Behind the Tweets: Ash Kosiewicz
Research and ongoing conversations with members of the Center for Nonprofit Advancement demonstrate that marketing and communications is an area of top concern for nonprofits across our region. Social media—from Facebook to Pinterest—is among the newest tools in the communications toolbox. How do organizations effectively integrate social media into their existing communications and fundraising strategies? How do staff stay active in online conversations while meeting offline needs within their organizations?
We’re going Behind the Tweets with Center member organizations to ask how they do it and share tips, strategies and advice from the staff supporting these effective social media efforts.
Name: Ash Kosiewicz
Organization: Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC)
Job title: Communications and Advocacy Director
Q&A with Ash Kosiewicz
Which social media channels do you use?
- Facebook (LEDC) | Facebook (Entrepreneurs in Action)Twitter
- Twitter (LEDC) | Twitter (Coalition for the Fair Redevelopment of Wheaton, of which LEDC is a member)
- Blog (LEDC) | Blog (Coalition for the Fair Redevelopment of Wheaton)
Do others from your organization post or contribute content? If so, any tips for managing that process?
Our Small Business Development department manages a Facebook page to cultivate community and interest in its Entrepreneurs in Action skills workshop. One department staff member posts pictures of workshops and graduations, and the page has created a support network for prospective and graduated students. Important tips: 1) Make sure the page is properly branded with visual identity cues and messaging that aligns with organizational branding on your main Facebook page.
Is social media 100% of your job? If not, tell us a bit about your other responsibilities.
The management of the LEDC social media platform, while a crucial part of my work, is just one of my responsibilities. I direct external communications to our primary stakeholders and the media as well as direct work to integrate advocacy activities into our programs. Almost 50 percent of my time is spent on advocacy work, including community organizing in Wheaton as lead organizer of the Coalition for the Fair Redevelopment of Wheaton.
How much of your day (or week or month) do you spend on social media?
I continually check our Twitter page throughout the day to keep up with the latest news developments and updates, posting, retweeting, and listening. I post three times a week to our Facebook page and post more frequently on Twitter. On average, I spend approximately one hour per day on social media.
What do you find most challenging about social media?
My biggest challenge is finding time to cultivate two-way dialogue on tools like Twitter. Beyond posting compelling content, I do my best to respond to relevant and interesting conversations taking place on my Twitter feed. This investment typically bears fruit when done in a sustained manner, but it’s never too late to start a new conversation or reengage an old friend. My second biggest challenge is the time it takes to synchronize social media with other relevant communications tools. To effectively integrate social media into a communications strategy requires a good level of coordination.
What’s been most rewarding about your use of social media?
Social media has allowed our organization to learn from and engage with new and old networks of
followers and supporters. It’s a great tool in the toolbox that raises our visibility, supports press outreach and enhances our advocacy work. Social media is an integral element of our communications work.
Can you share an example of how social media has helped your organization?
The Tenant Town Hall is a signature LEDC event that connects DC residents with public decision makers and housing agency heads about their housing needs and priorities. In 2012, we used social media to support the 5th Annual Tenant Town Hall, from organizing event participants, publicizing the event, to doing outreach on Twitter to encourage DC Councilmembers to commit to coming to the event. We used Facebook and Twitter to post our Press Center preview blog stories and photos in the lead up to the event, and we posted an official video of the event on our YouTube page. We raised visibility of the event, and a number of Councilmembers attended the event. We also used Twitter to live tweet the event, giving people unable to come the opportunity to follow the event proceedings.
Any tips for other nonprofits on how to make social media work for you? Any tools you love to use?
If you choose to engage in social media work, use tools consistently and in accordance with your organizational brand. It’s always good to think about your big picture goals to inform the tools you use and what you choose to do with them. It’s also not just about you – talk to people, and give people the opportunity to engage with your brand in their own way.
Our thanks to Ash for sharing his time and expertise with us!