The Greenling Institute in Berkeley, California has published a best practices guide for non-profits who have yet to start their own social media strategy.
“The Art of Listening: Social Media Toolkit for Nonprofits” is also meant for organizations who want to get more bang for their advertising buck, serving as a step-by-step guide for NGO’s looking to utilize social media as an advocacy tools.
It was written by lead author Filipino-American John Christian De Vera, Greenlining communications coordinator, based on lessons from the institute’s successes and failures when they hopped on the social media bandwagon early in 2007. The toolkit include case studies and examples discussing topics from buzz words, influencers and constructing tweets and Facebook posts, all the way to troubleshooting and risk management.
“We started out in social media the way lots of organizations do, thinking we could just throw a few posts on Facebook and Twitter and it would take care of itself,” said Greenlining communications director Braelan Murray.
“We quickly learned that you need to think strategically, just like with any other form of communications,” he added.
Like in any medium, planning is critical for any kind of campaign by De Vera reminded that people go to social media not just to get information or be updated.
“To use social media effectively takes thought and planning, but the paradox is that social media can also be a lot like a conversation with a friend.”
“No one likes to be with someone who always talks and never listens. We’ve tried to make the process of listening and engaging via social media as simple and user-friendly as possible, so that even small organizations or those without large budgets can use these tools thoughtfully and effectively.”