Back when I was in school Facebook was known for its capability to successfully delay homework and to help pass the time. I would see students on it in class, lectures, and even their breaks. Sometimes they would even be as sneaky as to check it through their phones because they just couldn’t wait one more moment to see what ‘Johnny’ has written on their wall. The same thing applied to me, unfortunately. I thought that Facebook could only be used for catty gossip and meaningless ‘likes’ of statuses. However, as I entered the professional world my eyes were opened to the potential this social media tool actually had.
On my first day at Achieve a coworker asked me if I had twitter and I replied “no.” I had never felt compelled to share my nonsensical thoughts and wasn’t sure why the rest of the world would care. I was then recommended to create myself one because I would be using it for work. So I did.
As time passed I started to develop an understanding of the purpose of social media in the workplace and how best utilize it. I could see how politicians and celebrities had used social media to tell the world their thoughts, opinions, and just random information. If celebrities can use social media to educate their followers why can’t our business?
In early August I attended Blog Indiana, a social media and blogging conference. I was then addressed with the same train of thought as I attended the first session about how visual content and social media can work together. The speaker, Allison Carter, discussed how to tell your story through an image because images get higher traffic than just links. She made a good point that Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook are all incredibly popular due to the fact that images are constantly being posted. According to a PsychologyDegree.net infograph about 250 million photos are updates daily on Facebook alone. That is a lot of images!
As you can see in these two Oreo advertisements they both have the same exact objects in each image. The only thing different is the placement. Even though these two images have almost no text they still tell two completely different stories. The bottom makes me think of eating Oreos for breakfast while the top makes me dream of snacking on milk and Oreos on some exotic island. What does it make you think of?
She went on to discuss how businesses should not be afraid to show who they really are. She explained that you don’t have to just post things about what your business is doing but maybe some interesting links of some fun photos from around the office. I was very excited to hear her discuss this issue because just the week before I had started working on the Achieve Facebook page because I thought it was missing a touch of personality. I posted pictures from a company party and of our leaving interns just to let our clients and followers know that we are fun people and we are fun to work with. The point was to add a bit of a human atmosphere because it seemed very sterile and a bit serious prior to that. So, naturally I was excited when Allison discussed this.
Later that day I attended another session by Ryan Brock. He talked on a similar topic about how companies are afraid to look wrong in front of their followers so they filter themselves down way too much. He gave the great example of Kanye West and how he never filters himself. Even though many people don’t like him they know what he stands for and what he thinks. He has no filter! He shows his true colors and does not hide his emotions. I am not saying that you should tweet about that awkward dream you had last night or post a picture of you in your newest pair of jeans you got on sale at Kohl’s. But just don’t be afraid to show some personality in your posts and images.
As a nonprofit, you can take these lessons and show your donors and volunteers a more personable side of your organization. This way they can connect and relate with you through your pictures and status updates. Take advantage of this social media opportunity to appeal to your supporters in a different ways. You might find that once you become more personable, they will be more likely to show further support and share what you are posting with friends.