This post was most recently updated on June 18, 2020.
Every form of communication with your constituents can be optimized to make the greatest impact—even social media. But first, you’ll need followers. While there are ways to pay for growth on social media, organic growth is best way to strengthen your social media presence and be successful in the long-term.
Whether you’re just getting started with social media or looking for new nonprofit social media growth strategies, we’ll share simple best practices for gaining new followers and expanding your reach.
1. Include Visuals In Your Nonprofit Social Media Strategy
Images are the best way to get the attention of your social media engagers. Image and video posts on Facebook are much more likely to be liked and shared than text or simple links. Try to create images that show you’ve got interesting things going on with your nonprofit.
- Facebook: You can use Facebook to share images, videos, gifs, and slideshows to show your followers more about your cause and how you’re making an impact. Facebook recommends that you use commentary with all your visuals in a way that fits your organization’s voice. And don’t forget to use the Facebook stories feature, too!
- Twitter: While Twitter is best known for sharing 280-character tweets, we still recommend using images in some of your tweets to generate engagement. Twitter’s image guidelines recommend that you avoid stock images and bland colors and try using templates and illustrations to accompany your tweets. We’d recommend keeping it simple with pictures of your nonprofit’s work, your fundraising campaign design, or even a fundraising thermometer.
- Instagram: With Instagram being the most image-oriented social platform, the quality of your visuals is essential. You don’t have to hire a professional photographer or even a graphic designer, but make sure the person responsible for sharing on your Instagram account is aesthetically-minded and knows how to make even an iPhone photo look great.
With Instagram originality, beauty, and compelling content is key. That’s why we’d recommend against using overly branded templates or commonly used graphics, although you can always enlist the help of a design software like Canva that’s free for nonprofits.
But don’t forget about stories, too! Instagram stories are another great place to share visuals that don’t have to be as polished as your posts. Stories are a good way for nonprofits to connect more casually with their followers.
2. Have A Consistent Social Media Presence
Don’t give your social media followers time to forget about you! Inconsistent posting is a surefire way to actually hurt your nonprofit social media strategy. Posting consistently doesn’t meat you have to constantly be on your profile. There are a lot of tools that can help you write and schedule social posts.
The best practices on when to post does depend on the platform you’re using. However, we’d suggest that you find the rhythm that works well for your organization and your followers. We’ll share general tips for each platform:
- Facebook: With Facebook, think quality over quantity. Some experts recommend 3 post per week is the minimum with no more than 1 post per day.
- Twitter: Twitter users tend to expect the highest frequency of posts, especially with the character count for each one being so low. We’d recommend 3-5 tweets per day. But you can use threads, retweets, and even replies to help increase your tweet volume.
- Instagram: While quality and frequency are important with Instagram, consistency is key. We’d say between your posts and stories, you should share something every 1-2 days. You can try some tests or even ask your audience for their preference, but spend some time finding the right balance between stories and posts.
3. Relationships Are Key To Your Nonprofit Social Media Strategy
Relationships are an essential part of every nonprofit social media strategy. While scheduling regular posts is important, it’s also important to interact with your followers. It helps to establish a relationship with your supporters and hopefully turn them into advocates for your cause. Plus, some of your supporters may rely primarily on social media as their primary way to contact you—even before sending an email.
- Facebook: You’ll likely do most of your interacting on Facebook by replying to comments. But there may also be times when your supporters mention you in their own post, especially if you running a peer-to-peer campaign. Use your discretion to know when it’s best to like, comment, or even share your followers’ posts when they mention you. Just make sure you acknowledge it in some way! Also, be sure to keep an eye on your private messages where people may reach out for general information about your organization.
- Twitter: Twitter is a highly interactive platform. We’d encourage you to have a consistent practice of replying, retweeting, and favoriting your supporters and partners. You may also have some people reach out on direct message from time-to-time, as well.
- Instagram: Your Instagram followers will engage most likely through comments on your posts and replies to your stories. You may not be able to reply to all of your comments and replies, but do your best to engage your followers as they engage with you.
4. Keep Your Social Presence Updated
It’s easy for your social media profile to get stuffy and boring when nothing changes. Update your profile and banner pics on the regular, always keeping on-brand. A strong logo is a great way to unify otherwise unrelated images, so always make sure to feature your’s prominently, no matter what other visual changes you make.
- Facebook: While some of the information may never change, it’s important to review your Facebook page regularly and make sure it’s up-to-date. In terms of branding, make sure your name, profile image, and header image all reflect the most recent version of your organization’s brand. Check especially for contact information to make sure your followers know how to reach you by email, phone, and permanent address, including when your office is open.
- Twitter: You likely will have less information to update on your nonprofit Twitter profile, but it’s important to make sure your branding is up-to-date and consistent with your other platforms. That includes your profile picture, account name, and header image. It’s also a good idea to make sure your bio is updated, including links to your website and donation page.
- Instagram: Much like Facebook and Twitter, ensure your nonprofit Instagram profile has branding that’s consistent and make sure your contact information is accurate. You’ll want to keep an eye on the link you use on your profile. Some users change this link often based on a recent post. Make sure the link you’re using is relevant.
5. Know Your Audience On Each Social Media Platform
A good nonprofit social media strategy requires knowing your audience on each of your platforms. Think about how different demographics and user-bases interact with your nonprofit’s brand. Tell stories that inspire and engage your group. Building donor personas for your organization can help you strategize this.
You can also expect unique audiences on each platform, even if the same people follow you on each.
- Facebook: Facebook continues to dominate the social media market with 69% of U.S. adults having an account. It’s the most age-diverse by far. Most Facebook users rely on the platform to stay connected with their friends, family, and peers
- Twitter: Twitter is most societally connected platform where people come to share their ideas with the world. Only 22% of U.S. adults used Twitter in 2019, with only 42% of users use it daily. Twitter is where you’ll find a younger, more educated audience.
- Instagram: Instagram is where people go to follow brands, influencers, and causes they care about. It’s the second most popular platform featured on this post with 37% of U.S. adults having an account. Users are slightly skewed to women more than men, 43% to 31% respectively, and it is also highly popular with young adults.
Sources: Pew Research Center’s Social Media Fact Sheet and Hubspot’s Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram comparison guide.
Bonus: Use Hashtags
For longtime Facebook users, hashtags might be something of an afterthought. But for Instagram and Twitter users, they’re your bridge to new views, followers, and eventual donors. By using hashtags intentionally, your posts can be seen by people all over the internet, whether or not they’ve ever heard of your organization before.
At the end of the day, the correlation between your nonprofit social media strategy and donor cultivation growth is pretty simple: grow your social media followers, grow your audience, grow your donors. Take the time to grow your follower base organically on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Your hard work will pay off.
Schedule a live demo with our team, and we’ll show you how easy it is to create and automate reports, utilize online and offline fundraising tools, quickly integrate and access all your data, and ultimately create more time to engage your donors.