#BestPractices – Branding Your Nonprofit on Social Media

by Tracy Posuniak, Staff Associate II

Posted on September 26, 2019

Social media is more than just viral videos, challenges, memes, and live streams; it’s the largest community available to generate brand awareness.  Social media has continued to change the way people interact and communicate.  How can your nonprofit leverage this communication powerhouse to increase visibility and understanding of their mission? Here are five commonly used best practices to help your nonprofit make an impact using social media:

  1. Be Recognizable
  2. Know your Audience
  3. Set, Track, and Measure Goals
  4. Have a Strategy
  5. Stay Consistent

Be recognizable across all platforms. Know what makes your nonprofit unique and unmistakable. Utilize your logo, colors, or mission statement. From the helping hand and rainbow of the United Way to the “Be Kind” green flower of Ben’s Bells, there’s no mistaking the nonprofits represented by these logos.

Know the individuals that make up your target audience. This includes those you intend to serve as well as those that contribute to your cause. Learning the kind of content they enjoy and the best platform to reach them will allow you to engage with them more effectively.  

Set the goals you want to achieve using your social media presence. Are you trying to gain awareness? Stay on top of the ever-changing news feeds and complex algorithms by utilizing hashtags and tagging. A good hashtag can keep your content easily searchable. Recruit volunteers? Use the short-form content of posts to keep your followers updated on upcoming events. Engage donors or potential donors? Make donating easy by utilizing the “call-to-action” button on Facebook or posting a direct click-through to the website link in the bio to your nonprofit’s donation page. Also, remember to track and measure how effective you are on social media. Most platforms provide data such as insights (Facebook and Instagram) and analytics (Twitter) to help assist you in this area.

Have a strategy to create meaningful and engaging content while also knowing how much time you plan to invest in social media. Decide how often you want to post content and update your social media following by setting a schedule. You can do this by creating a content calendar.  This allows you time to plan ahead and create deliberate content to share. It is important to post interactive and encouraging content as well. Remember to stay flexible; being able to adapt and create content on the fly is important too!

Stay consistent with your content and social media presence. Make sure your posts align with the mission of your nonprofit by monitoring content posted by those in charge or being the voice of your organization online. Also, keep your followers updated by showing action in the content you post, donors and perspective donors love to see their money at work. Lastly, do your best to respond to follower’s questions within posts or direct messages timely, as some platforms post your average response time on your homepage.

As social media continues to evolve and expand the way we communicate, it will be important to have a firm handle on best practices that help maintain the brand you have built for your organization. Be sure to keep these best practices centered around your volunteers, supporters, and followers.