Feeding your social media channels with a steady stream of quality content can be quite a challenge.
When someone decides to “like” you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter or subscribe to your YouTube channel, there’s a natural expectation that you’ll provide them with regular updates. The good news is that most non-profits have an abundant reservoir of information to share and it’s not difficult to find.
To be effective, social media must be a team initiative. Enlist the help of your colleagues in different areas of your organization, such as development, HR, communications, programs etc. and ask them to provide you with news on what they’re doing. Most will be quite cooperative in letting you know about what’s happening with their work. Decide on a communication channel for them to send their news, i.e. e-mail or intranet. Then, create a monthly calendar reminder for yourself to reach out and ask for the content you need. Everyone will be super busy so it’ll take time for your co-workers to get into the habit of regularly providing information to you.
There are probably a number of events and activities that you engage in regularly throughout the year. It may be helpful to plan in advance to gather content from these happenings. Fundraising events, conferences, speaking engagements, presentations, holiday parties, press conferences, etc. can all be sources of content for your social media channels. Capture as much as you can. Photography, video, even audio can provide lots of material.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of social media is that it provides you with the opportunity to attract new supporters to your cause. Let’s say your non-profit helps autistic children. By using the hashtag #autism to search on Twitter, you can discover other people and groups who can help you in your mission. Use hashtags and keywords to find like-minded folks who care about what you do and reach out to them.
It can be very tempting initially to set up an aggressive publishing schedule. After all, you’re doing great work and have a lot of great stories to share. There are two things you’ll want to keep in mind with this… First, you want to pace the rate at which you publish to suit your audience. Publish too often and you risk turning people off. Publish too infrequently and you may not develop strong connections with your audience. There are no hard rules here. To find out what works best for you, test different publishing schedules and monitor the response. You can use this chart as a guide for the best times to publish on each social media channel. Every audience and relationship is different, it may take a little while to find what works best for you. Secondly, be mindful of the capacity of your team. Collaborate on a schedule that enables them to get content to you consistently.
As you communicate, keep the focus on the work and how you’re making a difference. Set up an editorial calendar based on the events, activities and ongoing developments within your non-profit. Here is an Excel template that you can use to help you plan your calendar. Now that you’re ready to go, here are 16 social media content ideas for your non-profit’s channels:
Tell your stories! By being relevant and conversational you can engage, expand and inspire your audience.