Social Media in Volunteering – How Associations Benefit
Using social media correctly in the association - There are a few tips and tricks how it works better
How can you use social media as an association? What needs to be taken into account? This article shows possibilities and gives tips on how to use them.
According to a German Federal Ministry, more than 30 million citizens (out of a population of 80 million) in Germany are involved in various social causes on a voluntary and unpaid basis. As a marshal at a triathlon event, tutoring at an educational institution, or helping refugees: the commitment can be multifaceted. But in today’s world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find and attract volunteers.
More and more associations and organizations are therefore discovering the Internet for themselves. In addition to their own website, more and more are using various social media channels. But why are Facebook & Co. particularly suitable here? The use of the Internet and social media plays an important role in all areas of life, especially among young people. An Internet presence from the sports club that is looking for volunteers should therefore not be missing. In most cases, the website is the first port of call, but many also become aware of opportunities in social media. The following points should be considered when using social media:
Selecting the relevant social media channels
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or rather LinkedIn? When selecting social media channels, it is always important to consider the target group I want to address. For example, Facebook is suitable for most associations and organizations to gain volunteers due to its wide distribution, while LinkedIn is more suitable for business contacts or gaining sponsors. It makes perfect sense to experiment. However, it is better to have a few well-maintained channels than many irregularly or poorly maintained channels!
Regular posts are necessary
An important aspect of social media presence is, of course, activity. A page that was last updated a few weeks or months ago tends to deter most visitors. However, it is enough to post a picture from an event such as a general meeting, share a related article or refer to the next event from time to time. Especially in an association, it makes sense to distribute this task on several shoulders. In addition to distributing the workload, it is also interesting for visitors to the page to get to know different perspectives. Facebook has a role concept and it is, therefore, possible to consider different roles such as administrator and editor. In addition, it should be noted that Facebook, for example, is determined by algorithms. Here, the frequency of posts plays an important role. “Quieter” pages are not displayed as often in the newsfeed.
Quick and easy contact option
It is not only important that the page is well maintained and provides up-to-date information. It is also important that there is someone to respond to or forward inquiries received there. Due to the high prevalence of social media, for many users, this is the easiest and fastest way to get in touch. In addition to answering private messages, this also includes commenting and moderating comments. A personal approach is also helpful in recruiting volunteers because many people find it important that the threshold for becoming active is low. They feel directly addressed by a personal invitation.
Not only contacts count but also information
Social media are not just for continuously gaining new followers. It must not be forgotten to keep the people who are already active happy. I.e. information is regularly offered that allows a “look behind the scenes”. This can be, for example, a follow-up report from an event. For those who were prevented from participating due to vacation or illness, this way they still have the feeling of having been there and being a part of the community. In terms of loyalty to the association or organization, this is a point that should not be neglected. Only those who feel comfortable in the community will be happy to help out.
Facebook is particularly well suited to publicizing the dates of activities or events to a wide audience. In addition to information about the event in question, visitors can express their interest there and receive further information. Furthermore, there is also the possibility to advertise events with a small budget to a previously selected target group. But paid advertising is not the only instrument for generating reach. The organizers themselves and those who are firmly scheduled anyway, e.g. as volunteers, should also pledge to the event via Facebook and share it. In this way, the reach can be significantly increased.
Time of postings
A point that should not be underestimated when creating postings is the time. Of course, it is primarily important that content is available in the first place. But especially when an important post is to reach as many people as possible, the right time is also important. It is often recommended to post in the morning, at noon, or in the evening. Why? In the morning, on the way to work, many people surf the Internet and catch up on the news. The same applies at noon during the lunch break or in the evening around 19.00 when you sit down at the computer again after a long day at work.
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