This past week I read an interesting research article about nonprofit organization’s use of social media. The article is Information, Community, and Action: How Nonprofit Organizations Use Social Media by Kristen Lovejoy and Gregory D. Saxton.
Lovejoy and Saxton analyzed nonprofit’s social media accounts and found the following three categories of posts:
The first post class they noted was information. Information includes facts and statistics and covers posts on social media that give information about an organization’s activities, events, or any other news. This constitutes 58.6% of nonprofit social media posts.
The second class Lovejoy and Saxton discuss is building community. Community includes giving thanks, recognition, or responses to other people’s messages and this is about 25.8% of nonprofit social media posts. These posts are generally found on Twitter and they facilitate community and conversation.
The action class is utilized 25.6% of the time and involves posts that ask your audience to do something. This includes promoting an event, donation appeals, and calling people to action.
What can we do with this information?
We can make our social media intentional social media. Ask yourself, “What are we trying to carry out each day on social media?”
For instance, am I trying to inform people about what our organization is doing?
Why did we post that funny meme that has nothing to do with our cause?
When is the last time I challenged our supporters to join to our cause?
Can I devote more time to committing people to donate and volunteer their time?
Intentional Social Media Recommendations
Step 1: Analyze your social media.
- How many posts are you putting on social media in a day? In a week? In a month?
- What are these posts accomplishing? Are they raising awareness? Are they giving information? Are they asking our viewers to act? Are they building community? Are they doing something else entirely?
Step 2: Decide what you want your social media to be doing.
What is the point of your organization using social media?
Is your goal to connect donors in the United States to the beneficiaries in South America?
Is your goal to promote a fundraising event?
The goals for your social media can change over time depending on what is going on in your organization. For example, if you are fundraising to build a school right now, your focus could be on asking your viewers to donate, and updating them on their contributions. Once you have reached your donation goals you might shift your social media focus to showing the progress of the school being built. This way your audience is connected to the entire process rather than randomly being asked for money and then seeing a completed school pop up on their social media feed.
Step 3: Create a social media strategy
This is where you really make changes to your social media platforms. Perhaps you realize that Twitter isn’t doing what you thought it was doing for your organization. You thought it was bringing in more donors, but all of your tweets are simply talking to other organizations. In this case you might shift your efforts to anther social media platform.
- Decide what kind of posts you want to have on your social media accounts
- Make a schedule for when you will post and how often you will post
- Set goals for your social media presence. How many followers do you want to have? What platforms do you really need to keep up with? Where should your focus be?
- Decide on a time to re-evaluate your social media in 6-12 months to see if you are seeing the results that you hope to see
Overall, how we use social media in the nonprofit sector can really influence our organizations. We want to use every ounce of energy we have on furthering the cause of our organization.