Your nonprofit’s social media campaigns are only as good as the social media manager running them. Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare are not miracle-producers. They are simply tools that can result in high ROI for your nonprofit, but only if the person sharing Status Updates, Twittering, and Checking-in on behalf of your nonprofit has the right skills, experience and training to make social media produce results. These are just some of the required skills necessary for a successful social media manager:
1) The ability and desire to blog.
Fresh content drives the Social Web. Old news does not get shared on Facebook or retweeted on Twitter. Your social media manager needs to be willing to create content on a somewhat regular basis in order to tap into the 24/7 breaking news cycle. Blogging allows your social media manager to easily do that and if the blog is well-designed, then the ROI from blogging can transform your social media campaigns. For many nonprofits, blogging is the missing piece of their social media strategy, and consequently their social media ROI is lackluster at best.
2) Is mobile.
The Mobile Web is here. It’s not some abstract concept of the Next Big Thing. The Internet has gone mobile. That said, the best nonprofit social media managers are sharing and tweeting from location. Some are experimenting with mobile photo and video-sharing and if they aren’t yet, then it’s high on their to-do list, as is experimenting with Foursquare, Gowalla, and Facebook Places. Half the battle of social media success is being an early adopter, and now is the time for early adoption of mobile technology.
3) Is passionate about social media.
A good social media manager must like social media. You can not force staff that have no interest in social media to use it. Their lack of interest will shine through in their tone and personality, or lack their of. That’s the last thing your nonprofit wants.
4) Has experience in Web 1.0 communications i.e., website, e-newsletter and “Donate Now” campaigns.
No offense to the interns (really), but one of the biggest mistakes nonprofits have made is assuming that because someone is 21 and has been using Facebook since they were 17, then they of course they must also know how to use Facebook for marketing. Wrong. So wrong. The best social media managers have at least one or two years experience in crafting Web content, managing an e-newsletter, and launching “Donate Now” campaigns. Those skills and background are absolutely necessary to get the bigger picture of successful online communications and development in the era of the Social, and now also Mobile Web.
That said, if your nonprofit can not afford a social media manager with experience in Web 1.0, then please at the very least make sure your interns are properly trained. Trust me, as someone who monitors hundreds of nonprofits on social media daily, many are in desperate need of training. Whether you take my webinars, or those offered by TechSoup or Idealware, the vast majority social media volunteers and interns with no professional experience in online communications and fundraising absolutely need professional training.
5) Is friendly, patient and responsive.
Over the years I have experienced all kinds of personalities on social media, and the one’s that stand out and have enticed me to become more interested in their nonprofit are those that are friendly and readily available to respond to comments and questions. The collective nonprofit online personality is one of courtesy, generosity, and humility. A good social media manager keeps their ego in check and approaches their communities from the prospective of providing service and fostering social good.