Posts Tagged ‘Sara Valkova’

Sara Valkova on Integrating Social Media in Non-Profits: Engage, Don’t Promote

September 19, 2009

3934459406_b0d295e1e7When non-profit organizations step into the social media world, they must first know their audience and have a particular goal in mind for reaching that audience, according to Sara Valkova of Emory Healthcare’s Web Marketing Team.

“Some non-profits are in the social media world because they feel like they should and don’t know how to use social media effectively. They are not engaging and not having a dialogue,” Valkova said. “Social media should be about initiating two-way communication between a non-profit organization and their audience, and not all about brand reputation management.”

An example of using social media as a way to connect with publics can be found in Emory’s February Heart Month initiative.  Emory created an online calendar with heart-related tips for each day of the month and also provided a newsletter full of heart-healthy tips. Emory promoted this initiative with a Facebook ad that targeted the desired audience, those at risk for heart disease. Not only is this an example of using social media tools to engage with your publics, but it also shows how traditional and social media can go hand-in-hand.

Emory also uses social media for direct and timely customer service. For example, some patients are more comfortable going to a public forum like Facebook or Twitter to complain about a bad experience at the hospital than directly telling their nurse. When Valkova and her team sees complaints like this in the social media sphere, they contact the nurse in the unit responsible for the complaint and directly address the problem.

“Our target is very defined, so we target that group and we go where they are,” Valkova said.

When asked about the future of integrating social media in non-profit organizations, Valkova replied: “Non-profits have to see what’s important to their audience in order for social media to work for them.” Just like the old adage says, you have to know where you are in order to know where you are going.

Sara Valkova is a web development specialist for Emory Healthcare and co-chair of the Emory Social Media Advisory Board. She is the driving voice behind Emory Healthcare’s social media initiatives and responsible for developing and implementing Emory’s social media tactical plan. You can follow Emory on Twitter @emoryhealthcare.

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