5 reasons your social media efforts are failing

A bird in front of a chalkboard that has "What are you doing?" written on itSocial media can help support your program’s efforts, and it is possible to have an active community online. However, there are some common pitfalls you need to avoid in order to keep the discussion going:

1. No one you're trying to reach uses social media

If the people you're trying to reach aren't already on a social media network you're thinking about using, they likely won't sign up just to receive your updates. Similarly, if they have social media profiles but don't check their feeds on a regular basis, they will miss updates.

For example, many people check their social media profiles during the workday, but school administrators and government officials often don't have access to those sites at their workplace. People in rural areas may not have fast internet access and as a result they may not be very active on social media. These groups may be hard to reach using this medium. Make sure you have at least some interest before starting social media efforts.


2. Using Facebook groups instead of fan pages

Groups and fan pages are very similar, but there are some key differences. Unlike fan pages, updates on Facebook groups don't show up in Google or other search engines, so it might be hard for others to find. Groups should be used for more collaborative work, perhaps with your coalition or an action team. Fan pages should be used to share information and stories about your program to the general public.


3. Only posting announcements of upcoming meetings

It's important to build a community online, and only posting meeting dates can get very boring. If all you want to do is remind people about meetings, it might be a good idea to stick with email. To build a presence on social media, mix up your posts with things like upcoming community events, behind-the-scenes photos at your meetings, articles related to your issue, and photos from your community and past events. Be creative and don't be afraid to use humor when appropriate.


4. Not promoting your page

If you don't tell people about it, they probably won't find it on their own. Be sure to spread the word! Tell all of your coalitions members to follow your program on social media, and ask them to get their friends and family to join as well. Put social media icons and links on all of your marketing materials online and offline.


5. Not having regular posts

If you're promoting your page well but you haven't posted anything for a few months, people aren't going to want to join. Even when you're first starting out, it's important to post on a regular basis so people know what kind of information they'll get from your page and so they know you're active online.

I'd recommend posting 2-5 times a week. If you don't have time every day to post something new to social media, schedule posts in advance. Facebook has a built-in scheduling system that's free to use (just draft your post and click the down arrow next to the "Post" button and select "Schedule"). You can also use tools like Hootsuite and Buffer to schedule posts on Facebook and Twitter - both of those programs have free versions.

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Connecticut Civic Ambassadors are everyday people who care about and engage others in their communities by creating opportunities for civic participation that strengthens our state’s "civic health."

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