Effective social media allows an organization to engage key audiences, attract participants and share information instantly. When we first started working with nonprofit Friendship Foundation For International Students (FFIS), its only social media presence was on Facebook. We recognized that FFIS needed to better utilize social media to keep members up to date and to increase engagement. Here are the steps we took to implement a social media plan for FFIS.

Step 1: Establish an Online Presence  

We created an FFIS Twitter account to connect with volunteers and students, showcase FFIS’ personality and quickly disseminate information.  We also use Instagram to create a visual identity through photos and videos. Both outlets are highly popular among millennials, a target audience of the organization.

To introduce and increase awareness of the new Twitter and Instagram accounts, we wrote an article in FFIS’ bimonthly email newsletter introducing them. We continued to promote the accounts in following newsletters, and included handle information on flyers distributed within the community and on campus.

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Step 2: Increase Participation

We wanted to encourage current members to share their FFIS experiences on Twitter and Instagram. We also created the hashtag #FFISOregon to track participation among students, and make it easier for them to find and join the conversation.

Step 3: Connect with Organizations

We reached out to organizations and clubs on campus that would benefit from connecting with FFIS by tagging them in posts highlighting programs and events.

For example, University of Oregon fraternity and sorority members are required to complete community service hours each term, and FFIS provides a fun opportunity to do so. The picture below shows how we connected with this audience using Twitter.

FFIS Tweet

Step 4: Trade a Post For a Post

Another strategy we used was to trade a post for a post, posting on Facebook and Twitter about another campus organization, in exchange for a post about FFIS. We contacted clubs like the Outdoor Program because students who are affiliated with this club have studied abroad or are looking for cultural experiences. Below is a picture featuring the Facebook post the Outdoor Program created to promote FFIS.

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Overall, our team acknowledged the need for FFIS to raise awareness of its programs and engage current members using social media. Before the school year comes to an end, we plan to continue posting valuable and consistent information to further increase FFIS’ membership base.

Interested in learning more about FFIS? Join the conversation and leave us a comment below!


Brooke Bonime is a senior at the University of Oregon majoring in public relations with a minor business and communications. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Stefanie Schulz is a senior at the University of Oregon studying public relations and Spanish. Follow her on Twitter here or LinkedIn here.

Marita Barger is a senior at the University of Oregon studying public relations with a minor in nonprofit administration. Follow her on Twitter here.

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