We can all agree that social media is a necessary and required cornerstone of a modern nonprofit marketing strategy.
Beyond marketing, social media platforms represent a revolution in the way that humans interact, find information, and express what they care about.
But we also know that social media has the potential to suck up a lot of time – in a way that makes you think “where did my afternoon go?” – without seeing any forward motion for your nonprofit.
- Spinning your wheels but just getting deeper in the mud?
- Going down rabbit holes that don’t end up anywhere?
- Posting and tweeting but not truly knowing what it all means?
A lot of social media experts pay into this idea – that in order to keep up, you have to be CONSTANTLY reading blogs and watching videos and checking Instagram Stories to keep up with the latest shiny, new, fleeting trend.
The false idea that to succeed in social media, you have to be always on, connected, and frantically consuming more and more information until your head explodes!
Yikes. No WONDER you’re tired, discouraged, and maybe even disillusioned with social media.
But there is good news: The answer and the solution may be simpler than you think!
In this post, I’m going to give you four simple steps to create a workable social media plan for your nonprofit that won’t make you lose your mind.
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Step #1: Determine how much time you have.
How much time do you realistically have to work with?
If you only have an hour per week, shoehorned in with a million other responsibilities, you won’t be able to
The work of a social media manager, whether they are full-time or part-time, consists of four main buckets:
- Research on topics
- Creating (and curating) relevant and interesting content
- Listening, engaging, and managing comments and questions
- Measuring results, analyzing trends, and improving.
It’s the same principle of learning and then applying any skill.
If you have an hour a week to learn a new language, you start by getting the basics down and going from there.
You won’t be fluent in a week, so don’t get frustrated.
So let’s adjust our expectations based on what we have to work with.
And as you improve and get better, you’ll be able to spend your limited time more efficiently.
Step #2: Set a budget.
Yes, social media is free.
Getting a puppy from your well-meaning next door neighbor is also free.
But what about food? Shots? Leashes? Doggie day care? Etc.?
An effective social media plan requires a strategy heavily reliant on visuals.
- Equipment for live streaming
- Graphic design
Your time is worth money also!
Just like exercise, or learning a musical instrument, if you have an hour a week and a budget of $0.00, you are not going to get the same results as someone who has five hours per week and a budget of $100.
Step #3: Commit.
What do I mean by commit?
In order to build an audience and increase your visibility, you have to commit to creating original content – designed for YOUR audience – every single week.
This consistency – showing up week after week after week – is absolutely key in building your “know, like, and trust” factor.
This could be a blog post in the form of a story – a life that was transformed by your work.
It could be a podcast interview with a volunteer.
Your original weekly content could be a video – either a live video or a pre-recorded video.
This is content that you will share with your email list and in your social media communities every single week, so they begin to better know, like, and trust you.
Oh, I do know what you are saying: “Yes, but Julia, how can I create this content every week?”
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Write down the most frequently asked questions that you receive about your cause and issue area.
- What are the most prevalent myths and misconceptions, and how can your content dispel them?
- What are some secrets, tips, steps, lessons, educational content thatyou can share with your supporters to help them better understand and act?
- Don’t be afraid to speak directly to your audience. Wwhat do they stand for, believe in, value?
- Ask, ask, ask – figure out more about the audience you want to attract! Send out surveys, use Instagram polls, and more.
Step #4: Repurpose, recycle, and remix.
Once you get a handle on the topics and the types of content that really work to drive engagement, you can take them for a test drive on other platforms.
Focus on one or two core platforms at first – depending on your time, budget, and audience.
Then, take the content that works best and repurpose, recycle, and remix it!
Make sure that it is tailor-made for the individual platforms that you use.
If you created a 35 minute podcast, take one minute and put it on Instagram.
For a 5 minute video, take a 30 second clip and put it on LinkedIn.
For a longer blog post, take key points and make Instagram Story graphics (free in Canva).
This way, you aren’t reinventing the wheel every single time.
Overwhelm and stress – begone!
What are some of your best tips to avoid overwhelm when carrying out your social media strategy?
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