When it comes to building your nonprofit’s social media strategy, you have many platforms and methods at your disposal for engaging supporters online. Just like your supporters, no two social media websites are exactly alike. While the Pew Research Center indicates that 72% of the American public uses some type of social media, it’s not surprising that users of different generations prefer to spend their time on different platforms.

If your organization is looking to boost your marketing campaign’s reach via social media, it pays to be deliberate about how and where you devote your efforts. In this guide, we’ll walk through five essential steps to follow in order to maximize your success:

  1. Identify your goals.
  2. Create target audience personas.
  3. Be strategic with your channels.
  4. Create engaging social media content.
  5. Collect and analyze data.

By finding and appealing to supporters on social media, your nonprofit has the potential to spread its digital roots and build lasting relationships that will power your impact for years to come.

1. Identify your goals.

As with any of your nonprofit’s initiatives, it’s crucial to refer back to your mission and overall goals to guide your approach. By aligning your social media strategy with your broader objectives, you’ll ensure that you’re reaching the right audience and inspiring the right support online. For instance, your organization may seek to:

  • Boost awareness of your nonprofit’s work and impact.
  • Educate social media users about your cause.
  • Recruit more volunteers.
  • Increase event registrations.
  • Raise funds through social media.

The goals you identify will inform all of the actions you take and the content you create on social media. For example, GoodUnited’s Facebook fundraising for nonprofits guide highlights several useful tools the platform offers for fundraising and conversational messaging with supporters. If your organization is seeking to generate more revenue to fund your impact, you may consider Facebook as one of several channels worth focusing on.

2. Create target audience personas.

Once you have your goals in place, it’s time to get an idea of who you’ll be appealing to on social media. Chances are, you already have some impression of your existing supporters’ interests and preferences. Take a look at the data you’ve gathered in your nonprofit’s CRM and create several target audience personas to shape your social media strategy. Some groups of supporters you should consider targeting include:

  • Prospective donors
  • Current donors
  • Volunteers
  • Peer-to-peer fundraisers

As you develop your personas, make note of characteristics such as demographics, preferred communication methods, and connections to your cause. This will make it easier to determine which segments of your audience members will be most receptive to which types of outreach. For instance, you may identify some dedicated supporters who may be particularly eager to start a Facebook birthday fundraiser on your nonprofit’s behalf or advocate for your cause.

3. Be strategic with your channels.

Make the most of your organization’s social media efforts by meeting your supporters where they already prefer to socialize and stay in touch. Since 99% of nonprofits surveyed by M+R report having a presence on Facebook, this platform can be an essential jumping-off point for finding and nurturing your audience. At a minimum, aim to have a well-designed website and Facebook page linking to each other to start solidifying your nonprofit’s online presence.

Additional social media platforms to consider include:

  • Twitter. With tweets limited to 280 characters, Twitter is ideal for sharing brief news updates and creating hashtags related to your nonprofit’s cause.
  • Instagram. This platform’s visual format allows your nonprofit to attract attention through eye-catching images and videos.
  • LinkedIn. This networking resource provides an opportunity for your organization to establish itself as reliable, professional, legitimate, and impactful in your community, helping you recruit more support to continue fulfilling your purpose. The platform not only has a dedicated team for nonprofit support, but is introducing new types of ads that you can leverage for fundraising, as well.

As you learn more about each site, you can tailor your messages to maximize their impact. While creating an active presence on every social media platform may not be reasonable in terms of time and resources, diversifying your social media channels ensures that you get in front of as many potential and current supporters as possible.

4. Create engaging social media content.

Finding your nonprofit’s social media audience is only the beginning. Once you have an understanding of their values and interests, you’ll need to secure their long-term support by producing compelling content on a regular basis. NXUnite’s rundown on nonprofit marketing recommends including clear calls-to-action and leveraging powerful storytelling in your posts to boost social media engagement.

Get creative with the types of content you produce. For instance, your nonprofit can consider posting:

  • Behind-the-scenes glimpses of your nonprofit’s impact.
  • Interviews featuring a staff member, volunteer, or beneficiary.
  • Photos and video clips from a recent event.
  • Thank-you messages to your supporters.
  • Quotations from staff members and supporters.
  • Statistics or other educational bits of information related to your cause.

Regardless of what you post, remember to keep graphic design elements such as your logo, colors, and fonts consistent with your organization’s branding across platforms. This can go a long way toward improving your brand recognition and making it easy for users to associate your content with your nonprofit.

5. Collect and analyze data.

Remember to implement key metrics into your nonprofit’s social media strategy to evaluate your performance over time. By consistently collecting and analyzing data, you’ll be able to determine whether you’re successfully engaging with your target audience on social media, where you’re doing well, and where there’s room for improvement.

Keep an eye on your nonprofit’s social media engagement, from likes to shares to comments. If you notice that your organization’s posts are receiving many likes, but not as many shares or comments, you may want to focus on finding ways to deepen interactions with your audience. If engagement is high but your conversion rate is not where you’d like it to be, this could indicate that you need to improve your calls-to-action.

Additionally, consider sending out surveys or polls to gather feedback directly from your audience. This can further strengthen your relationships with supporters by demonstrating that you’re committed to providing them with the best possible experience with your nonprofit.

Modern technology has brought people around the world closer together by facilitating easy and convenient communication with just a few clicks on a phone or taps on a keyboard. As a result, many nonprofit supporters are likely expecting more and more direct engagement with your organization. Fortunately, social media makes it easy to build these close connections.

From interacting with your nonprofit through conversational messaging to giving on social media, supporters have more opportunities than ever to see and contribute toward your day-to-day impact. By targeting the right audience and creating content that appeals to them, you’ll be well on your way to securing lasting online support for your nonprofit.