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Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Nonprofits

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  • Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Nonprofits

Most people work for nonprofits because they are highly passionate about whatever cause the organization stands for. For this reason, nonprofits are often not staffed as well as they should be, the workers are not being paid as well as they should be, and there is more work to do than time to do it in – especially when it comes to social media for nonprofits.

For these reasons, marketing can sometimes be pretty low on the list of priorities. As far as tasks that need to be done, marketing is typically less urgent than many of the other tasks. However, this doesn’t make it less important.

Everyone knows they need to have a social media presence. In the hectic atmosphere of a nonprofit, though, social media often gets the least amount of time.

It may be tempting to just set up profiles on the major social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have someone post content on them once a day and leave it at that.

There is so much more, though, that nonprofits can be doing with their social media to draw attention to their cause, bring in more donations and volunteers, and create more buzz within the community.

Social media can be a great way to bring in support from the community, share touching and evocative stories with followers, and create a strong and credible brand voice in your field.

Social Media for Nonprofits

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Create a unique social media for nonprofits strategy

The marketing and social media efforts of a nonprofit organization need to be different from a for-profit business.

A for-profit business has a service or product to offer customers. A lot of its social media marketing is about how its products or services meet the needs of the customer or benefit the customer in some way.

A nonprofit is, in most cases, asking for something from the community: asking for a donation, asking for volunteer time, asking for support. Or it may simply be trying to spread awareness about a specific cause.

The content a nonprofit should post on social media should be more about informing the viewer. It should be thought-provoking. Sometimes, it should be emotional.

Another way nonprofit organizations differ from for-profit businesses is that nonprofits do not have the same amount of time or money to spend on social media so they need to make sure they are being efficient.

Some great strategies for efficiency and productivity are using tools like content calendars and schedulers, having a comprehensive understanding of social media security essentials, and designating a certain time every day for social media interaction.

Whatever strategy you decide upon, it’s a good idea to have a brainstorming session with others in your nonprofit to get the ideas flowing. What are your social media for nonprofits goals? How would you like to engage with followers on social media? How are you hoping to reach out to your community?

Generate interesting and engaging video content

People want to see thought-provoking video content. They are more likely to watch a video than to read a long post.

This is why platforms like TikTok are doing so well. These short videos are quite addicting. If you spend any amount of time scrolling through TikTok or Instagram Stories, you will quickly understand why.

It has also been shown that viewers retain 95% of a message when they consume it by watching a video as opposed to just 10% when consuming a message by reading it. This can be particularly important for nonprofits to note as so much of the content that a nonprofit shares on social media is informational for the viewer.

Additionally, in 2022, the average person will spend 100 minutes per day watching videos online. That’s a lot of time you could be missing out on if you aren’t creating engaging video content for your social media followers.

Are you shy about appearing on camera? Try putting together a video with stock footage, moving text, voiceover, or animated graphics.

Be consistent with your brand

When people think of brands, they often think of icons like Nike’s logo or Target’s red-and-white bullseye. But it’s also important for nonprofits to have a recognizable and consistent brand.

Basically, your branding is the way you tell the story about your cause to the world. It boils down to the visual and written way you communicate who your organization is and what you do. You don’t always get a lot of time to communicate these things, and sometimes, you have to use logos, color palettes, imagery, graphics, and more.

One way to be consistent with your brand is to create a strong brand image that is easily recognizable. You want to create brand guidelines including primary and secondary colors, primary and secondary fonts, a brand logo, and logo variations to use in different situations.

Another idea that can be helpful is to always use the same photo filter to give any images or graphics the same look. This is especially important, for example, when a viewer looks at your profile on Instagram.

You must write up all of these brand guidelines into a guidebook to give to any freelance graphic designers, writers, video editors, or content creators who may be helping you with content creation for your social media.

This way, you can ensure that you will always have consistency. This will lead to credibility and help to convey professional messaging to your supporters and donors.

You can even create an additional section of the brand guide specifically as a guide for your brand’s social media. This can help to make your social media goals more cohesive and apparent to everyone in the nonprofit.

You will also want to make sure that social media security efforts are in place so that your organization’s information is secure. For example, if you do have freelancers working with you, don’t give all of them login access to your social media accounts if you don’t need to and set up two-factor authentication for accounts you don’t want them to use. Instead, give them the specifications for graphics, videos, or text posts to create so that you can then post to your social media accounts yourself.

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Engage with the community regularly

Many social media for nonprofit strategies only include posting content and interacting with comments posted on the content. This is fine, but there are many missed opportunities here.

You want to make sure the content you are posting is inviting your followers to engage. Include a thought-provoking question to get your followers chatting.

You can also comment on posts from other brands, particularly related brands or other nonprofits. Maybe there are brands you have teamed up with in the past or other causes your nonprofit supports.

You can also use social media for nonprofits to connect on a more personal level with your community. Be sure to answer any direct messages you may receive from individual followers or respond to comments.

It may also be effective to collaborate with influencers who are related to your nonprofit. For example, if your organization helps homeless youth, and you find a popular YouTuber who used to be a homeless teenager, perhaps they want to do a video sponsored by your nonprofit.

These are important things to consider when you are brainstorming and creating your social media for nonprofits strategy. What is your strategy going to be for engaging with the community? Will you have someone set aside 30 minutes a day, for example, to interact with posts? Jot down a list of ideas for ways that you can interact with your followers.

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Organize, plan, and schedule your content

While it’s possible to just fly by the seat of your pants with content and improvise, that’s not generally a good idea.

Like with any project, creating a clear project timeline with tasks, dates, and actions is a good approach to social media. Planning ahead with a content calendar allows you to consider holidays. Yes, well-known holidays like Valentine’s Day and Labor Day but also holidays that may be relevant to your nonprofit like International Volunteer Day or World Suicide Prevention Day.

These types of days are usually about spreading awareness for certain causes. There are many graphics or videos you could create to share for days like these.

Nonprofits typically have tight staffing needs and diminished time availability, so you must make every minute of social media time as useful as possible. To get the most out of your time, it’s critical to be organized and plan things out.

It’s important to realize, though, that nothing is carved in stone, and you can always be flexible. Sometimes there is a big cultural event you will want to comment on instead of posting that scheduled infographic. Give yourself the room to be spontaneous when you need to be.

Consider local SEO efforts

When considering an SEO strategy, many brands think of SEO as separate from social media. However, blending your social media for nonprofits strategy and your SEO strategy–particularly local SEO–can make sure you get the most out of your content.

There are many ways to mix SEO and social media strategies. You may want to try repurposing old content. If you have an old blog post that performed well, why not turn it into a video? If you have an interesting video, can you turn it into an infographic?

You can also utilize the analytics tools on the various social media platforms to get a better understanding of your audience. This will give you a better idea of what content is performing well, which platforms are working for your brand, what times your followers are most active, the demographics of your target audience, and more insights.

Social media for nonprofits can be a great way to build relationships, which can then be a nice way to get other high-quality websites to link back to your website, which is good for SEO.

Another way to improve your local SEO is to encourage your supporters to write comments and posts on your social media profiles, particularly if they have attended events in person or have pictures to post.

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Use the different platforms as they are intended

Every social media platform has different strengths. Twitter is great for short, witty comments or punchy, thought-provoking statements. Instagram is an excellent visual medium for graphics or photographs. Facebook is a nice place where families and communities share content.

Pinterest is great for crafts and projects. TikTok is an excellent place to make political videos. Who knows what social media platforms will pop up in the future?

It’s important to use each platform for its strengths. Don’t just create the same content and share it everywhere. Or maybe switch up the way you are sharing the content on each platform. Maybe switch up the days you share on different platforms.

Do some research. Look at your analytics. When are your followers most active on Twitter? When are they most active on Facebook? When are they most active on Instagram? These are all great things to keep in mind whenever you are creating a content calendar.

Be sure to specify what time you plan to post on these platforms. It may be helpful to use a tool to automate your posts on social media so you don’t even have to think about it.

Also, make sure you are optimizing your profile on all of the platforms. For example, use linktrees on Twitter and Instagram where you only get one link in your bio. This will allow you to link to multiple places from one page.

Think outside of the box

One of the best ways to excel at social media for nonprofits is to stand out from all the other brands’ social media accounts. This means you can’t be afraid to be creative, be unique, and experiment.

The great thing about social media is that it moves so fast. If you try something that doesn’t quite hit the mark, it will quickly be forgotten, especially if it’s deleted and replaced with new content.

Don’t be afraid to try new platforms and new features. Your followers will appreciate your ability to stand out and spread awareness for your cause.

The idea of social media can be overwhelming, especially for nonprofits, which are already typically understaffed, overworked, and running low on time. But it doesn’t have to be such a chore.

Use these above tips to tackle your social media for nonprofits strategy and allow these platforms to benefit your nonprofit. Creating engaging social media content will get more visitors to your website and clicking that donation button, which will definitely help your cause.

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