Social Media Plans, Policies, and Trends

Many resources address social media plans, strategies, policies, and trends. Below are several strategies that are intended for nonprofit organizations. Although not specific to child welfare, much of the information is applicable to public agencies. The Children's Bureau, Information Gateway, and AdoptUSKids do not endorse these resources or the guidance they provide.

A Few Steps to Success

  1. iconWhat do you have to say?

    What topics are you going to cover? (Choose areas in which you are influential or already reach a target audience.) With whom do you want to start "the conversation"? What other influencers in the field can you connect with? Start small. Pick one social media platform to start.

  2. iconCommit resources.

    To stay on top of changing technologies, you need to engage current or budding social media champions in your agency, get senior level buy-in, and set up internal policies. A leadership that genuinely wants success will provide support when needed or when plans need to change.
  3. iconBe human.

    Social media is more conversational than traditional media. People relate to each other, not to marketing or generic messages, which do not embrace the feeling or benefits of social media.
  4. iconRemember, it's SOCIAL media.

    Maintain an active presence. Build relationships. Build two-way communication, not a one-way or sporadic blast of information. Listen by paying attention to what your audience is seeking or responding to. Many social media tools have analytics to give insight into user behaviors. Read How "Social" Is Your Social Media? for more information.
  5. iconMaximize the use of assets.

    Extend the value of something already online, like a video, by also putting it on Facebook or tweeting it. Get it out through the different types of social media.

These steps are adapted from "Protecting Your Tweeps: Using Social Media in Child Welfare Organizations," a webinar presented by the National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology on July 12, 2012.


The New Face of Nonprofit Marketing: Strategies for Using Social Media Effectively (PDF - 832 KB)
Alliance for Children and Families (2011)
Alliance for Children and Families Magazine
Explains a six-step strategy for nonprofit organizations to develop a written social media plan and considers the pros and cons of using social media.

Policy Database
Social Media Governance
Contains over 240 social media policies from nonprofit and government organizations.

What's in a Plan (PDF - 71 KB)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Suggests elements, including evaluation, to include in your social media plan.


The HHS New Media Webinar Series
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Highlights innovative projects, shares expertise from across HHS, and covers some of the latest trends in new media.


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