Five Tips and Tricks for Deepening your Social Media Engagement

by Meghan Teich

Photo by Horia Varlan 

Not sure how to tackle new and emerging social media networks like Instagram? Looking to deepen your engagement on good ol' Facebook or Twitter? Read on for ideas you can implement right now on five of the most popular channels.

Facebook

How's your cover photo? You do have a cover photo, right? The cover photo is one of the stars of Facebook's Timeline design and it's a stellar opportunity to put compelling content front and center on your page. And you can swap it out on a regular basis to reflect whatever campaign you're working on at the time. For a great example, check out the IRC's page here.

Twitter

If you haven't hosted a Twitter chat yet, try it! It's fun and easy. Just pick a time, topic, and hashtag, spread the word, and go for it! One way to provide new and interesting content for your followers is to get a subject matter expert who can answer questions on a certain topic. Even a simple Q&A for an hour with your executive director offering a behind the scenes look at what you do could be compelling. Just don't forget to hashtag all of your tweets and archive them with a tool like TweetChat.

Instagram

If you're not on Instagram because you think it's just another stand-alone social network and you don't have the time or resources to invest in it, think again. There's no better tool for simultaneously posting photos to Twitter and Facebook in one fell swoop - not to mention, just about any photo looks great with one of those filters. Try using it as your primary photo tool, and I think you'll be surprised by how much time it saves you and your team. And don't forget to use hashtags in your photo descriptions, so they can be seen by a wider audience than just your followers.

Foursquare

Beyond claiming your office venue and leaving tips so people who visit get asked to donate, you can also create an organizational page, which functions a lot like a personal Foursquare account would. You can customize it with your branding, people can follow you, and you can leave tips at relevant venues. Get creative with the tips you leave - are you a health-related organization? Consider leaving tips about good eating habits at a grocery store. The sky's the limit, and don't be afraid to look outside your geographic area!

Google Plus

While we're all in a wait-and-see mode with Google Plus, it's still fun to experiment with some of their tools. If you're already on Google Plus, why not try a Hangout? This group video chat tool is a cost-effective way to communicate face to face with your supporters, and to really build a community around your issue. Try having a Q&A session like the White House features on a regular basis. It doesn't cost anything, so it can't hurt to have a little fun figuring out what works.

So now it's your turn. How has your organization been experimenting with any of these new tools? And has anything been super successful (or an epic failure)? Let us know in the comments below.

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