5 classic social media mistakes and......

5 classic social media mistakes and how to avoid them


Is your organisation on social media? Chances are you're already using it and have been for a while, or you may just be getting started with it.


Whilst social media has been widely adopted by nonprofits, it can sometimes go wrong. In my experience as a consultant, there are 5 mistakes which many organisations are still making with social media. If you can avoid them then you'll be on your way to long lasting success.


  1. Using it to broadcast. Remember that social media is not just about telling people what your corporate messages are. It should also be used to listen to your audience, and for sharing content from other people which is relevant to your audience, and to you. A good rule of thumb is to follow the rule of thirds- one third is your messages, another third is for talking directly to your audience (e.g. starting conversations or replying to queries) and the final third is for sharing relevant content that isn't yours such as a link to an article.
  2. Assuming you can control it. Cancer Research UK's groundbreaking #nomakeupselfie campaign, which raised over £8 million, was started by someone in their audience. If they hadn't been using social media to listen to what people were saying about their brand then the campaign would never have taken off. Yes, you can influence what people are saying about you online, but accept that you will never be able to control this. As a backup plan, make sure your team know what to do in a crisis.
  3. Not having a strategy.  Your social media strategy should support your organisation's goals. In turn, you should have clear ideas for what you are trying to achieve from it. Otherwise you won't maximise your return on investment from the time you're investing in Twitter and Facebook.
  4. Not measuring results. See above. Decide what you want to achieve from your social media channels and then track it. There are lots of free tools to help you, from Hootsuite to Tweetreach.
  5. Using content to engage and show thought leadership. There are some brilliant opportunities to use social media to start conversations with audience by showcasing your expertise. Sharing content, whether its blogs, articles or videos will work well for this- and they don't even have to be yours. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation is a great example of a nonprofit who've made themselves into a hub of useful ideas on Twitter.

Follow this advice and you'll be social media savvy.


Zoe Amar is founder and director of Zoe Amar Communications, a specialist nonprofit marketing and digital communications consultancy www.zoeamar.com She tweets @zoeamar


First published in In Touch Social Enterprise Issue 40

Disclaimer:SEEE does not necessarily share the views outlined in this blog