By Lauryn Rosinski – Marketing and public relations account coordinator 

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner – and, if you are one of the two billion social media users in the world, you are bound to see posts regarding this holiday.

Of course, it is great for organizations to recognize holidays on their social media. (In fact, for a future blog post, I will be giving some tips on how nonprofits can celebrate holidays on their social media platforms.) However, for this post, I don’t want to focus on Valentine’s Day specifically. I want to focus on “love” – more specifically, the “love” of social media itself.

As I have written in some of my previous blogs, social media is an incredibly effective communication tool. For nonprofits specifically, it can help them connect with the audiences they serve, including clients, volunteers, current donors and future donors. And, as our director of nonprofit consulting, Sara Lundenberger, covered in this blog post, social media will be important especially in reaching the  next generation of donors, which are millennials.

So, what do millennials in particular “love” about social media? To answer this question, I reached out to the millennial followers on my personal Facebook account.

Here are some of the most common reasons they gave for “loving” social media:

  1. Social media maintains connections.

My Facebook friend, who is a social media manager for several organizations, put it best: Social media platforms, particularly Facebook, maintains connections.

Facebook and Twitter allow users to stay connected with people. After all, social media  bridges the gap between friends who may be separated by distance, peers who may have lost touch and family members who don’t get to see each other as often as they would like.

Social media also upholds connections between people and organizations. Since social media is typically at users’ fingertips, they can constantly be in the know about the developments, opportunities and benefits of organizations near and far. In feeling connected to organizations’ pages, users better understand the organizations’ needs and their continuous impact.

This connectivity inspires users to take action.

  1. Social media allows users to gain different perspectives.

One of the complaints I hear about social media is that it gives access to “too many people with too many opinions.” For some millennials, however, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Yes, social media has its share of trolls (users who purposefully antagonize and intimidate others on social media platforms) and cyberbullies who talk a lot and say nothing – however, it also has a lot of well-informed and good-intentioned users, all with different perspectives and worldviews. Public social media platforms, especially Twitter, allow users to hear from people of different backgrounds, religions, sexual orientations, ethnicities, educational statuses – the list goes on.

Overall, social media gives millennials the opportunity to learn from and speak to audiences they may otherwise have been unable to access.

  1. Social media creates communities.

When asking my Facebook followers what they enjoyed about social media, one said that, when she was on any of her social media accounts, she was surrounded by people with similar, goofy senses of humor. Another friend said that she liked being a part of multiple Facebook groups, including a virtual book club and a private group dedicated to her college major.

I look at these comments from a broader scale. People like to feel as though they belong to a community. And, thanks to the number of social media users with varying interests, it is easy for millennials to find a social media community where they fit in.

This means that users can feel as though they are a part of nonprofit communities, too.

  1. Social media educates millennials on local, national and global issues.

One of my Facebook followers told me that she uses social media to “see what is going on in the world.” She is not alone; according to a study conducted in 2017, 67 percent of American adults use social media, especially Facebook, to get their news.

Millennials use their social media platforms to learn more about political, policy and economic issues. They also use these platforms to inform others about current affairs, whether it is by sharing articles or tagging one another in posts from news sites.

Though it is a common ideology, millennials are not lazy, oblivious and entitled. They are aware, engaged – and they want to make a difference.

So, what does this information mean for nonprofits?

If you work for a nonprofit, you may wonder why this information is important for your organization. Well, as I pointed out previously, millennials will be your next generation of clients, donors and volunteers.

To win this generation over, you will have to engage with them through social media – and you must do it in a way that appeals to them.

Based off of the results of my personal Facebook search, you can do this by:

  • Sharing consistent updates about your nonprofit that makes younger users feel connected to your organization
  • Providing them with the unique perspectives of the audiences you serve, your colleagues and other donors
  • Making them feel as though they belong to a community by including them in the conversation, whether it is by creating a Facebook group of young volunteers and donors or asking them to develop posts about your organization
  • Giving them information about issues affecting your organization to keep them well-informed and to inspire them.

And, if all of this seems overwhelming, contact us at Dot Org Solutions. We can help you with your social media needs.

Happy Valentine’s Day – and happy posting!

Need an agency to help you meet your nonprofit’s social media needs? Contact us at [email protected] or at 330.247.2180.