Social media is a part of this whole concept of Web 2.0. In essence, it includes a variety of Internet applications that encourage an exchange of thoughts and ideas. While web sites share information, for example, blogs allow for two-way communication because they allow readers to add their own thoughts and comments. There are plenty of reasons to consider using social media. First of all, it's more or less free advertising. There's no cost for a MySpace page or a Facebook account. Both of these avenues allow you to get your message out.
Of course, just typing up a page about your organization isn't enough. You need people to read it. You need them to react and interact. This might mean taking time to find other organizations or individuals using the same social media sites in order to start a conversation.
That ability to network with others is where the real value of social media lies when it comes to nonprofit organizations. If you're looking for volunteers in the Denver area who are interested in supporting an organization that rescues Alaskan Malamutes, there's a good chance you can sort through profiles on one of these sites and find just what you're looking for.
Social media also help people buy in to your organization. Starting a photo stream to showcase your most recent fundraiser is likely to pique the interest of volunteers who might end up featured there. Creating and sharing a video about your organization's mission has the potential to be a lot more compelling than simply typing it out on your web site.
So, have you made the leap into the world of social media? It can certainly be overwhelming. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Start a blog
- Create a profile on MySpace, Facebook, or LinkedIn
- Upload videos to YouTube
- Use Twitter or Plurk to keep consituents up-to-date on your daily activities
- Post photos on Flickr
- Start a Yahoo Group