August 7, 2015 \ Rachel Jellinek
Social media tips for nonprofits from Julia Campbell

ThumbFinal_3.25.15-FINALI did a short interview with my friend Julia Campbell, who does a lot of marketing and social media work for nonprofits. I wanted her to share a few social media tips for nonprofits. Here is the first half of the interview. The second half will be next week.

How do you decide which is the right social media platform for your organization?

JC: I think organizations need to focus on strategy first and tools second. They need to determine the key audience first. Who are they? Where are they? What do they like to use? Organizations also need to determine the goals for using social media. Awareness raising? Advocacy? Event promotion? Fundraising? In addition, what are the resources that are available to allocate to the social media efforts? If there is absolutely zero budget, then I would not recommend Facebook, since the only way to be seen is to spend a little bit on advertising. If there is no time to manage the platforms, then I would not recommend Twitter because it is time-intensive. The answers to all of these questions help to determine the appropriate platform.

How often would you recommend posting to social media?

JC: We need to go back to the goals – what are you trying to accomplish? Some nonprofits post several times a day on Facebook and do a great job. For example, during the SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) posted several times to keep their followers informed. They are now riding that wave and that momentum by posting more, because their audience loved it and they received quite a bit of engagement.

The important thing to realize is that you are not going to annoy your followers by posting too often, if your content is useful, interesting and/or entertaining. If you are boring and spammy, then yes, you may irritate some followers. Also, only a tiny fraction of your fans and followers are going to see any given post or tweet, so it is important to be posting often, at different times of day.

How can you measure the success of your social media presence?

JC: First you need to identify what success looks like! Go back to your goals for social media. “Raising awareness” is not really a great goal, unless you can attach specific metrics to it. Does “raising awareness” mean website traffic, email newsletter sign ups, increased phone calls, etc.? If you want to use social media for fundraising, defining the ROI is going to be even more difficult. Often people find out about your organization via a social channel, then read your blog, check out your website, ask others what they think, like your page on Facebook – THEN make a donation. The line from Facebook to donation is not usually very direct. (Some organizations do this very well though – check out my post about how St. Baldrick’s is using Facebook to raise thousands.)