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Social Media for Nonprofits: 101

By Hannah Bradach, Social Media Strategist 

A decorative image of a smiley face and social media reaction buttons, such as a like and heart, spray painted onto a wall.

Social media boils down to one thing: connection.  

This makes social media a powerful tool for a nonprofit to garner support. But leveraging social media’s full potential is not as simple as tweeting about Giving Tuesday or sharing a cute animal photo—if you want to be successful in the long run, you need a plan. 

What we know: social media works. On average, 55% of users who engage with a nonprofit on social media take further action, like donating money, volunteering, donating goods or attending an event. But where do you find those users and how do you generate their support? Here’s three starting points for you to consider in your social media strategy: 

Utilize Online Resources 

Elevate your social media strategy by developing a solid understanding of each platform. The good news is many platforms offer their own training courses! For instance, Hootsuite, a well-known social media management platform, shares 11 essential tips for success as a nonprofit, which explains where you can go to learn about some tools that each platform offers specifically for nonprofit accounts. From Facebook’s nonprofit marketing course, to the TikTok For Good account assistance, each platform provides customized education that will help you grow your audience and drive support online. 

Establish Your Messaging 

Social media is most beneficial when it’s an authentic representation of the brand. Consider what drives you to work for your organization and then think about how you can articulate that to your followers. Here are some key things to keep top of mind while you create your messaging: 

  • Who are we helping? 
  • What benefit to the community does our work provide? 
  • Why does it matter? 
  • What is the smallest thing someone can do to help? 
  • What emotion do we want people to feel? 

Each of these questions provides you with a key insight on the type of content your organization should be sharing. 

Finding Your Platform(s) 

There is a wide range of different social media platforms and with new ones popping up every week it can be overwhelming deciding what ones you should be on. Let’s break it down by the bandwidth and capabilities of your team to keep it simple. Focus on a few staple platforms to start. 

Facebook: This platform is still considered necessary for most organizations. With its detailed targeting capabilities and integrated donations tools, it is easy to see why this is a go-to platform. It also serves as a secondary website and communications method for many organizations and can host a variety of content like photos, videos, events, org updates, and more. For this platform, it is recommended that you check in on comments, messages, and reviews at a consistent pace to ensure that no negative conversations go unmanaged. 

Instagram: On Instagram you will find a wide variety of creatives and niches that thrive. Using photos, short and long form video along with lives you reach a large, yet specific audience best suited to your organization. For content that performs this requires the person behind the account to have a good eye for detail and usually some basic photography skills to ensure quality content is posted consistently. 

Twitter: This fast-paced platform is created for engaging with your audiences using short updates and linking out to various locations on your website. While not for every organization, the powerful tool offers a chance to jump on hot topics and trends when checked in on frequently. 

LinkedIn: The online hub for professional networking—LinkedIn is a great place to find like-minded professionals, investors, and future employees to help grow your business. On this platform, you can focus on organizational updates and major events or shifts, rather than daily content publishing. 

YouTube: This platform is great for long-form video content. This could be educational videos, entertainment, news, but it requires a creative mind that has an eye for video. If you do not currently have a team member who can dedicate time to this platform you may want to stay off it for now. 

TikTok:  We are sure you were hoping to see this infamous platform on the list. While relatively new, TikTok is a hit amongst younger generations but that does not mean it is just for kids. TikTok offers a unique opportunity for organizations that can hit the right chord with viewers. As a brand, it can be difficult to step outside your boundaries, but on TikTok it is almost a requirement that organizations find a way to create content that is funny and entertaining to hold on to viewers. Our recommendation? Get on the platform yourself before you try to build a business. To create high-performing content it is crucial that you understand the tone and major trends that can shift at the drop of a hat.  

Decorative image of a phone, with the screen displaying different social media apps.

Figure Out What Resonates with Your Audience 

There is no doubt that animals are everywhere on social media, but not every animal photo garners millions of views. Mercy For Animals (MFA) is a global nonprofit that has unlocked the power of platforms like Instagram and Twitter by strategizing their content so that it stands out among the sea of farm animal photos online. They utilize the power in recycling content- after all, in a world of constant creation, you can’t always reinvent the wheel. By identifying top performing content and recreating it in innovative ways, they can constantly engage their audience in the way that they prefer most. MFA used their strategy to stand out, even while sticking closely to the organic side of these typically pay-to-play platforms. Julie Cappiello, MFA Global Content Manager, prefers it this way to make sure her team continues to give their followers the content they want, rather than simply pushing out business initiatives.  

All that MFA has accomplished is due to the immense work put in by their social media team of 9 in conjunction with their video and graphic design teams. But what do you do when your social media team is a team of one or even nonexistent? That’s where Fearey comes in.  

After meeting with you to understand the needs of your organization, we’ll build a team to help you achieve your goals. Piece by piece, we will develop a strategy that creates a flow between your website, digital assets, social media content and PR messaging. Whether that’s re-imagining your current social presence, or starting fresh like The Russell Family Foundation did, we can amplify your voice on social media. 

Ready to engage your audience? Tell us how we can help. 

One Response

  1. Great insight for those new to social media! It’s hard to really know where to start and you nailed it. Love this type of content Hannah!

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