Social media like Facebook and Twitter are, beyond any shadow of a doubt, two of the most powerful marketing tools in human history. No other platform allows you to reach such a large audience so quickly—and no other platform allows you to ensure that of that audience, the vast majority are interested in what you’re selling them. This is even true if you’re running a nonprofit.
As a matter of fact, I’d say social media is even more essential in that case—especially if you’re trying to reach millennials with your cause.
“Millennials are eager to see the ‘status quo’ change,” reads a piece on Brock Press. “And with the advent of modern technology and social media, it’s easier than ever to be socially and politically mindful. Look at the use of social media platforms such as Twitter and its role in the Arab Spring, when there were government-imposed media blackouts in Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria. ... Millennial activism is even apparent on a smaller and more local scale.”
As a nonprofit, you need to tap into that activism, which offers you a unique opportunity to both raise awareness of your cause and scale up both donations and participation. Not only does it let you get the word out about current events much faster, it lets you do it at minimal cost—while also driving the news to people you want to reach.
So, now that we’ve established the value of social ... what can you do to drive your own presence?
- Structure your campaign as a conversation. Reach out and talk to your donors and volunteers as you would your friends and family (but with that said, keep things professional). Engage people with questions, and keep people talking as much as possible without forcing things.
- Post high-quality visual content—or encourage volunteers to participate in your social campaign through posts on Instagram, YouTube, or Snapchat. By doing so, you’ll touch on a more or less guaranteed way to boost engagement, both for the people who are sharing the content and for your audience as a whole.
- Don’t go in without a plan. Invest in an editorial calendar solution such as Basecamp or a social management tool like Social Studio. You can’t just post with reckless abandon whenever the desire strikes—you should time your posts so that they’ll be seen by the largest audience and have the greatest effect.
- Go mobile. If you have the resources, consider setting up a mobile app for your volunteers and donors, one that connects readily to Facebook, Twitter, and any other social platforms you use. The majority of people access their emails and social profiles through their smartphones or tablets, so this might well be your most important step - missing it could mean alienating your audience.
- Live-tweet your events. Look at all the most successful fundraisers over the past few years, and chances are good that they’ll have one thing in common: they used Twitter or another, similar social platform to post live updates of ongoing events. You should do the same.
Social media is one of the most powerful tools in any nonprofit’s arsenal. With incredible reach and a low price point, there’s no reason not to make use of it—and every reason to do so.
Brad Wayland is the chief strategy officer at BlueCotton, a site with high-quality, easy-to-design custom T-shirts.