Growth Hacks / Tips / Strategies

A Strategic Guide To Social Media Marketing For Nonprofits

Picture of Bharadwaj Sharma

by Bharadwaj Sharma

Let me start with the truth - a lot of people do not donate to nonprofits because they do not know if they will use the money for its intended purpose, or how nonprofits will invest the money or people might think if their donations can make a real difference!

This shows a type of trust issue among potential funders and followers of nonprofits. If there is no trust then it is also difficult to inspire people to volunteer and attend your events.

In this case, social media marketing is a great way to build trust and regularly inform your community about what you are doing.

I know that you have a Facebook page or a Twitter account to promote your nonprofit activities.

facebook-social-impact

But you know what?

Social media in the nonprofit world is beyond adding subscribers!

It is all about following the right social media marketing strategy.

Engaging with new supporters on social media has never felt this challenging due to the enormous amount of distractions that we see on social media pages. Such distractions prevent you from keeping your cause at the top of your target’s news feeds.

To tackle this challenge, we’ll discuss ideal social media marketing practices for your nonprofit organization. Eight tips mentioned here are exclusive to nonprofits, making this the right strategic guide for nonprofits.

1. Align your social media goals with nonprofit goals

A well-defined mission and objective are one of the prerequisites for an effective social media strategy.

Let me give you an example!

Suppose one of your organization’s goals is to ensure adequate natural resources to society to meet its present and future needs. In that case, you need to post content regularly that is related to sustainability and environmental protection. Your posts should unveil efforts taken by your organization towards ensuring a safe and sustainable future.

In the example given below, check out how N.C Forest Service has aligned its social media goals with nonprofit goals.

N.C.Forest

Simply put, your brand identity should replicate your social media posts!

Note that your entire team also needs to be on the same page for better coordination and clarity.

This is because a person handling your social media will be more confident when provided with the necessary information regularly. As a result, it will be easier to achieve the desired objectives.

2. Identify the right social media platforms

Once you are clear about your audience, find out the most used and suitable social media platforms, and focus on your efforts accordingly.

This is important. Do you know why?

Rather than posting on every social media, it is advisable to use 3-4 social platforms to market your nonprofit endeavors.

I have enumerated the benefits of four major social platforms- Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Using these social platforms, a non-profit agency can amass more followers and audience.

  • Facebook - No agency or an organization can avoid Facebook when it comes to brand promotion. Add on features like the Facebook social impact is a powerhouse for your non-profit agendas.
  • LinkedIn - This is an ideal platform to gain corporate support, credibility, reach potential volunteers, look for corporate donations, etc. Based on the tagline “World’s largest professional network’, you should keep your post more professional and less casual with no antics.
  • Instagram - Put your best and ambiguous images of your efforts which can translate into positive emotions towards your not-profit. Using this gentle way, your agency can attract more audience and bolster your not-profit motives.
  • Twitter - Keep your message short, crisp, and stay aligned with the latest news. Strike when the iron is hot to engage with the audience in a shorter time. Photos, hashtags, and graphics will boost interest and yield fantastic outcomes for your not-profit.

3. Identify your audience

It is advised to identify your audience based on demographic data and information about individual members of your target audience.

If you assume your social media posts are enough to engage your audience, then you might be wrong. Yes, you read it right!

Another important factor to consider is the type of content that you might want to share on social media.

Let me explain!

If you are handling a social media handle of a university, think about the trending topics in education and what your university and college can offer to students. Your university website can provide some exposure about the courses offered, but students want to see what goes around in your college.

In the example cited below, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is motivating aspiring students to explore the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) field.

astronaut-scholarship-foundation

Furthermore, do not just inform and engage your audience, go one step ahead, and solve their major problems.

By doing this, you will develop a reciprocal relationship and ultimately built trust and potential followers.

4. Engage your audience with a smart social content strategy

While creating a content strategy for your non-profit, it is also essential to realize why people follow and like specific brands. This is where you might need to work on storytelling abilities.

Yes, storytelling is the key here.

Look at how other nonprofits tell their respective stories.

After you share, do not hesitate to ask your followers about the kind of activities or post they wish to experience or read going forward. For this, try gathering information via emails, surveys, etc. and identify their sincere wishes.

Analyze your social data and see what has worked and what has not. This will help you identify what type of content resonates most with your audience.

Now you know what your followers want!

This is when you should get creative and think beyond texts and images.

If you want writers for your team, try Narrato.in. This is a platform to hire quality freelance writers.

narrato

Your not-profit agency should post a variety of content like images, videos, GIFs, data-based visuals, etc. Focus on the emotions that your content can trigger rather than hackneyed social media promotions. Make sure that your content is mobile-friendly for an effective social media engagement.

You should also use content curation tools to power your marketing strategies.

5. Cross-promotion is the next move!

Social media is an excellent platform to cultivate an emotional touch that helps supporters feel connected. Such engagement on social media will showcase your nonprofit's transparency and accountability. Your audience will recognize how you help society, and this will gradually acquiesce with your not-profit motives.

This can be done via cross-promotion.

Let’s look at a few cross-promotion ideas:

  • Better social media engagement with your audience can be done by responding to questions, adding comments, and through high-quality posts.
  • Also, look for hashtags to find new conversations to join.
  • Consider cross-promotion like an e-conference or summit wherein you get an opportunity to unveil your motives effectively.
  • Share content from other non-profits, hold contests, tag people, and start a private social media group. You can also engage with as many stakeholders as possible.
  • Besides, promote your not-profit motives with email, calls, conferences, webinars, etc.

6. Allocate budgets for paid social media and track results

As discussed in the introduction, budget allocation issues are not uncommon for non-profit agencies, and so it becomes necessary to allocate funds.

Why not try paid social ads?

Here are the benefits of paid social ads:

  • When done effectively, paid social ads can promote your content, and help you reach new people with the same interest as yours.
  • Filters allow you to target your ideal not-profit followers on each social network by demographic, interest, behaviors, etc.

Avoid buying followers. Period.

  • It is not advisable to allocate social media ad budgets over buying followers for not-profits. If you do this, your follower count might rise, but your engagement rate might not.
  • You should not spend money to promote your not-profit message to a group of people that merely care less about your organization.

Although SocialPilot provides substantial discounts to non-profits, it is still essential to allocate budgets. When leveraged strategically and thoughtfully, social media platforms are an excellent way for nonprofits to connect with stakeholders, cultivate loyal donors, and expand their reach and audience.

Tracking your success:

  • If you do not measure your results, you will not be able to evaluate the performance of campaigns.
  • You can track your social media efforts using SocialPilot to ensure that you are progressing towards your goals.
  • We also recommend using Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights, and YouTube Analytics, etc. You will be able to track the behavior of your audience, leading to better results.

7. Reach out to social media influencers

As we know, influencers are well-positioned to market and wield not-profit thoughts effectively.

The thing to note here is it is not always necessary that a highly paid or a venerated influencer can only help you out.

Who can help if not social influencers?

Let’s talk about these special people who can pave the way for your nonprofit’s success!

  • Citizens can make a change if they communicate effectively. Such citizen influencers include volunteers, donors, activists, customers, fans, and casual bloggers.
  • If your cause is genuine and newsworthy, professionals like journalists, public relations managers, bloggers, industry leaders, etc. can bolster your not-profit mission and add legitimacy.

For example, John Haydon is one of the influencers who has helped hundreds of nonprofits realize their best marketing and fundraising results.

john-haydon

How can you take advantage of them and build a mutual relationship?

  • Engage with old influencers, keep an eye on new influencers through engagement.
  • Follow them, like and comment on their posts, or inform them about common interests and introduce them to your cause.
  • Albeit, I will recommend you create high-quality content and then request them to share it on various social platforms.

8. Use social listening tools

A combination of social media management and social media listening will enable you to inspire people and have empathy towards not-profit goals.

Usually, nonprofits manually search network groups and people, and they tend to spend more time on networking efforts. Nonprofits can monitor multiple networks and report data almost immediately using social listening tools.

Let’s talk about the process and benefits of social listening:

  • You can identify significant trends that potential users like, leading you to target them accordingly.
  • You will be able to make unambiguous decisions about content selection and means of communication.
  • What is more, you can do your public relations effectively without external support and monitor what other nonprofits are doing.
  • Social listening gets magical when it comes to PR because social listening tools find media outlets, journalists, and bloggers with ease. Other benefits include sentiment measurements, tracking mentions, etc.

You will be able to gain all the benefits of social listening if you closely follow all the strategies mentioned above for an effective social media strategy.

Final words

  • Plan campaigns that you want to run and content that you want to share. You can always use social media management tools like SocialPilot to schedule the content in advance.
  • The strategies mentioned here might sound didactic, but in-fact it will help your nonprofit’s activities reach an ascendency in various types of social service.
Picture of Bharadwaj Sharma

Bharadwaj Sharma

Bharadwaj Sharma is a business journalist turned digital marketer. He has worked for a public relations agency, financial newspaper, a news website, and a tech magazine before joining SocialPilot. At SocialPilot he looks after marketing and public relations. In his free time, he loves watching movies, going for a walk, and interacting with friends and family!

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