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Social Media Strategy for Nonprofits: 5 Tips and Tactics

, Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

As we covered in a prior post, social media marketing can work for nonprofits and everyone should be using it. Connecting and conversing with constituents is the #1 most valuable use for social media; the ROI is in the deeper, enduring relationship you can have with supporters.

With that in mind, it’s still a big, scary black hole. Here are 5 tips to making your social strategy a success.

Let “social” be the face of your organization.

Make the organization feel comfortable or familiar to constituents by putting a voice behind the posts. Social media starts with being social, so allowing the organization’s social presence to be slightly more relaxed and informal will play into the strength of the medium. One way to do this is to sign posts/tweets with who posted them. Get constituents familiar with the wizard behind the curtain to make the “asks” seem more authentic.

  1. Encourage execs to Tweet! Sure, it’s awkward at first, but constituents would love to know what drives the org and what articles interest those at the top.
  2. Appoint a “community manager” – or someone in the organization that loves “social” and is willing to spend a few minutes scheduling tweets, or tweeting throughout the day.

Use the medium for what it was created for – creating connections and having conversations.

Social media isn’t a megaphone, but rather a telephone (or a Skype-a-phone, or a cup and strings…) – a dialog rather than a monolog. Constituents probably already know who you are. And they know where to find your website.

  1. Use social to find out what matters to them, what they think of certain news events, ask them questions to engage them. This is information and audience data that you couldn’t pay for… or you’d HAVE to pay big money for. If you have their attention, engage them in the cause.
  2. Poll your audience on where they stand on issues: “Like this if you support xyz” or ask a question, “If you could tell congress one thing about abc, what would it be?” Again, this is information you can use in future marketing efforts.

Keep the conversation going.

If you ask a question, don’t just forget about it. Check to see if there have been responses and respond to the responders – they are raising their hand and asking to be involved! You can turn user engagement into blog posts, newsletter features, or encourage those who are repeatedly active on your feed to recruit their friends to participate, as well. Tag followers in your posts to give them a little more love.

 Think in terms of “sharable” and “tweetable.”

  1. Sharable: When your Facebook feed pops up, what do you notice first? Pictures! They take up more space on the page, stand out, are interesting to look at, and are easily digestible. And people LOVE to share photos! Ask a question with the picture – give multiple ways for users to engage, share, extend…
  2. Tweetable: Keep your messages short and sweet, punchy and clever. Include short links to articles and ASK people to retweet.

Be generous with your social media presence.

Share interesting articles about organizations that support your mission to give value to your feed. No one likes to be sold to these days, so becoming a source for information regarding a topic near and dear to your followers’ hearts is a good way to keep their eyeballs on your organization. Tweeting @ other orgs will also let them know you’re talking about them, and encourage them to tweet about you, as well! And if you see something funny or a meme that’s catching on? Why not jump on board? Your followers like to know you’re as social as they are.

If you have tips on how nonprofits can benefit from social media, post them in the comments!

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