Social media is a growing landscape for marketing and helping nonprofit organizations tell their story to the world. Whether you are a well-established nonprofit or an up-and-coming one, social media should be the gateway between you and your potential donors. Deciding on which platform will best suit the needs of your organization is your first step. Knowing your demographic audience and who you want to engage with, is a critical step when it comes to social media marketing. Let’s get down to how to take advantage of all the perks that come with certain platforms—in particular, Twitter and Instagram.
First things first, let’s take it back to school days when your teacher assigned you a homework assignment. Now that you are running a nonprofit with a team of talented volunteers or part time staff, you will be the one assigning these assignments to attract donors and to let potential clients know about the services your organization offers. After the team you’ve assembled has established the goals for the week or month it’s now time to execute that “homework” assignment. The first assignment that should be on the syllabus, before any concrete strategies take place, is research. Get to know other nonprofits in your area especially, then move on to well-known organizations throughout the country to see their best-practices and to see where your nonprofit can retool your messaging.
What does research entail? When conducting research for your social media content, you want to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. How are your fellow nonprofits executing their mission? Does their messaging align with those of your own organization? Who are they following on Social Media? What content are they posting? The simplest way to track this data is by curating a simple tracker (we prefer to use Google Sheets) to list out the organizations that you’ve researched with metrics such as their user engagement, hashtags used, how frequently they post, and more. To have a more robust way to manage your your research, consider using one of many apps such asSprout Social andHootsuite. Overall, monitoring and at times collaboration with like-missioned organizations is going to help you get an idea of what content is working for this ever-changing landscape. Keeping up to date with trends is key, or you’ll be left behind.
Let’s get into the first major platform: Instagram. Using the perks of Instagram is a chance for your organization to highlight your mission through beautiful photos and videography. Take advantage of the new updates that have been put in place just for you! Research shows that potential clients are more engaged with bold photos and exciting stories, rather than infographics and constant writing. A picture really is worth a thousand words, so try not to be too wordy in the comment section. Let your page be clean and show off your brands color schemes and objectives.
A potential donor or client should be able to get a basic understanding of your brand simply from your photos. The new perks of Instagram are the feature that allows you pay for your advertising to boost awareness to an upcoming event or fundraiser. Be strategic in your photo and video choice by allowing the clips to bring in more engagement and followers. If paying for ads is not in your budget, no worries; Instagram stories will allow you to add more content without the cost. Brainstorm fun ideas with your team that can be added to your story, such as Boomerangs (a short clip on repeat), slow-motion videos, and polls.
Polls are a great way to hear what your current followers would like to see more of. Test the new poll perk by asking your followers, “What content would you like to see more of?” Give a few options and share the results by the end of the day. Just be sure not to over use it.
Engagement is key. A perk of Instagram is the countless number of potential followers and clients. Your followers are your new Instagram family. Be sure to chat with them every day. Ask them to tag you in post of volunteering or participating in workshops. Searching hashtags centered around nonprofits can be as simple as using words that naturally appeal to your demographic such as #fundraising, #giveback, #weloveourvolunteers or simply create your own. Be sure to comment on their posts to let them know your account is not strictly automated. It’s okay to schedule out postings for the week, just make sure you are also keeping up with your followers to keep them interested. Your brand should be your mission as well as the people!
Twitter is a platform that is still taking the world by storm. It is a great way to add in some humor and allow followers a peek into your organization’s personality. Companies such as Wendy’s and Taco Bell, have used their accounts to engage with their followers while going viral for satirical tweets. Twitter is a great place to be light-hearted about your business and to spread curated as well as original content with ease. The perks of reposting interesting and engaging content is a sure way to grow followers.
Twitter is a great platform to post video content as well as promotions that your organization is hosting. Be sure that you are taking advantage of hashtags like Instagram. Your content should be fresh and new daily. See what topics are trending in the nonprofit world, then hop in to the discussions. Lastly, do not miss the opportunity to join in the ever popular Twitter chats to engage with other professionals and increase your knowledge related to trending issues. Speaking to people is key, so reach out to influencers as you can via direct message if their mission and audience aligns with yours. Remember that big business and your future corporate donors are now on Twitter and you should be, too!
Social media is here for your advantage! Be sure that you use their perks in your favor. Happy posting!
Erica B. Gwyn has 20+ years of experience in fundraising and nonprofit program management with a specialization in STEM youth development. She holds expertise in the acquisition, retention and closeout procedures for more than $20.5 million in federal, state and local grants. Erica is also a licensed Early Care Administrator through the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. She is the CEO & President of The Nonprofit Guru, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in supporting emerging nonprofits with budgets under $3 Million with fundraising and compliance resources. Gwyn currently volunteers her time with the State of GA Department of Education - STEM School Certification Review Panel & Advisory Committee, Atlanta Belt-line Tax Allocation District Advisory Committee, Women of UGA, Junior League of Atlanta and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.