This summer, Facebook surpassed 750 million users worldwide. In the past year alone, the average number of tweets per day nearly tripled from 50 million to 140 million. Simply put: if your organization is not yet engaging with social media, you are missing out. But chances are you know that social media are valuable, and that the real looming question is how your organization can maximize the benefits of social media while minimizing the time needed to devote to these platforms.
The short answer is that with a little more time invested up front, your organization can have a social media presence that will add value to the organization and its stakeholders. And the best part—most social media are free for individuals and organizations alike!
HCN advocates creating a social media strategy before jumping into the social media game. Having a clear strategy will help keep you focused on why you are using social media in the first place and keep you from getting distracted by the chaotic environment of the World Wide Web.
In order to help you in the process, we have posted a free guide for creating your social media strategy. You can also download our social media glossary (in case you still don’t know what an “RSS Feed” is…). Please click here to access these free resources.
By spending the time now to create a social media strategy for your organization, you will hopefully begin seeing real results in the near future, such as driving more traffic to your website, attracting new event attendees or enhancing relationships with your existing constituency. Social media will never obviate the need for meaningful face-to-face interactions. Yet in today’s digital environment, can your organization really afford not to make this small yet critical investment?
 As of March 14, 2011 (http://blog.twitter.com/2011/03/numbers.html).
 See a recent survey by Idealware on the impact of Facebook on non-profit organizations: http://idealware.org/sites/idealware.org/files/Facebook_survey_2011_v2.pdf.