Listening to Whispers

I’ve done everything except shout at the top of my lungs to emphasize the importance of social media in nonprofit communication. What I haven’t touched on is the value of staying active in that communication. This should be a no-brainer, but the sad truth is, many organizations fail to stay on top of their social media profiles.

Now I’m not saying that you have to be glued to the computer at all hours of the day. I’m not even saying you have to be on there multiple times a day. What I am saying is that it’s important to be checking and updating your sites regularly. For my internship, I find myself checking our sites once a day. This is frequent enough that I can respond to people’s inquiries within 24 hours.

In “Nonprofits and Social Media: Why Silence Isn’t Always Golden,” Amy Stephan explains why it’s important for organizations to respond to feedback quickly. She uses Susan G. Komen’s recent PR disaster as an example.

Although I’m sure Komen’s PR pros knew what was being said about the organization and its plan to pull funding from Planned Parenthood, they failed to make a statement until a painstaking three days after the announcement. In these cases, silence implies guilt. During this time, the organization was reamed by its web community, but failed to combat the comments, thus leading to a crippled brand.

One way to ensure you’re staying up-to-date on what’s being said about your nonprofit even when you’re not diligent about checking your sites is the use of Google Alerts, which notifies you when you’ve been mentioned online. This way, if someone isn’t directly mentioning you in a tweet, or writing on your business page, you’re still able to track the conversation, good or bad.

Learn to balance talking with listening.

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