by Jennifer Stringer, who provides content marketing, social media and direct communications management for Gracie Communications’ clients
In an ideal social media world, we would add new fans and followers every day because our posts, exciting videos and thought-provoking questions would result in consistent likes, comments and retweets.
In the real world, social media growth often occurs in a cyclical pattern, not a linear one. For some organizations, there’s a natural rise and fall to their organization calendar. For example, if your organization has a big 5K or fundraiser planned in May, you’re probably going to have a period of growth prior to and leading up to the event, a gradual decline after the event and a significant drop a month or two after the big event.
If your nonprofit seems to follow a cyclical pattern, here are a few tips on how to survive each social media “season.”
Spring-Planting Your Seeds
You are moving from brainstorming to developing and committing to a plan. You are letting your staff, partners, donors and partners know about your plans.
What you can do during this season:
Create a plan that is easy to follow and execute. Create an editorial calendar for posts, blogs and tweets. As you fill in your calendar, use Gracie Communications’ story arc model and develop a beginning, middle and end to your organization’s story.
Create your copy, shoot the videos and pre-write the posts and blogs.
Build excitement and relationships both online and off.
Summer-You’re Hot, Hot, Hot
You’re launching your new service or the BIG day of your event or fundraiser is here! Your issue is “in” because it’s the latest, greatest thing, because a celebrity is talking about it, because it’s making national news and you’re a local expert, etc.
What you can do:
Take pictures and create videos and new copy as the event happens so you have info to share during and after the event.
Post, share and blog. Repeat.
Ask your fans and followers to post their photos, comments and reactions.
Comment and RT on others’ posts, blogs and tweets about the topic so you’re part of the conversation.
Fall- Sow Now, Reap Later
You’ve pulled off your big event but the online buzz has moved on to the next big thing. Your Facebook posts and mentions start to dwindle.
What you can do:
Remind everyone about how successful your product launch, event or program was, how much money was raised after the final tallies, what programs can now be funded, how people can be helped, etc.
Promote your partners and their events and programs now, and they’ll support you later.
Your Facebook page says no one is talking about you. You can’t get your BFF to RT a tweet. You don’t know what to post besides, “Happy Monday, everybody!”
What you can do:
Remind people of the work you do all year.
Reach out to potential new partners, donors and fans and invite them to be a part of the next event.
Experiment with new social media tools so you can use them for your next campaign. Check out Pinterest or other sites that are attracting new online buzz.
Peek through the soil – let people know you’re working on new programs and events and you’re excited about sharing more details soon.
In every season, you can be growing. At times, the growth will show in your numbers, and at other times you will be growing underground in preparation for the next spring!