Social media is the future of non-profit outreach. When we approached Orphanage Support Services Organization (OSSO) about advice they could give smaller, newly-started charities in 2019, they said “although social media is a hassle, the more you post, the greater your chance of being found.”
And as anyone who has started a non-profit knows, being found is everything. While we wish there was an all-encompassing “how-to” manual on how to get 10,000 followers on a weekly basis, we can safely say there is none. If you want your non-profit to have a thriving social media presence, you need to do a lot of research to discover what your target demographic finds appealing online and create corresponding content.
Despite this, after researching several successful non-profit media profiles we discovered that there are several things that every organization can do to get some more traction through social media!
Social media is a treasure trove of contests, competitions and give-a-ways. Giving out a free shirt/concert tickets is a step in the right direction, but you need to go a little bit deeper to make it worth your while. Don’t just ask a “like” from your fanbase, ask for a story or photo. Stories and visual content have the potential to trigger powerful emotional responses. If your followers share pictures or stories of how they’ve contributed to your nonprofit’s cause then it not only has the potential to go more viral, but it’s also more content that you can use in future campaigns!
Speaking of photos, posting with visual content always get far more traction on social media than plain text. This is so essential, in fact, that most organizations only post when they have a picture to go along with it. Always have a picture or video ready to post along with your content! It doesn’t have to be a high-end image straight out of a production company either. A simple video/photo of whatever service project, staff meeting, or even company lunch will do the trick. The important thing is that you’ve got visual content.
This tip follows the same principle as sharing videos. When you tag people in your photos or give shout-outs in messages, then you get the attention of the followers of whoever you’re shouting out. It can be tedious to tag every teenager who you helped during your service project at times, but if you’re hoping for organic growth over social media, then it’s absolutely essential.
Partnering up with an influencer can be an excellent way to help give your cause attention. It doesn’t have to be a high-profile influencer either. Chances are, most non-profit organizations can’t afford to work with Dwayne Johnson or even Pewdiepie, but if you find someone who knows those people by name, then try reaching out to them. Maybe Pewdiepie’s editor or Dwayne Johnson’s mother! If you can get them to write a small post about your cause then you may just be able to get the attention of Pewds or the Rock in the process.
This is social media 101, of course. If you want to build followers, make sure you treat the one’s you have well! Answer direct messages within 24 hours, compliment the followers you have, mention them in your content, give them gifts, welcome new followers, and the list goes on!
Show people that your more than just an entity. Show them all of the faces behind your nonprofit and all of the work they do to make things happen! Putting a face to a brand makes it connect with audiences on a much deeper level. There’s more you can do than just showing your face to humanize your non-profit too. Be casual and funny with social media! Try posting memes or making jokes! People respond with humor, and if you’re page is funny, a good portion of people will follow it for the humor alone.
Depending on what social media platforms you frequent, there is a large chance that the right hashtag can help you go viral. Find what hashtags are trending, if not around the world, then at least within your local area. Once you do that, find a way to spin your content so that it can be relevant to whatever hashtags are trending. It could open your content to a much wider audience than your local subscriber-base.
Sharing other people’s content is a great way to become involved in an online dialog. If you post someone else’s video than not only will your profile get the traffic of viral content, but the original poster will be more inclined to share whatever you post in the future. It’s a win-win for everybody!