By Ryan McBurney
Sep 23, 2014

Social Media for Nonprofits - Top 10 Communication Tips

In my post last year regarding social media tips for nonprofits, I listed what I think to be the top best practices for nonprofits taking an initial dive into the world social media marketing.

Once best practices are implemented and your presence is established, it’s now time to start thinking about how you can strengthen your organization’s communication and build your audience. 

Here are our tips, in no particular order, to keep in mind for maximizing your nonprofit’s social presence and connecting with the audience.

1. Be true to your nonprofit:  Users following businesses and organizations do so because they identify with the brand/service, and understand its message. Straying from your image could reflect poorly on your organization. Maintain the positive image you’ve created over time in offline and online forums. Consistent messaging across all platforms (with the appropriate tone for the medium) help to ensure that the audience will understand your nonprofit’s values and goals.

2. Grammar, Grammar, Grammar: Always make sure your content is grammatically correct. Poor grammar comes off as unprofessional and unintelligent. I cannot stress this enough.

3. It’s all about value: Try to limit self-promotion as much as you can. We understand that sometimes it’s a necessity to “sell” your nonprofit, but try your best to provide your audience with value (knowledge, exchange of ideas, enlightenment) with each content piece that is published to your profiles. One way to do this is to think about a topic relevant to your industry and audience, and gauge how you can evolve it with an opinion or resources.

4. Ask questions: Asking your fans questions is a great way to encourage comments and keep your posts visible. Social media users are usually open to sharing their thoughts, and sometimes an invitation is all they need. Consider words like “where,” “when,” “would” and “should” to increase engagement.

5. Don’t be shy with your call-to-action: Encourage your fans to like, comment, share, or retweet your content. Asking for these actions help to increase overall engagement, which in turn generates more online reach.

6. Keep it short and sweet: Write in concise language, encourage action and provide content of interest. Long messages are fine occasionally, just make sure to keep them as compelling as possible.

7. Don’t be an annoyance: Posting your content too many times, regardless of your social media channel, will annoy fans and cause them to unlike or unfollow your social profiles. Understand the optimal posting quantity per day/week for each of your active social channels, and abide to the posting quantities.

8. Cater to your audience’s need: Commit to playing a role in your audience’s conversations, and always respect their opinions - both good and bad. Look at criticism as constructive feedback and valuable market research. By listening and responding to various posts and comments, your nonprofit can demonstrate to your fans that you’re both sincere and open to helping them – which is a great way to earn respect from your audience.

9. Use Twitter #hashtags strategically: Used frequently or in inappropriate contexts, hashtags can do more harm than good. Placing them in irrelevant content to drive visibility will not go unnoticed by followers – they will see right through it and either feel cheated or manipulated. This is especially true for Facebook, as Facebook users have not yet warmed up to the use of hashtags quite yet.

10. Use photos and videos whenever possible: When used appropriately, attaching images and videos to your content postings do a great job at boosting post impressions and engagement. Multimedia components can help your content better stand out in your audience’s information feeds.

(202) 223-8656