COM0015 – Post #2 – Strong and Weak Organizations

An Example of Social Media Used Well

OSPCA Logo

One of the best uses of social media I’ve found is by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  (OSPCA).

Social Media Logos used by OSPCA

The OSPCA regularly uses a wide variety of digital media.

This not-for-profit in the Newmarket area is using a variety of platforms to extend their reach on many levels. Social media icons, linked to each platform, are featured prominently on the website. The platforms used are:

  • Instagram: 1.5K followers
  • Facebook: 46K followers
  • Twitter (OSPCA main): 17.9K followers
  • Twitter (OSPCA Events): 1.4K followers
  • Twitter (OSPCA Careers): 849 followers
  • YouTube: 880 Subscribers
  • LinkedIn: 0 connections
  • Google+: 126 followers

OSPCA also creates regular website blog posts and podcasts to engage their audience, give them more information, increase volunteerism, adoptions, donations and general awareness.

Frequent and regular Facebook and Twitter posts are used to drive traffic to the blog and “pawdcasts” housed on the website and the YouTube channel. Posts are varied containing links, images, clear calls to action, contest information (post a picture of your pet) and engagement posts such as voting polls in third party fundraisers. Instagram is used to its fullest extent with many pictures of cute animals to be adopted. Some OSPCA YouTube videos have thousands of views. The only platforms that do not seem well used are Google+ and LinkedIn with little information, no followers and no posts. Maybe these accounts have just been created.

There is a professional communications department at OSPCA with many years of experience in all facets of digital marketing, which probably explains their excellent use of all digital media. I liked the OSPCA’s website and use of social media so much that I applied for a communications position at OSPCA in the past. Unfortunately, my resumé must have dropped into File 13, as I was not contacted for an interview! Oh well, onward and upward I hope.

Social Media in Need of Development

Inn From The Cold Logo

Inn From The Cold (IFTC) is another not-for-profit organization in the Newmarket area. There is no formal communications department in this small organization. Recently, a social media coordinator has been hired to expand IFTC’s social media presence. The website is new. In-kind work and funds to create it were recently donated by a digital marketing agency and Canadian Tire in Newmarket. Tiny social media icons appear “below the fold”. These could easily be missed and should be more prominently displayed near the top of the page. The social media platforms are:

  • Facebook: 731 followers
  • Twitter: 258 followers

Because the development of social media is in its nascent stage, there is currently no formal strategy other than to post information on Facebook and Twitter about how followers can support IFTC. Posts focus on thanks for sponsorship, community meal volunteers, and retweets of Coldest Night of the Year, an upcoming event benefitting IFTC.

Newmarket is a very spirited, caring and tight community, so there is potential for an expanded social media presence to help IFTC gain supporters, volunteers and donations.

Objectives include increasing engagement (likes, comments, shares), increasing the variety of post types as well as increasing event registrations, sponsorships, and financial support. A standard template thanking sponsors is currently over-used. This is becoming thoroughly boring and could discourage followers from reading IFTC’s posts.

To further develop the use of social media, IFTC needs to find information that would be more interesting to its followers. Links to articles about homelessness, more images of service to guests, and engagement posts, such as polls should be developed. There is no blog on the website. If a qualified, committed blogger could volunteer to write engaging and informative articles, plus volunteer profiles and guest success stories, these could be posted on social media to drive traffic to the site and help achieve IFTC’s objectives.

If you have any suggestions for how IFTC’s social media presence could be improved, please let me know in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “COM0015 – Post #2 – Strong and Weak Organizations

  1. I enjoyed reading this post and think you’ve shown 2 good examples; one where an organisation is capitalizing on the powers of social media and one that is not. The contrast between the two shows the potential being missed by IFTC. However, if IFTC wants to improve their social media presence, the right person or volunteer is critical. Having someone who understands all aspects of social media and knows how to properly apply the tools and respond to feedback is important because it doesn’t take much for one negative comment or post to spiral out of control. I think people and organisations underestimate this aspect of social media.

    • Thank you for your comment Jules. It is quite a challenge for IFT C at this point. But I’m sure with a proper strategy and the right person in place, they’re following will grow. The volunteers are so dedicated, I sincerely hope there are no negative comments to deal with. But I take your point about things spiraling out of control.

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