Managing your social media staff

Ruen Govinder | Hashtag Nonprofit

Communication works for those who work at it. - John Powell

Few NPOs can afford to appoint a full-time staff member to manage their social media. However, you can assign the work of social media manager to a staff member who is well-versed in your programme work and your mission, who has an understanding of social media, and who is trained in communications.

Allow enough time

Make sure that you assign enough time dedicated to working on social media. If this is considered an 'add-on' task to be done when time allows, it will very soon be neglected. If very little time is available, consider reducing the number of social media channels you use, and learn how to use scheduling tools to your advantage. 

Ensure they have the right skills

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

The social media staff must be well-versed in the language and tone of social media and be able to blend this with a professional organisational voice. An intern or staff member who has a personal Twitter or Facebook is not automatically qualified to manage your organisation's social media. Remember these are critical communications channels that should be managed by communications staff. See Skills required to manage social media

Stay up to date

Your social media manager should keep abreast of emerging social media channels and have an eye on trends. At the same time, don't be tempted to jump into every new network that becomes popular. Each social network has its own audience, approach, and value; make sure that it adds value to your work and that you can sustainably manage it before opening an account.

Ask for help

Taking social media seriously means acknowledging the expertise required to manage it properly. Don't be afraid to call in an expert to help guide your strategy and evaluate your work. You will find that you are not the first to have questions. There are consultants who can help.

At the same time, don't let technophobia get in the way of understanding social media. Look into workshops, webinars, online courses, or just do your own internet research. Remember that these are communication channels, not technical channels. You don't need to be a telecommunications expert to make a phone call (although it may feel that way with some of those new phones!). You don't need to be proficient in software development to send a tweet.

Plan and evaluate your work

Even if you're not tweeting or posting, you should be actively involved in deciding what to post, and tracking statistics and insights to see what works and what doesn't. Follow all your channels and review the content and engagement.

* Check back soon for new resources on how to build a content calendar, and tools to measure your social media. 


Ruen Govinder | 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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