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Q&A with Beth Kanter: non-profits and social media

When it comes to social media strategy for non-profits, Beth Kanter is the cream of the crop. Her blog, Beth’s Blog, regularly discusses how non-profits can use social media engagement for a greater cause. Beth also founded the Zoetica Salon on Facebook, along with Geoff Livingston, Kami Huyse and Julie Pippert. The project, launched in December 2010, has already brought more than 7,000 non-profit leaders together to engage in informal peer learning about non-profits and social media.  The free forum has a monthly theme where the group can discuss resources and participate in discussions.

In preparation for the debut of our new webinar, Social Media Engagement for Non-profits, I posed some questions to Beth to get some more insight on what makes some non-profits better at social media than others.

Andrea: Can you pinpoint one time-saving tip as a “must do” for people working non-profits who are developing a social media strategy?

Beth: The single most important tip is to “time box” your social media work. It can be open-ended and if you give a specific, limited amount of time – you’ll be far less likely to waste time.   Another technique is to think of your social media time as “grout” – fill in time at specific points during the day in between tasks that require more concentration and attention.

Andrea: What are some non-profits who are excelling at social media and why do you think they’ve been able to do so well?

Beth: There are lots of them – hard to choose just one.  The Red Cross is a great example – they’re early adopters.  They are good listeners, know how to engage and empower people to spread their mission.  Also, they are very willing to connect and engage with “free agents” hyperconnected activists who can spread their mission further.

Andrea: What is the main challenge facing non-profits in social media? Do they face the same challenges as other brands?

Beth: The big challenge is about mindshifts – making the time to learn a new way of working.   That means taking something off the to do list.  So, it is hard to make that change.

Andrea: Journalists have begun to “crowdsource” when writing their stories, do you see their version of crowdsourcing to be different than the one described on your blog? Should non-profits regularly crowdsource on social networks?

Beth: Crowdsourcing is a great way to engage people in your cause or organization – people love to be asked their opinions. Crowdsourcing is a technique, but it should have a clear goal.

Want to learn more about non-profits and social media? Register here to attend tomorrow’s webinar debut for Social Media Engagement for Non-profits.

Tags : social media

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