A Guide to Social Media Marketing for Nonprofits: 6 Tips

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Between January 2023 and January 2024, the number of social media users worldwide increased by 320 million people. As social media becomes increasingly more saturated, brands, influencers, and nonprofit organizations are constantly competing for people’s attention on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

That’s why it’s crucial for nonprofits to develop comprehensive social media marketing strategies that drive their goals forward and help them reach current and prospective supporters. With a dedicated plan, you can create impactful social media content that resonates with your audience and inspires them to take action.

In this guide, we’ll present tips for how your nonprofit can develop a comprehensive social media strategy. Along the way, keep your organization’s unique mission and audience in mind so you can successfully adapt this approach to your own nonprofit.

1. Determine your goals.

As with any new marketing initiative, start by determining the goals for your campaign. These goals should align with your overall marketing and organizational strategy and will guide the focus of your content. 

Common nonprofit social media marketing goals include:

  • Raising awareness
  • Increasing donations
  • Recruiting volunteers
  • Promoting events
  • Showcasing impact
  • Driving newsletter sign-ups

Additionally, take note of any new offerings or programs you’d like to highlight within these broader objectives. For example, an environmental conservation organization running a social media campaign to increase donations may promote their new donor-advised funds (DAF) giving option.

2. Gather audience insights.

Next, research your audience so you can create tailored content that resonates with them on the platforms they prefer. Start by consulting your database for any relevant information you’ve collected from your supporters in the past, such as their names, ages, and contact information.

While you can survey your audience to obtain additional information, you can more efficiently gather insights about your supporters through data enrichment. Data enrichment refers to the process of supplementing your database with third-party information that allows you to dig deeper into supporter interests, behaviors, and preferences.

By enriching your database, you can fuel your social media marketing efforts with additional supporter information, such as:

  • Demographics
  • Education
  • Marital status
  • Income
  • Net worth
  • Nonprofit engagement history
  • Lifestyle information

Before you add this new information to your database, ensure your existing data is clean and organized. Implement data hygiene procedures, such as standardizing data entry and consolidating duplicate entries, so you can easily identify useful information for your campaign.

3. Segment your audience.

Once you have a better understanding of your audience, personalize your campaigns by grouping supporters into relevant segments. You may choose to segment your audience by:

  • Demographics, such as age or location
  • Engagement history, such as whether they’re donors, volunteers, event attendees, or newsletter subscribers
  • Lifecycle stage, such as prospects, new supporters, long-term supporters, and lapsed supporters
  • Interest areas within your nonprofit’s broader mission

For example, a hunger relief organization like Feeding America may group supporters based on whether they’re interested in supporting their food access, food rescue, disaster response, or hunger research efforts and create content that resonates with each group. Alternatively, you may segment your audience by age, reaching older audiences on Facebook and younger supporters on TikTok.

4. Develop your content strategy.

Now, it’s time to create content that aligns with each audience segment. While it’s important to cater your content types and messaging to each platform and segment, you’ll also want your posts to remain cohesive throughout your social media accounts.

Follow these tips to keep your content consistent:

  • Coordinate your posting schedules. Double the Donation’s digital marketing guide recommends implementing a regular posting schedule so your followers know when to expect your content and can be ready to engage. Make sure you post similar content on different platforms around the same time so users can access it no matter which channels they use.
  • Use branded templates. For infographics and announcement posts, create branded templates with dimensions that fit the post sizes for each platform. Incorporate your brand colors, fonts, logo placement, and visual style to keep your content cohesive across social media platforms.
  • Develop a style guide. In addition to your visual content, your messaging should also remain consistent. Work with your team to nail down your brand’s specific voice, tone, and language preferences and share them with everyone involved in your organization’s marketing efforts.

Remember to keep your social media presence fresh and interesting by incorporating various content types like photos, videos, infographics, case studies, and user-generated content.

5. Integrate your marketing channels.

Social media isn’t the only marketing tool you’ll use in your broader marketing strategy. Your social media platforms should also work in tandem with your other marketing channels for a more consistent user experience and better cross-channel engagement.

Explore how you can integrate your social media accounts with your:

  • Website. For instance, you may embed your social media feeds on your website, use social media to drive website traffic, or leverage analytics from both channels to inform your approach on the other. 
  • Email marketing platform. Check to see if the platform you use allows you to sync contacts with your social media accounts so you can reach email subscribers via social media.
  • Online fundraising campaigns. Try adding the link to your online fundraising campaign in your social media account bios and directing those who contribute to your campaign to follow your social media accounts.

When you integrate your social media with your other marketing channels, you can ensure a cohesive experience for your supporters and increase engagement by allowing them to seamlessly hop from one channel to the next.

6. Assess your approach.

Determine your social media strategy’s effectiveness by tracking relevant key performance indicators (KPIs). Deep Sync’s first-party data guide explains that the following social media metrics can help you better understand your supporters’ preferences:

  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Comments
  • Post clicks

Use this data to determine which content resonates most with your audience and where you can alter your approach. Additionally, you may analyze the content of the comments you receive for deeper insights into your supporters’ thoughts about your posts and your organization as a whole.

Competing for your supporters’ attention online is no easy task. With a comprehensive social media marketing strategy, you can better catch your audience’s interest and engage them through cohesive, informative content. That way, you’ll remind them of why they support your cause in the first place and encourage them to continue their involvement long-term.

Author: Gabrielle Perham, MBA

Gabrielle is the Director of Marketing & Sales Operations for Deep Sync. She joined the organization in 2017 and brings 20 years of experience in strategic marketing, branding, communications, sales enablement, and digital marketing. With a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-it-done attitude and a big-picture mindset, Gaby loves solving marketing and business challenges. She earned both a B.S. in Marketing and an M.B.A. in Marketing Management from the University of Tampa. Gaby enjoys spending time with her fiercely outspoken daughter; hiking and kayaking; rocking out in the first row of a live show; and giving back to her local community.

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