Social Media Strategy For Nonprofits
You need to create a practical social media marketing strategy that will not use up all of your time and will help you increase revenue for your nonprofit.
Your social media objectives need to be aligned with overall marketing objectives of your nonprofit.
Before getting into how to develop an effective social media strategy, we need to get clear about why it matters for nonprofits.
Why Social Media Strategy Matters
The first question is, why do you need one? Well, there’s a lot of social media networks, there all very different and they all require their own separate strategy. That makes it extremely difficult for you to pursue all of them concurrently.
Your social media strategy should also be part of a broader marketing strategy. So every post, reply, like, or comment should be contributing to a big picture marketing plan that was designed to help you achieve your nonprofit goals.
If you take the time to create a social media strategy it will be much easier for you to review the infinite number of social media marketing opportunities and decide which opportunities to pursue and which opportunities to ignore.
So let’s get started.
Social Media Objectives
The first step is always to establish your objectives. Or to put it another way, how will you measure success? Is it a simple return on investment? As I said earlier, your social media objectives need to be aligned with your overall marketing objectives.
It doesn’t make any sense to have marketing objectives that are focused on sales while having a social media objective focused on building a large number of followers on Instagram for no reason other than it’s better to have more followers than less.
You need to go beyond vanity metrics and focus on the metrics that really matter like the number of leads generated, number of referrals, or conversion rates.
Social Media Audit
In the first step, you figured out where you want to end up. Now you have to figure out your starting point so that you can develop a roadmap that will get you from point A to point B. This is a list of things that need to be reviewed:
- Which social media platforms are you currently using?
- Is your presence on these platforms active or dormant?
- Is your presence on each social network consistent with your brand?
- Which social platforms do your donors use? If your audience is predominantly on one social network, you need to focus on that same network. If your audience is spread across several social networks then you need a broader strategy. If you’re just getting started and your audience is on multiple social networks then you can focus on the one that you prefer to use then add a presence on the rest over time. If you’re in this situation, make sure that you sign up for all of the social networks that you plan on using in the future as soon as possible so that you can be the owner of a username or profile name that most closely matches your brand. It’s important to have brand consistency so, if it is possible, try to use the same nonprofit name or brand name across all social media networks.
- Pretend to be a donor and search your brand on the social networks that you’re currently using. Is it easy to find you or is it difficult? Do you come across in a way that is consistent with your brand? How do you compare with your competitors?
Make sure that the access codes for all of the social networks are under your control and don’t give anybody access to your administrator access codes. Wherever possible look for a feature that allows you to add other people as additional users or editors to your account.
The last thing you need is a disgruntled employee or freelancer locking you out or posting something stupid on your social pages.
- Create a process that you or somebody else will work through every day. For example:
- Will you respond to every question and if yes, who will respond?
- What will be the response and do you have to approve it before the response goes live?
- Will you answer customer support questions on social or will you refer them to your website or private communication?
- How frequently will you post your own original content?
- How frequently will you share other people’s content?
- Who will decide which content to share with other people?
- Will you be posting the same content on all social networks or will you be customizing the content for one or more social networks?
If you’re just getting started, the best way to address all of this Is to create the simplest plan possible that will be easiest for you to stick with. You can see from all of these questions that, if you did not have a plan, you could easily find yourself spending 10 hours a day doing this and nothing else.
If your primary objective is to send traffic from social media to your website in order to convert them into Leeds and your audience primarily spends time on one social network then you should start by only focusing on the things that need to be set up to achieve that specific objective.
Optimizing Social Media Accounts
If you select profile names in your social media accounts that match your brand-name and your domain name and you link them all together you could end up with a useful SEO benefit. When somebody searches for your brand in Google, instead of just seeing your website in the search results, they also end up seeing several of your social media profiles.
For example, they might see your YouTube channel and your Facebook page, and your Twitter. In this case, you would be using up four positions out of the first 10. It makes your brand seem more credible and it obviously increases the likelihood that people will click on one of your web properties rather than one that belongs to a competitor.
You can also cross-promote your social media properties to each other. This can be an effective way of helping your audience interact with you on the social networks they prefer. If people find you on Instagram but prefer to watch videos on YouTube it may never occur to them to search for you on YouTube.
It’s up to you to let them know that you have a presence on YouTube. If you do, they might follow you more closely on YouTube. In the meantime, if you never mentioned your presence on YouTube, they might stop following you on Instagram because it’s not their preferred social network and then you’ll never hear from them again.
Wherever possible you need to optimize the content for each social platform. Some of them work very very differently. It obviously takes a lot of work to adapt each piece of content for each social network so it is perfectly okay to only optimize for one as long as you are fully aware of the fact that is not optimal for all.
What I mean by this is, if you want an active presence on all the major social networks, pick one network that you want to focus on, post content that is customized for success on that network, then just push the same content into the other networks.
The network that you focus on will likely succeed and the other networks likely won’t succeed but you will have an active presence on the other networks that can be scaled up in the future when you’re ready. This strategy also makes it possible for you to get lucky. Sometimes all you have to do is show up.
You could end up receiving a lot of unexpected activity on one of the social networks that you’re not focusing on. That’s obviously a good problem to have.
Create a calendar
As you’ve probably figured out by now your social media presence could end up being extremely time-consuming so you need to be selective and organized. That means creating a schedule that you or somebody else can follow. This is all about who, what, and when.
Try creating a 30-day schedule. You’ll probably realize that it involves more work than you expected and that’s the whole point of this. It will force you to think about what you really need to do as opposed to what you would like to do.
This always comes back to those primary objectives we discussed at the beginning. If you look at the 30-day schedule with your key objectives in mind you’ll have the clarity to figure out how to do what you need and nothing more. This is also a great way to avoid the inevitable stress that comes from ignoring your social media audience.
There’s nothing worse than the feeling you get after convincing people to follow you than giving them nothing. Use the 30-day schedule to figure out who will do what and when so that you have the peace of mind to know that the next 30 days are taken care of and you can get back to focusing on and other parts of your business.
All the social media platforms offer some form of analytics or reporting. Try to get into the habit of glancing at them for one minute every time you use the Dashboard of the network. This will help you to easily stay up-to-date and get an instinctive feel for what is happening and why.
Try to avoid looking at your analytics only once every few months. You’ll have to allocate a lot of time to make sense of all of the data, it will be tedious, it will be boring if you’ve made mistakes it will be too late to fix them and if you had opportunities it will be too late to take advantage of them.
When you do look at the analytics just ask yourself if the data confirms that you are in fact taking steps toward your key objectives. If something is working really well, scale it up.
If something is going in the opposite direction – nip it in the bud early. And, always remember that social media cuts both ways. If things are going well, it helps you. If things are not going well, it actually hurts you.
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