Nonprofits face a unique set of challenges when it comes to promoting themselves through social media. Different than traditional businesses, nonprofits need to attract donors and volunteers, as well as build awareness for their cause. Engagement through various social media channels has quickly become go-to tool for nonprofits to spread awareness and increase engagement. These can be measured by analyzing key metrics which are easily accessed within each social network. Each social media platform becomes a valuable of success in garnering fans, spreading your message, and providing the base of support needed to ensure your nonprofit can sustain itself and meet its goals.
Let’s keep it simple by focusing on the heavy hitters: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest.
Facebook is by far the most popular and most effective social media platform your nonprofit can employ. Here are a few ways to build your fan base and measure your efforts along the way.
- Build organic “likes” from real people. Each “like” is one small step towards building a sphere of influence that creates awareness for your cause. Invite Facebook friends and their friends to like your page. The more likes, the greater your reach.
- Be interesting. Post entertaining information and media about events, news, fundraisers, or humorous anecdotes, encouraging others to comment or like the post. When they do comment or like your post, that action shows up in their friends’ news feeds, spreading from one social circle to another.
- Learn to love your Facebook page admin panel. Here is the “wizard behind the curtain” of your page insights. The tabs at the top separate different measurements of engagement, such as “Overview,” “Likes,” “Reach,” and “Talking About This.” Pay close attention to these statistics to determine your strategy for improved efforts. Notice which posts have the most engagement and longest reach, and strive to create similar posts that have a similar impact.
Twitter is the staccato of the social media universe, fulfilling the need for short and sweet bursts of interaction. Here are the key areas where efforts should be focus to build a strong, loyal Twitter following.
- Followers. Follow others to get people to follow you, at least in the beginning. Include a well written bio underneath on your Twitter profile page that explains your nonprofit’s purpose, with a link to your website.
- Interactions and Mentions. At the top of your Twitter profile page, you will see the “@” symbol. Click on this symbol to see “Interactions” and “Mentions” directly underneath it. See who your new followers are, and who has mentioned you in one of their tweets. This is a great way to monitor organic mentions of your organization.
- Retweets. See who has “retweeted” you under the “Interactions” tab. Consider tweeting similar content to encourage more retweets. Tweet often and check your engagement daily.
Let’s face it: we are visual creatures, and YouTube is the perfect vehicle to spread your message through a medium humans are drawn to: video.
- It’s all about subscribers. Once you have established your YouTube “channel”, you’ll need to build your subscriber list. Do this by subscribing to other channels, commenting, liking, and viewing others’ videos.
- Viewing the numbers. Once you begin uploading videos (usually not more than 3 minutes in length), you can use the “Analytics” tab to see reports on views, demographics, playback locations, traffic sources, and audience retention. Your “engagement reports” will show you everything about your subscribers, likes, favorites, and comments.
The latest social media site that is growing like wildfire is Pinterest. It’s still largely a mystery to most businesses and organizations as its reputation is more along the lines of virtual scrapbooking. Pinterest, however, can be a very effective tool, especially to get traffic to your site.
- Organize and interact. Create multiple “pinboards” for your organization and specific events. Follow influential pinners and repin their content. Doing so inspires an unspoken relationship, making others more apt to follow, like, and repin what is posted to your pinboards.
- Tally the numbers. Measurement of engagement includes the number of your Pinterest followers, those who repin your content, and others who like your boards or pins.
Remember, success in any social media campaign is a moving target. Have set metrics in mind you’d like to achieve, and analyze and adjust your strategy as it progresses. By posting quality content often, nonprofits are able to increase engagement and grow their circle of influence.