Social media solutions for nonprofits
We can’t say it enough – social media is a highly effective promotional tool for a number of different industries. Nonprofits should use a variety of social media solutions to connect with interested constituents and reach a new audience.
Data found in the the Nonprofit Quarterly from the Case Foundation reported that email and nonprofit websites are still considered the most important channels for these organizations, despite the prevalence of social media. However, 97 percent of charities utilize Facebook.
Sharing how you’re caring
Most organizations use social media solutions as a platform to announce big news about themselves, whether it’s promoting events or communicating information about the nonprofit. However, the best practice for nonprofit social media use is to use it to share issue-centric information because this will resonate with donors. Only 53 percent of organizations were doing this, according to the Case Foundation.
More posts about your cause are important to engage with Millennials (born 1980-1995). This age group is more concerned with causes than particular organizations, so exclusively posting requests for donations and nonprofit-centric content will likely miss the mark.
Are social media solutions becoming more challenging for nonprofits?
Although social media solutions have the capacity to reach a wider audience, it can be tricky to connect with the right people. Even if your constituents follow you on Facebook and Twitter, there’s no guarantee that everyone will see all your posts.
There are some times that are better than others for making posts on each network, but testing is the best way to determine this information. In general, studies and surveys agree that posts to Facebook and Twitter in the early morning (7am – 9am) and early evening (5pm – 7pm) get the most Likes and Shares. There are theories behind Thursday and Friday being the best days to post based on people spending more time on social media the more they don’t want to be at work.
Beyond nailing down the right time to post on social media, The Nonprofit Quarterly reports that Facebook, in particular, has become more challenging for nonprofits because of recent changes to its algorithm. In a similar fashion to Google, Facebook is prioritizing quality.
What are some of the most significant Facebook changes? The days of just posting images to gain higher levels of engagement may be over. Users don’t necessarily want to see a news feed full of ads. In response, the social media giant has realized that many organizations were using it as a free branding tool and has now placed priority on the average number of Likes, Shares and views to determine if a post will automatically be visible in a users’ news feed. Even if the update was posted a few days ago, users are more likely to see it if Facebook considers it important over less-relevant recent posts.
These changes are mainly beneficial for Facebook users who were getting annoyed with promotional content and boring posts from their friends, but it definitely makes it more challenging for nonprofits to use as a marketing channel. The social media solutions to this major change are to make your content valuable to supporters and focus on what you are posting instead of posting for the sake of posting something.
Social media solutions that have the highest engagement and biggest impact include:
Stories: Don’t be afraid to turn stories and testimonials related to every aspect of your organization into blog posts, videos, articles, stats, etc. Donors want to see and hear about your organization, it’s staff/volunteers, and the beneficiaries of their contribution or work. Stories create an emotional connection that is vital.
Visuals: A picture is worth a thousand words and lots of Likes/Shares these days! Combine a picture with a quote from a story or testimonial to make a custom (and shareable) visual. Videos and photos show supporters what you’re all about. There’s something about showing someone what you do that accurately answers the inexplainable and important question: Why?
Curated Content: Original content is time-consuming to create, but sharing or curating related content and current events is also a valuable source of content. Have you found a TED talk/article/study/current event that relates in even the tiniest way to views, beliefs or work your organization does? Repost it on your blog or social media. Keep these posts timely and current to get the biggest impact. And, of course, remember to cite or link back to the original source.
Social media strategies for better donor communication
While social media solutions can be effective for staying within your supporters’ eyesight, you need to communicate through multiple channels to create a truly effective strategy. Utilizing text messaging is the best way to connect with donors who are active on social media and will help you increase your impact and achieve a higher read rate. Text messages have a 99% open rate and 90% are read within 3 minutes. Sending a combination of text and social communication is especially important to engage Millennial donors (born 1980-1995) who will soon make up more than half of the US workforce (US Labor Reports). Nonprofits should use social and text channels together to send time sensitive and informal issue related content.
By Jeremy Koenig, Head of Marketing