Spending your valuable time on growing your online social media presence can seem like a waste when you have more pressing issues to worry about. As a nonprofit, you may be tempted to use your social media sparingly or even not at all. This, though, is to do yourself a disservice. Social media is one of the best, free ways to get out your message as a nonprofit. You can choose to spend money advertising your posts, or you can merely let them generate organic conversation (conversation generated merely likes, comments, and shares). Either way, having a strong social media presence is one of the best things you can do to boost your reach. Keep reading for our top 5 tips to grow your social media presence.
Joining Instagram is one of the best ways to boost your online presence. More and more people are adopting Instagram as their preferred social media platform. Whether you post pictures of your volunteers, stories of the people you have helped, infographics showing the impact of what you’re doing or advertisements for your fundraiser, Instagram is the best way to get your message out there without spending a dime. You can be as creative or as basic as you want with your feed–ultimately though, you need to have a feed that matters. Make sure you as a nonprofit are represented well, and in such a way that someone reading your feed feels compelled to join you in your mission. Make that hypothetical reader invested in what you’re invested in, and make them feel like what you do matters as much as you do. A picture is worth a thousand words, and nowadays, people would rather read a picture than a Facebook post.
Even if you’re not a familiar with this term, you can use hashtags. Hashtags matter, because they help bring people to your posts and page, even if they otherwise would not have known about you. By using a hashtag, you join in the conversation flowing around your topic to help you gain a seat at the table for whatever cause you champion. If you’re a nonprofit fitness specialist, use hashtags like #fitness or #getswoll. The first one is obvious and will bring you some traffic, but the second one might be the most prosperous for you. Because the term “get swoll” is one primarily used by fitness gurus, and you’re trying to attract people who love going to the gym, love working out, and who would love your facilities, using something that is “community-specific” will help you the most. So, take a few minutes out of your day to see what hashtags you should be using to boost the conversation around your post.
Make sure everything that you tweet, Instagram or Facebook is relevant to your target audience. It doesn’t all have to be original content, it can be retweets, relevant articles or tips that you post–but make sure that anything you post is something your reader needs. If you can find a way to connect your message to current events, even better. Find a way to comment on current events from your nonprofit’s perspective. One way I like to do this is to focus on a message I see needs to be shared then find a foundation that has posted something I can piggyback my message to. When tragedies happen and I feel that we need to comment, I try to find a foundation directly responding to the tragedy or a similarly related tragedy, and tie them together with my message. Thus, people care all the more because you have added to the conversation and furthered it.
Further You Conversation
Similar to the one above, you need to further the conversation in your nonprofit’s community. Try to generate new content for your readers to see, and give your perspective on issues. This idea goes beyond relevancy; new content creation is a must.
Being relevant will get you and your nonprofit some traffic, but if you can bring a new idea into the conversation, you’re more likely to get noticed for what you’re trying to do. Creation of content might take a little longer than merely being relevant and repeating what others have said, but overall you will gain more conversation about you and to you than if you say what everyone else is saying. It’s not unacceptable to say what others are saying or to share content written by other people, but if this is all that you do, you’re missing out on an opportunity to reach an even larger audience. Take some time to further your conversation, you won’t regret it.
Create a Social Media Mantra
What is a social media mantra? A social media mantra is the message that all of your posts everywhere must perpetuate. You need to have a cohesive message that all of your tweets, Instagrams and Facebooks further somehow. While this one might seem rather obvious, it is something I see businesses and nonprofits alike struggle with. Your mantra can be something general, like “we help nonprofits find ways to thrive” (that is NPM’s) or something really specific, like “we help impoverished women between the ages of 50 and 100 in New York City stay healthy.” Whatever it is that you choose, write it on a sticky note and put it on your wall, put it on your email signature, whiteboard or anywhere else that you and/or your team will see it every day, all day long. Before you post anything, ask yourself if it furthers or hinders your mantra and social media message. If it doesn’t fit fully into the mantra, you should consider tweaking it so that your post fully furthers your message.
Taking the plunge into social media can be daunting for nonprofits, particularly if this is your first time in this realm. It’s okay for some of your posts to be a flop, even most of them if you are just beginning. For a good, step by step beginner’s guide into the whole world of social media, I suggest The Art of Social Media ($13-$15, Amazon) by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick. It’s a fairly short, easy read, available in Kindle and paper copies that will change your life and the way you do social media. It’s worth a little over $10 to get an easy, step by step guide into the world of social media. It’s well worth your time to read and apply the principals Guy and Peg lay out, or even just utilize our top 5 tips here to make you social media account successfully. Remember: Social media is free advertising. Go and use it wisely.