Something that's worked lately for nonprofit clients are targeted posts to LinkedIn and Twitter. That’s what sparked the thought for this post. Here are four principles I’ve identified—and often turn to—in more than 10 years of professional experience in social media.
An adequate frequency of posts
When I started Turnstone Strategies four years ago, my advice to clients was to provide a high frequency of posts. It seemed that was the way to remain visible and generate more interest in products and services. I’ve adjusted this approach recently, mostly because organizations don’t have the capacity to post frequently. Organizations may have one or two Communications staff at most, many have none. and Communications is rolled into someone else’s duties. While I might be able to help as a consultant, after I’m gone any momentum is at risk of being lost. Now I recommend an adequate number of posts, that is, enough to show that the organization is still in business while occasionally engaging with partners and driving traffic back to the website. Rightsizing the frequency of posts depends on the capacity of the team and the importance of social media to the overall strategy.
Algorithms and blues
Facebook and LinkedIn have algorithms that favor photos, interactivity, and frequent posting. Instagram and Twitter are a little different. In some ways though, they are easier to crack when it comes to increasing engagement. It’s best not to try to shoehorn a strategy onto a platform with a less favorable algorithm, though. Facebook is a great example of this. I manage three pages with a combined following of about 4,000. Many photo and link posts receive only a handful of reactions, however. Videos are even worse. I can create a stellar video and get even fewer engagements (Facebook really doesn’t like something about video). So I’ve decided not to try to beat the algorithm, as it would consume inordinate amounts of time and energy—time that most of us simply don’t have. I’ll be candid in sharing that I shelved Facebook for one of my clients because there was little to no return on the time investment it took to keep it up.
LinkedIn can be a missing, well, link
I remember starting the LinkedIn page for a major Chicago nonprofit years ago. The thought was that it was secondary to Facebook and Twitter (at that time there was no Instagram). Only the most astute corporate networkers were on LinkedIn. It was a small group and when it came to nonprofits it was really tiny. That’s changed through the years as most any professional in most any industry has a basic LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn now encompasses 830 million members in more than 200 countries and territories. In working with smaller organizations, I realize how vital it is to be active on LinkedIn, attracting potential employees and staying top-of-mind with peer organizations and experts in the field. A recent client post was evidence of this as it went viral and we saw a 50% increase in followers in just under three weeks. And this was an organization that hadn’t been posting often until this spring.
Organizations are people, too
On Twitter, you can be Joe Biden or you can be Donald Trump. Most organizations should fall somewhere in between. President Biden is laconic on Twitter, to the point of being too dry. Former President Trump, well, he is former President Trump. When he was on Twitter it was a daily communications crisis and occasional constitutional crisis. That’s something to avoid. Organizations should personalize their feeds, have some fun, engage with followers, and actively like and retweet posts. Be part of the local Twitter community. This can lead to real-life partnerships that bring new people into the fold and further the mission. Unfortunately, many Twitter feeds end up as a compilation of links and corporate-speak while going dormant for long periods.
Bob Dolgan is the founder of Turnstone Strategies.
The blog is a space for stories of the natural world and the occasional post about communications and strategy.