7 Tips to Kickstarting Your Nonprofit’s Social Media

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FFW has a number of nonprofit clients that we help with everything from event planning and media relations to social media. Many nonprofits struggle with figuring out one particular area – social media. Often, they outsource to volunteers with varying results from awful to brilliant. But starting out on social media doesn’t need to be stressful. So here are a few tips we’ve learned along the way to get your nonprofit set-up for social media success.

Woman Taking Photo with Phone1. Set expectations for your volunteers and your organization

Just as with other volunteer activities, it’s important to be clear about your goals and expected outcomes. Consider the time, energy and resources required by everyone involved. Start out slow then ramp up once you start getting into the groove of posting regularly. You probably won’t have 1,000 new fans or followers your first week out, or even six months out. Give your organization and volunteers time to post consistently and consistently good posts.

2. Get examples of social media accounts similar to your org. that you like

But don’t reach too far for the stars. Look at organizations similar in size and mission to yours. What do they post about? What do they use as sources for content? How often do they post? Not everyone can be The World Wildlife Fund, but you can be an engaged and respected community member in social media.

3. Create a calendar

Your development staff should have all the important dates and events planned out in a spreadsheet somewhere (we love our spreadsheets!). Plug those into a word doc, spreadsheet or calendar to share with your social media volunteers or staff. Include days of the week you want to focus on one particular type of post like Throwback Thursday or Music Monday. Look again to similar organizations national awareness months and days. You can even come up with your own ideas like Wisdom Wednesday or Freaky Fact Friday.

4. Create a system for sharing news about your organization and the issues you cover

I get emails and press releases from clients and coworkers on what’s going on. I also have news feeds through Feedspot that crawl my favorite blogs, websites, and keywords so that I can keep up. Figure out a system with your colleagues and board members to get news so you will have a cache of content for you to post.

5. Document everything

Literally everything – every brochure, newsletter, e-newsletter, events, meetings, birthdays, dinners, etc. The idea, again, is to have a cache of content so you don’t run out of ideas for posts. One trick we’ve learned is to keep a shot list with you at all events. A shot list is a series of photos you want to make sure you have by the end of every event: a shot of your president or executive eirector, a shot of your signage at the event, a shot of donors conversing, candid shots and a whole plethora of other shots you think you’ll need. If you’re really obsessive (like me), you can make shot lists for different types of events like press conferences, 5k races or galas. Once you get into the habit, you’ll always have great photos to post.

6. Make sure your social pages are seen

Plaster it on your brochures, business cards, email signatures and especially your website. How will people know about your cool new posts if they don’t know that they exist? You can also send out an email blast through your professional email or a free service like MailChimp telling your friends, donors, patrons, supporters and volunteers about your social media accounts – maybe even share an example of what they’re missing out on. While you’re at it, add your social media links to every email newsletter, too.

7. Think outside of the box and have fun!

You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. In fact, maybe do the exact opposite and see how it works. That’s what’s so great about social media – you get almost immediate and measurable feedback on your posts and campaigns. You can’t say that about a brochure.

Those are our tips. Share some of yours in the comments!

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