Social media has revolutionized the way people communicate and has become a central player in the nonprofit field. With the help of social media, nonprofits can easily organize events, raise money and find new supporters, all with just a few clicks.
Unfortunately, like anything else that carries power, social media also carries inherent risk. Just as you can easily improve your nonprofit’s reputation with a few clicks, you can just as easily damage it.
Here are a few ways you can operate safely on social media, while still using it to help your nonprofit thrive:
Be careful about who has access. Do not allow every employee or volunteer to access your organization’s social media accounts. A well-meaning intern, for instance, could inadvertently cause damage with a careless tweet or Facebook post. Even posts that are not malicious could still tarnish your organization’s reputation. For example, a Facebook post that contains poor spelling and grammar might convey that your organization is careless or neglectful.
Create strong passwords.Creating strong passwords is an important and easy way to drastically improve your organization’s cyber security. It is a good idea to create a different password for each of your nonprofit’s social media accounts. This way, if a hacker gains access to one of your passwords, he or she will not then be able to wreak havoc on all of your accounts.
Do not post updates that could compromise physical security. Believe it or not, your social media posts could potentially compromise your organization’s physical security. If your nonprofit operates within four walls, you may want to use discretion when choosing to disclose its location. You should also be careful about publicly posting what equipment and resources are available in your office. For instance, if your nonprofit has just received a generous donation of expensive equipment, such as a number of laptops, it may not be smart to tweet this information for the entire world (including potential burglars) to read.
Require approval for posts before they are made visible. Many social media sites will allow you to approve posts, comments or pictures before they are visible on your organization’s page. Because you cannot control what other people might post on your Facebook wall, for example, it is a good idea to opt for this approval setting. An inappropriate post on your organization’s page can still hurt your reputation, even if it was not posted by someone associated with your nonprofit. (Facebook also gives you the option of reviewing tags.) This security setting will also give you the chance to reject spam links or even links to viruses. If a supporter detects that your page is unsafe or littered with spam, he or she is not likely to visit again.
Stacey Waxman is a freelance writer with a focus on marketing. She can be found typing away on her laptop in cold Cleveland, OH. Stacey welcomes your feedback via email.