How you approach social media has a large impact on the impression people will have about your organization. And, their perception of your organization will largely dictate their level of interaction and support.
Of course, no organization intentionally communicates their brand as “desperate,” “inconsiderate,” or “spammer.” But, as TopNonprofits pointed out, many common mistakes made by nonprofits often unintentionally communicate the wrong message.
Some of these common mistakes include:
- Excessive Pleas for Money: Of course, asking for money is necessary and it is perfectly ok to do so using social media. HOWEVER, if the content of your posts contain more than an occasional ask (limit of no more than 10% of posts), you run a big risk that people will perceive your organization to be one that is only interested in money. Social media is NOT all about what donors or potential donors can do for you. What can you contribute to them through social media? Likes, shares, comments, and conversation are just as important (if not more so) to a social media strategy as appeals for money are. And ironically, by engaging in social media this way, you build trust that actually encourages future support or donations–without having to explicitly ask for them in every post!
- Failing (or taking forever) to Respond: Check your feeds–at a minimum–twice per day. And at the very very least, every 24 hours. Failing to respond to questions or even general comments comes off as unprofessional. And even if you’re professional in every other aspect of your organization, such a simple detail as failing to respond quickly can unintentionally give a negative impression that counteracts all your other hard work. And worse, no response means that people will begin to think that your organization’s social media isn’t operated by a real person. Automation is your friend when it comes to scheduling posts, but it does not replace the need for human interaction. So in 2016, make it a habit to check those notifications!
- Over Posting: This one is a hard one to get right. I’m sure you’ve heard before to avoid posting excessively. But what does that mean? The truth is, every social network has different guidelines. What’s correct for Facebook won’t be what’s best for Twitter or LinkedIn. TopNonprofits offers some great general guidelines for each, some of which include: for Facebook, frequency depends on audience size; for Twitter, post at least once per day and space them out with at least an hour in between (but you don’t need to post every hour); for LinkedIn, post 1-3 times per week. However, to make you sure you avoid being perceived as a “spammer,” the correct timing for your organization will ultimately come down to trial and error. Pay attention to what schedule leads to the best results and don’t be afraid to play around with it! Effective social media strategies are flexible to change.
- Inconsistency: In order to develop a consistent impression for your organization, it’s necessary to post at a similar frequency, maintain a high standard of quality, and keep your organization’s voice consistent. Whatever plan is best for your specific organization, remain true to it. When you sit down to create a plan, think about your goals but also think realistically. How much time can you devote to creating and scheduling posts and checking feeds? Whatever you come up with, stick to it. Because regardless of how frequently you post, consistency is key.
All of these tips are good to keep in mind to ensure that the message you communicate on social media is what you intended, and can’t be negatively misinterpreted in a way that hurts your organization’s image.
But, if you’re looking to take your social media fundraising strategy to a whole new level in 2016, the key is to first avoid these common mistakes and then to always make the online giving experience quick and easy.
By using an express donation that allows people to donate in a matter of seconds (without having to enter in credit card information), you will get the most out of the 10% of posts where you ask for a gift. People access social media primarily on their phones. If the donation process cannot be completed easily on a phone, posting a link to donate does no good. Incorporate these tips and get ready to leverage your social media presence in the new year!
The Rise of Social Media Fundraising
How to Use Social Media to Spark Donations