When I first met Dress for Success Oregon’s Executive Director Shari Dunn, it was kismet. We knew we would work together one day to help Oregon women. It wasn’t long before we crafted a plan to kick-off our collaboration in the form of a mini social media summit!

Earlier this month, Sharon Rowe, Combustible’s Client Relations Manager and social media guru extraordinaire, conducted a training session for a group of Dress for Success staff, board members and volunteers. The goal of the training was two-fold: help the organization develop a cohesive social media strategy and identify the best platforms to engage with supporters. Sharon Rowe said, “Dress for Success does really great work coaching women as they re-enter the work force. Let’s help them show the world the marvelous things they do to make a difference in women’s lives.”

 Combustible Media Team leads Social Media Summit for Dress for Success Oregon!

Combustible Media Team leads Social Media Summit for Dress for Success Oregon!

The training session quickly became a conversation, with both strategic and practical questions being raised:  how do we promote a specific event; what pitfalls should we watch out for with so many of our staff & volunteers posting to social media; are there privacy issues to consider when taking photos of our DFS clients; how often should we post?  Collectively, the group reached a lot of common sense solutions to these questions with an eye toward retaining a sense of fun and spontaneity when developing the “collateral” for social media posts. 

As Sharon pointed out to the group, “Helping your clients assemble an outfit and choosing accessories should be like shopping with a girlfriend:  FUN! Capture those moments and share them.”
The training also offered a wide-range of tips on how to use social media to expand the organization’s reach. Here are three things we shared with Dress for Success which would serve any organization as they develop and grow their social media presence:

1.     Know your audience. Who is your organization trying to reach with posts on Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Twitter or Tumblr? The length and frequency of posts will be different depending on whether the intended outcome is soliciting donations, inviting supporters to an event or working to engage your fans and clients in your products and services.

2.     Embrace images. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” A blog post or Facebook update packs more punch and gets more attention when there is a compelling image attached to the message. Imagery can range from a single photo, 3-5 images in a single post to a video when appropriate.

3.     Develop a social media calendar. Use a spreadsheet to organize your topics, message and images to be used.  Identify when content was posted, if it needs to be re-posted, and on which platforms it was posted. Organization is essential for maximizing the effectiveness of a social media strategy, regardless of whether you have one person responsible for this task or many.

In addition to our social media summit collaboration with Dress for Success Oregon, another member of our Combustible Media team is involved in Dress for Success.  Rachel Bernhardt volunteers as a wardrobe consultant, regularly working with Dress for Success clients in assembling outfits appropriate for an interview or their first day on the job!

For more information about Dress for Success Oregon, visit their website.