Social Media for Nonprofits: 7 Tips for Success

The use of Social media is a great way for nonprofits to expand their mission. The Global Web Index 2015 report shows the average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks every day. What does that mean for nonprofits? It means that social media can become a powerful tool. It provides a way to tell your story, recruit volunteers, increase donations and share your mission.

As I welcome my new client, Legacy International, to Danielle Ricks Productions, I am looking for ways to do just that. Legacy is dedicated to promoting peace by strengthening civil society and fostering a culture of participation worldwide. They train and mentor community leaders, youth, professionals, and governmental and non-governmental administrators, helping them to develop and implement practical, community-based solutions to critical issues.

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Like many nonprofits, Legacy manages multiple projects. But it’s often hard to find your voice in the digital space while you are busy doing the good work of your mission. Here’s where social media comes into play to help in an effort to market and increase brand recognition.

There are seven social media strategies that nonprofits should consider when developing their social media plan. I’ll use each of these for Legacy International and you may want to consider these tips when developing your own social media strategy.

1. Set Your goals. Why are you in the social space? Is it to raise money? Maybe you need to recruit more volunteers. It could be that you need to get the word out about your mission to partners, supporters and donors. Each of these has a different social media strategy. Know why you are in the digital space before you get started.

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2. Determine Your Target Audience. Will you be speaking primarily to the people you serve, those benefiting from your services, the general public, or to the people who are dedicated to keeping the NPO afloat? Maybe you’ll be speaking to all of these audiences. That’s fine, just know who your audience is so you can develop your online voice.

See3 provides an excellent case study example with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and how they tell their stories.

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3. Choose Your Platforms. There are a lot of social media sites to choose from. Do you need to be in all of them? Your target audience will dictate where you put your social media energy. Have an audience of teens, you may want to be on Snapchat. Need to reach the parents of teens, you may want to be on Facebook. Need to reach government agencies and news organizations, Twitter may be your best bet. The target audience will dictate the platform.

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4. Create Your Content Strategy. This is where the bulk of your social media energy will go. Determining what, when, where and how you will share your content. You’ll want to keep in mind three key things:

  1. Your Voice – Who are you and what do you stand for?
  2. Frequency of posts – How often will you post and why?
  3. Patterns for engagements – What gets shared when?

If you need help developing an effective content marketing plan, you can check out my blog post here.

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5. Ready, Set, ENGAGE! Once you have determined your audience, your voice, and your strategy, it’s time to engage your audience. Be prepared to answer questions, field inquiries, share great stories and motivate your audience.4

6. Track and Measure. After ninety days or so, you’ll want to evaluate how you are doing in the digital space. Take a deep dive into the analysis and data. Keep an eye on likes but keep an eagle eye on shares. A like is a click of acceptance. A share means I’m personally invested in the content and I want others invested in it as well. Determine what strategies worked and which ones fell flat? What resonated with your audience and what does that tell you about your story telling, your mission, your followers

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7. Almost done! The last step is to start all over again at number one and continue the cycle. Determine who on your team will be responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of your social media strategy and maintaining the integrity of the brand, voice, and mission. Reevaluate your plan every three months and make adjustments accordingly.

The most important part of all of this social engagement is to be social. Be authentic and have fun. Have social media strategies that have worked for you? Share them in the comments below. Need help to develop your social media strategy, please let me know.