Kayla Matthews is a guest contributor for Nonprofit Hub. She is a writer and blogger with a passion for self-improvement and helping others. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter to read all of her latest posts.
Take a look at any social media platform, and you’ll see it’s dominated by celebrities and big corporations. Social media is saturated with many users, which makes it difficult for nonprofits to be noticed.
Social media is a great tool for nonprofits and it’s essential in today’s connected culture. Nonprofits aren’t known for strong social media presences, which ultimately hurts their organizations.
Here are seven reasons nonprofits don’t try harder with social media.
1. They Aren’t Aware of Impact
Most nonprofits have been around much longer than social media. They rely on a marketing plan that has worked in the past and they’re set on sticking with that plan. They aren’t fully aware, however, of the significant impact social media can have.
A smart social media campaign can go viral and overwhelm your nonprofit with donations. A few years ago the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge took over the Internet. The participants of the challenge ranged from your childhood friends to celebrities, athletes, politicians and business moguls. Not only was it fun to challenge your friends, it raised awareness for ALS and dramatically increased donations for research.
2. Nonprofits Think They’re Active
Many organizations believe they need a social media presence. Unfortunately, the term social media presence is often perceived as simply creating an account, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Making a social media account and not doing anything with it won’t benefit your nonprofit. You won’t magically receive more donations simply because you have a Facebook account. You have to use the account to engage with your audience and spark conversations about your cause.
3. They Annoy Their Followers
Once you decide to be more active on social media, the fear of annoying your followers kicks in. You start to think that promotional content asking for donations will be tiring or cause you to receive negative feedback.
To avoid annoying your followers, mix up your content. Some posts should engage your followers while others can be promotional. No one will get mad at you for posting promotional content as long as you also post content that will educate and engage.
4. They’re Short on Staff
Many nonprofits don’t try harder with social media because they’re short on staff. Employees might already handle many tasks and social media often becomes an afterthought. If you can, hire a social media marketer. If not, make an effort to have someone work on your social media accounts every day.
5. Nonprofits Don’t Know What They Want to Accomplish
Your nonprofit has a very specific goal for your organization. Your social media strategy shouldn’t be any different. Your organization should aim to accomplish something with your social media account. Do you want more donations? Do you want to raise awareness? Have a profound strategy and accomplish it.
6. They Don’t Know What to Post
The landscape of social media is both vast and intimidating. There are many different types of content posted every day, and it’s challenging to come up with new and original content on a daily basis.
Luckily, there are many strategies that’ll work for your nonprofit. For example, strategies called social selling can create content that engages your audience. You’re essentially selling the likability of your nonprofit’s brand. This will lead to loyal followers and more donations.
7. They Aren’t Seeing Immediate Results
You might post something to Facebook or Twitter and not receive much social traction. No likes or comments is always discouraging. Although immediate results would be nice, it takes time to gain a strong following. Don’t give up on your daily posts. Engagement won’t come overnight, so keep posting and the rest will follow.
If your nonprofit isn’t active on social media, now is the time to start posting content. The most important thing you can do is to stay active and listen to your followers.
A note from the editor:
Having run social media and various internet marketing efforts for nonprofits, I couldn’t agree more with these reasons for stagnancy on social media.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to utilize every form of social media just because it’s there and it’s free. If you’re not going to utilize it, it won’t help. In fact, it will take away from the time you have for other social media platforms that actually serve a purpose. It could even hurt your brand perception. When you do have a few different accounts active for your organization, make sure you’ve developed an overall voice for your brand and stick to it. The next step is to develop a voice for each platform and make sure everyone contributing knows the strategy.
The best way to keep your social media active is to get everyone involved. Someone should be actively and consistently engaged in social media and encourage the rest of the team to passively think about new ideas and creative posts. This will help decrease the chance of missing out on an awesome opportunity for growth, fundraising or engagement. If you don’t have someone solely in charge of running social media, schedule concrete time in your daily (or at least weekly) schedule to give your social media some love.
Keep in mind that there are high school and college students looking for experience wherever they can get it. You can’t get a job without experience, but you can’t get experience without a job. Perfect. Use your connections to find someone who can get their feet wet in social media strategy by taking over your accounts. If they feel ownership in your organization and have trust and freedom to run your social media, they will crush it. The best part is, often they will do it for free or cheap because you’re giving them invaluable professional experience.