Social Media Marketing and Nonprofits: Getting Started

Social Media Marketing for nonprofits is critical in reaching your audience. Learn where and how to get started in this blog.

“55% of people who engage with non profits on social media end up taking some sort of action. 59% of those people donate money.”

Social media outperforms all other channels (email, website, print, TV ads) in inspiring online donors to give.

Caught your attention didn’t I?

With statistics like this, your plans for a social media marketing program are now more critical than ever. But what do you need to consider – before anything else – when you start to jump into the social media pool?
The first thing to realize is that social media changes fast. Really fast. What once really only included maybe email, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and a few others, has now branched out to include a multitude of applications that can be used in various ways – with new ones surfacing everyday. In fact, there are over 3.8 billion users on social media daily across apps from Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, SnapChap, WhatsApp, Tinder, Instagram, Twitch, Tumbler, Reddit and more. To put that into perspective, that’s about half the world’s population. While these numbers can be overwhelming, what is important to know is the following:

• You DON’T have to do it all
• You SHOULDN’T do it all
• You need to determine a social media marketing strategy with a plan behind it

Know Where Your Audience Is

When you start to whittle down where you should focus, it may be important to understand a few things about how the world uses social media. According to Smart Insights, 48% of Baby Boomers, 78% of Gen Xers and 90% of millennials log into social media every day.

These are the real questions you should be asking :

  1. Where does this fit with my audience? Which of these groups make up my volunteers, my constituents and my donors? And remember that they may in fact land in all of these sectors, and that is ok. Try to start filtering and building your matrix of who and where your audience really is within these groups.
  2. What social media platforms are these age groups drawn to? Where are they? As an example, according to the same research mentioned above, Facebook is a favorite with the baby boomer demographic, while Facebook and Twitter seem to rank high with the Gen Xers, and, no surprise, millennials are all over the place. You can find them on SnapChat, TikTok, Facebook, and many others. But don’t forget YouTube – it is a fan favorite with everyone.
  3. How do these platforms fit within your non profit and its goals? This may be the most important question, and worthy of an entire blog in and of itself. But lets say, just as an example, statistics show that baby boomers are the demographic that have been identified with the highest likelihood to give, and most of the Baby Boomers are found on Facebook. I would say that for most nonprofits, Facebook would and should be a social media platform in your plan. If videos are something you can leverage easily, then maybe YouTube is a second platform that you plan for, and you stop there and do what you can on those two platforms.

Not showing up on a platform just means you are not there. Performing poorly on a platform can do way more damage to your reputation and to your overall mission. So again, do not try to do too much. One step at a time and focus on where you can make the most impact with where your audience will see and interact with you.

Attracting Donors

87% of donors who first donate from a social referral source make their second donation from a social referral source.

There is no wonder that the most common platforms that nonprofits have chosen to use as foundational platforms in their social media marketing plans are Facebook and Twitter, as this is where most of the giving on social media occurs. Chicken or the egg, who knows, but Facebook actually makes it easy to set up donation pages and contributes in such things as #GivingTuesday, so it is definitely worth looking into. The runners-up for nonprofit platforms include (in no specific order) YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

In the end, we are talking about how you can be successful at social media marketing. This can be a very scary thing to dive into if you are new, or if you are trying to launch into a new channel. Neil Patel, who is one of the worlds leading online social media marketers defines it in the following way:

“Social media marketing is the process of creating content that you
have tailored to the context of each individual social media platform in
order to drive user engagement and sharing.”

Neil Patel, world’s leading online marketer

The important thing to remember as you start to build out your social media marketing plan is that you want to create authentic content that is tailored for each platform. This is not about writing something once and putting it out on every platform you see, or taking pictures and just posting them without any context. Your social media marketing plan needs to be well thought out. This is about engaging your customers, your audience, your volunteers, your constituents and your donors with the right message at the right time in their format/ platform of choice. This is about conversions in the end. Enticing them to action – bottom line.

Now, its time to plan…. To find out how to build a complete social media marketing strategy for nonprofits, watch our recorded webinar on Building a Social Media Content Strategy that Elevates Your Mission.

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Author: Stephanie Beighley
Stephanie Beighley, VP of Customer Experience for Inkbench, has been defining and developing brand experiences for both clients and agencies throughout her two-decade career. Her creative aesthetic and communication style are heavily influenced by her experience in front-end development and UI/UX design. Prior to joining the Inkbench team, Stephanie was an Inkbench power-user, and brings her skills and experience to helping subscribers with everything from implementation to design direction, as well as being actively involved in crafting the overall user experience.
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