Increasingly vital to any institution, organization or corporation’s success, strategic social media engagement can amplify a nonprofit’s efficacy by providing maximum exposure at minimum expense.
However, productive nonprofit social media campaigns must adapt to the features distinct to their sector and usually require strategic expertise.
Don Schindler, a guest lecturer at the University of Notre Dame and a digital strategy and executive social media trainer, recommends that nonprofits adopt a streamlined approach, encapsulated in these six areas:
1. Goals: Accomplished nonprofit social media strategies begin with specific, measurable goals. According to Schindler, the primary goals of any social media strategy, which can be tailored accordingly for the nonprofit sector, are to promote and protect the brand, which for nonprofits is the organization’s unique identity, programs and message.
When defining a goal-oriented social media strategy, nonprofits can benchmark a certain number of likes, shares or comments within a set time-frame. Similarly, quantifying target traffic from social media sites to the organization’s website, especially when traffic converts readers to donors, is a viable goal for nonprofit social media marketers.
Like nonprofit brand promotion, brand protection focuses on establishing a singular identity. Nonprofits that deliver donor and stakeholder communications to address defining organizational achievements are most likely to protect the brand. Further, providing detailed information about funds allocation maintains organizational transparency.
2. Governance: Governance determines strategic content regulation. Schindler recommends nonprofits draft a social media policy that outlines appropriate social media content for contributors, whether staff or volunteers. It’s critical that contributor content consistently adheres to the nonprofit’s culture and voice.
Moreover, Schindler advocates using both assessment tools and systematic monitoring. Assessment tools allow social media marketing managers to review social media content and outline specific scenarios for post creation and comment responses. Then, managers can establish guidelines that determine when contributors should respond immediately and when they should seek managerial input.
Similarly, monitoring systems allow nonprofits to capture data on all social media activity, whether posted in direct response to nonprofit content or independently. Google Alerts offers a free monitoring tool, while paid systems can collect more comprehensive data.
3. Education: Educating contributors about various social media platforms and the content appropriate for each is a vital component when strategizing reader engagement. For instance, Facebook may be the ideal platform for disseminating information about upcoming events. Instagram, on the other hand, engages audiences who prefer visual content. Choosing the right social media site for each post is key to conveying a specific message.
4. Execution: Similar to education, execution pairs the staff members and volunteers best-suited to deliver the message and master the medium with each platform. Twitter necessitates concision as users create compelling content by wedding brevity and, oftentimes, wit. Effective Instagram content is visually attractive and features the nonprofit’s programs in action. Delegating appropriate users to each platform optimizes resources and streamlines governance.
5. Measurement: When gauging a campaign’s efficacy, nonprofit social media marketers return to their initial goals and apply monitoring systems to evaluate strategic outcomes. Measurement requires social media managers and staff who are familiar with the nonprofit’s monitoring systems, can apply relevant metrics and know how to extract meaningful data. A free measurement and data collection tool, such as Google Analytics, is imperative. Paid services are available, as well.
6. Adjustment: Like business executives, nonprofit social media managers must be agile, Schindler emphasizes. Effective strategies deploy real-time adaptation to social media content and user responses. Put simply, successful social media managers continually evaluate each campaign and adjust their processes efficiently.
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