Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Four Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Social Media Use

"Let me play you the song of my people!"
So Amy Poehler hates selfies and Tina Fey thinks social media is boring. Likely you don't completely agree with them, or you wouldn't be on a site about how to use social media. Are they right or wrong? Trick question. At the risk of sounding like some kind of platitude guru, I have to say there's no right or wrong, there's only right or wrong for you. And your small nonprofit.

Some studies say that Twitter is used for news gathering and reporting, other studies say 'not so much.' I personally use Twitter to share what I think is interesting news in several different areas, and to meet up with other writers and nonprofit folks for fast and furious discussions that often leave me energized and ready to get back to work.

Some people think Facebook is used out of a desire to belong and a need to present their real selves. I use FB for close friends and family only. And I didn't have an account until my far-flung family told me they wanted me to have one.

You will find information on who uses various platforms, how and why they use them (like these Pew Internet study results). But metrics only take you so far. The subset of people you, as a representative of your small NP, and you as an individual, communicate with on any platform may be very different. So use the data as a jumping off point for your efforts, but only time put into a network will tell you how valuable that platform is to your goals. And of course, you need to know what those goals are.

I've never understood the desire to put social communication, social media marketing, or whatever the current descriptor is, into a two-column world. Why does there have to be a two column world, anyway? Yes or No, White or Black, Good or Bad? You should be asking yourself instead:
  • Does it work for me (meets my goals)?
  • If not, why not?
  • If I know why not, can I somehow make adjustments, so it does work?
  • If it does work, how can I use it better?
There will always be something new and shiny. There will be lots more studies on who uses what and why. For me, the plan is to stay agile. I define that as keeping an eye on new and popular social media sites, how they evolve and who they appeal to. But as long as even one other writer wants to talk to me on Twitter about the craft of writing, I will be there.

No comments :