Recently I was preparing two social media workshops, one for business and one for community groups. That got me thinking about where the differences were. There is lots of common ground between managing business and managing social media accounts – but what are the differences? A few thoughts are below (with heaps of generalisations).


Goals might be quite similar between the two, although how they go about reaching them, may differ. Both business and community groups could have goals to:

·       Engage stakeholders

·       Raise awareness

·       Raise money

·       Event attendance

·       Give news

To name a few.


Some community groups may find engagement with their online community slightly easier than businesses. Many groups will have strong relationships with members. And because they have at least one common interest, the group is already engaged to some degree. The tricky part is to keep this engagement growing.


Everyone is short on resources, but many community groups will be REALLY short on resources:

HubSpot did a survey with nonprofit organisations and found that:

·       Most nonprofits do not have a documented social media strategy.

·       Responsibility typically falls to only one employee/member.

·       Tracking the social media accounts of donors within a donor database is a rare practice.

·       More than half of non-profits spend 2 hours or less per week on social media marketing (whereas half of for-profit businesses spend at least 6 hours per week).


When you have limited resources, it is essential to know what is and isn’t working. HubSpot found that about half of nonprofits measure their social activities, which is about twice as good as the average for-profit businesses. (This is an incredible statistic).

Dealing with risks

Creating policies and then training personnel in the policy and in using the channels are essential for all social media managers, regardless of whether they are paid.

My experience with community groups is that this is often, but not always, a weakness. There is a skill to writing a policy and a policy is not useful unless everyone it affects knows and understands it (including members who are not involved in managing your channels. In many cases, this will include your members. Make sure that they know what is and isn’t OK.

What can you do?

·       Resource the people responsible for social media  – Make sure that you have enough people to do the work and take on the monitoring responsibility. Make sure they are fed club news, scores etc. so that they can keep accounts current and interesting.

·       Create a meaningful written social media policy and plan with calendar which outlines strategies, goals and tactics – Make sure people are assigned responsibilities and have the skills to be accountable.

·       Mix up your content – Don’t just talk about your group, ask questions, find information from other sources that will be of interest to your group, lots of images, video, cartoons…..

We have pretty much ventured into territory that everyone who manages a social media account should be thinking about. If you need help with your business or community strategy, please contact us.

We have resources that might help you, email us for a copy of:

Social media audit guide

Social media content guide

Policy infograph

Find some help with policies here