content strategy

Will Your Social Media & Content Strategy Work? Follow These 3 Steps to Find Out

“We put a lot of thought into what type of content to share on social media but we have no idea if our strategy will work.”

Ever found yourself thinking a similar thought? Or wondering why your nonprofits previous efforts on Facebook and Twitter haven’t worked? At Media Cause we hear about these problems all the time, and if your answer was yes to either of these questions, then we would like to let you in on our simple 3-step approach to developing social media and content strategies that will actually achieve your nonprofit’s goals.

1. Define Platform-Specific Goals

Before you post or tweet we want you to first clearly define your platform-specific goals. It sounds simple but many times nonprofits jump right into a brainstorm session about what content to share without first listing goals for each social network.

Most nonprofit’s high-level marketing goals include raising money, adding supporters to your email list/social networks, and recruiting volunteers. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that your goals for each social platform should be identical to these organizational goals. If you’ve never had success fundraising on Twitter, collecting donations probably isn’t a good goal. Your goals should definitely align with your larger organizational goals but they also need to take into consideration how each platform has performed in the past as well as your audience size and demographics.

To get started it’s OK to list all of your goals for each platform but keep in mind that by the end of this exercise you might need to readjust these goals.

2. Identify Your Target Audiences

Now that your nonprofit has clearly defined, platform-specific goals, it’s time to identify your target audiences. In many cases nonprofits have broad target audience, “The environment affects the whole world, so everyone should care about protecting it”.  When creating a social media content strategy it’s important to define as many granular target audiences as possible. Think about who is most likely to resonate with your cause. Who are your most outspoken supporters? What are their common characteristics? Are their specific demographics most likely to resonate with your cause?

Don’t forget to review Facebook and Twitter Analytics to get data about your existing supports. It only takes a few minutes to learn whether your existing social media supports are mostly male or female, how old they are, and much more.

Does your organization have more than one target audience? Many education-focused nonprofits target for students, teachers, and parents for example. List each target audience that you want to reach on social media in order to accomplish the goals listed above, not necessarily every audience that your organization works with.

3. Create Content That Aligns With Each Target Audience and Goal

Now that you’ve identified your nonprofit’s goals and your nonprofit’s target audience, you’re ready to start strategically creating and curating content. However, before you get started you need to validate that your content speaks to your target audience AND will help you achieve your goals.

As you brainstorm ideas for both original and curated content to share on each social media channel as yourself these two questions:

  • Which target audience is this content for?
  • What goal will it achieve?

You might have some great content ideas but if it’s not clear which of your target audiences the content aligns with, or which one of your goals it’s attempting to achieve, then that piece of content shouldn’t make the list. It’s essential that all content aligns with both a target audience and a goal. Viewing your content and social media planning through this lens will ensure that you have a strategy that it set up to succeed.

This 3rd step also acts as a validation point for your target audiences and platform specific goals. If you’re hoping to collect donations and grow your email list, but only share articles and blog posts about the issues your nonprofit is addressing, then you either need to develop different content or change your goals to be more engagement-centric.

Whiteboard Brainstorm Exercise

In order to go through this three step process and to give your nonprofit a social media and content strategy that will help your organization grow, all you need is an hour-long brainstorm session and a dry erase board. To bring this process to life, we’ll share an example from a recent exercise that helped Media Cause realign our Facebook strategy with our organizational goals.

content strategy

1. We identified 3 platform-specific goals

  1. Create awareness for Media Cause as a thought leader in the nonprofit marketing industry
  2. Help all nonprofits increase effectiveness on all social media platforms
  3. Start conversations with potential nonprofit clients

2. We identified our target audience

  1. Nonprofit marketers
  2. Executive directors
  3. Nonprofit advocates

3. We identified content that would resonate with our target audience and help us reach our goals

  1. Share inspiring Facebook posts from other nonprofits, as examples of good work
  2. Promote #FacebookAdGrants to drive petition signatures

As you can see in the image above, the content we’re sharing on Facebook ties directly back to our target audience and platform goals. You can easily replicate this three step plan for your nonprofit, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Reach out in the comment section below, or send us questions on Twitter @MediaCause or by email at We’ll see you next time.