An Introduction to Nonprofit Social Media Marketing

Nonprofit Social Media Heade

It’s a bit overwhelming when you consider all of the social media options out there. Every day it seems like a new one pops up, but no one has any idea which will stick around. This makes the process of deciding which platforms your nonprofit should pursue and which you should forgo a bit daunting.

Our advice? Spend some time choosing the platforms that make the most sense for your nonprofit. You’ll see the greatest return on your time. When you have the right, it makes maintaining an active presence and a strong community of followers much easier.

If you have a few ideas for social platforms you want your nonprofit to be on, but aren’t 100% sure they’re a good fit, keep reading. We took a look at a few of the more popular nonprofit social media platforms out there, and can help you determine if they’re right for your nonprofit.

Twitter

Looking to give quick updates on your work, share interesting news or recent blog posts, and promote opportunities to engage with your nonprofit? Twitter is a great way to do all of this, and they have great resources specifically for nonprofits.

It’s a good fit if…you have a lot of information to share with your supporters. You want to be tweeting at least 3-5 times a day. You can share recent blog posts, updates of exciting happenings at your nonprofit, inspirational quotes and more. If this sounds like a lot of work, don’t fret just yet. It shouldn’t all be your own material. You’ll want to share content from others that your followers might find interesting.

The Central Park Conservancy does an awesome job of using Twitter to encourage people to visit the park, attend their events and share visitor experiences by retweeting. Their frequent use of park snapshots is a great addition, too—tweets with photos and graphics typically see more engagement.

Nonprofit Social Media Twitter

If you’re new to Twitter, or just need a little refresher on the basics, check out our post with tips to get your nonprofit tweeting like a pro. Looking to grow your community? There are some awesome nonprofit tech folks you should be following.

Facebook

Facebook is still the reigning social media platform, and can be a valuable marketing tool for nonprofits. It’s a place to share your nonprofit’s story in a more conversational manner, and without the character restraints of Twitter.

It’s a good fit if… you frequently have news, updates and other interesting information to share with supporters. Your wall is a great place to engage supporters by teasing blog posts, sharing updates and photo albums of different volunteer projects, fundraising events and more. It’s important to continually post content that will be valuable to readers. You need to supply people with a reason to visit your page.

Witness rocks their Facebook newsfeed. They promote blog content and share videos, new developments within the organization and their field, and highlight any press the organization or members of their team receive. Through valuable, interesting content, they’re keeping supporters engaged and invested in their work.

Nonprofit Social Media Facebook

Interested? We have some advice to help your nonprofit get started on Facebook.

Instagram

Instagram allows even the most unskilled photographer to snap and share a beautiful photo. The platform is extremely popular— we’re talking top 5. People love visual content, and it’s a great way to bring supporters “inside” by showing them all you’re doing, rather than only telling them.

It’s a good fit if…your work is highly visual. Makes sense, right? Powerful and compelling photos and short videos highlighting your work will grab people’s attention. If your efforts are largely “behind the scenes,” you’re probably not going to have much material to work with.

I absolutely love Operation Smile’s Instagram. Within 5 seconds of landing on their profile, you completely understand the impact they’re making. The photos are compelling. The small moments captured do an amazing job of telling this nonprofit’s story.
Nonprofit Social Media Instagram

If you’re thinking this is the perfect place to showcase the impact your nonprofit is making, check out our post on getting started with Instagram.

LinkedIn

While it may not be the first platform that comes to mind when you hear “social media”, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for nonprofits. They offer a ton of resources to help you figure out how to use the platform to its full potential.

It’s a good fit if…you’re looking to recruit volunteers, board members and staff. LinkedIn is the perfect place to post these opportunities and find qualified candidates who can contribute to your nonprofit in meaningful ways.

Looking to take things up on a notch here? We’ve outlined a few ways your nonprofit can get more out of LinkedIn.

YouTube

You might not think of YouTube as social media, but it definitely falls into this category. Users can share and view videos, connect with others by following their YouTube channels and commenting on videos.

It’s a good fit if…you have staff or volunteers with some videography experience. Sharing videos on YouTube is an awesome way to increase awareness of your nonprofit, and highlight the work you’re doing in a really compelling way—but, a poorly executed video is going to hurt more than help. High-quality visual storytelling is what you’re aiming for on this platform.

Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area’s work granting the wishes of children diagnosed with cancer lends itself well to visual storytelling. YouTube is a great choice for them. They produce fantastic videos showcasing their impact—and they’re almost all under 3 minutes. Their short length goes a long way in enticing visitors (with generally short attention spans) to take the time to watch them.

Interested in creating a YouTube channel for your organization? They have some awesome resources to help your nonprofit get rolling.

Social media is just one piece of your nonprofit’s marketing strategy. There are a ton of options out there, and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and try to do them all. Please don’t. It’s important to create a cohesive plan of attack where all of your efforts work together to achieve your organizational goals. By choosing the social media platforms best suited to your nonprofit, you’re more likely to achieve these goals.

How is your nonprofit marketing itself on social media? What channels are working best for you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.