I was the program director for a small nonprofit organization for many years. I quickly learned the importance of a good marketing plan on achieving name recognition, volunteer support and successful fund-raising endeavors. Social networking has become a great vehicle for marketing. Many businesses and organizations fail to recognize the power of social networks. Here are several other common social media marketing mistakes.
Failing to have a goal
Use social networking as a communication vehicle. What do you want to accomplish? Post in a way that gets you closer to these goals. We wanted more people to tour our childcare centers, so I used social networking as a way to extend invitations.
I offered a free breakfast and tour of the childcare center to our Facebook followers monthly during our first six months of operation. Attendance increased each month and public awareness grew as people shared the Facebook invitation with their network.
Not having policies in place
Draft a social media policy that includes guidelines for posting. Since our organization worked with children, we had a very clear policy that photos were only allowed to be posted with written consent from the parents. Determine who is allowed to post. Social networking accounts will become the face of your business, so make sure the tone is consistent.
Our policy stated that posting children’s photos on a personal social media account would lead to termination of employment. We had to follow through with this when a teacher posted photos of the children in her class on her personal Facebook page. These policies protected the privacy of the children and families in our program.
Not posting regularly
No one is going to visit your sites if there isn’t frequent new activity. I committed to posting every Wednesday. I posted at other times as appropriate material presented itself. Creating a structured and manageable schedule will help you get in the habit of utilizing your networks.
There isn’t any point in having a social media account if you don’t use it. Your followers will forget you exist if you don’t post. Give them a reason to come to your page.
Ignoring the “networking” part of social networks
When you only post updates on your business and promote your own agenda, you risk alienating the public and coming off like spam. Participate in conversations started by those in your network. Build connections to potential clients, donors, customers, vendors and others in your field. Monitor what is going on in your industry and with your competitors. I learned a preschool in our area was closing through Facebook and was able to purchase their furniture and equipment for an amazing deal for the center our organization was about to open.
Constantly promoting yourself and ignoring any other interaction will likely result in your followers skipping over your updates or unsubscribing from your feed. No one likes to be part of a one-side relationship.
Not Following Basic Social Networking Etiquette
- Find out the rules and expectations of each site.
- Don’t simply repost links or information. Offer a comment along with it.
- Engage your followers by asking open ended questions and responding to their posts.
- Don’t simply promote your business. Participate in conversations and offer relevant insight.
- Post often, but not so much that it becomes annoying to those reading your feed.
Social networking is a very effective marketing tool when used efficiently. Get started today by investigating which sites are the best fit for your message and create accounts.