Posted by Jay Wilkinson

As I travel to speak at events around the country or during my webinars for nonprofits, I’m asked several questions about how organizations can optimize their online presence. Here’s a common one that maybe you’ve wondered about yourself.

Q: Are there benefits to being on all of the social media networks even if you can’t devote a lot of time to them? For example, let’s take Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram—the big six. Is it better to just focus on two or three of those or try to create a presence on all of them?

A: There are only two social media sites that I consider to be must-haves, and I think every nonprofit should be on them—but only two. Those are Facebook and LinkedIn.

There’s no good reason that I’ve ever heard to ignore Facebook or LinkedIn. But having a presence on both is beneficial in a few different ways. Facebook is important because that’s where people are starting many of their online searches now. You might not think of Facebook as a search engine, but it actually is.

For example, someone might be on Facebook having a conversation with her friends or family, and something prompts her to type the name of your organization in the search field. That’s how she can find you on Facebook. She may not interact with you there, but she can easily link over to your website from your Facebook page and connect with you in other ways after that. That’s the idea, at least.

And LinkedIn is a professional network—it’s a way for you to be part of the conversation and the social fabric of the world where we live. It’s where you can easily connect with your board members, donors and constituents. Plus, as nonprofit professionals, we want to engage with people of like minds and keep our cause and mission visible to others.

Those two are the essentials—Facebook and LinkedIn. The others may provide some benefit if your organization seems to be a natural fit for, say, Twitter or Instagram. But you definitely don’t want to ignore the big two.