It used to be that first thing in the morning, we’d brush our teeth, take a shower, workout, eat breakfast or turn on the television. Not necessarily in that order, but you get the gist. Nowadays, the first thing most of us do when we wake up is check email and look at our Facebook, Twittter or Instagram page for the latest news from friends, family and the world at large. Social media has clearly become an integral part of the modern lifestyle, which makes it an excellent way for nonprofits to connect with new and existing supporters.
Nonprofits understand this; however, many don’t know how to get started. With so many social media options the thought of understanding and managing multiple channels can be intimidating. However, the task becomes a lot more manageable if you take it one step at a time. At MobileCause, we work with nonprofits every day to create social media campaigns that drive awareness and increase funding for their causes.
Based on our work with nonprofit clients and the questions we get most often, we’ve pulled together some quick and easy tips for incorporating social media into your fundraising efforts.
#1 Determine the Right Channels
There are five main social channels to consider: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest. Ask the following questions to determine which channel or channels are the best for your campaign:
- Which channel/s have the most followers interested in your cause?
- Where do your prospects converse and share?
- Which individuals have the greatest influence in your community and where do they engage?
- Which channel/s are you most comfortable participating in?
Once you answer these questions, determine which social media channels are best for you. Do not jump into all of them at once. Pick one or two that you feel will work best with your audience and focus on them. Get comfortable and proficient with your preferred social media channel(s) before you tackle additional ones. Unless you have a full-time social media manager, it is unlikely you will ever be able to manage all your options. That’s OK. Stick with the ones you prefer and do them well.
#2 Select a Campaign Hashtag
Create a unique hashtag for your campaign and use it in all your social media posts. This allows you to organize the posts into one topic page. With all the conversations in one place, donors can easily find them and learn more about your fundraising efforts.
Encourage your supporters and donors to use the hashtag as well. This will also help you keep track of conversations relevant to your campaign. Some of my favorite fundraising hashtags include: #CharityTuesday, #giveback, #girlpower, #savemorepups and #socialgood.
#3: Leverage Your Community
Your community is the most powerful asset for meeting your goals. Your followers will help you start a dialogue about your cause, reach new audiences and drive donations.
Once you’ve determined which social media channels will work best for your cause, you can create campaign-specific posts that target donors without diluting your existing brand or outreach.
It’s important to use a push-pull technique when creating your posts. Take the time to write engaging posts that entice your community to respond. In addition, keep pushing updates to your community. Followers will appreciate being kept informed about the campaign, especially when important milestones have been met. In addition to creating content, engage with donors by liking and responding to their comments and questions in real-time to create lasting relationships and awareness within their feeds.
Expressing your gratitude is a great way to engage with your community and will help build a stronger following. Thanking donors and communicating the immediate impact their donation will have for the nonprofit shows how much their support means to the organization’s success.
#4 Find the Right Content Mix
The goal of using social media for your campaigns is to increase awareness and boost engagement, which will lead to contributions to your cause.
About 80% of your campaign-related social posts should educate and inform without focusing on ‘the ask.’ These posts help drive engagement and shares, and condition people to come back to your page for more. Post campaign updates, behind-the-scene looks and impact/success stories as well. Heartwarming and inspiring posts are a great way to remind your audience why they’re involved with your organization’s mission. Videos are effective in getting attention. They don’t have to have a high-product look and feel, in fact, people prefer selfies. Have the Executive Director provide a selfie video with updates on the organizations and convey appreciation for the community’s support.
And about 20% of your posts should focus on driving the user to contribute or share the campaign. If you focus on cultivating your community, gift-related posts will likely generate strong results.
#5 Track Results and Refine Accordingly
Rather than create a definitive content calendar, focus on an agile approach to social media.
- Start by creating one week of content that can be used across all the social channels of choice.
- Review and monitor the performance of each social media post. On Facebook, look for shares and comments to measure engagement. On Twitter, look for mentions and retweets. On Instagram, look for the number of likes of a photo or views of an Instagram story.
- Based on which posts perform the best, modify your content accordingly for maximum impact. Look at what types of content performed best – updates, stories, announcements. Monitor the days and times that perform best to schedule future posts.
In today’s ever-changing world, social media is crucial to the success of fundraising campaigns. Concentrate on creating snackable content and cultivating a community on social media so you can reach new audiences. The more effectively you use social media, the more supporters, contributions, pledges and donations you’ll receive.