It’s no secret that social media is going through turbulent times. It’s splashed all over the news headlines we see in our social feeds.
Like Prince, Twitter tried to turn itself into a symbol but has thus far failed. Meta defied expectations with Threads only to see its active users plummet. Algorithms are changing and influencing what social and political issues get amplified and which ones get buried. All while AI looms in the distance.
So it’s no wonder that organizations and campaigns aren’t sure what to do about their social media strategies right now.
It’s difficult to know which social platforms organizations need to be on. Is it still appropriate for more progressive organizations to be on Twitter? Will I miss my fundraising or conversion goal because I don’t join Threads? Why did my reach suddenly drop? Should I be on many platforms or only focus on one?
It’s completely fair to be questioning everything right now. But before we dive into some tips, let’s first…
Breathe Through It
My advice for organizations in this uncertain landscape is to admit the truth. That social media is highly volatile right now and organizations need to have strategies to balance effort over impact in their communications strategies.
The conversations I’m having with clients center on a few simple elements to consider.
- What is working? If your Twitter strategy, for example, is still gaining a solid amount of engagement and meeting your goals, there’s no reason to stop. Put your time into the platforms that support your overall objectives.
- Put in the effort that you will get out. Consider the amount of time and effort your team will need to put in. Sometimes staying on a platform when your stats dip or joining a new social platform is not worth the energy. It’s really going to depend on you. How much time you and your team have, the audience you’re trying to reach, and what you want to accomplish with each social platform.
- Amplify where you can. Limit where you can’t. In today’s landscape, it’s hard to get high reach on social media organically. Only 12–5% of your followers will see your posts because of the algorithm. Use amplification techniques when you can ( our guide can help ), but it’s also okay to admit when it’s time to move on from a platform. If you’re not getting the engagement, it’s a good time to reflect on your audience and message and consider if this social platform is right for them and you.
- Always cultivate connection. At the end of the day, each organization will use different social platforms depending on its unique goals, audience, and messaging. No matter what platform you use, it’s important to strive to cultivate connections with your audience in the ways that will resonate best. Always remember the human behind the screen when creating your social strategy.
There is no one-size-fits-all in social media strategies. It’s important to consider your organization’s unique needs and capacity when reconsidering your social media strategy.
🧰 Resources for the People : Try my social media toolkit for a social amplification kit, planning & calendar template, and channel guide.
Shore Up Your Alternatives
Another piece that will help you feel more relaxed in the uncertainty is to ensure you have a strong multi-channel comms strategy.
The reason that there’s a lot of uncertainty around social media is because they are for-profit companies. At the end of the day, their goal is to make money for their shareholders. That means that organizations are at the whim of profit-driven algorithms.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that organizations shouldn’t use social media at all. Just that they need to be aware of this and shouldn’t rely heavily on any one platform. Social media should be your gateway to bring in new supporters. If they resonate with your social content, you can offer them value that leads them to the channels that the organization controls. With email and your website, you have more control over your data and your content.
Look at social media as the opportunity to direct prospective supporters to other content or actions they’d be interested in (your newsletter, a blog post, signing a petition, donating, etc.). This way you can cultivate deeper connections with your audience across multiple channels. A multi-channel approach can help instill trust in your audience and help you achieve your long-term goals.
Own Your Content & Data
Connecting with audiences and asking them for their email is one of the best strategies that organizations can do right now.
We are seeing with Twitter that one of the major downsides of social media is that if you move away from a platform, you lose all of your contacts. Most social media platforms do not let you pick up your followers and move them to another one ( not owned by their partner company *ahem* Meta ). With email collection, your audience is yours. You can move email services (Mailchimp to ActionNetwork) or promote the new social media site you just joined.
Social media is only one part of your communications strategy. Think about your social posts as serving a higher purpose to help people find and get interested in your organization. As long as organizations are strategic and flexible, social media can be a tool to bring in new supporters and support your overall goals.
What strategies have worked for you and your organization during this year’s social media volatility?
👋🏽 Hi! If you found this helpful, consider subscribing to the Roots of Change newsletter . A place to find actionable advice and resources for organizations, campaigns, and activists who want to pursue social change and do things differently in this new era.