Using social media in your volunteer program

Do all social media tools overwhelm you? Learn why its important and quick tips to help make it easy.

According to the Pew Research Center, in 2014, 87 percent of adults were online and 74 percent of those adults were using social media tools. With a large portion of the population using different social media tools, they can be a valuable tool for volunteer programs to increase visibility, promotion, recruitment and share the organization’s news. In today’s world news is no longer being produced just professionally but by individuals and organizations using social media. According to Michigan State University Extension, if any organization has news to share, they can write it themselves, and give it directly to the followers of the organization. However, this can also be a bit overwhelming for volunteer organizations due to the variety of different social media tools available; this article will just briefly focus on one social media tool and on a few useful tips.

In the Pew Research Center, Social Media Update 2014 it was found that 71 percent of online adults are utilizing Facebook, making this a great place for volunteer programs to start. This is a free website that volunteer programs can use to establish a social media presence. On Facebook, this can be done through the creation of a page, group or even an event page to promote a specific activity your organization may be hosting. Developing a presence on social media will help your organization reach out to a new audience or further engage those already involved. The average Facebook user is connected to over 80 pages, groups and events.

If your organization is just starting to use social media as one of its marketing tools, make it simple with these three tips.

  1. Establish a routine. First, approach social media like your email account. If you spent all day just answering emails, you probably wouldn’t get much actual work done! The same is true for social media. It’s easy for social media to consume huge amounts of time if you let it. If you set a small amount of time during the day to update content on your social networking site and then respond to followers at set times throughout the day, you won’t be feeling like you spend all day on your social media site.
  2. Share posts from others on to your page. In 4-H, one can share the post from another county program or state event page. This can save time of writing the content.
  3. Schedule your posts. Know what is coming up in your organization, create posts around those topics and schedule them show up in your newsfeed at specific times.

To learn more about using social media in your volunteer program join a webinar hosted by MSU Extension on February 24th from 10-11a.m. Social Networking in Youth Programs. The webinar will explore the different social media options programs can use and how to easily manage one’s social media profiles. Connect and view a recording of the webinar, at https://connect.msu.edu/p6h8xkl37ub/.

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