Social media is a powerful tool at nonprofits’ disposal, and more and more are taking it seriously and making use of its advantages. By using this tool effectively, you’ll be able to stand out from the crowd and create awareness for the impact you create. But in order to really get the most out of social media, you’ve got to catch the public’s eye and develop a robust and interactive audience that is continuously growing. The following five tips will give you the edge you need to stand out in the social nonprofit crowd:
1. Get mobile-optimized – It can’t be overstated: Mobile is here to stay, and adoption is only going to broaden over time. If your website isn’t mobile optimized, you’re basically inviting your prospective constituents to go elsewhere. There are options for taking things slowly and ramping up in a way that keeps costs low; but doing nothing is no longer okay if you want donors and volunteers to take you seriously.
2. Have outstanding graphics – What’s a picture worth? A thousand words? How about a thousand retweets? Or a thousand dollars in donations? Images have HUGE value on social media, so be sure to use them frequently. Eye-catching graphics and great photographs should accompany as many posts as possible. Don’t just talk about your organization and cause – SHOW. Here are some tips for maximizing photos on the most popular social platforms – including dimensions for each, and some storytelling strategies from John Haydon.
3. Share interactive material – You want engagement right? Then get your followers involved! Don’t just talk AT them all the time – get them talking back and participating by asking questions and inviting comments. Make it fun by having contests or asking followers to vote for things like their favorite campaign idea. Anything that encourages your audience to actively participate in your channel will boost your engagement and literally boost your posts to the top.
4. Use video – If you think images are great, video is even better. In fact, it’s the medium that dominates as far as engagement and entertainment are concerned. Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? How do you think that would have played out without video? Our causes rely on touching emotions, and nothing does that more effectively than video. It’s also the easiest way to tell a story in a short period of time. And great videos don’t need to break the bank, either. Just make sure you have a plan in place for promoting for max return.
5. Collect feedback and create surveys – People love to get involved and throw in their two cents as a general rule, so asking members of your community their opinions on what you can do better and what they like is pretty much guaranteed to get them engaged in active participation. It’s a great way of collecting data so you can make improvements in any number of areas, and those who offer their input will feel that much more invested in your organization. Just remember to keep the questions short or people will lose interest. Check out Survey Monkey to create unlimited free surveys and polls.
Basically, you want to use these tips to establish yourself as a steady source of engaging, vibrant, thought-provoking content, and an organization that listens to its constituents as well as informs them. If your posts incorporate these five points, you can’t help but stand out.
Which of the above strategies do you find most effective? Anything your organization does that we missed? Tell us in the comments!
The preceding is a cross-post of the Social Media for Nonprofits May 27, 2015 blog post of the same title. Ritu Sharma is the CEO and Co-Founder of Social Media for Nonprofits, an organization committed to bringing social media education to nonprofits worldwide. She convenes thought-leaders and leading practitioners in the social media space in the unique TED meet Twitter style conferences in 14 cities in three countries. She speaks frequently around the world on a variety of topics in the nonprofit and social media spheres with a passion for effecting social change through social technologies. She writes a blog at the Huffington Post on the intersection of social media, social change and leadership. Follow Ritu on LinkedIn or Twitter @ritusharma1