If you’re working for a nonprofit with a moderate (if not lack of a) social media budget, it sometimes feels wasteful to put any effort out there at all. When you can’t keep up with the likes of UNICEF, World Wildlife Fund, American Red Cross, and Susan G. Komen, are you ever going to have an avid enough following to generate interest in your nonprofit via social media?
Through this post I want to give a shout out to the successes of the four nonprofits below – well done! And I also want to take what is likely a somewhat discouraged response to these successes and help you see them as inspiration. There are a few ways you can look to these nonprofit social media giants and come away with resources to better your own accounts.
Some say you should only post a few times a week on Facebook, but UNICEF doesn’t seem to follow that rule. And it works quite well for them! They post 2-3 times a day. With this they have over 6 million likes on their page, tons of traction on each post, and a great variety between each one.
But don’t be discouraged! Just because you don’t have a dedicated social media specialist doesn’t mean you can’t take on a thing or two from UNICEF’s social media strategy. Read more on how to use Facebook as a nonprofit in Facebook for Nonprofits – A Huge Helping Hand. Here are three tactics to try out yourself:
1. Quote the ones who use your services
With a tight budget, it’s unlikely you have high-quality photos of all your favorite people using your services. However, it’s pretty doable to at least grab a fun quote from a few of them. Keep a record of these quotes and pull them for a post once a week. People want to see tangible evidence your efforts affect others and you easily have just that! Facebook is an especially good space to inspire others with peoples’ stories, as users likely came there to hear about others.
If this is a success even with lower-quality photos, consider allocating some of your budget to a professional photographer at your next event. Once you have a handful of photos, you can cycle through them for a while.
2. Respond to world events
It’s likely you’re already paying attention to what’s happening in your nonprofit’s realm, but are you helping others pay attention? Follow thought leaders and news sources on social media, pull excerpts on what they said, and share it on Facebook. It helps when DiCaprio’s got your back…
3. Respond to responses
Take advantage of each comment made on your post. There are several ways to encourage commenters to read more about your organization, spin negative comments to positive ones, and establish stronger connections. Read more about managing comments in “How to Handle Negative Reviews Online.”
Just coming off of a hugely successful Twitter campaign with Apple, WWF can teach us a thing or two about this platform. Apple might be a bit of a doozy to get in touch with, but let’s consider some other ways you could create success on Twitter as a nonprofit.
1. Find Partnerships
Twitter is one of the best platforms for following influencers in your field and forming relationships with them. Follow other nonprofits, thought leaders, news channels and the like, and consider messaging them about coordinating a campaign together.
It’s also the place for forming a trending hashtag. Especially good for if you’ve formed some sort of partnership, tag each of your posts with related events or content with a consistent hashtag. When tweeters click on the hashtag, it’ll bring them to all the related content.
2. Show positive stats
You don’t have to rely on guilt to inspire people to donate or volunteer. As seen with the example below, people thrive on success stories as well; you can show people the change that is happening with impressive stats and the like.
LinkedIn is an interesting space for nonprofits. It’s mostly a place for professionals to share information and to recruit talent, but it can serve as another platform to attract volunteers and donors, if your nonprofit uses it correctly. Read more in “Nonprofits Link Up on LinkedIn,” and follow suit of the American Red Cross.
1. Recognize special events, outside of your nonprofit’s
The Red Cross drew on a national event/holiday and made it their own by telling engaging stories. Try to recognize events and news and then even take them one step further by adding your two cents.
2. Tell stories about other professionals doing work for your nonprofit.
If people are checking LinkedIn for jobs or professional updates, use this aspect as a way to tell your volunteers’ and donors’ stories. The day-in-the-life story works well to grab attention as we all love to be inspired by others.
3. Use others’ input
Keeping in mind that this platform is a space for professionals, create an opportunity for people to use their career talents as a way to volunteer. With the example below, American Red Cross created a space for young professionals to gain experience, and for others to help without investing much time or money.
This is the place to rely on your heartstring-pulling photos and inspiring quotes. People come to Instragram to see what catches their eye. For more on how Instragram now works for nonprofits, read this update.
1. Be sweet! Find ways to pull on users’ nostalgia
Capitalizing on another holiday, the Susan G. Komen Foundation posted this cute vintage photo below. They go beyond what you might think of when you hear breast cancer awareness by drawing on viewers’ tie to their own family. Try to find a way (without pushing this too far) to show the user what it might be like if they were affected by your cause.
2. Make a statement
Here the nonprofit doesn’t just post a photo of what you might expect when you picture their cancer walk events. It takes the cause beyond the events and makes it something to think about every day.
3. Keep it simple
As you can see, you can say a lot in only a few words. Find a short statement and try leaving out the photo for a change. Use a wonderful tool like Canva to make a simple graphic like below (without using a designer)
For more on the best nonprofits on social media, take a look at this list from Top Nonprofits.