Users Are People Too

By Sara Veltkamp, Minerva Strategies —

While we know that people use social media, we tend not to think of social media users as people.

They are metrics; they are likes, shares, and sometimes, unfortunately, trolls.  However, it’s important to remember that each avatar connects to a person with a personality, private life, stressors, and all the things that make us human.

While the platforms and technology are always evolving, the basic principles of communicating with people are not.  I still hearken back to the words of the late Dale Carnegie in his oft-quoted book, How to Win Friends and Influence People: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

While he wasn’t talking about social media, he could have been. To be successful nonprofit communicators, digitally or in-person, we have to talk about more than just our programs, our fundraising campaigns, and our beneficiaries.

Curation v creation

Good content generators tend to think that they need to constantly be pumping out new content about their organization when in reality, social media is not just another place to tell your story. Eighty percent of content should be curated from relevant, smart people and organizations and repurposed to engage your target audience.

Good content curation not only makes you look smart, relevant, and a believer in the “we’re all in this together” philosophy, it also uses tried and true methods of relationship building; showing interest in others makes people more interested in you.  It’s true, and it works.

Curation still takes time, but less

Curation, like creation, is an art and takes time, though significantly less time than producing quality content from scratch.

To help yourself out, create Twitter lists of people who have expertise more niche than yours, people who make you think, and organizations that are always posting the type of content you would like to generate. recommends using Hootsuite to manage Twitter lists as you can set up the app to show you all of your list feeds at one time.

The people you choose to follow will not only give you good fodder for reposting, they will also give ideas for creating your own content. 

Creation: Quality over quantity

If 80 percent of your content is about others on social media, people will be more inclined to pay attention to the 20 percent that is about you.  Actually, they might even request it and look forward to it!

While there are numerous tools out there to help you out, the hard truth is that content generation is time consuming, and often difficult – no way around it.

But, the good news is that if you are following the 80/20 rule of curated v created content, you can focus your time on creating fewer, higher quality, original pieces.

While poor content with clickbait headlines may generate a higher number of user views, quality wins more people’s hearts and minds.  And people, not users, are going to keep your organization running.

About The Author

Sara Veltkamp

Sara Veltkamp

Vice President

Sara lives in Chicago, Illinois and is Minerva's vice president. She takes a lead role in all aspects of Minerva Strategies’ smart communication strategies and implementation. She loves a challenge and is obsessed with learning new things, from how to use new platforms and tools for storytelling to languages like Amharic, French, or Farsi to mastering a difficult yoga pose. She applies this energy and curiosity to all clients’ communication challenges. Learn more about Sara.