Social media need not be intimidating. The basics to becoming truly social are easy to embrace and won't take but a few moments. You can put these five easy tips into effect to put a friendly face on your organization and engage in social media in just two minutes time.
1. Comment on other blogs for exposure and engagement.
Who is talking about you and your issues? Collect their URLs from Technorati and see how often they post. Armed with this list of people talking about issues that matter to your organization, it's time to comment. Commit to a reasonable number of times to comment based on the frequency of the blog posts. You need not comment on all of the blogs you have found every time they post. If there is nothing coming to mind that would add commentary and further the discussion, it's not time to comment. Remember, this is easy!
2. Take videos of your biggest fans talking about your organization.
Most modern digital cameras can take short, high quality videos. With a minimal amount of pre-recording script (look at the camera, speak a narrative), you can have a great testimonial from your biggest fans. Posting to YouTube is fast and easy. No extensive editing is required. What doesn't come out well can always be re-recorded.
3. Tag your content with social bookmarking sites.
The pages of your website are there because they're meant to be seen. Expand your reach by categorizing your pages with appropriate tags so you can be found in bookmark searches. Personal favorites of mine are del.icio.us and Simpy. Tip: Not all tags are created equal. Remember to use hyphens when spaces aren't allowed. (Non profit may be categorized under "non" and "profit", so use "nonprofit" or "non-profit".)
4. Submit content to social news sites.
Repurposing your content for other sites can be a quick and easy way to get more mileage out of it. Press releases may be appropriate for the press, but they're not appropriate for the thousands of bloggers and the couple of social news sites where you should submit news about your latest initiatives. Take that press release and give it a personality by cutting out the marketing jargon. Social news sites like editorials more than they do press releases. Explore newsvine.com.
5. Ask your membership.
Your members, your email list, and your friends all have some opinion of your organization. Simply asking them to engage their friends about the organization's issues can raise awareness and bring new members. Asking others to embrace social media indirectly involves your organization wherever they choose to engage: in their social networks, at a Wiki, on their blogs, in their book clubs, and in their email signatures. Just ask.
If you're feeling more adventurous:
6. Spread your own joy and message with a collaborative organization blog.
The natural extension to commenting on blogs, is running your own blog. An organizational blog can come in many forms, but the easiest way to run a blog is multi-authored and puts names and faces on your organization and its loyal friends. Create a schedule and request that each of the authors post regularly. Some people are bound to catch the blogging bug, and are likely to be more frequent writers. Those who are better at adding commentary may get passes for their continued commenting on other blogs. Blogging software and hosting can be as simple as a one-click install with WordPress.
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