Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 53 seconds

With budgets and human capital stretched, nonprofits have to be smart and efficient about how they boost their reputation and engagement online. For nonprofit organizations, social media is an opportunity area. More than 30% of people use social media more than 10 times a day.

A successful social media strategy can grow awareness for your organization and cause and, ultimately, increase fundraising. Although nearly all nonprofits use Facebook, less than half think social media is valuable.

Nonprofits need to realize the benefits of social media for their overall health. To do so, consider the following three strategies:

  • Maximize messaging
  • Improve responsiveness
  • Increase investment

By adhering to these action items, nonprofits can improve their online reputation and engagement with target audiences.

Make Your Social Messaging Meaningful

The main social media goals of nonprofits are to share information about their cause and their brand.

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The key to raising awareness through social media is not the quantity of posts, though. Rather, it’s the messaging you relay through your social media content.

Some messaging formats have more success than others – consider the following approaches to maximize the impact of your social media efforts:

  • Imagery: Images and infographics get the main focus of your messaging across quickly and clearly
  • Short videos: Brief “behind the scenes” videos illustrate the impact of your work. Videos elicit visceral reactions from audiences, and visually demonstrating the impact of your organization can have a massive impact on your following.
  • Hashtags: There is a hashtag for just about every cause, and people follow them to track relevant messaging. Using hashtags in your social media content posts provides access to those audiences and makes an explicit association between your brand and the cause associated with the hashtag.

Quick Response Times and Empathy Produce Positive Impressions

Social media comes with the expectation for immediate gratification: people expect to be able to learn everything they want to know about a company with a few clicks.

When someone visits one of your social profiles, they demonstrate interest that you should be prepared to reciprocate. People expect fast responses when they reach out to a business through social media, usually within a day or less.

The benefits of engaging quickly with interested parties over social media can be incredibly positive for an organization.

According to research from Martech Zone:

  • 56% of visitors who interact with a company over social media feel a stronger connection with that brand
  • 71% of visitors who receive a quick and effective response will recommend that brand to others

Response time is key, but response strategy is equally important.

Sometimes questions or comments about your company are negative, a particularly potent problem on social media, given the relative anonymity people enjoy. This is even the case with non-profits.

The best way to respond to negative comments is to stay respectful and considerate, showing empathy and understanding.

By ramping  up your response times and responding appropriately, an organization can create deeper engagement with its audience.

Make the Investment

For smaller nonprofits, devoting the time and effort to social media is a difficult ask.

According to Hubspot’s survey, 38% of nonprofits only devote 1-2 hours per week to social media, and 44% of organizations only have one person monitoring their social media.

Stretched budgets and limited resources are synonymous with NPOs, and to devote what little you have to social media is a tough sell.

It’s important, though, to consider the potential benefits of a strong social media presence:

  • Recognition
  • Reputation
  • Fundraising

Each of these core benefits are interconnected and associated with brand awareness that social media can bring: the more awareness you earn for your organization and cause, the more recognition. The more recognition, combined with an active response strategy, improves your reputation. In turn, the combination of increased recognition and a strong reputation leads to increased fundraising.

One person spending 1-2 hours per week is not sufficient to bring these benefits to bear. The more effort your nonprofit puts into its social media program, the more rewards are possible.

Invest in Social Media for Digital Success For Your Non-Profit

With so many social media users in the world today, a nonprofit should look to the digital channels to boost its brand and promote its cause.

Working with PR firms in your area can help you focusing on messaging, responsiveness, and proper investment of resources. This will allow your nonprofit organization to boost its reputation online while promoting engagement among your followers.


Grayson Kemper is a Senior Content Writer for Clutch, a B2B research, ratings, and reviews platform in Washington, D.C. Use Clutch as a resource to research marketing and public relations agencies, and software development companies.

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