by Sean Arayasirikul, Guest Blogger for the Network for LGBT Health Equity at Netroots Nation 2011
Social media has revolutionized how community based organizations (CBOs) do work in the public sphere, including how we organize a support base and raise awareness around issues. Social media tools can quickly inform, mobilize and organize stakeholders to bring about positive change in your communities. You may already be familiar with social media’s usual suspects like Facebook and Twitter, but there is an entire universe of social media tools out there that may help you enhance your social media presence with little monetary investment and infinite gains. Here are some general tips and exciting social media tools to explore:
- FREE-MIUM social media tools rock! The market for social media services is growing as fast as we can imagine them. With a little bit of research, you may be able to find free premium (or “free-mium”) services at no cost. For example, instead of costing out a $10K website redesign, maybe a facelift is in order. A WordPress blog (http://wordpress.com/) – complete with schnazzy templates and customizable features – might just fit your needs.
- Know your non-profit tax status. If you are a 501(c)(3) you’re in luck! Many social media products have discounted rates for the organizing work that you are doing
- Want to start a petition? Check out SignOn.org (http://www.signon.org/) from your friends that brought you MoveOn.org (http://front.moveon.org/).
- Accepting Donations? YES, please! Network for Good (http://www1.networkforgood.org/) offers an affordable and user-friendly interface to fundraise online.
- Let your constituents and supporters SEE it for themselves! Within a couple of seconds, stream live video from UStream’s mobile app (http://www.ustream.tv/) and syndicate live events as they happen (for FREE)!
- Produce content on YOUR OWN TIME! Managing multiple social network accounts can lead you to question your sanity – don’t let it! Synchronize the syndication of your content (Facebook status updates/messages and Tweets) and schedule them ahead of time with Hootsuite (http://hootsuite.com/).
- To each his own – Everyone accesses social media at different times. Make sure you reach everyone in your audience. Stagger the times when your content goes live to accommodate different patterns of social media use. Reach college students taking late night breaks between papers and the 9-to-5 early risers!
- Knowledge is POWER (yes, you too!) – Take time to evaluate and monitor the activity on your websites and social media outlets. If you have ever asked yourself: How are people getting to my website? What pages do they visit most? Look into Google Analytics (http://www.google.com/analytics/).
- Looking for reciprocity on Twitter? If you want to know who you’re following on Twitter that isn’t following you back, check out FriendOrFollow (http://friendorfollow.com/).
Try one of these ideas – BROADEN and DEEPEN your social media presence!