Tip of the Day: How to Maximize Social Media Time

Editor’s note: All this month we’re publishing tech tips for nonprofits. Keep a look out for a new tip each day and let us know what you think in the comments. -Dan 

For nonprofits with limited people power, assigning someone to one thing often means neglecting something else. This is especially true of communications, where a direct mail or email campaign can require a serious time commitment. The less formal nature—and the shorter message formats—of social media channels make them somewhat easier to keep up with some other communications.

On the other hand, they can be deceptively time-consuming. Although each Facebook or Twitter post might take just minutes, you’ll also need to follow along with responses and comments, and keep up a consistent flow of interesting information to keep people engaged. How much time should you reasonably expect to devote to social media?

As a rule of thumb, set aside at least two hours each week for every channel in your mix. If your time is limited to three hours or less per week, start with a single channel that seems like the best bet for you. It’s far better to use one or two channels well than many channels poorly.

It’s also possible to link channels so your blog posts automatically show up on Twitter, or Twitter posts on Facebook, or both—for example, your blog automatically posts the title and URL of each blog entry to a Twitter feed, which essentially creates a way for people to subscribe to your blog via Twitter. However, unless the information is specifically applicable to both channels, this can be a false time savings and automate the process of managing a lot of channels badly.

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