Using blogs to try to catch the interest of web-surfers everywhere isn’t a particularly new or original idea, and the internet has become saturated with sites about every possible niche of interest. For non-profits or other membership-based organizations this type of attention is especially important, but the state of the internet makes it increasingly difficult to be found.
At this point it’s more uncommon for an organization to not have a blog than to have one, but there’s a big difference between having a blog, and having a blog that’s contributing to your brand. For those organizations that are a bit behind in building a blog, or those that simply need a few tips to turn an existing blog into a brand-building asset, here are a few quick tips to help you hold on to your members.
If you aren’t regularly updating your blog in the first place, or it doesn’t have fresh, strong, and useful content, all the social media strategy in the world isn’t going to help you. “Regular updates” means different things to different types of blogs, but if you’re looking to maximize your impact, and you have enough material to write about, you’ll want to update at least once a week to keep peoples’ attention. When in doubt, make sure that the blog accurately represents your brand with up to date information, and that the content that you publish is interesting (just filling space with words isn’t going to attract readers). The benefit of putting the effort in here is that you can turn your blog into a regular part of your members’ lives rather than a one-time stop.
If you’re new to the social media world it’s worth it to point out that you don’t need to build a presence on every single platform out there. It usually makes a lot more sense to establish yourself on one or two social media platforms rather than all of them, especially if the person in charge of the accounts also keeps up the company blog. Don’t spread yourself too thin, or you’ll end up looking unprofessional. Non-profit blogs stand to benefit most from Twitter, Google+, and Facebook, each differently useful depending on what you’re looking for.
Twitter is inherently the most share-friendly platform and allows other to rapidly see and share your content with others. One of the biggest strengths of Twitter is that people connected on Twitter don’t usually know each other in person, but will generally gather around topical themes, meaning that if you can gain a few followers with large followings you can rapidly and easily reach across demographics to a very large audience.
Facebook’s strength is the opposite of Twitter’s. Most people connected to each other on Facebook know each other, and may well be willing to click on something in their feed if their friends’ comments catch their interest rather than the headline of your post.
Google+ allows you to join and share your content in large established groups based on your specific business niche, and can be especially helpful in getting your name out if you don’t already have a large following. Additionally it’s heavily populated by bloggers and businesses, which can help you gain additional exposure.
Pinterest and LinkedIn all also have their uses, but tend to be more difficult to use successfully because the prior is better for sharing specific products, while the latter works best as a source for industry news and reaching out to professionals for their expertise.
Victoria Michelson is a freelance writer for Wild Apricot. When she isn’t talking too much about membership software, she spends her time running races to support local nonprofit organizations in Boise, ID.