Social media is an integral part of how nonprofits raise awareness, drive donations, and engage with their supporters. However, a lack of a cohesive strategy often leads to sporadic engagement and efforts that fail to support their long-term goals.
So how can you get the most out of your nonprofit’s social media efforts?
Here are six key elements to building a sustainable social media strategy for your nonprofit.
1. Define Your Nonprofit Social Media Goals
You might think you don’t need a social media strategy and can just post when something “comes up,” but if you want to see solid results over time, you’ll need clear, intentional social media goals. These goals will serve as the foundation of your strategy, guiding your tactics and actions.
Possible goals could be raising awareness about your cause, increasing donations, recruiting volunteers, or engaging with your community. But if your tactics aren’t grounded in a firm idea of what you want your followers to do, or clear calls-to-action (CTAs), your efforts could be fruitless.
These goals should be realistic. If you’re a small nonprofit tackling a niche or localized issue, your online community will be small compared to larger nonprofits dealing with national or international issues, so don’t try to match their goals.
2. Narrow Your Platform Focus and Find Your “Choir”
Each social media platform has its own culture, favors different content types, and requires time and energy to learn, manage, and maintain a consistent presence. Spreading your social media efforts thin across too many platforms dilutes the impact you might have. Instead, focus on just the one or two platforms where your target audiences spend the most time.
Julia Campbell, an expert on social media marketing for nonprofits, says her best advice to nonprofits is, “Nail down who your choir is and preach to it. If the choir is singing together in harmony, they will bring others in and share the gospel. Leverage your current community members to bring others into the fold.”
Preaching to your choir means not trying to appeal to too many people and narrowing your target audience.
When you know your target audience and what social platforms they use, focus your outreach on them, rather than trying to attract a broader audience. This ensures you’re engaging and building meaningful relationships with the people who matter most to your cause.
3. Build Community with Active Social Media Management
It’s not enough for nonprofits to simply post content on social media. To build an engaged community, you need to actively manage your accounts and interact with your audience and others. When a follower likes, comments, or asks a question, promptly respond and engage with them in a genuine way.
As Katherine Russell advises, “Don’t take their likes and comments for granted. Let them know there’s a person behind your logo.”
Social media is a two-way communication channel.
In the crowded, noisy social ecosystem, people trust people – they want to interact with people. Not faceless brands that broadcast but don’t engage.
Neglecting this aspect of your social media plan can lead to missed opportunities. But when done right, active management can turn your social media platforms into vibrant communities where your supporters feel valued and heard.
4. Deliver Native Value with Zero-Click Content
A modern, sustainable social content strategy must start with a fluid awareness of what the algorithms reward and a recognition that those algorithms are always changing.
We want to drive people back to our owned platforms (our websites, newsletters, etc.), but social media companies want to keep users on their platforms.
They’re not promoting content aimed at getting people to click off them. TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram don’t even allow outbound links within the content you post. Instead, they’re rewarding zero-click content.
Zero-click content is content that’s native to any platform.
This could be a Twitter thread, a LinkedIn post, or a TikTok that immediately jumps into the “how to” demonstration. Zero-click content is easily consumed by anyone scrolling their feed; it’s engaging, entertaining, and/or delivers native value to the audience, without clicking to your organization’s website.
With social algorithms rewarding native content, short-form videos, photos from recent events, or even infographics are content types that are well-suited for engagement in the current paradigm.
In this paradigm, traditional metrics like click-through rates become less relevant. Instead, you can focus on the growth over time of metrics, like impressions, engagement, and follower numbers, to assess the success of your content strategy.
5. Always Repurpose (And Have a Distribution Plan)
With limited resources, the creative repurposing of content is an absolute must for nonprofits. It’s not just about stretching your budget but maximizing the value and impact of the content you create.
When you create long-form content, plan in advance how you can break it down and distribute it to fresh audiences on social media.
Long-form content that lives on your website should be leveraged for several pieces of short-form content on social media for several weeks after it is created—if not longer. Likewise, you can build longer-form content from social media posts that received high engagement.
For instance, individual sections of a blog post can be turned into short video scripts or visualized as an infographic for Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok. Did you recently host a webinar? Use it to create short highlight videos for social. There are numerous AI tools available to speed up the process of repurposing text, audio, or video content.
Maximizing the value of your content takes the pressure off any small team to be constantly producing new content. This allows you to avoid being overwhelmed, post consistently and sustainably, and allocate limited time to creating high-value content.
6. For Long-Term Success, Stay Agile
Social media strategy is not a set-it-and-forget-it endeavor, so it’s critical to iterate and listen.
“Always be learning about your community and what they’re most interested in. What moves them, what drives them, what inspires them. Create content just for them and more will follow,” says Campbell.
You don’t need a fancy metrics dashboard to be analytical and data-driven. Regularly evaluating what you’re doing, learning what content performs best, and allowing that data to inform your strategy will help you improve your social media program over time.
Conduct a quarterly review of your strategy to assess what’s working and what’s not and make necessary adjustments.
Remember that Taproot volunteers are always available to help you tailor your nonprofit’s social media strategy–and much more! Sign up and find someone to help support your efforts.
Written by Brandon Marcus, content writer and advocate for progressive causes.
Taproot would like to thank Feedspot for choosing Taproot’s blog as #2 in their “20 Best Pro Bono Blogs and Websites.” They researched thousands of blogs and “ranked by traffic, social media followers & freshness.” Thank you, Feedspot!