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Skills required to manage social media

Nonprofit social media management is often left in the hands of anyone in the office who uses social media in their personal capacity.⁠ But communicating on behalf of an NPO requires a specific set of skills. Is it worth the reputational risk to allow this critical part of your brand to be poorly managed? 

Do not assign social media to anyone who is not qualified or experienced enough to communicate on behalf of your organisation.

 Your social media staff should, at the very least:

  • Understand the overall mission and vision of your organisation.
  • Determine how social media fits into your overall communications plan.
  • Be well-versed in the language, abbreviations and hashtags used on the platform.
  • Know the basic rules of the platform. For example, many who claim to be proficient in Twitter don’t know that you should never start a tweet with an @ unless it is a reply. 
  • Know how to monitor social media for your keywords. Following conversations and posts related to your work and reporting back to your organisation is a key part of the job function.
  • Know which social media management tools are best for your needs. Not using the right tools can mean that time will not be spent efficiently.
  • Be able to report on the reach and engagement of your posts. They should know which analytic tools provide the data you require, which metrics to track, and understand and interpret the data and terminology in the reports. Without reporting, you cannot determine which posts hit the mark and which were ignored. Not measuring and evaluating your posts is the easiest way to ensure that you are wasting your time on social media.
  • Have a budget for advertising, and know-how and when to boost posts to specific target audiences. A solid understanding of what kinds of targeting is possible and what budgets are required for each channel is a critical skill for social media management.

Your brand is a key part of how you present yourself to beneficiaries and to donors. When you allow staff who are not specifically trained or skills in online communications manage your public-facing organisational work, there is a significant reputational risk for your organisation. 

Need assistance auditing your social media and/or training your staff? Contact me for details about the services I offer. 


Ruen Govinder | Hashtag Nonprofit

Founder and Executive Director, Hashtag Nonprofit

Ruen Govinder is the founder and director of Hashtag Nonprofit. She has over 20 years of experience in consulting and managing online communications and technology for the development sector. She produced a series of e-books on communications strategies for nonprofits, and has worked with clients across Africa and in the United States.

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