Best Free Social Media Tools for Nonprofit Organizations
WRITTEN BY COREY BLAKE
We’ve talked about how to expand your social media reach to drive awareness, engagement, donations, and donor retention. When planning out your strategy with social media, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the actual day-to-day work of managing a social media presence. Fortunately, you’re not alone. Others have created online tools to make life easier for posting to social media.
While many of these tools offer premium plans, we know that nonprofits must be more careful with their budget. So, we’ve found the best tools with everyone’s favorite price… free!
Designing posts that are right for each platform can be challenging. With Canva, they have hundreds of thousands of templates, photos and graphics available so you can create eye-catching posts that are perfectly sized.
Finding the right picture to capture the spirit of your mission and the need of your campaign can be challenging. If you don’t have a good photo of your own, and Canva’s library isn’t turning up anything, try Unsplash. They have a deep library of high resolution and high quality images that is constantly growing, and a great search engine so you don’t waste time looking for the best possible pictures. There’s no licensing fee, just a request to display a credit for the photographer.
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Each social media platform has their quirks about how they display images. To avoid getting awkward crops on your image or graphic, you’ll want to make sure you size it for each platform. Once again, Canva’s templates will help with this, but if you’re creating something custom Pixlr is like a mini-Photoshop with all the features you’ll need to resize, crop, and adjust the canvas size to give you what you need for your posts to social media. You can also touch up images, add layers, and do other more advanced tricks. Like Photoshop, the more you experiment with it, the more you’ll learn, and soon you’ll be an image editing wiz!
HootSuite and Facebook Business Suite
Once you have what you want to post, you can schedule posts to go live at just the right time. There are a few options here and it depends on what social media platforms you’re using. If you have any combination of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you can use a combination of Hootsuite and Facebook Business Suite to get the most out of these free tools.
You can use HootSuite for scheduling tweets to Twitter. The free version only lets you schedule 5 social media posts at a time and limits the number of platforms you can schedule to, but you can save posts as drafts before scheduling them. HootSuite can also post to LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and others. HootSuite also has a mini-photo editor for cropping images to recommended sizes.
For Facebook and Instagram, you can use Facebook’s native Facebook Business Suite. We recommend linking your two accounts, which will give both accounts more access to Business Suite analytics and functionality, including scheduling posts to both channels. There is no limit to the number of posts you can schedule, and you can choose to schedule to both Facebook and Instagram with a single post or to either one.
Finally, how did the posts do? Each social media platform has its own native analytics dashboard worth using. If you want to go even further, Google Analytics can give you deeper analytics on how people are landing on your website, donation form or other destination, and is a good way to see the bigger picture of how all of these platforms are working together to help your nonprofit grow.
Each of these tools are a fantastic way to take the next step in social media. As you try them out, they should inspire you with new ideas for posts. As you advance, you may find it’s time to take the plunge into a paid account on one more of these tools. Progress at the pace that is most comfortable to you.
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