t’s almost a given that your organization needs a social media strategy, but the choices of platforms and tactics can be often overwhelming and bewildering. Demystifying the process is the first order of business for your organization. Follow these simple steps to make it easier to get started.

» Get Team Buy-In. Whenever you lay out a strategy, be sure to get buy-in from the entire team. Social media doesn’t occur in a silo; you need to know what everyone is up to, from the fundraising folks, to PR, to programs and the advocacy team — or whatever your departmental break up is.

The worst thing that can happen is a campaign that doesn’t flow well. A big social media failure is when a fundraising piece goes out in the mail, or an ad goes into the newspaper and it is not supported by the social media efforts. Lack of communication or miscommunication occurs when an entire team is not in sync. To get in sync, you must first get buy-in from the various team members.

» Pick A Platform. You don’t have to be on all the social networks overnight. What is your team good at doing? Once you have an answer, pick a platform that maximizes that medium.

Maybe there’s an excellent graphics/visual arts individual on your team. Stick to Facebook, or maybe Pinterest. If video is your thing, then make YouTube your most dynamic platform that you drive traffic to. Got a wannabe photojournalist? Then join the Instagram bandwagon!

There’s no benefit in committing your organization to a daily tweet if Twitter’s just not a platform that will optimize your organization’s content.

» Outline a Protocol and Delineate Who Is Responsible. All the planning in the world won’t help your organization execute a good social media strategy unless the nuts and bolts are in place. Your protocol should include language and style guidelines, approval chain of command and timeframe details, and, most important, who is responsible for which tasks. Who has the final authority to approve what “goes out”? Who is going to post on Facebook? Maybe you have more than one person on the social media team. It’s advisable to have a different member be responsible for a different platform.

— Olivia Uribe is the owner of The Digital Inclusion, a Santa Barbara-based online media management company for businesses and nonprofit organizations. She recently released a 60-page Social Media For Nonprofits: Strategy Guide. Click here to purchase it online. Email oliviauribe@thedigitalinclusion.com and tell us that you saw this post on Noozhawk to receive five hours of consulting when you purchase the Social Media For Nonprofits: Strategy Guide. The opinions expressed are her own.