By Lauryn Rosinski – Marketing and public relations account coordinator
When I first started high school, I asked my dad if I could create a personal Facebook account.
My dad could have just said “yes” and that would have been the end of that conversation – however, he wasn’t going to make it that easy for me. Instead, he asked that I write a seven-page report and develop a PowerPoint presentation on the benefits of my having a Facebook account.
I remember reading countless articles that covered the relevance of social media. I eventually presented my findings to my father, explaining that social networking sites connected people together, helped users learn more about brands and companies and provided news to millions.
I conducted this research almost a decade ago. And social media has not disappeared – it has grown exponentially in popularity and in relevance. In fact, according to a study conducted by Hootsuite, 67 percent of business employees surveyed agree that social media will contribute to their bottom line and 87 percent said that social media is important to stay competitive.
Overall, organizations should have strong social media presences in order to create brand awareness, communicate with audiences, increase lead conversions and revenue, and more. Nonprofit organizations are no exceptions to this notion. Like their for-profit counterparts, nonprofits must build strong brands, communicate with those who need their services and show their relevance to donors to generate contributions.
If you work in a nonprofit and want your organization to have engaging social media platforms, here are some best practices you can implement:
- Decide what social networks work best for your nonprofit.
As the marketing and public relations account coordinator for Dot Org Solutions, I have worked with several clients by creating content for and managing social media accounts. In my experiences, I have found that there is not a “better” social media network – certain platforms are simply “better” for certain clients.
Don’t waste your time and resources posting on a social media platform that is not reaching your audiences. If you find that your Facebook page is getting significantly more traction than your Twitter page is, focus on posting more quality content through Facebook. This is very important for small nonprofits. If you can only manage one platform, pick the one with the most impact and skip the others.
This leads to my next point…
- Focus on quality over quantity.
It can be tempting to post as much content as possible on your social media platforms to try and engage your audiences. However, sometimes posting too frequently can have the opposite effect on the people you are trying to reach.
Focus on only posting or sharing content that is relevant to your followers on your social media platforms. If you are unsure if what you are posting is relevant, ask yourself this question:
“If I were to stand in front of a room of people that my nonprofit serves and summarize my social media post aloud, would they be engaged?”
If your organization is providing a new service, that is definitely worth sharing on social media. If it is a silly holiday, such as National Dog Day, perhaps you should just share that on your personal Facebook page. (Unless, of course, your nonprofit is a no-kill shelter or a humane society – in which case, proudly tell your nonprofit’s followers about this holiday.)
- Share images and videos that tell stories on your social platforms.
Posts with have visual content attached perform significantly better on social media platforms than those that do not. In fact, according to Sprout Social, Facebook posts with an image have an 87 percent higher interaction rate than plain-text posts. And videos reach 135 percent more audiences than posts with images.
Still, it is not enough to post a selfie on your social media and expect your followers to like and comment. Social media is a wonderful tool because it allows its users to tell stories. Make sure that the visual content you are posting speaks to your audiences.
If your organization helps underserved students find scholarship opportunities, perhaps you could share a video of one of your students receiving their college acceptance letter. If your organization provides resources to homeless veterans, consider taking a picture of your volunteers collecting nonperishable items.
Find what visual content shows followers your organization’s mission – and make sure you have permission from your subjects to share that content.
- Don’t underestimate (or overestimate) the “Donate” button on Facebook.
Many charitable and philanthropic organizations have limited financial resources. Oftentimes, they need to find funding from outside sources.
Of course, requesting funds from foundations through grant writing and planning fundraisers for donors can help your organization – however, there are even some online tools that can inspire donors to give.
This is where the “Donate” button on Facebook comes into play. Donors who are compelled by your stories often feel compelled to give right then. The donate button gives your followers opportunities to make those gifts quickly.
There are a few things to know about the Facebook “Donate” button. First, you do not capture the donor’s information. Having donor information is important for stewardship activities, such as letting them know how their gift is used. Also, data is important for subsequent follow up solicitations. Second, don’t rely only on this platform to secure online gifts. Make sure you have your own donation button on your website and push donors there as much as possible, so you can capture data and let them know how their gift is being used.
With nonprofits, every dollar given is important – and the “Donate” feature may get your organization more than a few dollars.
- Ask for help.
Yes. This whole process can be overwhelming. Many people don’t know that achieving a strong social media presence requires so much strategy, thought and work.
At this point, you might be wondering: “How can I possibly take on such a beast of a project, especially when I’m juggling a million other tasks at work?”
The good news is, many times, you do not have to manage your social media platforms alone.
For most social media platforms, you can have multiple administrators and editors. This means that multiple people can track the success of your social media content and post from their own electronic devices. Managing a nonprofit’s social media account is also a great job for an eager intern or a marketing professional on your team.
Finally, don’t forget that you could always use an outside marketing agency to take your organization’s social media presence to the next level – and Dot Org Solutions is one such agency.
People joke that social media is merely a hub for political arguments and cat videos. However, this could not be further from the truth. When “done well,” social media can connect people to resources, educate others, help organizations grow and even start movements.
I knew 10 years ago that social media was important. And, after convincing my dad to let me get an account, I have learned more about and have come to know this social outlet well.
So, if you are still unsure of where to start with your social media, contact us at Dot Org Solutions. We are only an email – or a social media message – away.
For more insight into social media best practices, email us at [email protected].