By Kimberly Grimms
If you’re working on behalf of a nonprofit, foundation, NGO, university or cause organization, you know that you don’t move the needle unless you have a marketing plan in place that propels people to take action on your organization’s behalf. And today a big part of your marketing toolset involves social media.
Because most people participate in at least one social media platform, nonprofits now have an easier and less expensive way to target and reach your stakeholders and constituents.
But before you jump in, make sure you have a concrete plan on how to get the message across to your target audience. If you’re planning to jump-start your social media presence for your organization, here are 15 tips you might find useful.
1. Before you start tweeting or Facebooking away, you need to identify your goals. What are you trying to achieve, and how do you measure success? If you’re trying to increase your organization’s engagement rate on Instagram, say, you should first set out a goal that’s specific (50 IG interactions), realistic (is it really possible?) and timely (in a month?). Once you establish a goal, you should track how you’re doing and adjust your processes to improve your results.
Know Your Audience
2. One of the most important steps in boosting your social media presence is knowing your audience. If you know who they are, you would know what their interests are and what type of content you need to share to reel them into your social media pages and your website. You’ll be better positioned to effectively engage them if you know what their proclivities are.
Know the Platforms
3. Knowing the audience gives you an idea what social media networks they spend time on. If, for example, your audience members are the “visual” types, you’re going to be more effective in engaging them through Pinterest or Instagram.
Be Consistent with Your Content
4. Post content regularly to build your social media presence. You don’t need to devote a full-time staffer to this, but your updates should be regular and not sporadic. Also, make sure your content is consistent with the services you offer so that your audience won’t get confused with what your organization is offering. Your social media team members need to be on message with your nonprofit’s mission and goals.
Create Targeted Content
5. By “targeted content,” we mean posts that your target audience would find interesting. As the saying goes: content reigns supreme. That holds true with social media marketing as well. Make sure you’re not regurgitating boilerplate mission statements – you need to find human stories that represent what your organization is trying to achieve!
Repurpose Top Content
6. Yes, recycling or repurposing content is not a bad idea – especially if the content garners a lot of attention the first time you posted it. If a blog or a video gets a lot of attention from one social media platform, you can use it to get more mileage in another platform that is not doing as well.
Make Sure It’s NOT All About You
7. As long as you stay consistent with your updates, you can increase your social media engagement if you share external posts that your audience might find useful or interesting. In other words, it shouldn’t be all about you. Post about your sector or interesting things happening in your world, not just about official organization business.
Influencing via Influencers
8. “Influencers” are experts or public figures who have large social media followings. Wooing them to promote your services would help in making your cause, fundraising appeal or big event known to a wider audience. Does anyone on your team know any figures with large followings? Ask them!
Engage Your Audience Regularly
9. Take time to reply to queries or solicit suggestions posted by the public to your Facebook page or other social media comment sections. Your followers should know that you spend time there and care about what they have to say.
Create a Social Media Calendar
10. There are lots of tools on the Internet that will help you manage your social media accounts more easily. (See Socialbrite’s Tools section.) This will also help in making sure you post updates on a regular basis.
Connect with Other Marketers
11. Building relationships with other social media marketers can help foster a virtuous circle. This also makes it easier for you to get more ideas on how you can boost your social media presence.
Put More Effort on Visuals
12. People are visual animals, which means that more people will likely check out your content if it looks great. So make sure to put more effort on the images you’re posting to attract your target audience.
13. Hashtags are a useful tool to make your content easier to find. This will also help with your branding. Did you now that Socialbrite has a free downloadable flyer on the subject?: 45 hashtags for social change (PDF).
14. Joining communities that are in the same niche as yours will make it easier for people to find your content, as communities usually allow their members to share posts on community walls. Also, you’ll be able to get the latest trends and news in communities.
Measure the Results
15. Last but crucially: Constantly check to see if you’re on track to achieving your goals. Are your efforts paying off or are they falling short? Only by measuring can you adjust course to be more in sync with what your audience wants and needs. The number of followers, likes, shares, comments, clicks and/or leads should be able to tell you if you’re achieving your goals or not.
There’s no denying social media is now a part of the modern landscape. Whether you work at or with a nonprofit, foundation, university, NGO or social enterprise, you should take advantage of this fact and use the free tools available to you. Over time, if used properly, social media can help advance your organization’s mission, and that’s the bottom line, isn’t it?
Kimberly Grimms is a new media strategist and author. Follow her on Twitter at @kimberlygrimms.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.