As nonprofit professionals, oftentimes one of our greatest tasks is advocacy. We know we need to raise awareness and educate the community about our causes in order to seek the support we need. In this digital day and age, there are more opportunities than ever to reach who you are looking for, especially using techniques for social media.
If you are in need of a free and readily-available vehicle to reach your audience, social media is your answer. Even though social media has been around for over a decade now, it can still feel completely overwhelming at times trying to figure out how to engage your audience in the most effective way with an ever-changing algorithm.
Below are a few back-to-the-basics tips and techniques for social media and getting the most out of your presence and efforts.
1. Keep It Social
The important thing to remember when it comes to techniques for social media is to keep it social. Have conversations and engage with your audience in a friendly and accessible way. In other words, talk back! If someone posts a comment below your picture, answer it. If someone messages you in your inbox, answer it! The more engagement a post gets, the more the social media gods will push it out to other people. Also, remember to engage with other accounts. Posting is important but so is actively following, liking, and commenting on other’s work. Find individuals and organizations similar to yours and strategically reach out. How can you create relationships online?
2. Publish Consistent Content
In order to properly leverage your basic techniques for social media, be sure to post content with value and show up constantly. Building a following on social media can take time but it can be so helpful to building your overall brand because it can allow you to reach your audience on a daily basis. Showing up in your audience’s feed over and over again can help you stay top of mind and gives you more time to communicate your stories and messages. If you think sharing one story is effective, imagine what sharing daily stories could do.
3. Keep It Visual
Studies show that people are drawn to and respond to visual storytelling. This means if you want your audience to stop scrolling, it’s best to accompany every post with some sort of image or video. In fact, video is currently the most effective for engagement. Don’t let this scare you! Not every post needs to be shot by a professional photographer or videographer. Try taking short “behind the scenes” videos with your phone, snap a quick shot of a staff member or a volunteer for a “get to know us” post, or even use stock photos if needed. Just make sure you get permission from everyone you post online and from the source of the photo if it doesn’t belong to you. Visuals go for quotes and announcements too. Canva is a great app/website for quickly creating beautiful posts with words and eye-catching backgrounds.
4. Share, Share, Share!
Pro Tip: Literally click “Share” on other popular stories, posts, articles, and videos that relate to your cause. By sharing the stories, articles, and posts from other accounts similar to yours, you are supporting others, building relationships, continuing to define your brand, and saving yourself time. If someone has posted something you feel aligns with your organization’s brand, share it! It is free game and can still help your audience learn what your cause is all about. Just make sure you give credit where credit is due and tag the original content creator.
5. Know Your Audience
There are tons of social media platforms in which you can get involved. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, SnapChat, and LinkedIn are the most popular (as of now, but these are constantly changing and adapting!) This is where knowing your audience is really important – who are you trying to reach most with your message? Do some research about your audience and try to pinpoint the platforms on which they are hanging out. Every platform has a slightly different demographic and etiquette. Even if you feel a little out of your element on certain platforms, just do your best to show up and learn. You will gain confidence the more you interact and post. If you are pressed for time (as many non-profits are!) then try to just focus on mastering the one or two platforms you feel best align with your audience and brand.
6. Track Your Posts
This is basic marketing, but in order to see what messages and stories are effectively resonating with your audience, you need to track them. Test them. See which posts get the most engagement and feedback. You can tell the same story in a variety of ways and see which one lands the best with your audience. Certain stories will land better with your audience than others and you may gain more traction on certain platforms over others. Give yourself the permission to try a few different things and see which ones are the most successful. The best way to get good at something is to practice, right?
7. Call To Action
Every social media post is an opportunity to hit your audience with a call to action. Ask them to answer a question in the comments or provide them a link to click on to learn more. Invite them to share the post if it resonated with them or tag a friend to spread the word. The more you include call to actions, the more likely your audience is to engage, and the more exposure you will get overall.