How Do I Get My Nonprofit's CEO To Use Twitter or other Social Media? | Beth's Blog

How Do I Get My Nonprofit’s CEO To Use Twitter or other Social Media?

Professional Networking, Social Media Policy

Last month, I participated in a keynote panel at the AFP Annual Conference in San Antonio, TX on the theme, “Social Media for Social Change” with Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children, Ben Rattray, Founder of Change.Org, and Ritu Sharma and Darian Rodriguez Heyman, co-founders of Social Media for Nonprofits Conference.     It was a blast!    Carolyn, Ben, and I each did a brief presentation on the topic and then we sat down for a discussion facilitated by Darian and Ritu using questions from the several thousand people in the audience.

Here’s a storify of the curated tweets, but I wanted to pull out one of the questions that came up:

“How do I get my nonprofit’s CEO to pay attention to social let alone use it?”

1.  Get Their Attention: “Camp outside their door.”    This is the advice that Carolyn Miles of Save the Children offered.  She said that as a busy CEO, there are many things to pay attention to and she would not be using any social media if wasn’t for her staff person, Ettore Rosetti, VP of Digital Marketing.   He camped outside her door and not only told her about how nonprofit CEO’s were using Twitter, but showed her how easy it was.

2. Show How Social Amplifies the Work They Are Already Doing:     Now that you have got their attention, make sure you discuss how social media can amplify and enhance their current work by asking some simple, but powerful questions.  Here’s a story about the CEO of the ACLU of New Jersey and how he uses Twitter to reach out to the press and policy makers and the questions he and his staff answered.   Here’s another example about a nonprofit CEO (Helen Clark of UNDP) using Twitter to engage audiences about policy.

3.  Give them a “Tweetutorial”: Most likely, your CEO uses a mobile phone.   Give them a “Tweetutorial” of how to use Twitter on their mobile phone and the basic commands.   Here’s a collection of cheat sheets that you can use to teach any Nonprofit CEO almost any social media channel.

4.  Show Examples of Peers: Sometimes peer pressure can motivate.  Be sure to show other examples of nonprofit CEOs, preferably from similar nonprofits, using Twitter.   Here’s my Ultimate List of  Lists of Nonprofit CEOs Using Social Media.


5.   Share Time-Saving Tips: Be sure to let your CEO know that using Twitter or other social media channels doesn’t require hours and hours of time.  They can build their network while they wait in line for lunch or commute to work.  Here’s three good tips for easy content strategies for leaders.

6.  Teach Them How To Be Twitter Literate: Your organization’s brand communication strategy will complement your CEO’s use of Twitter.   For them, it is about being authentic and the personal touch.   For CEOs or anyone to be successful using Twitter, they need to know how to tune the network of people they follow and how to “feed” the network of followers the best content and engagement related to your organization’s work.    Get them a “Thinkup” account, an analytics tools geared for individuals that not only provides metrics, but useful tips to improve using social.

7.  Show Their Impact: After they have been using social, so how their presence is reaching a different audience.     Using a tool like Twiangulate, you can easily see the overlap of followers and reach for the CEO and the organization’s branded account.  Here’s an example of Save The Children and its CEO, Carolyn Miles.   As you can see, the CEO’s reach is larger, although she has fewer followers than the branded account.  That’s most likely because more influential  people are following the CEO!

Does your nonprofit’s CEO use social media for leadership?  How?  What are the best practices to sustaining and supporting their effective of social media to support your organization’s mission?


12 Responses

  1. After umpteen efforts to answer the question how to get my ceo to do this?, I think the answer is mostly MAKE IT SIMPLE, STUPID!

    It’s not the benefits of the technology that have to be sold, it’s persuading a CEO that in the fleeting moments of cognitive down-time they can do something that’s simple, constructive, and fun.

    I just had the privilege of doing this research for Liberty Hill Foundation and here’s a distilled version of my findings.

  2. And thanks, Beth, for linking to my “Twitter in 5 minutes a day” post!

  3. […] “You have to show not just tell your CEO about social media”- @carolynsave “Create a tweetorial” – @kanter #afpshift — Ettore Rossetti (@EttoreRossetti) March 25, 2014 Last month, I participated in a keynote panel at the…  […]

  4. Great tips and they work, too. Beth, with your help we tweet and so does our CEO @LanceLinares. Sharing peer examples and time-saving tips were key. Thanks!

  5. Beth Kanter says:

    Great to hear from you Luis and thanks for giving update on your progress!

  6. Jane Leonard says:

    Thanks for sharing.

    I believe that many CEOs in not for profit organisations see Twitter as a marketing tool and do not realise the value of connecting with their community.

  7. Jane, I agree, but not just among CEOs. Here’s a post we’ve found helpful in tackling this by Rebecca Leet from Nancy Schwartz’s Getting Attention blog, “Nonprofit is Tennis Not Golf.”

  8. Bill Pratt says:

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. 30 years ago the challenge was to get CEOs to use computers. Female CEOs didn’t want to use them because it reinforced the “secretarial” bias, and male CEOs didn’t want to use them because their secretaries took care of that stuff.

    Plug away at it. Change will occur, or not.

  9. Beth says:

    Bill, you are so right!

  10. […] Haydon: How Many of Your Donors Use Facebook? Beth’s Blog: How Do I Get My Nonprofit’s CEO To Use Twitter or other Social Media? Osocio: WWF warns you with Snapchat for the #LastSelfie NTEN: Is it “Mobile First” or […]

  11. Ann Marie says:

    Thanks, Beth. Yet again new insight! Didn’t think about how I might help with a personal account and just chatted up Linda Czipo of @njnonprofits about it, but I love the “Ask Udi Anything” idea and may just steal it!!

  12. […] are some simple tips for nonprofit leaders to get started doing thought leadership through […]