presentations, website innovation

The Social Website: Integrating Social Media Into Your Website

4 Comments 22 March 2011

Seth Giammanco and I designed a workshop entitled “The Social Website” for the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference, which we presented last week. Seth is a principal at Minds on Design Lab, a print and interactive design and development studio and was the perfect partner with whom to design this session. We created the session to fill the demand for information about why, how and what kinds of social media an organization should consider using with its website. The session covered the goals of social media, categories of social media integration (types of social media to integrate with a website), examples of nonprofit social websites, additional resources, and a small group activity to design a social website based on a pre-selected scenario.

Goals of Social Media

After reviewing a LOT of nonprofit websites, we identified five primary reasons for integrating social media with a website. We also noticed that most websites had at least two primary goals for placing social media on their website, and sometimes more than two goals. The five basic goals of using social media within a website are:

  • Build followers in a nonprofit’s social media spaces
  • Create on-site engagement
  • Develop a sense of community on the website
  • Raise funds
  • Create a call to action

Categories of Social Media Integration

While reviewing websites, we specifically looked at what types of social media sites were using. We categorized the (almost limitless) social media possibilities into five categories of social media integration: show, share, interact, co-create, authenticate, and open source. The intensity of resources needed to integrate social media into a website span the continuum from relatively simple (show, share) to a medium level of resources needed/medium level of ease of integration (interact, co-create), to the more difficult integration for the DIYers (authenticate, open source). We offer examples from each of these categories within the slide presentation (below).


Seth created an incredible micro site that features social websites, called Get Social: a blog of nonprofit social websites. Get Social compiles information about social websites, how to get started creating a social website, and includes screen shots of social websites by goal and categories of integration. Most importantly, this is a great site for you to share YOUR social website, as well as examples you may find on the web, by submitting a social website for inclusion.

Small Group Scenario

The small group discussions and scenarios were wonderful. In one of them, we asked participants to come up with ideas for creating a website for a local farmer’s market with the goals of building supporters, engaging people on the site, and creating a community.  Ideas included co-creating a recipe book, co-creating recipes for the fresh recipes of the week, mapping where the produce comes from in relation to the farmer’s market, showing feeds from the social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter and social media icons, using FourSquare to check in and create specials, among others.

It was such a pleasure to present at NTC and to have the good fortune of presenting with an incredibly knowledgeable website designer. If you were not able to attend, or you have any questions or comments about the session, feel free to leave your comments below and we’ll answer them!





Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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