WeConservePA has updated its guide, “Social Media Basics for Conservation Organizations.” The guide is applicable to a broad range of conservation organizations and other nonprofit organizations.

Millions of people use social media on a regular basis to communicate with friends, access news, and follow topics of interest. Because of this, a great many organizations use social media accounts to enhance their internet presence. For most, social media accounts have become just as important as more traditional digital tools like websites and email lists. Usually, organizations have accounts on multiple social media platforms so they can reach the widest possible audience.

This guide focuses on the most established of the many platforms in use: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Additionally, the guide explores in briefer overview some other popular platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and TikTok. Creating an account on any of the major platforms is free, though options exist on some of the platforms to access greater design and control through paid account access.

Social media is a sophisticated way to connect to and build an informed and loyal audience. Organizations can use social media to showcase their work and shape their organization’s public image. Unlike websites, social media accounts do not require people to visit them intentionally; social media posts can show up on the screens of people who have never heard of your organization. This feature makes social media an effective tool for reaching new audiences—especially younger people—who might be interested in conservation but have not sought out the organization’s website or subscribed to their email list. From these new audiences can emerge donors, volunteers, event attendees, future staff members, and better-educated citizens. Social media accounts can also help people in an organization’s existing network stay involved, informed, and inspired.