Posted by Jay Wilkinson

Fundamentally, there are two groups that we need to consider when engaging our audience: prospects and supporters. Both are important and will help us master our online world. This is going to sound remarkably simple, and it is. It’s just not always easy.

Number one, we need to focus on listening. I know this sounds basic, and it’s something our grandmothers probably taught us way back when we were young. But it can be difficult in the world of technology. When it comes to monitoring what people say about us as nonprofits, it’s hard to really do this justice. Most of us are more concerned about speaking, and we don’t always use the proper tools to help us listen carefully. But listening is crucial. It helps us know exactly what our audience wants to talk about.

The second part is engaging. You’ve heard this before, no doubt: The secret to social media is to engage with your audience. Social media experts will tell you this all day long—engage, engage, engage. But the reality is, it’s not that simple, right?

How many of us have posted something for our nonprofit on Facebook because we want to promote this great thing going on in our community, but we’re ultimately met with the sound of crickets? There’s no response until our sister or our best friend chimes in because they feel sorry for us. You may get a few comments, and that’s it. Let me be frank: It’s really hard to engage on social media unless you’re an organization that’s naturally wired for engagement.

That being said, here’s what I really want you to take away from this post: It doesn’t matter how well your nonprofit engages your audience on social media if you aren’t developing great content that gets people involved in the conversation. Eventually people will land on your website, and they need to be inspired by what they see.

If your website is nothing more than an online brochure that doesn’t excite your visitors in any way, then your online conversations won’t mean much. It’s very critical that, as an organization, you focus on your website. It is the core of your identity.

Everything you do, from social media to blogging to email marketing, points people back to your website. When you understand that every online conversation leads people back to that one place, you will be on the right track to really mastering your online presence.