There are a lot of things pulling at us, competing for whatever time or attention we have. Though I am sure this phenomenon has been around for millennia, the volume and the intensity of the competing voices seem to be increasing with every year that goes by.

Your Audience Is Busy

It’s easy to get cynical or discouraged

If you handle any sort of communication on behalf of your organization, you have probably felt more than the occasional twinges of frustration concerning engagement. The average open rate for nonprofit emails is only 20.43%, and most organizations struggle to get actual followers on social media, let alone get them to participate.

You’re not their top priority, and that’s OK

Except for the rare advocate it’s doubtful your organization falls in the top half of their priority list. Are they bad people for this? Not at all. They are busy people. Though they care about your cause or organization, it is one of many things about which they care.

Busy doesn’t just mean work.

You may not agree with the ways people spend their time, but if you were to follow someone in your target audience around you would likely find that they spend very little time twiddling their thumbs. Work, gym, family, hobbies, date nights, movies, chores, hanging out with friends, and countless other activities can quickly consume an entire day.

It’s surprising they pay attention as much as they do

This is especially true for organizations that ask and keeps on asking while at the same time providing very little back in return. “That’s not true, when people help our cause they add a meaning and purpose to their lives and feel warm and fuzzy too.” Altruism and charity do have their benefits, but you’re not the only organization that offers this opportunity. It also seems like most people can get this need met with relatively little involvement.

Respect your fans & followers

We should never treat them as though they owe us anything. Instead, strive to understand them, their needs, and then find ways to add value in any way that you can.

Don’t waste your time…

  • Evaluate the time that you have
  • Come up with a content strategy
  • Define key messages in advance
  • Batch content creation
  • Use an editorial calendar
  • It’s ok to schedule posts
  • Check feeds at least 2x per day
  • Define how you will measure success

…or theirs

  • Get to know your target audience and their needs
  • Consider creating a persona to help you relate to them.
  • Limit your pleas for help and don’t just talk about yourself
  • Find ways to provide interesting, inspirational, & fun content
  • Don’t be a downer.
  • Be responsive
  • Do unto others… Everyone likes comments and RTs.

Read more on our popular Social Media Posting Guide.