Even if your organization doesn’t have a distinct summer season—like those serving youth or offering outdoor programs—that doesn’t necessarily mean that your communications plan for summer months should go unchanged. In many ways, it’s the perfect time to try to grab some attention, especially with well-crafted social media marketing campaigns.
Of course, summer can mean that parts of your audience are on the move and not adhering to their normal schedules. Maybe they’re spending their downtime in ways that don’t involve getting online or mindlessly scrolling through feeds.
So if you want to keep working toward your marketing goals over the next few months, we’ve put together some advice for your nonprofit’s social media channels, along with examples.
Crafting a Summertime Posting Strategy
Just because the weather is heating up, it doesn’t mean you need to ramp up your activity beyond what’s sustainable for your organization. Here are four key tips for social media marketing campaigns that build awareness and engage your supporters.
Make your messaging sticky
If you’ve read Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath, then you know that it’s important to keep your messaging straightforward and relatable, with a touch of creativity. (Here’s a quick recap of the book’s core principles.)
Posts on social media in the summer should focus on what will stick in the minds of your followers. They’re not for being gimmicky, but for making your followers care. Spend a little time thinking about your target audience and their priorities this time of year. Would they get excited about a story series, prize giveaway, or challenge to complete?
Keep content snack-sized
With your messaging honed, now you’ll need to practice carving it down into digestible nuggets of information. Think mobile-first, for people on the go. Sprout Social has some great details on the ideal length of content in your posts, which, spoiler alert, are much shorter than what you’re allowed to write.
And as expected with any social media marketing campaign, pairing text with eye-catching visuals is an essential step. Photos, gifs and short video clips (less than 30 seconds) help stop people from scrolling by, and they can be the deciding factor for someone who might share your post with their friends and family. Don’t forget to keep visual content accessible and inclusive.
Focus on a single call-to-action
The hustle and bustle of summer means that you might only have someone’s attention for a small window of time. For a campaign that asks people to act, such as donate, volunteer, make a pledge, or register for an event, be sure that you make that a consistent social media call to action. If you have more than one ask, try to focus on one per post.
Direct people to the exact spot online where they need to complete the action. That destination should be on your nonprofit’s website whenever possible, like on a strategic landing page. Depending on the channel, be sure to include a link within the post itself (like with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), in your bio (Instagram), or the description (YouTube).
Schedule ahead, with room for spontaneity
Long summer days can be perfect for a hammock nap, but avoid letting your posting schedule slip into a slower cadence. Your followers are more likely to miss every post you make, meaning that it’s best to have a consistent flow of snackable content for your campaign.
Plan out your posts with a social media calendar and then schedule them in advance with a tool like Buffer. Circling back to your target audience, consider the times that they might be most active, like evenings and weekends.
But don’t worry. Your calendar doesn’t have to be bursting with original content all the time! Summer is a great time to reshare content you’ve already posted in case anyone missed an important and inspiring update. And with any luck, you might have some user-generated content related to your campaign that can be slotted in without notice.
Nonprofit Examples of Summer Social Media Marketing Campaigns
From donation drives to blood drives, find inspiration in these examples of organizations that are using their social media channels to spread the word and rally their supporters.
St. Vincent de Paul – Arizona
This 100 Days of Summer campaign is off to a great start and based on the related landing page, there’s a lot in store for the months ahead. Each month is focused on a theme (water, food, shelter) and corresponding calls to action like volunteering or making in-kind donations.
Central California Blood Center
Social media marketing campaigns make it easy to acknowledge your nonprofit’s partners with a quick tag. An ice cream incentive is definitely worth celebrating as part of a summer blood drive, and a series of simple tweets entices people with images and a link to the information they need to act. Plus, their followers were happy to post about free ice cream and spread the word!
Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF)
The WTEF Instagram account makes good use of photos and graphics to launch its fundraising campaign this summer. They use a mix of historic and current images to help demonstrate impact, and a simple click of the link in their bio takes someone right to the donation form.
Gallatin Valley Land Trust
For an annual event within the local community, this campaign stretches over several weeks and offers lots of opportunities to remind people to act (take a hike!) and regularly feature sponsors. There’s a consistent look and feel to the visuals that adds some stickiness, and the designs are used across the nonprofit’s different channels with a link to the same landing page.
No matter the time of year, social media marketing campaigns are most effective when they keep things simple, straightforward and action-driven. Most of the summertime tips we talk about in this post can become your everyday approach, especially when you’re already nailing the basics of managing your social media accounts. As we head into the heat of summer, keep up the good work and grab a popsicle or two.
How are you maintaining your organization’s social media accounts this summer? Any new strategies or types of content in the works? Have examples of other campaigns to share? See you in the comments below.