Some are even hurting their reputations from repeated mistakes.
So, let’s get down to business and talk about the top five #fails I see nonprofits doing on social media.
If you’re committing some of these social media #fails, don’t worry. I’m also going to show you how I’ve seen nonprofits create social media #wins.
Now let’s start:
Social Media Fail 1) Why Your Twitter Account Doesn’t Get Any Engagement
What’s wrong with this line of tweets from a nonprofit on Twitter. I blurred out the content and the account for privacy.
Not a single tweet has any likes, comments, or retweets.
So what’s the impact of this nonprofit tweeting every few hours?
In fact, most nonprofits I’ve spoken with see zero impact from their Twitter accounts.
The reason is that they don’t approach Twitter with the right strategy. They treat is similar to other social media like Facebook, where posts with stories or tips get engagement.
But that’s the thing, people turn to Twitter primarily as a breaking news source. Most Twitter conversations revolve around politics, sports, world events, or other news like the Oscars. People turn to Twitter when they want to share their opinions and read opinions of others. That’s why typical nonprofit promotions get lost in all the buzz.
Fortunately, the nonprofits that understand the purpose of Twitter see the best results. They jump into conversations that are buzzing.
Here’s an example from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) that got nearly a thousand likes.
If you scroll through the rest of NWLC’s tweets, you’ll see that every one has high engagement — and that’s because they’re on top of current events, adding their voice as much as possible.
This same logic can be applied to any social media platform — it’s only worth doing if you use the right strategy. Otherwise all your effort will have minimum impact.
This leads me to my next point…
Social Media Fail 2) When Multiple Social Accounts Are a Bad Thing
I’ve spoken with a few nonprofits that think an always-on-everywhere strategy is best.
They’re active on LinkedIn, Google+, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. etc. etc.
Sure, they get engagement on each of these platforms, but with limited resources, they end up spreading themselves thin. Their impact could be doubled by going twice as hard on one or two platforms and leaving the rest alone.
Take this example from a small nonprofit in Toronto, Ontario:
Instead of spreading their resources thin over multiple social media accounts, the Peel Archery Clubonly has a Facebook Page — and they’re awesome at connecting with their members there. Every one of their posts gets high engagement. Here’s an example.
But if you’re just starting out, or aren’t sure where to focus, how do you know which social media platforms are right for your organization to focus on?
One of the easiest ways is simply to find out what type of people are on each platform.
For instance, if your target audience is younger, it makes more sense for your organization to promote itself on platforms dominated by a younger demographic like Instagram and Tumblr. On the other hand, if your target audience is older, Facebook and LinkedIn make more sense.
Here’s a chart from Statista that shows the age demographics of all the major social media platforms.
Of course, age is just one way to start. If you’d like a better idea of which platforms to be on, ask your supporters which platforms they’re most engaged with, and which they’d like to see more of your presence on.
Alternatively, if your organization serves a very specific niche (and Facebook and Twitter aren’t that effective for you), there are other, lesser-known platforms to turn to.
Take for example, Musical.ly, and Clips. These are two niche social platforms with growing followers. Snapchat is also still growing in popularity with those under 24 years old and Pinterest has a strong female base, but if your organization isn’t visual or you don’t have staff who can create content for an authentic social stream, then don’t waste your time. Whichever social platform you choose, be sure to do your research, stay current and try out diverse avenues to get people talking about you.