Civil Voices
NEWS  |  Communities, Volunteering

Engagement the Key to Social Media

Monday, 28th November 2011 at 6:12 pm
Staff Reporter
The importance of using social media for Not for Profit organisations has been again reinforced at the National Conference on Volunteering, and organisations have been told to look within their own networks to find the help they need.

Monday, 28th November 2011
at 6:12 pm
Staff Reporter



Engagement the Key to Social Media
Monday, 28th November 2011 at 6:12 pm
Image: Dr Edwina Luck 

The importance of using social media for Not for Profit organisations has been again reinforced at the National Conference on Volunteering, and organisations have been told to look within their own networks to find the help they need.

“The social media trend is amazingly huge, and it’s not going to go away,” said Dr Edwina Luck.

Dr Luck, a Senior Lecturer with the School of Advertising at QUT's Business School, took part in a panel discussion at the Gold Coast Conference.

Luck told the 400 delegates at the National Conference on Volunteering that 14.7 million Australians use social media, and Australians share 4 billion pieces of content each day on Facebook. Forty percent of social media content is accessed via phone and 53 percent of active social networkers follow a brand.

Dr Luck says social media is important because of the amount of engagement you can make with your audience.

Dr Luck says the younger generation has grown up online – they have always known the world wide web. But it isn’t just young people that are engaged with social media – Dr Luck said among social media users, “people in their 30’s and 40’s are the ones in the majority.”

Advice for Time Poor Organisations

Dr Luck summed up the concerns of many NFPs when she said, “The problem with social media is there is so much choice, and we are already time poor”.

Liz Buchanan, from the Department of Community Safety, said the best way for Not for Profit organisations to overcome this is by engaging with volunteers from their own networks who have the necessary time and skills.

Dr Luck says organisations need to find out what social media and strategies work for them. “What might be right for another organisation might not be right for yours", she said.

Don’t Just Talk at People – Listen and Share

The conference was told that that engagement is the key to success on social media. “You can’t just talk at people and expect them to answer – you have to listen as well,” said Dr Luck.

But listening alone isn’t enough, you need to share. “For every one tweet about yourself, you should share five stories that interest your group”.

Dr Luck said NFPs should “Make sure your posts provide value to your audience”.

Once your audience is engaged, you can get them to help with content and even ask them for donations, she said.

*For interested conference delegates, Debbie Haski-Levanthal from Macquarie University will be presenting a session on how organisations can use social media, with a particular focus on recruiting volunteers.

Pro Bono Australia is the official media partner of the 2011 National Conference on Volunteering, and our team of journalists are reporting live from the conference to ensure those unable to attend can follow the conference news and discussion.

You can view the latest conference news at

Join in the conversation around the conference on twitter by using the hashtag  #volaus11 (!/search?q=%23VolAus11)


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One Comment

  • After teaching Social Media at UTS and working with a range of clients from non-profit to corporate – resourcing remains one of the biggest issues. These are some of my tips particularly for those in the non-profit space to help with that issue: 1. Start with a Social Media Strategy rather than a shotgun approach, ensure time is spent on the Content Strategy including a Content Calendar – editorial for your online platforms 2. Understand what your competitors are doing in the space and carve out a niche for your organisation 3. Get handy with some of the social media management tools such as Hootsuite that can save you time and are good for reporting (metrics) 4.Don't forget your website is your key hub and the only platform you truly own so dont invest all your efforts in social media platforms and forget the basics 5.Get a good Social Media Policy in place in your workplace before you begin to ensure everyone has the right expectations 6. Utilise volunteers (as mentioned above) but ensure that they are highly trained if they are at the controls. Volunteers often are on the ground and have great stories and photos etc that can be recreated into compelling content so crowdsource good content via your volunteers 7.Never forget that social media relies on passion and interest and that is where non-profits really prosper !! so you are at a great advantage. Cheers

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