3 Must-Follow Social Media Guidelines for Nonprofits
According to a Weggener Edstrom study, 55 percent of those who engage with nonprofits via social media have been inspired to take further action. What does this mean to your organization? Even if you have a social media presence, you should take some time to dial in your strategy.
No matter if you’re new to social media or an avid tweeter, it’s always good to define how your organization should represent itself online. Defining guidelines for your social media presence will enable you to make quick decisions, take advantage of timely opportunities, and allow you to create deeper engagement with your social community.
To help, we’ve outlined three considerations when it comes to determining how your nonprofit should show up on social media based on key lessons we’ve observed:
1. Be Consistent, not Predictable
There’s often an unspoken pressure when it comes to social media. It’s the silent pressure of developing the next big viral campaign, video, or hashtag. The problem is that if you worked tirelessly to develop the next viral craze, social media would not only be exhausting to maintain, but it would also be pretty uninteresting for your consumer.
Social media isn’t just about going viral and doesn’t even have to always be about your engagement ratings, the number of Likes you generate, or the number of Retweets. Users who follow a brand, or in your case, an organization, are following you because they derive value and information they care about and it gives them an easy way to connect with the things and causes they love.
Don’t stress over hilarious videos every week, and don’t set yourself up for a commitment to your followers that you can’t maintain. Your followers want consistent, high-quality updates, information, content, and ideas from you. You don’t need to try too hard, just be consistent with what you do.
2. Be Authentic, not #Trendy
#ThrowbackThursday (TBT), #SelfieSunday (SS), #FlashbackFriday (FF), there are so many social media trends these days that it’s easy for your organization to embrace some of these movements in order to connect with more supporters and grow your social community.
If these trends truly resonate with your organization and what you represent, then fully embrace them and include these opportunities in your social media guidelines and strategy.
Pro tip: Think about #1 when deciding what to use. If you’re going to incorporate #TBT into your schedule, be consistent.
Before you jump on the bandwagon, however, take the time to establish your social media guidelines. Ask yourself and your team what your organization most wants to represent on social media. Authenticity on social media is key.
Every post, tweet, piece of content, and conversation should be 100 percent true to your organization and your brand. Sure, it’s fun (and sometimes relevant) to seize a timely opportunity when it presents itself, but even then, capitalize on it in a way that’s authentic to your nonprofit.
3. Be Quality-Centric, not Quantity-Driven
Even more important than frequency and focus should be the quality of the posts you publish. Upholding quality of posts is critical to reinforcing the trust you’ve built through the consistency and authenticity elements. Together, this powerful trifecta enables you to connect with your supporters since the content you publish is reliable and consistently great. To set this expectation with your social community, you must first prioritize a level of quality you promise to your organization and to your followers.
When the dial starts pushing towards quantity and the motive behind your strategy comes from a place of fear or concern over how often you’re posting, you’ve moved into a tough spot. Take the time to reset, plan your strategy, and define your social calendar.
Keep in mind that quality extends beyond the type of content you post—it includes your imagery, choice of words, and selection of hashtags and handles. Remember, with consistency and authenticity as guiding pillars, your social media motives are likely not to include 70 hashtags in every post. Being selective and intentional will empower you to prioritize quality.
Use these considerations as an opportunity to outline your guidelines for how your nonprofit wants to show up on social media. Once you’ve defined your presence (consistency), personality (authenticity), and key areas of focus (quality over quantity), you can take the next step to building your social media content calendar and presence by social channel.