How social media can be used by social enterprises
Are you a social entrepreneur? Like many other businesspeople, you can use social media to make contacts, sustain relationships, identify needs and discover new resources or innovations. However, for a social enterprise, social media can be the essential tool that builds the ties between you and your community.
Broadly speaking, social enterprises are organizations operated to create a social, environmental or cultural good through a business model that generates income by selling a product or service in the marketplace. Using social media might help you achieve these goals more effectively.
What are some potential social media goals?
- Making partnerships — Social media monitoring may help you find and reach out to new partners. At a glance, you could find out where other similar organizations get support.
- Identifying financial contributors — Easily available public information could help you seek donations.
- Recruiting volunteers with the right skills — These platforms are an excellent source of active volunteers who are willingly part of the conversation.
- Crowdsourcing new ideas or solutions — People are usually happy to help if you make it easy for them to do so. A call to action can be spread more quickly through social media than via traditional avenues.
- Promoting your mission — Because you can post frequent details and updates, social media is a great low-cost marketing tool.
A social media policy can help guide your organization's interaction over the channels best-suited to your goals. Remember, different audiences may require a variety of approaches. You will also have to decide how often to post and whether you need a dedicated manager or software to track your activity.
Furthering your cause
With social media engagement there are several principles that you, as a social entrepreneur, should keep in mind:
- Community — Be ready to give as much as you take.
- Transparency — Your actions are visible on the web, so govern yourself accordingly.
- Consistency — Because everything is searchable, keep your message consistent and aligned with your goals.
- Sustainability — Commitment and resources will help sustain the conversations you start and the excitement about your message and goals.
You can explore these issues through our earlier posts Dos and Don'ts for social media and Social media: Is your business part of the conversation?,as well as in our section on the Pros and cons of social media.