2.4 Developing a Social Media presence


This section will help you to take note of some social media tools that VOPEs typically use to bolster their online presence. It also links to some examples of how VOPEs are currently using them.

Social media is a great, cost-effective way of disseminating your content and creating increased visibility for your VOPE.  There are several types of social media to choose from, including blogs (e.g. WordPress), microblogging (e.g. Twitter), social networks (most notably Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn), media/photo sharing (e.g. Youtube, Flickr, Pinterest; Instagram), social news (e.g. Reddit, Digg and Leakernet), mobile applications (e.g. WhatsApp), wikis (Wikipedia, Wikia), document repositories (e.g. Scribd, Doocu), online magazines (e.g. Paper.li, Issuu, Flipboard, Rebelmouse) and bookmarking sites (e.g. StumbleUpon).

It is usually a good idea to start off with a social media platform that is easy to manage and not that resource intensive to maintain and then to progress towards media that require more time or funds to manage over time.  Most well-developed VOPEs have a Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn presence to start off with. Depending on your VOPE’s needs, communications plan and resources (mostly a pair of hands to moderate and post content), any or all of these media can be used with great success and are more user-friendly than you think.

Some things to consider:

  • The establishment of your VOPE’s social media identity (including VOPE logo) should not infringe on any international or local copyright or duplicate another entity.
  • Basic rules (Terms of Use or Terms of Service) are very important when operating in the social media space – make sure that you have some ground rules for platform’s content, membership and usage.  Your basic rules should be drafted before you create any social media profile for your VOPE and should be easily accessible to members of your groups/profiles. These rules can mature into a social media policy later on.
  • If you have a website, make sure that you cross-post content to your social media platforms and vice versa to save time and resources, a simple service like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Zapier or IFTTT can help you set up automatic shares across platforms.
  • It is advisable that at least two dependable individuals have access to your VOPE’s social media usernames and passwords – individuals tend to forget/misplace passwords.
  • When creating your VOPE’s group “identity” on platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook, consider whether you want to form open (accessible to the general public) or closed (by invitation only) groups. Public profiles will give your VOPE more exposure but require more work to manage and maintain, whereas closed groups limit your online presence but are relatively hassle-free. It is possible to use different “identities” on different platforms, though this should be clearly communicated to your users.
  • If you are unable to remove abusive users yourself, report any forms of abuse in violation with the Terms of Use/ Terms of Service to the site administrators immediately.
  • Keep content on social media platforms current – it is advisable rather to have two active profiles than ten semi-active and outdated ones.  
  • Prominently display your VOPE’s contact details where possible – donations and volunteerism are great social media spinoffs.
  • When using paid services, e.g. web-hosting, mail hosting, premium paid social media options, etc. keep track of expiration dates of these services, whether they auto-renew and which payment details are linked to them.

Ideally, you would want eventually to move towards some form of automation if your VOPE is running multiple social media profiles; a social media dashboard which combines all of these different accounts in one place might be an option to consider and will lessen the workload considerably. Alternatively, you could opt to use volunteers or interns to manage your social media presence, but keep track of who has what type of right to post and alter your social media profiles.



Social Media, Website, Communication

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