By Jessie Portlock, Social Media Director at Marketeering Group
Social media has become a critical part of any business’ digital communications strategy, and nonprofit organizations are no exception. It’s a vital tool for raising awareness, fundraising, and much more. Organizations who use social media find the most optimal benefit when they incorporate social media marketing into their overall marketing plan as well as their business strategy.
So, how can active engagement on social media benefit your nonprofit?
Reach Your Audience
Social media platforms offer an easy, quick method of reaching your audience with information, fundraising campaigns, or simply sharing some good news about your nonprofit. This method of communication is becoming more prevalent every single day—according to a Global Digital Statshot report, there are more than 1.65 billion active social media accounts, and about 1 million more are added every day. Facebook alone accounts for 1.5 billion users. With so many people engaging in social media communities, nonprofits using these platforms have access to reach far more people with minimal ‘footwork’.
Engage & Connect
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram—all social media platforms offer an opportunity for you to connect with individuals who may become volunteers, donors, or ambassadors to spread the word about the work that your organization is doing. After you’ve reached your audience and gained these individuals as followers, you can engage with them to spread your message further. However, it’s important that your brand and messaging is relevant and up-to-date with the audience you’re trying to reach. A Hubspot survey found that 98% of nonprofits engage with their audience using Facebook, due to its broad reach and low barriers to entry. And 51% of millennials interact with nonprofits on Facebook using smart phones, so it’s key that your organization keeps mobile in mind.
Drive Website Traffic
Social media networks carry a lot of authority with search engines, which can result in more traffic to your website. You may have noticed that your organization’s Facebook page or Twitter profile is pretty high in the results when you search your nonprofit’s name. By maintaining a consistent presence on your social media networks, your organization can capitalize on more ‘real estate’ (so to speak) on search engine results. Additionally, by posting links to your newsletter, blog articles, or resources on your nonprofit’s website, you can use social media to send traffic to your website. This practice also provides an opportunity to distribute your content and information to a greater audience—they may not have found that content on their own.
When your nonprofit creates a new resource, schedules a fundraising event, or otherwise has some information to share, you probably post it on your website or send out an email to announce it. By sharing it on social media as well, you can maximize the exposure and promotion of that information, with minimal effort or expense. Sharing is also incredibly easy on social media, reducing the barrier to entry for your followers to share your information to their communities and creating a chain reaction exposure effect.
One of the best reasons why nonprofits need to be active on social media is because it’s practically free. Aside from the labor costs of employing an individual (or agency) to perform social media marketing for your nonprofit, all of the most popular social networks are free to use. You can certainly increase the reach and exposure of your content by paying to promote it, which can be beneficial on platforms like Facebook, where you can promote to a specific audience. Even then, paid advertising on social media is very cost-effective—far cheaper than direct mail promotions or hiring a PR firm.
Strengthen Your Community
At its core, social media networks are designed to be communities. Facebook, for example, has options for creating events, reacting with various emoticons, and other community-enhancing features. By engaging with your nonprofit’s followers—whether they are fans, donors or simply individuals interested in your organization or its mission—you are strengthening your online community.
Tell Your Story
Aside from your website, your social media pages give you yet more spaces to share your nonprofit’s story, mission, and values. Beyond simply the about/description section of each profile, you can tell your story in more creative ways with the posts you share and any videos you create and publish.
Ready to get started? Here are some helpful tips for nonprofits using social media.
About the Author
Jessie Portlock is a social media influencer and Social Media Director at Marketeering Group, a digital marketing agency that serves businesses and nonprofits in the Greater Seattle area. Jessie also works with nonprofits and arts organizations on her own, helping to develop their digital storytelling efforts and engage with their audiences. She has been spearheading the social media industry in Seattle since 2009, when she left Community Relations Management to pursue Social Media Consulting as a career when the profession was in its earliest and least known stage.