Social Media for Non-Profits: Where Do I Even Begin?

Social Media for Non-Profits: Where Do I Even Begin?

6 Things to Consider When Launching Your Organization’s Social Media

Social media is not going anywhere. In fact, you may have already noticed that your sister organizations are already tweeting up a storm. But what about you? Has your organization considered taking a step away from the costly, both on the budget and for the environment, newsletter mail out style of marketing?
It may seem scary, but social media is such a fantastic resource that all non-profits should be leveraging to increase their clients and gain donors attention. Best part: it can be done for free.

You may be a small organization, with little or no time to devote to social media. I have great news! Social Media doesn’t have to be a strain on your time or your resources.

Here are 6 things to consider when launching your organization’s social media.

1. What Platforms Should You Use?

When our organization decided to dabble into the social media world, Facebook was the first area we chose. It is a great tool, especially if you are involved in programming. We found a huge increase in our program attendance just by posting our weekly programs on our Facebook page. Although Facebook has started to be labeled the ‘old-school’ platform, it is tried and true. Facebook is easy to use, and super accessible. Many clients and donors looking into your organization will visit your Facebook before your website. Don’t worry about the pesky algorithms for now, sign up for an account and get posting!

Twitter is the second area we started in, and we have found it is amazing for networking with other organizations. You can easily re-tweet other organization’s posts that may also be beneficial for your clients, helping you to build a better relationship with other organizations while also becoming someone your clients will rely on for their information. Either way, twitter is an amazing way to network and add value to your organization beyond your programming.

Instagram is one social media platform that not many non-profits use, and many don’t have the time to use it well. Don’t worry. Even having a regular presence on Instagram helps. For our organization, sharing our story, including the story of our clients, is extremely important. Instagram allows you to use visuals to share your message and tell your story. Do not fuss around with photo editing in the beginning, just get your posts out there. Raw and organic is also relatable and real, so don’t be hard on yourself. As much as possible, try to post on Instagram regularly, but in my opinion the majority of your time is best spend on Facebook and Twitter.

2. Setting Up Your Accounts

Your social media platforms should, in a perfect world, share the exact same name. It should be something easy to find, either the acronym or full name of your organization works perfect. Adding in your location if your organization’s name is already taken is also a good option.

For profile pictures, try to keep the profile picture your organization logo. For the banner you can play around a little. I consider the banner as a way for people to get to know your organization before they even start reading your posts. Add pictures that best represent your organization, and change them as often as you like!

3. What Should You Post?

Avoid stock photos at ALL cost! There is nothing worse than seeing organizations who are supposed to be serving the community, and the community is not represented in their posts. We have found that by posting real photos of our real programs has increased our engagement tenfold. Why? First, people love seeing themselves in posts. It makes them a part of your organization family and they are also more likely to share a post that they are also in with their friends and family. Second, donors love seeing the impact your programs make. Your posts should be real, and accurately represent your organization. Doing so can also attract new donors or funding sources. Who doesn’t love that?

There is a lot of variety in the content you can post. You can post event photos, staff photos, photos from clients, client testimonials and other information that may benefit your client such as news or other community events. Do not worry about being perfect, it will increase your engagement and thus your visibility if you just be yourself.

Golden rule of posting: ask yourself, “how will the content I am posting best serve my organization’s mandate?” Will it inform? Will it attract new clients? Whatever it is, just make sure your posts are related to your core mandate.

4. No Time to Post Every Day? No Worries.

One of the best things you can do when you first get social media for your non-profit is to use a scheduling app. A free app that our organization uses is called Later. It allows you to plan out your posts for your entire week, month, year even on multiple platforms. It is free up to a certain amount of posts, but I have never exceeded the number of posts, so it is likely when you are starting out you won’t either! Another app is Hootsuite.

You can search around, but make sure you find the one that works best for you. Convience is key when looking for an app. It is super important to use a scheduling app because it removes the potential for forgetting and makes your content consistent, which is essential to growing your following. Take time once a week or once a month to set up your posts to ensure nothing falls through the cracks or gets neglected.

5. That Said, MAKE Time to View Your Feeds

The best way to add value to your organization and to set you apart from your sister organizations is to share important information with your clients. What I mean by important information is sharing things that are related to your organization’s mandate or that will directly impact your clients. For example, if you work for an organization who assists newcomers, you could share the changes to the citizenship criteria that were established in the fall. You could also share information about other resources, such as a free leisure program, that would help your clients.

The reason you need to make time to view your feeds is to keep up with what is going on in your sector. Social media is fast becoming one of the best sources for new information, so it will save you time trying to keep up with what is going on if you follow some important accounts. If you set aside that first half hour in the morning to go through your Facebook and Twitter feeds it can make a major impact.

6. Who to Follow?

When you first start out, visit your sister organization’s social media. Who are they following? Use that as your jumping off point. From there, think about what information would be of value to your clients. Follow other accounts based on the information you will receive, such as regarding important programs, events or news items that will impact your clients. Soon you’ll find other organizations following you, and your social media network will continue to grow from there!

Setting up your organization is not really so difficult when you break it down. It can seem a bit daunting, especially when you see other organizations with huge followings, but don’t worry. It takes time to build an organic audience, and in the end that organic audience will be one of the keys to your organization’s success.

Go forth and post! You won’t regret it.