Know Your Audience: Where Do They Live on Social?

I recently attended the Social Media 4 Nonprofits (SM4NP) conference in New York City, both to present and learn from others. 

During a post-lunch breakout session, the people at each table were asked to share a social media challenge that they faced and their solution. The rest of the table was also encouraged to offer additional advice.

One such issue came from Joy Rosenzweig from Women’s Enterprise Development Center (WEDC)—a nonprofit focused on helping women start small businesses. Joy was struggling to acquire Facebook fans for WEDC and neither email nor postal mail worked.

Even LinkedIn didn’t help drive people to the Facebook page, Joy explained. You see, WEDC has a LinkedIn group page with healthy discussion and active engagement.

In that moment, I asked her why she was trying to grow her Facebook page when her LinkedIn group was so healthy. She paused and wasn’t able to provide an answer. After a bit more discussion, she realized that most of her members and donors were actually ON LinkedIn, NOT Facebook.

Joy should focus on developing the group she already has and direct new members and donors to LinkedIn rather than Facebook. She should also use her print materials, email and Facebook to direct others to the LinkedIn page for great discussions.

The Lesson Learned

Do your homework: Find out the social site(s) that your donors and members are already using. Don’t force them to engage with your social networks where they are not already active.  In Joy’s case, her nonprofit focuses on helping small businesses, which is LinkedIn’s territory. She was already having success on this page, so focusing more time and energy to improving that page only made sense.

  • Be efficient!
  • Figure out where your members and donors are and set up shop there.
  • Don’t try to open multiple social channels if it doesn’t make sense for your organization!
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