This article was originally published on Networkforgood.com by Amanda Khoury
There’s no denying it. Social media is the fastest-growing phenomenon of the modern age. Since Facebook launched 15 years ago, in 2004, it has grown to over two billion users. Twitter and Instagram are close behind. According to the Pew Research Center’s report about social media use in 2019, Facebook remains one of the most widely used social media sites among adults and 69% of Americans are on social media.
Social media helps nonprofits:
- Build trust within your community
- Deepen your relationship with your audience
- Promote you events
- Expand your outreach and network
- Drive people to your website
- Add personality to your organization
- Provide real-time engagement with your followers
But how do you create your social media presence? Pay attention to these five key components when establishing your nonprofit’s online.
Your profile is the first thing people see when they search for you on social media. Keep your name and profile picture consistent across platforms. That way, people who like you on Facebook can easily find you on Twitter or Instagram. Best practice for your profile image is to use your nonprofit’s logo. This image accompanies all of your posts, so it’s a great way to build brand awareness.
- Set your location and add a website address
- Add company info or a brief bio
- Set your cover or header image. Update this image periodically to highlight events, programs, organizational news, or just for a change of pace
What to Post
The old adage applies…content is king. Post content that drives engagement and conversation, and builds trust in your organization. From your mission to programs and events, you have plenty of material to talk about at your disposal. Be personable, approachable, and fun. What is your organization’s personality? How much do you enjoy coming to the office every day? Share that energy with your followers. Include images in your content. A picture is worth a thousand words. Posts with video or images have a stronger engagement level than text-only posts.
- Fundraising campaigns (launches, status updates, fundraising events)
- Non-promotional (holiday party photos, office pot-lucks, candid staff shots, new staff member introductions, trivia, opinion polls, contests)
- Press and Announcements (grants and awards, organization mentioned in news, job postings)
- Events (community events, performances, panel discussions, town halls)
- Program Updates (number of people served, new sponsor information, locations and partners)
- Relevant external news (articles about your area of focus, blogs by experts in the field, community affairs)
- Let your content lead. Stay active, but don’t post just to post. Create a schedule that includes an item or two a day to stay in your followers’ newsfeeds
When to Post
When and how often to post throughout the day depends on your audience’s schedule just as much as your content. Event announcements are more time-sensitive than trivia. Press, reviews, and interviews depend on when the news outlet is publishing the story. The perfect schedule will differ from organization to organization. The key is to find those times of day when your followers are online. Post at different times of day to discover when your followers are taking breaks. Catch them during their commutes to and from the office. Stay engaged with them in the early evening or after dinner.
- An easy-to-follow schedule is to post mid-morning, lunchtime, and late afternoon/early evening
- Stick to a routine and test it out over time to see what kind of response you receive
- Once you have a baseline, try out different times of day to see when you get the most engagement.
Like any other marketing or fundraising effort, your success on social media will be determined by your goals. It’s exciting to watch your number of followers increase, but if they’re not engaging with your content, you won’t stay in their newsfeed for long. It’s crucial to measure success by both quantity and quality. As your numbers grow, are you also seeing a rise in comments and engagement with posts? Are you capturing more email addresses for your e-newsletter? Is your organization being tagged in other people’s posts?
Insights & Analytics
Use your social media channel’s individual insights and analytics tools to track how posts are performing. You can learn so much about your audience through these insights. Think of it as your very own Nielsen rating system. Through this data, you can:
- View overall likes, shares, retweets, and comments
- Learn how, where, and when people are interacting with your posts
- Measure retention over time
- View demographics of your followers
- Segment your audience to target posts
- View the reach and amount of engagement of individual posts
- Find influencers in your network
Use this data to your advantage. Create content that matches your followers’ interests, test out your social media schedule for best results, and target like-minded individuals to grow your network.