Top Social Media Channels & Why You Need to Be On Them

With the power and popularity of social media, nonprofits of all sizes can easily engage with supporters—where they are—on the platforms they already visit daily. Social media networks are great (user friendly) resources for your nonprofit to promote your organization and mission online. But that doesn't mean you should be on every network. Each one works a bit differently and attracts a different audience. Don't spread yourself too thin. Choose the networks that are most relevant to your organization and its mission. Having an effective social media presence requires you to first select the social media platforms that work best for your organization and then to make frequent posts. When looking at your social media strategy you need to understand how each network runs, the kinds of audiences you can reach, and how you can best use each platform. Here’s an overview of some of the most popular social media platforms that are a good fit for nonprofits:    

FB image

FB image

Facebook is the granddaddy of social media in terms of users and impact. It’s estimated that 71 percent of all Internet users, or about ONE BILLION people, are using Facebook each month and over 650 million use it each day. Facebook is the #1 social media resource for businesses and an effective tool for nonprofits. However, it’s critical to keep it updated regularly and frequently. Use it to promote events, celebrate your supporters, volunteers, and employees. Share stories about those your organization serves. Be sure to include photos! And, keep your messaging short. Link your posts to your website for additional content. Facebook is meant to be interactive. Your posts should encourage “likes,” “shares,” and comments.

Twitter image

Twitter image

With an estimated 125 million active users, Twitter also enables you to reach a large audience. Although the 140-character count seems limiting, it can still be quite effective at helping you connect with your network. The hashtag (#) feature allows you to be a part of the latest trends and newsworthy events. To be successful with Twitter avoid using it to bombard your connections with requests for donations. Instead, you can Tweet to celebrate or recognize your supporters, volunteers, and staff. You can link to valuable content on your website (like a blog post or a new resource). You can share stories about those your organization is serving. Be sure to include a photo w/your Tweets. Share Tweets about your partners and what they’re doing. You should also use Twitter to retweet relevant info shared by others. It saves you time in developing your own tweets. Plus, the accounts you retweet will be notified and will likely check out your organization, too!

LI image

LI image

LinkedIn is the largest professional social media networking site but many nonprofits don’t have it in their communications plan. Create a LinkedIn page for your organization. LinkedIn is a great way to build relationships and connections. There are nearly 300 million LinkedIn users  and 2.7 million business pages already on LinkedIn. Take a more serious approach to this social media outlet as your connections will want more professional and informative posts.

One of the most powerful features of Linkedin is “Linkedin Groups” which provide a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to participate in a discussion within a Group. LinkedIn’s groups can be a great resource for making professional contacts, sharing content, getting advice, posting jobs, engaging in meaningful discussions with others in the nonprofit field, and positioning yourself as an industry expert. LinkedIn Groups can give you exposure to hundreds of members who are interested in you and your organization.

YouTube image

YouTube image

YouTube is the most popular video-oriented site online and is seen by over 1 billion unique visitors each month. Did you know YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google? When it comes to boosting your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ranking, videos are 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of search results as part of the blended results that Google now shows. YouTube is extremely competitive so use it to post videos that users will enjoy, but be very selective about what you share. Keep videos to under two minutes (max!) and make sure they are engaging.

Create a Plan

Choose the platforms you want to build and maintain a presence on and create a communications plan and a calendar that includes how frequently you will post, the type of messaging, who will post and maintain the site, etc. And remember, it’s not how many social media platforms you are on but how well you use them to engage with your audiences.