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How nonprofits can use social media: Everything you need to know from A to Z

Did you know that more than 3.8 billion people have at least one social media account? That’s almost half the world’s population. Incredible—up 9% from last year. Not only are user numbers soaring, social distancing measures have seen a HUGE rise in usage. This is particularly (but not exclusively) true for younger generations—with half of 15-35 year olds spending more time on social media platforms as a result of the lockdown. It’s an opportunity that’s ripe for the picking, but many nonprofits are still looking to develop their digital strategy. We’ve put together some top tips to help nonprofits use social media in socially distant times.

Generation game. Which channel should you use?

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snap Chat, Pinterest, Tik Tok… Every year the list gets longer. But don’t feel like you have to be everywhere at once. Different generations have different habits, and you can use this to streamline your nonprofit’s social media planning.

Are you talking to Generation Z? By far the most digitally savvy of the lot, Gen Z are all about expressing individuality. They average three hours a day on social media and are more likely to spend their time on YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram than Facebook. Why? To find funny and entertaining content, fill up spare time, and stay up-to-date with the news of course!

Y is for Millennials: Gen Y might have more social media accounts than most, but they use their time in a different way. This generation is more likely to read the news than stream a video. As well as the traditional channels (yes, Facebook reigns supreme), you’re also likely to find a growing number on LinkedIn. A generation of budding professionals, they’re keen to make new connections and grow their career.

Explaining Generation X: Born between the mid-1960s and 1980s, Gen X still likes traditional media. They read newspapers, listen to the radio, and watch TV. That doesn’t mean they aren’t digitally savvy. They love a bit of Facebook, but they aren’t there to waste time. According to the Global Web Index, most Gen Xers use social media to read the news and stay in touch with friends.

It’s interesting stuff, but these descriptions are just a snapshot of the information that’s out there. The internet is gold mine, providing some particularly useful insights. But remember, these are just averages. Trends. A great starting point, but no replacement for your own data and insight. There’s no way around it, if you want to succeed at social media you need to find out who your supporters are, develop, and test content until you know exactly what they’re looking for.

Struggling for ideas? Our A-Z of social media for nonprofits is a great place to start…

Ask questions, conduct polls, and give your audience the chance to get involved.

Boost your posts with a mix of broad and long-tail hashtags.

Create cool content. Think stories, case studies, photos, live updates, news articles, and blogs.

Giving Days and events are a great way to join the conversation.

Encourage Engagement with competitions and share requests.

F is for Followers – choose who you follow wisely, and make sure you understand yours!

Groups; Packed full of exclusive content and early bird offers they’re a great way to bring together your most engaged supporters and give them a little something extra.

Set your own Hashtags and give your supporters a better way to connect with your brand.

Target the right Influencers and think about how you can create shared value together.

Don’t be a Jack of all trades. It’s better to be the master of one channel, than none.

Knowledge is powerSo, find out who follows your account, when and why.

Live stories, snaps,chats, and debates will help you engage with your followers directly.

Memes. Why not ask your followers to make them for you? There are plenty of free meme generators to choose from.

Newsjack a story to say something about your cause. Just make sure it’s appropriate to do so!

Opportunity. Scan the landscape for ideas and be the digital disruptor – not the disrupted.

Personality. This isn’t a grant application. Be human. Be real and talk to people.

Quality tops quantity so spend your time creating fewer posts that generate engagement.

Be Relevant and react. Keep an eye on current affairs and don’t be afraid to join the conversation!

Don’t just click Share, tell people why you find it interesting. It’s a much better conversation starter.

Test content to find out what works and write your own recipe for success.

User-generated content– what better way to get people involved?

Visuals are worth a thousand words – so use videos, photos, infographics, emojis, GIFs, and memes.

Ask yourself Why you use social media? If it’s ‘because everyone else does’, think again. You won’t exceed your targets if you don’t know what you’re aiming for.

Generation X, Y, and all use social media differently, be sure to choose the channels that fit!

thankQ CRM can help you keep tabs on your social media superstars.  Contact us to see how. Set up your personalized demo today.