As much as professionals in the nonprofit community love to talk about social media, it is important to remember that the general pulic is not made up of experts or even dedicated users of social media.
This is something that Melissa Jones, Social Media Specialist for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer, understands to the core. It could be because she grew into her current position, first serving as a volunteer and then working part time and now full time to engage her nonprofit's supporters in a wide range of social media.
That's how she came to write the Connect with us today page at Alex's Lemonade Stand website. No buttons here, but rather full introductions and explanations of how each social media tool works. The page is friendly, easy to understand without being insulting, and enticing even to a social media beginner.
Other great touches that I haven't seen before include a "social media" button in the navigation bar under the about page, and a twitter stream on the press page. All of these show just how serious Alex's Lemonade Stand is about using social media to connect with supporters. It helps make the organization a great "grass roots" one.
I asked Jones to explain what led to creating the "Connect with us today" page and how it helps. Her answer:
There are a couple of reasons why I decided to write this page. Initially, I wanted to inform our current supporters that we are in fact involved in social media. I made sure to explain that it's a great way to connect with us online as well as stay up-to-date with what's going on at our organization.
We also have a page on our website where people can view current volunteer opportunities where I listed Social Media Networking Volunteer. Many times people see this page and contact me asking what else they can do to help us through SM. I then direct them to our actual social media page.
I tried to make it as easy as possible, even including text that people can copy and paste as their Facebook status, Twitter update, etc... I can tell that it's working because I do have people that reach out to me inquiring about our "social media volunteer opportunities." People are excited that they can support us by spreading awareness through ways they're comfortable with.
What is your organization doing to make it "as easy as possible" for your supporters to engage in and help you spread the word through social media?