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Fighting back against social media overwhelm

I got an email from a PR firm today with a whole collection of advice on how to maximize social media. Advice on Facebook. Advice on Twitter. Advice on Pinterest and Instagram and Flickr. Advice on SEO and how to write and how not to write and how to avoid pitfalls…


While this advice is all well and good for large corporations with entire social media departments, it is not useful for the average smaller nonprofit communications folks. There is absolutely no way to maintain such a broad social media presence with any quality.

  • Get strategic. You can’t do it all – you cannot with any success maintain a productive presence on every social media channel out there. You really have to pick just a few. How do you know which channels to be on? Ask around among your audience and find out where your folks are – that is where you need to be.
  • Get smart. Working in an arts organization? Use a visual medium like Instagram or Pinterest. Bonus: Both connect seamlessly with your Facebook page. Women’s organization? The vast majority of Pinterest users are women. You should be there.
  • Streamline. Social media channels tend to be connected. When you post a picture to Flickr, it updates your Facebook page and sends a Tweet on your behalf. Same with Pinterest. Download either Tweetdeck or Hootsuite so that all your social media channels are in one screen. Utilize this interconnectedness to keep all your wheels in motion.  * One note. Don’t autopost Twitter to Facebook or vice versa. It doesn’t work well and photos come through as links. No good.
  • Focus on quality of engagement, not quantity. 200 engaged, interacting folks is more valuable than 2 million passive “likes”. Interact with the folks who are on your networks. That’s where you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck.
  • Find a way to enjoy the connection. Taking just a few minutes everyday to be on social media can be fun if you let go of the “do-or-die stress” you feel about it. When you’re on Facebook or Twitter, keep in mind that these are your people…your biggest fans. Enjoy staying in touch with them.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words. Finally, and most importantly, keep in mind that computers are primarily a visual medium. Get in the habit of taking photos and videos and using them as much as possible.

Social media is fun and engaging and can seem like the most important thing that you’re not doing. While I don’t disagree that you should be taking advantage of all the great ways we can connect through social media. Please keep in mind that it reinforces relationships – it doesn’t replace them.

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