Just when you might expect social media to plateau, it makes another leap in popularity and influence. Recent estimates project the number of active social media users to a total of 2.3 billion. This is an impressive number, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the world’s population.
Facebook leads the way in accounts, followed by YouTube, WhatsApp, and Wechat. One of the main reasons business turn to social media is for marketing, and the same is true of nonprofits.
Nonprofits often differ from their for-profit counterparts, though, in the amount of personnel and resources they have to invest in running their social media accounts. Staying on top of creating content, posting, and interacting with followers is a time-consuming endeavor.
However, there are ways to make the most of these sites with a low-level commitment. For anyone interested in setting up social media for their organization or improving existing accounts, consider the following tips.
Use a representative username.
The first step is to claim your digital properties. Part of this was likely done when setting up a website, and the rest of the process is very similar. Different sites, such as KnowEm.com and NameChk.com will help to determine the availability of a name.
Try to secure the same name as your organization or an easily recognized and remembered abbreviation. Selecting a username will also generate the URL for each social media account.
Make the initial connection.
Organizations, both those in the for-profit arena and in the nonprofit realm, often overlook the simple necessity of linking their websites to their social media pages. Integrating these components to your website will require a bit of coding, but it is a one-time job to get them in place. The URLs created with your username will be used for these links.
To begin, focus on Facebook and Twitter, and when you have extra time down the road, add Pinterest or Instagram links as well. Another great way to connect people to your social media pages is by including links in your email communications.
Select a strong profile picture.
Nonprofits will almost always use their logo as the profile picture, and this is recommended. Some brand symbols are relatively complex, however. If this is the case, consider designing a simplified version that will fit well in a small square. This image will appear at the top of your social media pages and alongside every post. Tools such as Canva provide invaluable assistance with editing and customizing images for each social platform.
Fill in everything on the bio section.
Social media networks will likely be the first place that people see and learn about your organization. The bio section will serve the same role as the “about” page of your website, and as such, it deserves full attention.
Facebook, for example, has space for a short description and a long description. Avoid using general terms in each. Give a specific account of your group and what sets you apart. In the longer section, be sure to include information about your days and hours of operation – these simple details can make a big difference.
Utilize the “pin” feature.
For users of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, the “pin” feature is both easy to use and effective. Pinning important content gives a post a greater shelf life by positioning it at the top of your feed.
Charities might, for instance, place a video with details of an upcoming volunteer event. When the event has passed, you can then switch the pinned post to another piece of important content. Pinning not only puts information readily in front of visitors to the site, it can also improve the amount of traffic to your social media accounts.
Post regularly to all of your accounts.
Various analytic systems have discovered scheduling ideals for content sharing on each of the social media platforms. As a general rule, however, the recommendation is to post once a day and as close to the afternoon-evening hours as possible.
Depending on the focus of your nonprofit, a different approach may work better. Experiment often with this to see what yields the best traction in terms of likes, shares, etc.
Repurpose and re-share content.
The thought of creating enough content to post daily is an overwhelming one. A practical remedy for this involves repurposing content from your blog and re-sharing content that received a lot of attention.
For example, with a blog post that highlights 10 different ways to get involved with your charity, try dividing it into 10 short and sharable Facebook or Twitter posts. This links your blog, your website, and social media accounts together.
Remember to respond to followers.
Of equal important to posting regularly is responding to comments and questions posed by followers. Monitor your notifications to see when people are interacting and respond as often as possible. This will strengthen online engagement and can lead to donations and other forms of support in the future.
Use additional social media tools.
Along with Canva, a whole list of companies have formed to make social media easier for people, businesses, and nonprofits to use. Many of these organizations offer assistance free of charge, and enlisting their help will free up time to spend moving your charity’s mission forward.