According to Avectra, 47% of Americans learn about causes through social media and other online channels. That is to say that nearly half of the people in the United States are potentially coming to know about your nonprofit through Facebook, Twitter and other top social networking sites. So what does this mean for non-profits that are not on social media? Unfortunately, it means your cause may be widely overlooked by a very large number of potential donors.
In order to help non-profits reach their full potential with social media, we have outline 10 tips for getting the most out of your organization’s social media strategy.
1. Make it Easy to Donate
What is one of the top conversion paths for most non-profits? Donate. While social media is largely about being social, this doesn’t mean we should overlook our end goal: capture donations. If your non-profit has a Facebook page, create a custom tab that focuses on donations. Allow fans to easily navigate to the donation page on your site from your Facebook page, or better yet, allow them to donate without even leaving the Facebook tab, with an app like Donate Social.
2. Take Part in Twitter Chats
Twitter chats are conversations that occur when people use a specific hashtag. Unlike typical trending topics, chats are organized and set to occur at a specific time so that users can have a conversation about a certain topic, usually relevant to an industry. Participating in these chats is a great way to ask questions, learn from others in the industry and share your own knowledge. For a good non-profit twitter chat, check out #fundchat held each Wednesday at 12:00pm EST.
3. Share Your Content in Google+ Communities
Google+ is a newer social media site that is a very important for SEO. Google favors companies who not only have a Google+ presence, but optimize it for SEO and receive engagement. The best way to receive this engagement is through Google+ communities. We recommend researching nonprofit-related communities and joining 2-5 that have a fairly large fan base and flexible posting rules. You will want to read these rules before you share anything in the community. If the community is open to the posting of helpful blogs, make sure to share yours!
4. Promote a Facebook Post
Many of us may not have those extra marketing dollars lying around; however, Facebook advertising doesn’t have to put a dent in your pocket. With Facebook ads, you can spend as little or as much money as you would like. Decide on a post that you would like to receive more engagement. For example, if you are running a specific crowd-funding campaign elsewhere, create a post linking to it. Determine if you would like to target a new audience or focus on your current fans and their friends. Include an enticing picture with your call to action and you’re ready to promote the post. Don’t throw a whole lot of money at your promoted post at first. Test the waters to see if it is something that will work for you!
5. Keep it Visual
People love images, especially images of other people. Non-profits often have the benefit of promoting causes that lend themselves to beautiful imagery. Take advantage of these photo opportunities. Share images in almost all of your Facebook posts. A 2:1 aspect ratio is recommended for Twitter (for example, 1024 x 512 pixels). Also, try out some of those image-focused platforms, like Instagram and Pinterest.
6. Humanize Your Purpose
Similar to keeping things visual, non-profits also have the advantage of pulling at the heartstrings and seeking the empathy of others. Social Media Consultant, April Ennis, said “the 1 thing I wish nonprofits ‘got’ about social media is how to humanize the purpose of their cause.” Social media is about interacting, engaging and truly connecting with others. Non-profits should focus on building those long-lasting relationships by telling their stories and starting a two-way conversation.
7. Create an Editorial Calendar
One of the biggest mistakes any company on social media can make is not having a strategy. Social media is a big part of marketing and should be treated as such. Create an editorial calendar to track all of your social media platforms. Determine who will post, when they will post and what they will post. Also, be sure to track your analytics, such as likes and comments, so that you know how certain posts are performing over time.
This one is obvious but needs to be said. Social media is not a one-sided conversation. You should not be talking “at” your fans; you should be talking with them. Ask engaging questions, such as “What are your thoughts on this statistic” or the always fun “caption this picture” posts. On sites like Twitter, reach out to your donors and volunteers. Retweet, favorite and mention them when possible. This will both expand your reach and show your gratitude.
9. Use Short URLS
Short URLS like bit.ly are used to track link performance. You can create a free account with bit.ly, allowing you to shorten any link and track how often it is clicked. This is great for measuring the ROI of your social media sites. When you have a specific campaign that you are advertising on Facebook, use a shortened link so that you may see how well it performs compared to your other social media sites, e-newsletters, etc.
10. Social Listening is a Must
The new trend in 2014 is a heavier focus on social listening. By this we mean taking the time to listen to what others are saying about your brand, industry and your competitors. There are a host of free sites out there, like Tagboard and Google Alerts, as well as paid options, which will allow you to track hashtags, topic-specific articles, and any time your competitor is mentioned online.
Written by Lee Neel, Vice-President of Marketing, The Fundraising Resource Group. The Fundraising Resource Group helps non-profit organizations across the United States with fundraising feasibility studies, capital campaigns, annual giving campaigns, major gift fundraising, non-profit marketing, fundraising training, and other high-impact, high-return fundraising activities. For more about how we can help your non-profit achieve fundraising success, visit our website at www.thefundraisingresource.com or call 888-522-1492.