Everything Nonprofits Need to Know About Social Media Marketing

As a nonprofit, you’re not exactly selling a product or service, but you do need to sell your audience on the importance of your mission. For that, you need a marketing campaign — and properly utilizing social media is essential to any campaign’s success.

The modern consumer is constantly bombarded with targeted messaging, and nowhere is that bombardment more intense than on the world wide web. But when you take a look at just how many people use the internet, it’s easy to see why companies are scrambling to buy as much virtual real estate as possible.

Earth’s population is estimated at around 7.3 billion people, and 3.7 billion of them are internet users. That’s a healthy 50.7% of the world’s people ready and able to access untold amounts of information within the same vast network. What’s more, 2.3 billion of those with internet access are also active social media users — that’s 62% of everyone online and 32% of the total population.

This widespread audience of users, combined with the narrow funnel of social media networks, gives marketers unprecedented access to the attentions of the largest connected community in the history of mankind. That’s why digital marketing is crucial to the success of companies around the world, and the same goes for social media: social platforms earned $8.3 billion from advertising in 2015 alone, and annual revenues are only expected to skyrocket in the coming years.

With so much money in the social media marketing space, one might assume that only the biggest companies with the largest budgets are able to make an impact. Too many smaller companies and organizations — including nonprofits and NGOs without a sales agenda driving their campaigns — assume they’ll be fighting tooth and nail for attention, and that their size represents an insurmountable disadvantage.

While it might be more difficult to run a successful social media marketing campaign as a nonprofit or NGO, that certainly doesn’t mean it’s impossible — the strategy just looks a bit different. Here are a few important things to consider when working on your more altruistic advertising.

Focus on the Right Networks

All of this social traffic doesn’t go to the same place. At any given time, there are likely several popular social networks engaging your audience. Like any other marketing campaign, then, it’s essential to identify exactly which network deserves your focus.

According to buffersocial, the most popular social media outlets for non-profits are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, in that order. Focusing your attention on these networks while also maintaining less active profiles on others will open important entryways for people to learn about your organization.

Show Why You’re Important

While many brands often find success with tangential marketing campaigns to avoid heavy-handed selling, it’s important for nonprofits and NGOs to make their mission abundantly clear when using social media to better engage their audience. A good way to do this is to share testimonials and real-life examples of how the organization has accomplished its goals in the past, or by providing constant progress updates for ongoing initiatives.

The best way to attract users is to convince them they’ll actually be making a difference. With on-the-ground updates on your progress, you’ll give your audience a reason to believe that they’ll be dedicating their time and resources to the right place.

Embrace Your Community

The major draw of social media is that it gives everyone a voice — so when you’re part of an organization that serves a specific community, providing a platform and forum for the voices of said community is absolutely essential for engagement and success.

Share news articles related to your organization’s focus to help establish an authoritative voice on the subject, then give your audience an opportunity to interact through comments and tweets. Social media marketing guru John Haydon says that “posts that end with a question mark versus a period generate twice as many likes, comments, and shares.” Create a dialogue with your audience, and engagement will naturally follow.

Take the drive to engage a step further by promoting events and initiatives through your account and giving participants an opportunity to feel like they’re associated with something larger than themselves.  

Humanize Your Posts

Perhaps most importantly, social media is largely driven by imagery. According to Buzzsumo, Facebook posts with images had 2.3x higher levels of engagement than those without, and embedding an image in a tweet will increase the rate at which it’s shared by up to 150%.

The type of image counts, too. Companies that have launched Facebook and Instagram Ad campaigns using consumer-generated photos have seen up to a 50% increase in clickthrough rate over those utilizing brand-created images, leading to a fivefold increase in their Return on Ad Spend total.

For help finding the images your nonprofit needs, Scopio locates, curates, and licenses user-generated content easily. That means you can quickly access a trove of imagery to reach your audience so they can help you make a difference in the world. A nonprofit thrives when people are inspired to participate. Scopio makes it easy for you to identify inspired users and give them a platform, so that enthusiasm about your cause can start trending.

Scopio is the industry’s premier search and licensing platform for images and videos on social media. We help brands, nonprofits, companies and media outlets and others find and use visuals that matter to their audience and build custom integrations. Want to learn more about digital marketing best practices? Request a demo with the button below or email info@scop.io. Let’s talk strategy!

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