It’s already February, we know, but it’s never too late to break a few bad social media habits. With another new year comes a dizzying number of new social media platforms and questions. Non-profits face special challenges as they adapt to the changing ways we communicate online. This year, let’s keep it simple. Below are ten new year’s social media resolutions that everyone can keep.
Need more motivation? We’re starting late, so you’re almost certainly guaranteed to keep these resolutions until spring. You’re already making strides, #winner.
- Stop chasing every new social media platform
Your organization doesn’t need to be on YikYak. And it probably doesn’t need to be on This (a popular social media site, not an indefinite pronoun). There are new platforms and apps every day. Stop chasing them. Pick a few platforms that make sense, that you can reasonably manage, and stick with those. That said, you should personally be on as many new sites as you have time and energy for. Creating personal accounts and playing with new platforms allows you to find new trends and quality content for your existing platforms.
- It’s time to end your relationship… with your bad stock photo website
Instead, try Flickr’s Creative Commons (and give appropriate attribution).
- Post more often
Set realistic goals for how often you will post. Buffer sets the following standards for how often they post to social media channels online:
Facebook – 2 times per day, seven days a week, 10:08 a.m. and 3:04 p.m.
LinkedIn – 1 time per day, 8:14 a.m., no weekends
Twitter – 14 times per day, from midnight to 10:00 p.m. Central Time, never more than once per hour; seven times per day on weekends, from 3:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., roughly every three hours
Don’t let the Twitter number scare you. 2-3 times per day on Twitter is a good place to start. Pay special attention to Buffer’s rule about not posting more than once per hour. Resolutions are about improvement. See how often you post now and make a goal toward regular, consistent posting this year.
- With that said, stop automatically re-posting to multiple platforms
If you’re using a scheduler like Hootsuite or Buffer, it’s tempting to re-post verbatim content to multiple sites at once. Don’t. You’ve got great content that you want to share? Great, figure out how to best fit that content to each platform’s unique audience and strengths.
- Always include a photo
It’s no secret that photos rank among the most engaging content online. This year, resolve to find a relevant photo (or graphic) for each post. And make sure it’s horizontal. Horizontal photos do better on almost every platform (other than Pinterest).
6. …Unless you can include a video
The rise of native video on Facebook and Twitter has changed all the rules. Start your year by resolving to find a quality photo for each post. Ready for the next step? Capture short videos of helpful and interesting content: give quick “how to’s”; offer behind the scenes footage of your programs or office; do short client interviews. The only catch? Upload videos directly to the platform on which you are sharing (in case of Twitter and Facebook), don’t share a Vimeo or YouTube link on another platform.
- Don’t be that person
Set aside time for listening online. You know that person at networking events who only wants to talk about themselves and hand out as many business cards as possible? They are just as annoying online. Don’t be that person online. Intentionally set aside time to listen to the conversations already going on. Seek out and follow new people. See content you like? Tell someone! Ask questions. Give helpful feedback and suggestions.
- Measure what matters—and connect it back to your broader organizational goals
The increased pressure for social media advertising has also brought increased metrics. The good news? Most of them are free. If you haven’t visited Twitter Analytics, Pinterest Analytics, or Facebook Insights on your page, give them a chance. But most importantly, connect your metrics back to your mission statement and program goals. Chances are there is a more important social media metric than your number of followers.
- Partner more
Non-profits are usually understaffed and overworked. Social media can feel like one extra thing on an already long to-do list. You don’t have to go it alone: find partner organizations; agree to create content together; ask to share each other’s content.
- Pick something and stick with it
No matter what you do for your organization online, resolve to stick with it. Building an audience online, blog followers, and email subscribers all take time. Make a plan, set goals, and re-evaluate in three months. See what works and what doesn’t from past posts and then make changes to your strategy slowly.
Did I leave something out? Is there a social media pet peeve that you can’t stand? Send me an email, let me know. Let’s keep the list growing and work together to improve our work with the communities we serve.
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Billy Kluttz, MPA, is New Media Coordinator at Seabury Resources for Aging. He loves social media, college basketball, and all things southern. Learn more about Seabury’s online resources for older adults and family caregivers, email him at email@example.com.