The Do’s and Don’ts of Building a Social Media Army
The old adage “there is strength in numbers” isn’t just an old adage. When it comes to advancing a cause and getting things done, numbers matter. The more people who stand behind a cause, the easier it is to get petitions signed and projects accomplished. The Internet, and, more specifically, social networking, has made the tasks of getting a message out and building an army of supporters simpler, but the job shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Perhaps, the greatest advantage of having an online presence is that it helps potential backers find your organization, instead of your organization having to to go out and seek backers. With a proper website, those people who are interested in your organization can find your organization by typing a few choice keywords into a search engine. This is why having an official website is essential to any organization or group.
An official website doesn’t have to be expensive – there are still plenty of websites on the Internet that will host a webpage for free – and it doesn’t have to be fancy. It does, however, need to be clear and it needs to contain all of the important information about your organization, group or cause. Include a mission statement, contact information, and any other essential information. Update the site regularly and post about upcoming events. When people respond to posts, reply to any comments that require reply. The website is also a perfect place to display links to all of the organization’s social networking accounts.
When it comes to social networking accounts, it could be said that more is better. If an organization has a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a LinkedIn page and a YouTube account, the organization has exposure to all of those groups of people. Integrating four social networks is better than infiltrating just one.
However, it may be better to go by the rule that more is better, as long as those social networks each serve a purpose and each is maintained. An organization doesn’t need a YouTube account, for instance, unless the organization has videos that pertain to the cause to post. An organization should also not have multiple social networking accounts if there is only time to maintain one. It’s better to have one good Facebook page or Twitter account regularly updated than two social networking accounts, where comments and posts by potential backers often go ignored due to time constraints.
If the time and the will is there, though, signing up for every social networking site has its advantages. Aside from exposing an organization to higher numbers of people, multiple social networking sites can help accomplish a variety of purposes. Twitter works well for short announcements, for instance, while Facebook is ideal for posting event invitations. Whatever social networking site you use, though, keeping a few rules in mind can help keep things running smoothly.
DO respond to comments, posts or tweets that you receive from people on your website, Facebook or Twitter account.
DON’T respond negatively to the comments that you receive. Even if a commenter says something rude or hateful, don’t engage in that manner. Take the high road.
DO defend your cause and its principles if you receive negative comments. Restate your case in a civilized and thoughtful manner.
DON’T engage in a fight with the commenter on your site or page. If the commenter won’t let up, bow out of the debate gracefully and move on. You can’t change everyone’s opinion, and some people are bound to come around just to stir up trouble.
DO thank new followers and those people who help you promote your cause.
DON’T get bogged down in responding to every single comment that you receive. With any luck, your army will grow to such proportions that responding to everything will become an impossible task.
DO ask for help with promotion from your current followers. Suggest that followers share your website with friends, post a link on their Facebook walls, or retweet your tweets.
DON’T put pressure onto people. Avoid phrasing like, “If you support the cause, you’ll retweet this link.”
DO let people know what’s going on with your organization. Tell them current happenings, anything in the works, and the steps that you are taking next to promote your cause.
DON’T apologize or make excuses as to why things aren’t moving along more quickly. Do the work and keep building followers, and don’t fixate on the things that aren’t being accomplished. Believe in your cause, and let that belief give you the confidence to promote it.
When used well, social networking can be an efficient and effective means of finding and engaging with those who believe in your cause. Stay on message, remember your manners, and keep your social networking sites updated to reap the most benefit out of the social networking experience.
Jaime is an avid hiker and skier who loves to write in her spare time for CenturyLinkQuote.com– home of CenturyLink Service.