A Social Media Primer

I recently blogged about the power of social media. Today I want to skim the surface of how you can adopt a social media campaign.

The first step in adopting a social media strategy is to develop a clear goal of what you are trying to accomplish. For example, one of the organizations I help has a three-pronged goal:

  • Promote the organization’s services
  • Educate people about legislative issues that affect the organization’s mission
  • Activate supporters to become donors and volunteers

This straightforward approach is a guide that I refer back to with every blog post that I write, every tweet that I send, and every item I post on Facebook. Having a clearly defined goal helps ensure that social media doesn’t become a time suck, and sticking to your goal also ensures that your messaging is consistent with your organization’s mission. Whether you are a nonprofit, a business, or an independent trying to establish your professional reputation, having a clearly defined social media strategy is a must, especially if you plan on outsourcing the task to someone else (more on that later).

The second thing you need to ask yourself is “who is my target audience?”  You can answer that question several ways (i.e. potential customers, voters, legislators, media), and you may have several answers to the same question.  However, your answer will help give you a clue about the best social media outlet you should be using.  I won’t get into the nuts and bolts of social media demographics, but in a nutshell, aim for blogs, Facebook, and Twitter as your primary social media outlets, since they have the broadest reach. 

Connect All the Dots
Make sure that all three of your social media outlets refer back and forth to one another, like the links in a chain. Your audience may have discovered you through a search engine, and thus landed on your blog. Make sure they know how to find you on Facebook and Twitter. If someone has found you on Twitter, be sure that you’re regularly tweeting links back to your website. And if someone has discovered you on Facebook, make sure that you have a link to your website on your profile, in addition to posting content from your blog on Facebook.

For example, take a look at the social media icons in the sidebar of my website.  You can also check out the way I’ve helped connect the dots for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, and Feminists for Choice.

Should You Outsource?
You’re probably on board with the idea of utilizing social media at this point, but you might be thinking to yourself, “who the heck is going to do this for me? I’m already overworked as it is.” You’re not alone. Many organizations have struggled with finding the correct staff person to handle social media work, and for many businesses, outsourcing social media to a freelance consult has been the answer.

The key to utilizing a freelance social media consult is to clearly define the scope of the work you want them to do for you. Will they be blogging? Will they be responsible only for the Twitter component? Will they post discussion questions on your Facebook page? All of these are viable options, but you need to clearly define the role in advance.

If you would like to talk about how I can help you write and implement a social media strategy, email me. I would love to talk to you about your goals and my rates.




  1. A helpful and thought provoking piece, Serena! Thanks for the info. Now I just need to work on implementing the ideas!

    • Glad you found the article useful, Jonna. I have to say from my own experience, it’s easier to implement for someone else. I’ve been blogging on several different sites for six years now, but you’ll notice that my own blog is pretty sparse. This year I set a goal for myself to build up my own website, and not just do the heavy lifting for other people.

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