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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Getting Started with Social Media: A Guide for Nonprofit Organizations and Government Agencies: Developing a Strategy

Guide to resources and information about making a case for social media and developing a plan for which tools to use.

Getting Started

You've decided to start using social media in your organization, but aren't sure how to begin. Here are seven questions to ask yourself as an organization, courtesy of Getting Social Media Right: A Short Guide for Nonprofit Organizations:

  1. What is my organization's mission and can social media help me achieve it?
  2. What is the right role for social media in our overall communications efforts?
  3. What groups of people might we reach (or create) through social media?
  4. How can we help our communities? How do our constituents want to be engaged?
  5. What is the real cost of making social media work for us?
  6. How can we use social media to raise money for our cause?
  7. Who is our competition in the social media space, and how can we differentiate our organization?

Writing a Plan

Below are the elements of a social media strategy. For a sample strategy, see the P2Rx Social Media Plan.

  1. Identify the audience or community you want to engage
  2. Outline your objectives for the plan (e.g. Improve fundraising; Broaden the reach of your message; Make it easier for your constituents to contact you)
  3. Decide what tasks need to be done to reach your objectives -- For each task, identify who will do the work, what success looks like, and how you will measure it
  4. Evaluate, tweak, and improve -- Build in feedback mechanisms throughout the process