Nonprofits use a wide range of social media tools (video, audio, digital text, photos, games) to share their content socially. However, in the rush to get on the social media bandwagons, many nonprofits ignore the strategy and planning required to achieve success.
Ask Yourself: What’s Your Purpose?
To start, your first step should be to work out what your nonprofit aims to accomplish. What cause are you raising awareness for? Is it important that you generate donations, or is your aim to get people to attend events or volunteer for your cause? The answers to these questions will inform your entire social campaign, so be sure you have a clear understanding of your goals.
Figure Out Who You’re Marketing To
Once you know the goals your nonprofit is aiming to achieve, the next step is to determine your target audience. Again, this is something that will inform every step you take moving forward. Different messages resonate with different people, after all.
Targeting a specific market does not mean that you are excluding people who do not fit your criteria. Rather, target marketing allows you to focus your marketing dollars and brand message on a specific market that is more likely to buy from you than other markets. This is a much more affordable, efficient, and effective way to reach potential clients and generate business.
Try to be as specific as possible — think about their age, location, economic background, what they likely think of your nonprofit, and what you’d like them to think about it. You should also consider what types of people would like to volunteer for your cause and tailor your messaging towards them.
With a clearly defined target audience, it is much easier to determine where and how to market your non-profit.
Choose Your Social Network Wisely
By spending as little as 6 hours per week, over 66% of marketers enjoy enhanced lead generation benefits with social media. A properly executed social media strategy can improve search rankings, drive more website traffic and increase conversion rates.
But how can you craft an effective social media strategy when you don’t even know which channels to choose? With an overabundance of options, it can seem overwhelming to try and determine whether your business needs to build an online presence using Snapchat or Instagram, LinkedIn or Pinterest.
So the next question you need to answer is which social network (or social networks) you’ll be marketing on. At this point, it’s worth mentioning that, according to a 2014 Hubspot survey, Facebook is the #1 social network used by nonprofits at 98%, with Twitter coming in second at 70%. YouTube is an effective network to use for volunteer training videos and videos of past events to recruit more volunteers. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be on all these networks — only that they’re typically a safe bet for social media investments.
Figure Out What To Track
How will you determine your success? What metrics should you track in order to work out whether or not your campaign worked out the way you needed it to? Since you’re running a nonprofit, you’ve got something of an advantage in this regard — according to Buffer, almost half of nonprofits find that a donation is the pinnacle of engagement. That might be a good place to start if you’re strapped for ideas. You can also track the number of new volunteers after a social media campaign.
Megan Van Petten
CEO & President
Van Petten Group, Inc.