Flickr Photo by RedRaspu
Convio invited me to share my number one New Year's resolution as part of its "Now is the Time" campaign. The goal is to encourage nonprofits to make New Year's resolutions to that help them more efficiently and effectively move people to support their organizations.
On January 1st, I wrote about my goals for 2009 using Chris Brogan's process of selecting three words or larger concepts to frame them. My three words: streamline, weave, and Einstein. I'm drilling down into the concept of "streamline" to brainstorm 52 ideas to help make your organization's social media strategy and use more effective and efficient.
Why the number 52? In a week, I will celebrate my 52nd birthday. The image above is deck of cards and there are 52 cards in a deck. This gives me the opportunity to brainstorm 52 different tips, one to write about in more depth for each week of 2009. Putting a resolution into action with baby steps is the best way to succeed.
Why Your Nonprofit Should Streamline Social Media
Social media is still relatively new. Many nonprofits and individuals have jumped in without thinking strategically. Amy Sample Ward lays out a 5 things to think about before you get into the execution of a social media strategy for the first time.
But, maybe you've done some of that thinking and implemented a few focused social media experiments in 2008 and have gleaned some insights. Good for you! Great work. Perhaps you're looking to make your strategy more effective, less time consuming, or see measurable results. Or maybe you just jumped in as an individual and need to refine an organizational strategy. The tips below are for you.
The economic crisis has changed the external environment. So, it is important to think about that as part of considering how you need to revise your goals. The tools are changing, so if you've settled into one way of using a particular social media tool or set of tools, don't set yourself on automatic pilot. Are you using the social media tools most efficiently and effectively given the environment, the changes in the tools, and your goals?
One of our most valued nonprofit resources is our time, especially in these days of tighter budgets and cutbacks in funding. Now is the time to hit the pause button and ask yourself if you are investing your time in the right way in social media. And please note that I'm NOT saying that this is an either or proposition and that you discover you are not investing wisely with social media to stop doing it. Social media is here to stay, but we have to use it smartly and in a streamlined way. That's what the tips below will help you do.
There are many different options to executive a social media strategy, but only so much time. Think about what is most effective for your organization's goals, mission, and capacity. Think about how you can be efficient if you are tasked with execution of the strategy.
Mapping Strategy to Metrics, Benchmarking, and ROI
- Do an annual ROI for your blog (and other social media activities) using benchmarking and metrics
- Learn to use the tools that help you measure success
- Don't set up a presence on every social network in the world all at once.
- Do research first and implement one presence at a time with specific goals and metrics.
- If you've set specific goals and metrics to measure those goals over time, if after 3-6 months you have no tangible or intangible results, don't be afraid to move on or change something.
Use Help Applications That Streamline Social Media Tasks
- If you are not reading blogs and web sites in an RSS Reader, make that your New Year's resolution.
- If you are using a RSS reader,evaluate if it is still works for you.
- If you have started following too many people on Twitter by choice or accident, use Tweetdeck and create groups.
- Set up a social media dashboard with google apps for your listening, separate it from your work email and tools.
Make Time for Reflection
- Build in daily or at least weekly time for reflection on your social media strategy and use to make improvements.
- Ask, how much progress are we making towards our goals? What are our successes and challenges? What needs to change?
- Step back and hit the pause button every now and then to determine if you're in a trench and how to get out
- Stop twittering from your cell phone in the bathroom and use that time to think about how you could be more efficient using a particular social media tool.
- Do a regular task analysis of your social media work flow looking for redundant actions or where you've simply lapsed into automatic pilot or bad habits. For example, are you bookmarking everything you come across into del.icio.us by habit or just the resources you actually need to retrieve? Are you impulse adopting tools?
- Learn from nonprofits and other organizations that have shared their social media case studies
- Starting a personal blog which is an excellent way to build reflection time into your day
- Remember to turn the damn computer off and take a walk
- Try a "Day without YOU FILL IN THE BLANK." It can help you evaluate whether a tool is really valuable.
- Take a hiatus from using a particular tool (a Twitter Hiatus can be good for your resetting goals or understanding any bad habits.)
- Understand how information overload might be effecting you and take a break to assess and rethink
- Get a memory upgrade
Create Good Social Media Habits
- If you are just beginning a social media plan, use the Power of Less Challenge to establish good habits form the get go.
- Live in a tool or technique for at least month before adding something new. Try tweaking the strategy for several months in a row by building in reflection time.
- Attend NTEN's NTC Conference in April and attend the social media tracks
- Try to attend at least one social media industry conference (ask for nonprofit pricing or scholarship, if not already available)
- Attend some of the FREE social media gatherings or meetups in your city and network with other nonprofits like Net2Tuesdays
- Attend some of the FREE gatherings for social media professionals like the social media breakfast or Social Media Club and get advice or help learning.
Use Time Management Techniques
- Set a consistent schedule for your social media tasks and stick to it
- Use a time out timer to help you track time spent and keep on track
- Use Stephen Covey's Pick the Big Stone's Method and ask yourself if you only had time for three social networking sites what would they be?
- Allocate specific chunks of time for your social media execution.
- Don't live on Twitter, your blog, Facebook, or your email. Check in once or twice a day.
- Write down your social media tasks and get those done during your social media time. Avoid getting distracted
- Build in or schedule time for discovery and serendipity which is a good thing for social media, but not so good if you don't track it or manage it.
- Be your own filter
- Understand what filtering means and why it is important for social media
- Be a digital curator with your electronic information, not a packrat
- If you're using Google Reader, use the Reader Trends page to figure out what blogs you're actually reading regularly and unsubscribe from those you are not.
- Use these filtering tips to make your social bookmarking and RSS reader more efficient.
- Get the most out of your RSS Reader so you can scan more in less time and get new ideas
- Use tools like PostRank to filter your feeds so you can easily pick out the best content
- Don't limit high quality information, filter out the crap
- Rethink your relationship with information, goals, and work and streamline accordingly.
- Learn the techniques of simplify and apply to your social media use
- Do you have a friending policy?
- Are you just accepting everyone on every network? Do you need to prune?
- Ask yourself, do you just want to collect friends on a social network or develop a deeper relationship?
- Figure out a following strategy on Twitter that works for you - so many people, so little time.
- Figure out what your optimal number of friends and followers for your goals
- Redesign and recharge your blog
- Explore tools that help you slow down that river of RSS information
- Rediscover your blog and blog at a snail's pace or grow a slow online community
Other Nonprofit Tech Bloggers Writing Resolutions
- A View from Judi Sohn
- Beaconfire Wire
- Connection Café
- Donor Power Blog
- Everyday Giving
- FI Spac
- Mobile Commons
- NTEN Blog
- Social Actions Blog
- Tech Soup
- Robert L. Weiner Blog
- TREW Marketing Spotlight
Are you thinking about making your social media strategy and use more efficient or effective? What tips or resources are using to accomplish that goal?