Social Media Marketing Cheat Sheet

Hi y’all, I gave a social media marketing training in New York on Monday, and I developed something for it that you might be able to use. The training was for the web staff of the local chapters of a large national nonprofit, and we covered the basics of using tools like blogs, online video, social networking sites and email lists and discussion groups to promote their activities and help with membership and fundraising. As a takeaway (a trick I learned from Michael Bassik — if you can, leave a little something behind for the crowd), I created a cheap sheet that looks at the basic social media marketing tools, their pros and cons, and the essential considerations involved in a social media campaign. Here’s a link to the PDF; details are below.

Most of the points in the cheat sheet should be self-explanatory, but I’ll run through a couple of specifics:

Levels of Engagement

I like to use this structure to think about levels of engagement in social media marketing:

  • Observation — monitoring of social media outlets such as blogs, discussion groups and YouTube channels.
  • Interaction — behind-the-scenes discussion with opinion leaders and others (basically, blogger relations).
  • Contribution — adding to the social media stream by creating your own content, such as blog comments, blog posts, Facebook groups and causes, MySpace pages and online videos.
  • Solicitation — encouraging others to create content, whether it’s text, imagery or video, by creating a blog submission process, a contest or another public outlet.


Cost and time are pretty obvious and often interchangeable. By “blowback,” I mean the potential for something to blow up in your face, either behind the scenes or in public. A common thing to think about &#151 what do you do if someone says something rude or critical on your blog? (I’d suggest, leave it up and counter it politely and factually, but it’s one of those things that sometimes freaks board members out and makes them call staff in the middle of the night). Monitoring and filtering can help avoid a lot of blowback, as can careful planning.

Specific Pros and Cons

Most of these are covered in the appropriate Online Politics 101 article or in the list of online advocacy articles I gathered up for our NTC panel a couple of weeks ago. Any questions? Drop me a note. And if you use the cheat sheet for anything, let me know!


Written by
Colin Delany
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  • Thanks for this great resource, Colin! I hear nonprofits ask all the time, “what can this tool or tactic do for my organization?” and this simple breakdown is a perfect way to outline the high (and low) points of some potentially useful online tools.