You can reach anyone on social media.
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, however.
The vast majority of people online won’t be the right fit. They won’t be interested in what you’re doing. They won’t be supportive of your cause.
Whether you’re logged into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or even Reddit, you can use these five social media strategies for nonprofits to make your page the one that everyone’s talking about.
In a good way.
Here are five best practices for spreading the word about your nonprofit to the online community:
- Partner with Celebrities and Social Media Influencers
- Include a wish list tab on Facebook
- Reach out to the right volunteers on LinkedIn
- Start using Reddit Nonprofit
- Avoid using Promoted Posts
Are you ready? Let’s get started.
You could have been living under a rock in 2014, and you still would have heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
You probably saw at least one video in your news feed in which someone you knew dumped a bucket of ice water over their head. Then, the person nominated someone else to either donate to the ALS Association or take the challenge themselves.
Originally, the Ice Bucket Challenge wasn’t even associated with ALS. But the challenge happened to take off in ALS patient Anthony Senerchia’s hometown of Pelham, NY. It then slowly began to make its way across the country, thanks to Facebook’s boundary-less reach.
And after baseball player Pete Frates posted his video, the thing really went viral.
From the time Frates posted his video on July 31 to August 11, the number of daily Ice Bucket Challenge posts skyrocketed from a couple hundred to more than 90,000.
Of course, the challenge’s popularity is probably due largely to coincidence. But there’s still a huge lesson to be learned here when it comes to achieving success for your nonprofit on social media.
Pete Frates’ celebrity status and huge social media following are what made the Ice Bucket Challenge such a big deal.
You, too, can replicate the success of this campaign by partnering with a social celebrity or big business. After all, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge isn’t an isolated incident.
The popular video site has nearly 12 million subscribers on YouTube. With Malaria No More, the site supplied these subscribers with their “Malarious” videos that featured celebrities taking on humorous challenges.
By donating one dollar to Malaria No More, CollegeHumor’s subscribers could gain access to these videos.
Why not borrow this brilliant idea?
How to Find Celebrities and Brands to Partner With
You can seek out internet-famous celebrities and other brands with BuzzSumo.
Start by dropping in your URL, or the URL for an organization that has a similar cause to yours.
Click “Go!” to get a list of the most popular articles this site has ever put up on the web. You can customize your filters to view articles that were most popular on a specific platform.
If you’ve purchased the Enterprise plan on BuzzSumo, you’ll have the option to filter by publishing date.
Browse the articles to find which got the most shares on your platform of choice. From here, you can select “View sharers” to check out a list of the most influential sharers for that article.
Remember, you’re looking for big businesses or celebrities to reach out to. There are plenty of ways you can work together.
For example, ask a business to promote your cause and match what donors give. According to the 2015 Millennial Impact Report, 69% of millennial employees would be more likely to give if their company offered to match some or all of their donation.
How to Find Social Media Influencers to Partner With
Interested in working with influencers to add to your nonprofit’s social media strategy? You can find niche influencers with marketplaces like Tribe.
Here, you can punch in the exact type of people you’re looking to find. You can select their interests, along with age and gender.
Then you can browse through all of the potential candidates that would be a decent fit.
You’ll be able to see their social metrics, brand relevance, and cost per post.
Chances are, you have a Donate Now button on your page. You may have a CTA for volunteers.
But there’s one more thing every nonprofit Facebook page needs.
You can find that thing on Florida Pointer Rescue’s Facebook page.
And no, I’m not talking about the puppy.
I’m talking about the Amazon Wish List tab.
This tab takes visitors to a page on Amazon that lists a whole bunch of products Florida Pointer Rescue could use: dog food, dog beds, dog toys, etc. I think you get the picture.
This makes it easy for people to know exactly what to donate. You can pre-select options for them, so you get exactly what you need.
In other words, the exact same strategy you use with your grandma who buys you the awkward Christmas gifts.
Consider doing the same for your page if you often find your charity receiving a) donations you can’t use or b) questions about what to give.
When you link to your wish list from Facebook, your Facebook fans don’t even have to visit your site to know exactly what your organization needs.
25% of Millennials say they volunteer because they can use their skills to benefit a cause, according to the 2015 Millennial Impact Report.
And with LinkedIn, nonprofits can easily find professionals who are interested in using their skills to help a nonprofit organization.
Maybe you’re looking for volunteers with a specific educational background, or maybe you’re looking for a volunteer to manage your social media profiles. Either way, LinkedIn is the place you want to search.
Navigate to the search bar at the top of the homepage and type in the skill you are looking for.
On the right of the search results page, you’ll have the option to filter your results.
Click on “Nonprofit Interests,” then check off “Skilled Volunteering.”
Now, your search results will show only the professionals who have expressed interest in helping non-profit organizations.
From here, you can connect with potential volunteers. You may also consider creating a search alert by clicking the “Create search alert” button at the bottom of the filters menu.
LinkedIn will inform you when anyone new fits your criteria. This way, you won’t have to obsessively conduct the same search over and over again.
Let LinkedIn do that heavy-lifting finding people for you. And you’ll have a built-in way to get in touch with them when the time is right.
In the meantime, you can get started on this next tip.
Reddit doesn’t have the greatest reputation. Mostly because of pages like this. But there are still plenty of good eggs on the site. Just ask the Redditor who used the site to raise money so a bullied bus driver could take a vacation.
Or, ask the Redditors who donated a total of $700,000 for that bus driver.
Too many nonprofits underestimate Reddit’s potential. But yours doesn’t have to be one of them.
Instead, you can create an account and start using Reddit Nonprofit as part of your social media strategy.
More than 10,000 users subscribe to this subreddit, where they discuss everything there is to discuss about the non-profit community.
Posts include questions from new non-profit owners and debates about the non-profit news. The “hot” list shows posts that have the most votes and engagement.
Meanwhile, under the “new” tab, you’ll see the most recent posts first–allowing subscribers to see new posts and help increase their popularity by upvoting, commenting, or sharing.
Keep in mind that posts are supposed to be conversational, not promotional. The goal is to raise awareness of your nonprofit as you contribute to the discussion, not to advertise.
However, if you are interested in promoting your organization, there’s a weekly thread for that purpose.
Here, Redditors check in on new causes they can be a part of, making it the perfect place to recruit donors and volunteers for your nonprofit.
And with well over 100 million unique visits to Reddit per month, the site is a huge opportunity you definitely don’t want to miss out on.
Enter Facebook Promoted Posts. This option allows you to pay Facebook to make sure your posts show up in followers’ newsfeeds.
The question is, does it work? The Nonprofit Tech for Good page decided to field test that question so they could reach an answer.
Spoiler alert: “No” was the answer.
To start, Nonprofit Tech for Good (then Nonprofit Organizations) measured fan engagements with a regular, non-promoted post. The post received 18 shares, 38 likes, and 5,191 views. This means that 14% of the page’s Facebook fans saw the post.
The post also brought 416 new visitors to the organization’s main site.
The page then created a new post and paid the $30 fee to promote it. The Promoted Post received 37 shares, 52 likes, 14 comments, and 5,812 views:
That means it only reached 16% of people who liked the page, even when promoted. What’s more, only 4% saw the post because of promotion. The rest would have seen it even if the post wasn’t promoted:
But then, a plot twist.
This post resulted in fewer referrals to Nonprofit Tech for Good’s site than the unpromoted one did. It only brought 410 visitors to the site, as opposed to the 416 from the unpromoted post.
So, while promoting the post did reach more Facebook users, it ultimately did not bring more people to the organization’s site.
If you tried this experiment for yourself, the results might be slightly different. But the moral of the story is that you’re not the only one promoting your posts. When other pages do the same thing, it can cancel out your efforts and waste your money.
For nonprofits, that money is better spent elsewhere.
Instead of one-off, promoted posts, think ongoing evergreen campaigns instead.
You can keep the ad creative fresh, switching it up every few weeks. However, the point is to have persistent campaigns designed to increase brand awareness, generate interest, and get more donors on a daily basis.
For example, you can use video-based ads to cheaply build up an audience. Then you can use custom audiences to help you segment out who does show interest in your offerings.
Then you can spend more time and money reaching those that are actively interested. As opposed to waste money trying to chase those who aren’t.
If you run a nonprofit organization, you’ve probably been told that you need to be on social media. And that’s pretty fair.
The average American will spend a total of 5 years and 4 months browsing social media during his or her lifetime.
But not just any social media strategy will do. It’s getting more and more difficult to reach followers, encourage followers to share your content, and stand out from hundreds of other nonprofits on your platform.
Luckily, your page doesn’t have to fade into the background. It doesn’t have to make people wish for a dislike button, either.
You can step up your game right here, right now.
Try reaching out to popular celebrity and business accounts, including an Amazon wish list on your page, or using LinkedIn to find new volunteers.
Explore your options with Reddit, and make sure you’re spending time and money in the right places.
These social media strategies for nonprofits will help you look for people who are already interested in nonprofit donations or work. Not for those who aren’t or don’t.