For small organizations and non-profits, social media is an important way to ensure that your voice is heard above the massive amounts of content found on the internet every day. Here are some ideas to help you get going on your social media presence and start reaching your target audiences.

Who are they?

Determining who you are hoping to reach and inspire is the first important step to creating and distributing effective social media content. This information will help you to create the right message for the right platform. Determining your target group should include factors like age range, location, interests, professional area – anything pertaining to your area of focus.

Where do they go for content?

Figure out where your chosen audience goes to get social, and focus your resources on that platform. For example, If you know that you’re hoping to recruit college students to help out on some upcoming volunteer event, find out what social media platforms they are using. Pew Internet put together this great post about demographic breakdowns for a ton of popular social media sites.

What do they care about?

Small organizations and non-profits need to keep up-to-date on the issues that impact and motivate our audiences. Creating informative, instructional content that speaks to current events and the needs of your audience is called Content Marketing. Check out the Wikipedia article on the topic for more information.

Location-based news is a particularly great starting point for a Tweet, Facebook post, etc. Remember that your audience cares about the issues more than they care about your organization – so when you write about a cause you care about, focus on providing information about how you offer a solution to the problem your audience would like to solve.

For example, if your company makes great ice cream, instead of writing about how your product is made and why it’s the best, you would write a post about some local restaurants that carry it, so that your target group knows where to get their fix. You can still provide more details about your product on your website.

What type of message to use?

Today’s social media platforms all provide a range of ways to maximize your content. Videos, pictures, GIFs, Emojis… the sky’s the limit when it comes to creating exciting content. Familiarize yourself with the benefits and disadvantages of each, and select a few that work for your organization and that fit to your target group. For instance, if you want to target 30-50 year olds, a picture will probably work better than GIFs or Emojis. I like this post from Impact Branding and Design that breaks down several popular sites.

The world of social media engagement and outreach is always growing and changing, and this post only scratches the surface of what’s available (for free!) to your organization. It’s important to remember that effective social media is updated frequently.

Focus only on the platforms that your audiences like and use, and save your team the effort of creating content for sites that aren’t going to be useful.

Good luck! If you want to chat about all things social, give me a shout on Twitter.