Most nonprofits have figured out by now that having a social media account is just half the battle. Not only do you need to post engaging imagery, but you’ve got to engage as well. Success in social media starts with listening, and culminates in action.

The social media conversation surrounding your nonprofit is likely a mix of praise, questions, concerns and the occasional rude comment. It can be tough to know how to respond to your followers in every circumstance, but generally speaking, you’ll want to first empathize with your customer’s problem should one arise. 

Stephen Covey said it best: “Seek first to understand…”. But don’t make the common mistake of only responding to the negative. It’s easy to get defensive and focus your efforts on those who throw shade on your organization, but don’t forget to appreciate and interact with the positive too. When people give you a virtual high five, don’t leave them hanging. Return the high five.

As we were looking for some examples of organizations doing this well, we stumbled across this- and it’s pretty awesome.

Shaedon Wedel asked his best friend's little sister, Carlie Wittman, who has Down Syndrome, to the prom with a bouquet of flowers, a bag of Doritos and special T-shirt. Why, you ask?

Doritos are Carlie’s favorite snack, so why not mix in your favorite cheesy, crunchy goodness into a promposal?

Once Doritos found out about this awesome story, they decided to chip in (sorry, I had to) and return the high five in a big way- and we mean big. They sent these two to prom in the Doritos helicopter. What?! How amazing is that?? Way to go, Doritos.

So, we can’t all send our loyal followers on branded helicopters to a dance, but you can still return the high five in your own special way that will make your advocates feel valued.

Here are four quick tips to giving the best high five ever:

1. Choose which platforms you want to use for customer service and make sure you have someone assigned to manage/watch/listen each of those.

2. Decide on your schedule of availability and post it on your profile.

3. Set up a convenient way to monitor all social media channels (utilize a social media management solution such as Hootesuite or Hubspot) so you don't miss an opportunity to engage.

4. Decide in advance that you’re not going to only respond to the negative chatter, but that you’ll go out of your way to wow the people who give you social media high fives.

Now go be your own version of Doritos. You've got this. 

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