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Building Success in Social Media: Tips to Help Nonprofits

By on Monday, December 23, 2019

You probably rely on social media to engage with supporters, volunteers, client alumni, and the community.  You may have a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, or an Instagram account. What practical steps can you take to improve your outreach and engagement?

Advance schedule posts. Facebook allows you to schedule posts for up to six months into the future. If you know that you are going out of town or super busy – this can be a huge help. I use Hootsuite to advance schedule Twitter and Instagram posts. If something changes and I want to run something else, I can always hop into the accounts and change the schedule.

Always use visuals. People pay attention to images and videos. You should never post on your page on Facebook without an image of some kind. Twitter also favors photos more now and photos make or break an Instagram account. You can find free stock image sites if you need photos (one of my favorites is Pixabay).

Get your social into motion. Video is now favored by Facebook’s algorithm and getting more traction on Twitter, so share videos to get more eyeballs. Video doesn’t have to be fancy to be successful. It just needs to be sincere and real. Ask a staff member, volunteer, or mission alumni to talk for a couple of minutes or respond to a question. The best thing you can do to get quality video is invest in a stand for your smartphone. If you have funds available, add a quality microphone. Eliminate distractions and odd background noises and you’ll be amazed at what you can produce on your own.

Launch your events into social media. Facebook’s algorithm currently favors pages that plan events. Setting up an event for volunteers– can result in broader reach and engagement. Even if you require volunteer registration on your website, you can still set up a Facebook event. Use a hashtag to collect photos, comments and videos from your attendees. Tag cooperating organizations to say thank you and share photos and videos after the event.

Use evergreen content (and set up a social media calendar). You might need to talk about some programs or needs (volunteers, supplies, donations) year-round or seasonally. One way to plan these out is to set up a spreadsheet (I use Excel) to organize evergreen content. For example, write 3-5 different posts for recruiting volunteers. Then write different versions for each social media platform (paying attention to word counts and adding hashtags where appropriate). If you want to be more organized, add a date column and convert this spreadsheet into a calendar, sprinkling evergreen content over time.

Look at analytics to improve your outreach. Facebook insights is free and provides a wealth of data on your page and its followers (available to Page managers in the menu bar on any page). Look at page views for the month. I like to download as a spreadsheet all my post activity and look at which posts did well for the month, and which ones didn’t. You can also use Insights to figure out the best time of day to post. Twitter offers free analytics too – log in via the web and in the menu for your profile, click on More, then Analytics.

This post first appeared in Instigate magazine, published by the Citygate Network. Ami Neiberger-Miller is a public relations strategist and writer. She is the founder of Steppingstone LLC, an independent PR practice near Washington, D.C. that provides public relations counsel, social media engagement, writing services, and creative design for publications and websites (contact to discuss your projectreview our portfoliosign up for our e-newsletter). She blogs about media relations, social media, public relations, and work-family balance. Follow her on Twitter @AmazingPRMaven

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