Social Media and Our Attention Economy
Monday, July 2, 2012
Last week I attended Social Media for Nonprofits in Toronto. It was an outstanding conference focused on leveraging social media to advance your organization’s mission. For someone who evidently missed Social Media 101, my brain is still churning, but the presentations also inspired serious reflection on why and how the Burchfield Penney is using social media. Here are five things that I hope will be helpful for your museum, gallery or other nonprofit:
1. Know Thyself: Yes, most of us are on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but when was the last time your organization asked why you were using these platforms? How are they integrated into your larger objectives and marketing goals (are you encouraging your audience to participate, donate or share something)?
2. Create a content schedule: You need to be committed to maintaining your social media. Many speakers discussed the value of making a simple spreadsheet with all of your outlets, a timeline and content related to your activities and campaigns. This work can be shared with staff members or volunteers.
Tip: You can preschedule tweets using HootSuite and your Facebook posts.
3. You are a conduit: Conference co-founder Darian Rodriguez Heyman described so eloquently that people don’t support you, they support what you do and what you stand for. They care through you. Michael Rajzman from Free the Children explained that it's vital to personify your cause and people respond to images.
Tip: A lot of photos get tweaked on Facebook. As a rule, the best shape for images is a square.
4. Don’t be afraid to take risks: Experiment with different methods and ways of delivering information. Track what gets the most response.
Tip: You don’t know what you don’t know. Set time aside regularly to analyze your Facebook Insights and Google Analytics. (Thank you Tierney Smith of TechSoup Canada for these great links to resources!)
5. We are all in this together: Learn from corporations and major foundations that are using social media effectively. Devote time to brush up on your skills by reading, attending free webinars and experimenting.
What social media platforms are you using and why? What connects you to the Burchfield Penney?
— Alana Ryder
Email Alana at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alana Ryder, Curator for Public & Academic Programs, is part of the education department at the Burchfield Penney. She curates the Community Gallery, leads the museum’s student group, the BPAC Street Team, and has organized a number of M&T Second Friday, music and community programs. Ryder was recognized by the Museum Association of New York for RendezBlue art and music festival and by the NFTA and Grow WNY for the Edible Complex farmers’ market event. She earned her B.A. in the history of art from the University of California, Berkeley and recently completed her M.A. at Buffalo State College. Her thesis was entitled "By My Side: Charles E. Burchfield’s Letters to Bertha K. Burchfield from 1923 to 1963."