Social Media Through a New Lens, Part 2

Welcome back to part two of the series! If you haven’t already read part one…you can continue reading. It’ll still make sense, but you should definitely check out part one.

Again, keep in mind that “Tl;dr” means “Too Long; Didn’t Read” and is followed by the “in a nutshell” version of what the preceding section said.

Okay let’s dive in. Here are four more life-changing tips about your NPO social media.

Hashtags Aren’t That Important

Surprise! Hashtags don’t actually mean that much. They are still an effective tool to use in marketing campaigns and to start movements or conversations—they’re an icon. By no means am I saying they’re a bad thing. BUT—with the way the Twitter search bar works, you can find the same results by searching a word without the hashtag in front of it. The results may be more specific with the use of a hashtag, but don’t panic if you forget to use a hashtag. They’re not the end all, be all of getting discovered on the socials.

The same goes even more so for Facebook. The results may change just a tad if you conduct a search with a hashtag, but Facebook recognizes the word and pulls up similar results whether the hashtag is there or not. LinkedIn operates in the same way.

Instagram doesn’t exactly follow suit because it is almost completely app-based. You actually can’t even make a search on Insta’ in your browser. So yes, hashtags are pretty important on Instagram.

Tl;dr: Hashtags aren’t a bad thing, but they aren’t the holy grail of social exposure.

Get Personal

In a webinar with Sprout Social, Ted Rubin talked about how relationships on social media are the new currency. Creating connections and making friends on social media is vastly important, but social media facilitates the relationship, it is not the relationship itself.

It’s easy to forget that when you’re dealing with social media there are, in fact, humans on the other end of the ‘@’ sign. Believe it or not, conversation can be the best content. But don’t just strive to connect with your audience, connect with other nonprofit professionals and organizations. Creating relationships via email, direct messaging and social posts can catalyze your entire mission.

Don’t be afraid to ask other organizations or professionals to share your content once you’ve established a relationship. Just remember to be personal. Nothing irks me more than getting asked to share something for another organization using a Tweet with abbreviations and bad grammar. We’re professionals, not middle schoolers texting each other in class.

Tl;dr: Don’t be antisocial on social media.

Push the Limits

Following the rules and staying on brand has to happen. Everyone answers to someone. There is a line in the sand and it’s important not to ruffle too many feathers, but you can definitely approach the line respectfully.

I know there are different guidelines within each organization. Typically the bigger they get, the more restrictions. However, being conversational and a bit cheeky will help you to connect you with your audience.

Tl;dr: Being professional is important, but your audience doesn’t mind an over-patriotic Independence Day post once in awhile.

A Note About Google+

You might be asking why I left Google+ out of the bit where I went through the weight of hashtags on different social medium. If Google+ never crossed your mind whilst reading, my case is rested before I even start.

Google+ was only really ever successful because Google automatically created an account for new and existing users of Gmail. From the jump they had several million users. The issue is that there is not a good distinction with functionality—are they a LinkedIn or Facebook? Either way they’re not unique enough for people to use it.

Google+ can help you get link juice and can help a little with SEO for certain searches by sharing articles on your page, but it just isn’t worth too much stressing over. My suggestion to you would be to share your own content once in awhile, but don’t spend a lot of time trying to gain reach on Google+. Sorry Google. I love you and I’m an avid user of most of your products, but Google+ just isn’t a thing.

Tl;dr: Posting to Google+ is okay but don’t spend a lot of time on it.

That concludes this two part social media series about all the things I’ve learned in my couple of years exercising my social media prowess. If you have any questions or comments about what I had to say, feel free to hit me up on any of the @nphub accounts or @nickforgood and I’d love to help you out.

social media help

Nick Small

With specialties in content strategy and creation, social media engagement and digital marketing optimization, Nick brings a depth of experience in nonprofit marketing. He’s also helped hundreds of nonprofits with their online presence to improve donor retention and attract new audiences, and he still has time for a good glass of whiskey, round of golf or new adventure.

July 14, 2015

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