Social media is a great tool for your nonprofit organization to engage with your audiences. It also gives prospective members of your audiences a direct glimpse into your community.
The following steps can be applied to both parties as a means of reevaluating or jumpstarting your social media strategy and conveying your organization’s story.
Step 1: Get friendly with the ins and outs of social media and how best to harness it
The social and digital brand team at Capital One says that, “Social media is a marketing channel that is constantly evolving; it’s important before jumping into social to understand some of the channel uses cases and best practices to inform your work.”
They emphasize these three actions to take to ensure a more sure-footed execution:
- Understand the landscape – social media is on-the-go, and so are your users. Companies, nonprofits, organizations, all of them must think mobile when creating content. For nonprofits, the audiences are various (young and mature volunteers, regular and prospective donors, partners, etc.) and it’s important to know which social media they occupy and when.
- Know why people share content
- Be well-versed on top social best practices – sometimes your peers (and even competition) are your best teachers. Keep your ear to the ground in your industry and look at what the most successful nonprofits are doing.
Step 2: Know your audiences.
Nonprofits have one message that has to be tailored to encourage different actions from different groups of people. As a preparation for laying out your social media strategy, start with a pyramid-like chart.
Here’s an example of a chart designed by Capital One’s social and digital branding team for a non profit theatre company:
Step 3: Don’t be afraid to use third party assistance.
Undertaking a social media strategy can be overwhelming. In The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users, social media guru Guy Kawasaki’s partner-in-crime Peg Fitzpatrick emphasizes the need for an editorial calendar. From less tech-y means (like Excel) to full-on social media scheduling services (Hootsuite, Buffer, Social Sprout), each method will allow you to lay out and prepare a week/month/year’s worth of content. However, leave room for organic content so that it doesn’t get too tedious.
Social media sites also give you a little help in measuring your success. Facebook, Google, and Twitter offer their own analytics for your account. There are also third-party apps that offer assistance (SocialBro, Hootsuite, Iconosquare).
Step 4: Link it all together.
Link your social media to your blog and/or website, and vice versa, and learn to write for each of your different platforms so that you can keep a sense of consistency among the content. Also, make sure all of your profiles and social identity are cohesive; depending on your organizations that can include cohesive filters, themes and editing of your visual content.
Capital One Social and Digital Brand Strategy Team. (2016). Social media channel usage: a brief guide for nonprofits. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
Capital One Social and Digital Brand Strategy Team. (2016). Cadence theatre company speed consulting follow up: social media recommendations. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
Kawasaki, G. (2014). The art of social media: Power tips for power users. Retrieved March 10, 2017.