All over the world, people are engaging in conversations, sharing information and collaborating with ease and speed – all thanks to social media. Social media is an easily accessible and cost-effective platform for organizations to implement marketing campaigns.
Unlike traditional marketing tools, social media allows organizations to engage, interact and build relationships with individuals in the community. The result of this increased communication is greater awareness and improved customer service for organizations.
There definitely is value in having a presence in the social media environment. If your organization has not jumped on this bandwagon yet, it may be time to take the leap before you get left behind.
Of course, as with any marketing tool, you should always consider your message and target audience before investing time and effort into it.
To help decide if social media can work for you, we’ll discuss some social media sites that Volunteer Calgary is currently engaged in, what they are, and why we think they’re wonderful.
What is it: Facebook is one of the most popular social networking sites in the world. A presence on Facebook enables you to quickly distribute updates to your supporters through a channel built for swift two-way communication.
Why we love it: You can set up a Company Page for your organization, which basically functions as a mini-website with a cool twist-people can talk to you! You can share photos, videos, send and receive messages, create and invite people to events, create and respond to ads, as well as receive news from friends and networks all on their computers or mobile phones.
Find us: www.facebook.com/volunteercalgary
What is it: Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging site that allows organizations to send 140-character updates called “tweets.” This short messaging format allows rapid, real-time, information sharing via mobile phone or computer.
Why we love it: Twitter breaks down communication barriers, which is valuable for building relationships with community. It is a great platform to connect with community members – from supporters to businesses to other organizations – on a personal level, in real-time and in a fun and informal way. It brings character and personality to your brand as you engage in real conversations with people from all walks of life around the world.
Find us: www.twitter.com/volunteercal
What is it: LinkedIn is a professional networking site that allows users to set up a profile and connect with other professionals. Users can post jobs or run advanced searches for potential employees, contractors or investors. They can also join one of the many professional groups and gain access to the expertise of seasoned industry peers.
Why we love it: It’s a great way to network with like-minded professionals in the sector and connect with highly-skilled individuals who can potentially support your organization.
What is it: YouTube is an online video-sharing website. Registered users can upload videos that anyone can watch. The site has revolutionized the broadcast industry by allowing the everyday citizen to instantly broadcast videos to a worldwide audience. You can upload anything from event footage, simple how-to videos, or share important speeches or lectures. All you need is a video camera-even the one on your mobile phone works- and tons of imagination.
Why we love it: Don’t have the budget for advertisements? That’s the beauty of YouTube, anyone can do it. The site is overwhelmingly popular and videos that capture the hearts or minds of users can get millions of views.
Find us: www.youtube.com/volunteercalgary
What is it: It is a virtual pinboard or social bookmarking site that allows you to organize and share websites, videos and pictures that you find on the internet. You can use pinboards to plan and promote events, decorate spaces, organize files, promote your website content, etc.
Why we love it: Browsing pinboards is a great way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests; “pinning” can get pretty addicting.
Find us: www.pinterest.com/volunteercalgary
What is it: An online photo-sharing and management site, Flickr offers an easy-to-use mass upload tool, photo editing tools, and a free application that lets users map when and where their photos were taken.
Cost: Free or Pro (costs differ if you want unlimited uploads)
Why we love it: It’s an online photo gallery that allows you to store and share massive quantities of photos of events or success stories to supporters (and the world!). Need we say more?
Find us: www.flickr.com/volunteercalgary