6 Nonprofit Social Media Mistakes to Avoid in 2014
The New Year is a great time to let go of all of your nonprofit’s social media hangups and mistakes from 2013.
Here’s a breakdown of the nonprofit social media mistakes I see frequently:
1. Obscure profile images
Although it’s necessary to add a dash of creativity to your organization’s social media profiles to make them stand out in news feeds, keep your group’s profile image on Twitter, Facebook and other social media networks simple. Always use your nonprofit’s logo as the profile image, because it leverages the most brand recognition.
2. Self-centered content sharing
Just because users have decided to follow your nonprofit’s social media accounts doesn’t mean you should inundate them with promotional or fundraising posts. A good rule of thumb is the 70-20-10 rule. Aim to share about 70 percent of value-based content, 20 percent of shared content and 10 percent of promotional content. Although the infographic below is aimed at retailers, it’s relevant for nonprofits too. It provides the best explanation of the 70-20-10 rule.
3. Inconsistent posts
The best way to ensure that your nonprofit’s social media audience remains engaged is to provide them with content that encourages interaction. This includes posting and tweeting thought-provoking content that sparks discussions. While this might sound like a time suck, especially if social media management is only one part of your job, don’t worry. There are many tools out there like Hootsuite and Sprout Social that allow you to schedule tweets and other social media posts in advance. Facebook lets you schedule posts directly on the platform, which is a great way to save time.
4. Avoiding dialogue
Out of all of the social media platforms out there, Twitter provides nonprofits with the best opportunity to reach followers in real time. Not only can you interact with those you are connected to, but conversations around hashtags allow you to connect with potential supporters. Hosting Twitter chats and live tweeting during events are two other great ways to interact with your nonprofit’s supporters, potential supporters, partner organizations and other key influencers.
5. Using @ symbol before tweets meant for large audience
Speaking of Twitter, one of the most common mistakes I see from individuals and organizations alike is beginning a tweet that’s supposed to be shared with all of their followers with the @ symbol. The @ symbol should only be used when replying to tweets. Any tweet that begins with the @ symbol will only be seen by the user whose Twitter handle you’ve included in the tweet and by people who follow both your organization and the user you’ve mentioned. If you want the tweet to be seen by all of your followers, add a period before the @ symbol. For example:
.@MarionInstitute: We enjoyed participating in this year’s Connecting for Change conference! on.fb.me/1epiBfy #CFC2013
6. Sticking to worn-out methods
Social media platforms evolve at breakneck speed, so keep up with the latest trends. Be creative and test out different methods of sharing content and engaging with supporters:
- Ask questions.
- Share photos and links to stories.
- Post images with text overlaid on photos.
- Announce victories and organizational milestones.
- Request partner organizations to share your nonprofit’s content on their networks. (And do the same for them!)
- Create and share infographics.
The key to a successful social media strategy is to constantly share interesting content. Replicate ideas that work and go back to the drawing board to refine and retest ones that don’t.
Questions about social media for nonprofits? Feel free to leave a comment below, send a tweet to @mediacause or write to us at connect [at] mediacause [dot] org.