5 Social Media Tips for Your Employee Volunteer Program

From recruiting to coordinating to showcasing impact, social media and volunteer engagement are a great match – perhaps because both are inherently social in nature. In this special series of posts based on discussions held at our 2011 Client Summit, we’re exploring the intersection of social media and employee volunteering.

Social Media Platforms
Which social media platform is right for your program?

1. If You Find Them, They Probably Still Won’t Come

When initially exploring the possibility of using social media, the first step is to find your audience (in this case your employees). Then go to them – don’t expect them to come to you. If they’re on Facebook, put up a Page. If they’re Tweeters, learn to speak in 140 characters. If they’re on LinkedIn, get a group together. If they only use email, make your newsletter really stand out. If they love watching funny YouTube videos, better start practicing in front of a mirror.

Your hub for social media questions: Join the “Social Media and Employee Volunteering” discussion on LinkedIn.

2. There Are Other Social Media Platforms in the Sea

Don’t make the mistake of limiting yourself to Facebook and Twitter. They might be two of the most popular social networks, but that doesn’t mean they’re the right choice for your employees and your volunteer program. Don’t forget about the wonderful and unique options available on YouTube, Flickr, and niche networks like Epernicus, BlogHer, or Second Life. There is also always the option of creating your own internal social network for your employees. This is a “safer” option, although it will require time, tech resources and money. Some good places to begin if you’re interested in building your own network are Yammer and Jive.

3. Remember the Big Picture

Always keep in mind WHY you are using social media, and for WHOM. Remember that social media is just a tool, and if you’re not achieving your goals, all the followers, likes and clicks in the world won’t make it right. Stay focused on the bigger picture.

4. It’s a Two-Way Street

While it’s tempting to use your social media accounts to blast your company’s message to your employees and to the world, this is a bad idea. Social media works best when you use it to form authentic relationships. It is not a marketing tool, it is a relationship-builder. It simply enables you to build a relationship with thousands of people at once. If you allow this thinking to influence your use of social media for your Employee Volunteer Program, each of your employees will feel more personally involved in your program every day.

5. Find Your Champions

One great tip for dipping your toes in the the waters of social media is to designate a few trusted employees as “Social Media Champions” at your volunteer events. Make sure they are savvy and appropriate, and are trained in your corporate message. Then let them loose with their smartphones and their video cameras to tag and Tweet away.

What are your social media tips for Employee Volunteer programs? Share them as part of our LinkedIn discussion!

(Click here to read more articles in the “Social Media & Employee Volunteering” series.)

Your New Hub for Social Media Questions

Has this series created more questions for you? Do you have a specific question you want help with? Do you have a story or best practice to share?

Contribute to the new “Social Media and Employee Volunteering” discussion in our LinkedIn Group. Here are the steps to take to join in:

  1. Go to the VolunteerMatch Linkedin Group.
  2. Join if you’re not already a member.
  3. Once a member, click “More” in the navigation menu under our logo, and choose “Subgroups.”
  4. Join “VolunteerMatch Solutions.”
  5. Navigate to the discussion “Social Media and Employee Volunteering,” browse what’s been asked and answered, and contribute your own thoughts.

See you there!

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