5 Tips For Nonprofits on Tapping Into the Social Media “Goldmine”

By eleventy marketing group

Nonprofit Social Media GoldmineOur very own Vice President, Strategy & Development Angie Moore recently authored a fantastic article titled “The Social Media Goldmine for Nonprofits” in the August 2015 edition of NonProfit Pro magazine.

The article takes an in-depth look at social media and the great opportunities it affords nonprofit organizations—and it includes thoughts, tips and insights from a half-dozen nonprofit marketing experts.

If you haven’t checked out this article yet, we strongly recommend you do (you can subscribe here to get a free digital or print subscription to NonProfit Pro).

In the meantime, in today’s post we’ll recap some top stats from the article and key takeaways on how to make your social efforts more effective.

11 Significant and Sometimes Surprising Social Media Stats

Angie’s article featured these fascinating statistics on the current state of social media:

  1. 58% of people use a social network
  2. 67% use social media to stay in touch with current friends (compared to 64% current family and 50% old friends)
  3. 58 million tweets are sent each day
  4. 43% of Twitter users tweet from mobile devices
  5. 40% of Twitter users don’t tweet, but read tweets
  6. 65 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute
  7. Facebook reaches 81% of the U.S. digital population (versus Twitter at 36%, and Instagram at 34%)
  8. 18 minutes is the average visit on Facebook
  9. 130 friends is the average number a user has on Facebook
  10. 1 million links are shared every 20 minutes on Facebook
  11. Instagram posts generate 58 time more engagement per follower than Facebook (and 120 times more than Twitter)

5 Key Insights on How Nonprofits Should Approach Social Media

Here’s our summation of the top tips for nonprofits on maximizing social media from “The Social Media Goldmine” article:

1. Find your audience

Where in the social world is your audience hanging out? Angie notes in the article that, as of March 2015, Statista reported there were “18 different channels that fall into the category of social media”.

While consumers are spread out across these channels, the trick for nonprofits is determining where constituents are spending the majority of their social time and prioritizing those channels.

2. Focus your efforts

Once you figure out where your people are, the next step is coming up with a strategy for creating powerful and compelling content to share with them.

  • If you’re focusing on Twitter, what kind of tweets does your audience read and share?
  • If you’re focusing on Instagram, what kind of photos will you be sharing? What kinds of photos will you encourage your audience to share?
  • If YouTube is your primary social network, how can you create videos that connect with your audience?

Listen to your audience and research best practices for your primary social network (or networks). Something to keep in mind that Angie notes in the article: “HubSpot indicates that photos and videos far outrank text and links when it comes to creating likes and engagement.”

3. Aim for sharing

Don’t forget that social media is about them, not you. Aim to create a conversation and get your audience sharing with each other—and their network of friends.

The “Social Media Goldmine” article notes that, “according to GlobalWebIndex, 55 percent of internet users use social media to stay in touch with friends”. That’s a lot of opportunity for spreading the word. Your goal is to create a dynamic where your followers will share your stories and be your advertisers whenever possible.

4. Put in the time

There’s a great myth out there that social media is free. As we all know, nothing in marketing is really free. Social media’s cost comes from the great amount of time it takes to do it well. Nonprofits must not view social media as an inexpensive marketing opportunity.

A consistent and considerable challenge reported by nonprofit marketers is the lack of content and resources. Angie states it well in the article:

“As Organizations must secure both financial and staff resources to create the relevant, current and appropriate copy for at least the four primary channels: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. With best practices calling for nonprofits to post differently for each channel and post multiple times per week, organizations need to have the right storytellers available.”

5. Customize your content

Finally, keep in mind that social media is not “one size fits all”. What works on Facebook will not work on Instagram, and vice versa. For maximum effectiveness, you have to provide a customized social experience on each network.

There’s a lot of tools out there to automate social media that may save you time, but they will probably also limit your engagement. As Angie says, “Consumers use different social media channels for different reasons and nonprofits need to customize to those levels of expectation”.

Using Storytelling to Tap Into the Social Goldmine

Social media can be an incredibly powerful storytelling tool for nonprofit organizations—who all have great stories to tell. But one things it’s definitely not: Easy. It requires a thoughtful and strategic approach, and an investment of time and effort.

When done right though, it can help you build more personal relationships and effectively expand your reach. Those benefits certainly make social media a potential “goldmine” for nonprofits.

Get regular nonprofit marketing and fundraising insights from Angie Moore. Check out her weekly NonProfit Pro blog, “Navigating Off The Napkin”.