Thoughts on using social media as an organization

Today I had the pleasure of meeting Nakenya Yarbrough, who is running publicity for a Mothers of Preschoolers support group in Canton. MoPs is a group of about 50 mothers with preschool or kindergarten-aged children that meets bi-monthly at a church in Canton.

Yarbrough recently took on the role of running publicity and had a few questions about Facebook, Twitter, blogging and how they all come together for non-profit organizations like MoPs. After reading about our Community Media Lab in The Belleville View, she decided to stop in.

Here I’ll post a few of her questions, along with the answers I had for her. Hopefully this can help others in similar positions as Yarbrough. Remember, these answers are based from my experience, and I only hold a journalism degree. I’d never qualify myself as a “social media expert,” but I am more than willing to give advice based on what I’ve seen.

When is it necessary to have a Facebook, Twitter and blog?

I say it depends on your audience. If the people you are serving are engaged on all three (or more) platforms then it’s a good idea to use all three. But say the majority of your group members use Facebook as their main source of communication then you might not need a Twitter or blog right now. You can find this out by simply polling your users. You can use the built-in survey on Facebook, or use an outside website like Survey Monkey. Or, you can go old-fashioned pen and paper if you like. In the end, it’s important to find out what’s important to whomever you are serving.

How important is it to have the various websites consistent with each other?

I think consistency is really important. It helps people who are viewing your organization’s information for the first time know that everything is correct and gives a sense of professionalism. I know that’s what I want when I’m looking for information on a business or organization, whether I’m working on an article or considering being a consumer.

How do I keep those websites consistent?

A lot of sites let you post across various platforms. You can set up your Facebook to automatically Tweet anything you post, and vice-versa. There are also third-party websites, like HootSuite, which allow you to cross post. Using the same profile photo for each website can help you be recognized by the people who are looking for your company or organization. Using similar handles on each site will have the same effect as well.

Hopefully these answers help anyone who’s a little uncertain about using social media platforms for their business or organization. If you have any more questions feel free to email me at kgjestland@heritage.com or find me on Twitter @kgjestland. I’m also in the lab 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Monday.

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