways that build your presence and support.
Websites are your foundational starting point and are often the pivotal platform that unites all others. Websites are the most formal platform; they should provide all the information your supporters, “consumers,” funders or partners might need to understand the work you do. It is a great place to seek donations, and also a key location to provide links to any and all other platforms you’re using to share your work. Other platforms should link, in turn, to your website to ensure any curiosity about the foundation of your work is satiated within a few clicks. Learn more about websites and social media in our Social Media Guide
If you do a blog correctly, you can shine light on more of your organizational personality than your website is designed for; website content is not typically updated very often, however, your blog creates a sustained, albeit formal, conversation, and keeps your audience coming back for more. Blogs are a great way to interact with those you are collaborating with because they showcase steady updates on what you are up to most currently.
Now that your organizational message has a foundation on your website and blog, it’s time to reach out to “the consumers”; social networking is a great way to do just that and Facebook is a good first stop. This platform is designed to build a community of people who share your goals and ideas, and best of all, on Facebook you can interact directly with your audience and engage folks (and partners) in conversation around the work you do – in real time. Social networking has the same goals as traditional networking, but now you have a wider pool of people right at your fingertips. The information you put up on Facebook notifies your friends about what you are up to and, most importantly, your Facebook page serves as a way for others involved or interested in similar work to find out about you and your organization.
Use microblogs (literally mini blogs), like Twitter, to put out small pieces of information on a regular basis. Microblogs are a way to share the essence of you message in small posts that are 140 characters or less. Users won’t often visit your profile page on a microblog like Twitter; instead the short message you send out will go straight to personal newsfeeds. Microblogs are a more individualized and real-time platform that is best used to directly interact with those interested in your work. This type of platform is quick and easy, and if you pique peoples’ interest enough (through your witty, relevant posts), they will take your lead and follow you to your website or other platforms (because you’re doing a pro job interconnecting all your organizational platforms, right?).
Sharing Visual Content:
The internet offers a wide variety of content options, so take advantage! Videos and photos are eye-catching ways to pull folks into learning more about you. Platforms like YouTube, Pintrest, and Instagram are great for collecting visual content. And they also make it possible for your audience to create content for you (this is great because not only does it diversify your content, but it also communicates you have folks that LOVE what you do)! Don’t forget, videos and photos should link to your other platforms, like your website, blog, social media, and your microblog.
Social media platforms are a way to branch out and pull a new audience into your website. Remember, your website is the beating heart of your online presence. It’s the source of the most important information for your audience and partners. Nothing functions without the website, and the whole point of all other social media platforms is to funnel users to it.
Think of your website as the hub of a wheel, and all of your social media platforms are spokes leading your audience back to the hub. Everything leads back to your website because Social Media, no matter the platform, is simply another way to get down to business and really impact the community.
For more information take a look at our social media guide: