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Photo of Kyle Lacy

LinkedIn. Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. Youtube. TikTok.

Social media outlets have taken over our digital worlds. They have the power to make 12 year old gamers incredibly rich and famous, and to make something go viral with hundreds of thousands of people in a matter of minutes. Many for-profit companies, professional athletes and celebrity personalities have entire teams of people to manage their social media platforms.

There is increasing pressure on nonprofit organizations to utilize social media channels to spread their mission and their message, all while trying to recruit and retain donors. So how can nonprofits step up their social media game?

I asked marketing guru and former ExactTarget, Salesforce, and Lessonly expert Kyle Lacy for his advice on how nonprofits and smaller organizations can think more strategically about social media.


John Mainella: In your experience, what role does social media play in an organization's marketing plan?

Kyle Lacy: Social media can play three different roles in an organization.

  1. Community Development: Social media is a great tool to use to build a strong community around both your employees and constituent base. Use websites like Twitter and Facebook to create another place for your constituents to gather, share best practices, and be human.

  2. Lead Generation: Social media ad platforms have the potential to be great lead generating sources if used the right way. Use Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn retargeting ads to pull individuals to your organization who previously visited your website (as just one example).

  3. Brand Development for the Company and Individual: Do not forget that social media can be used to build brand value for an institution and the individual. There are plenty of examples of individuals building their personal brands alongside the organization.


JAM: I recall when Lessonly would announce a product enhancement or launch something new, there was a coordinated effort to push information on LinkedIn and social media platforms. You couldn’t log into a channel without seeing the Lessonly Llama and logo everywhere. What was the return on that?

KL: The return was two-fold: it created excitement among the employees when their entire LinkedIn feeds were dominated by Lessonly employees, and it drove an increase in engagement to our LinkedIn page and website.

JAM: How did you measure the effect?

KL: We measured the campaign's success by reviewing referral traffic to our website and engagement metrics on our company's LinkedIn page.


JAM: What advice would you give to a small organization (less than 10 employees) trying to get its brand and their impact to a larger audience?

KL: Create a plan of how often you will want to produce content. I would start with one post a day. It’s imperative to get into the rhythm of producing content. Once you’ve published a post a day, it will come more naturally to the individual(s) running the account.

After you’ve produced a certain amount of content (3 months), revisit your plan and put a goal around social media usage. Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Do you want to recruit people to the organization?

JAM: Should organizations use video? Why or why not?

KL: I believe every organization should test every medium. Video is one medium where engagement is high. It’s also really easy to produce videos using an iPhone.  Start small. You do not need a production company to create the videos to post on Twitter and LinkedIn. Build videos into your content production schedule.

JAM: You've said that organizations don't need to always hire someone in house. Say more about that.

KL: Social media content and ad strategies can be easily run by an agency or a contractor. But it is very much dependent on WHY you are using social media. Most of the time you can hire a great content writer + social media manager. For example, a consumer-based or entertainment brand like the Indianapolis Colts needs a full-time person running social. It’s a full-time job! Most small B2B organizations can get away with the CEO or the head of marketing running the account.  

JAM: What is your biggest piece of advice for an organization that wants to up their social media game?

KL: Spend some time thinking through the overall goal of the social media program. What role should social media play initially? And get into the habit. Once you start, make sure you maintain your presence.


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