Social Media for Nonprofits, Part 1: 9 Ways To Maximize Your Approach for Greater Impact
Establishing a presence on social media is an important communications tool for nonprofits to raise awareness and achieve goals. It can be used to build your email list, cultivate current donor relationships and attract new supporters, enlist volunteers, and promote your organization as a thought leader.
The social media landscape changes rapidly, with new algorithms and features forcing you to use new tactics. As a nonprofit, you may be aware of the importance of social media, but you may find it challenging to keep up with best practices and make your organization truly stand out.
If you want to be more strategic about your social media marketing, here are nine tips to keep in mind.
1. Leverage Facebook for Fundraising
Facebook’s algorithm changes have made it exceedingly hard for organizational pages to engage their followers organically. To get traction on Facebook, you need to pay to boost posts or advertise. However, you can make Facebook marketing work for you by leveraging your organization’s influencers or supporters for fundraising efforts. Facebook states that its platform has helped raise more than $5 billion through fundraisers shared by individuals. Reach out to your partners or volunteers and provide them content to easily share fundraisers for your nonprofit on the platform, as the fundraisers are more likely to get engagement.
2. Audience Building Is Easier on Instagram
Engaging organically can be difficult on Facebook, but it’s much easier on Instagram. There are countless ways to maximize your Instagram presence and keep supporters updated on your work:
- Use popular hashtags like #MotivationMondays to share success stories about your efforts.
- Add Linktree to provide an easy way to connect your followers to your content from your bio link.
- Create simple and short videos on Instagram Stories or IGTV with photo slideshows, graphics and informal phone videos — and use Instagram Story Highlights to save those videos long-term; otherwise, they disappear in 24 hours.
- Try out the new feature Instagram Reels to share short video content more widely.
3. Establish Thought Leadership on LinkedIn
Many nonprofits overlook LinkedIn as a job search or business-to-business-only network. With more than 774 million members, LinkedIn is the perfect place to cultivate your organization’s thought leadership and get noticed. Publish articles, connect with potential partners, recruit volunteers and promote your upcoming events. Engage new audiences by strategically using hashtags for your field. Ask staff, board members and partners with individual profile pages to share your content. Also, make sure that staff links to your organization from their LinkedIn profile experience section.
4. Clarify Your Social Media Message
Before you start creating new posts across your social media channels, think about how to portray your brand. What’s unique point of view and how is it unique in your field? What is the tone for your content? Are you humorous, political, uplifting, professional or something else?
5. Plan Your Social Media Content Calendar
Once you know what your social media marketing goals are, start planning a content calendar. The best-performing content is based around stories, so develop a storybank to organize and keep stories to release on your social media channels. Also, don’t hold back on posting more than once about the same piece of content, especially if it’s rich and full of details. Each post can highlight a different aspect of the article, story or report you’re sharing. Posting more than once keeps your content from getting lost and increases the chances your followers will actually see it.
6. Tap Into Your Influencer Network
When individuals spread your message it helps grow awareness for your cause. Find the influencers or partners, including funders, who have a larger reach and ask them to share news about your nonprofit. Send them prewritten posts, photos and hashtags so they don’t have to do all the work.
7. Conduct a Landscape Analysis
Take a look at the platforms and posts of other groups you admire or organizations you might be competing with for donor dollars. See which posts work well for them and find a way to adapt their success to your brand, goals, and point of view.
8. Managing the work process
Social media marketing requires constant effort. With scheduling and management tools like Buffer or Hootsuite, you can set up your posts in advance and have them published at the best times. Also, make sure to monitor your platforms directly to respond to comments or engage with partner organizations. When you like and share their content, it will make them more likely to do the same for you.
9. Follow the Best Resources
Stay up on the latest trends in social media by following experts. Classy, Social Media Today, and Social Media Examiner all have excellent resources for social media marketing and report on industry updates.
Your organization can get the most out of social media and use it to truly boost awareness and engagement. You have to know how to use it strategically. With these tips in mind, you’re on your way to a more effective social media marketing strategy.
Editor’s Note: This is the first part of a two-part series on Social Media for Nonprofits. Part two will provide more specific social media platform strategies and tactics for success.
Leeann Alameda has more than 20 years of experience in directing and implementing best practices in marketing, branding, communications and advertising in both the private and nonprofit sectors. She is the founder and principal consultant of Alameda Marketing Solutions, which provides marketing strategy and branding services for nonprofits, foundations and mission-driven businesses.