Tips on how nonprofits can improve engagement on their social media platforms

With social media, the number of followers you have is much less important than the level of engagement of your followers. Here are some ideas on how to improve engagement.

Set up a great website or blog

Your website/blog is the hub for all of your social media activity. Websites are still the most common source for people to access nonprofits social media information. It is therefore vital that your website/blog looks professional, up to date and most importantly, mobile-friendly.

Be selective about which social media platforms you use 

While some may have smaller communities than others, they may be more suited to your specific organisation. It pays off to start slowly and make sure you select the correct platforms, as opposed to just joining them all and not being able to manage your content professionally.

Communications experts should manage the platforms  

Being young simply does not automatically qualify someone to run your social media department. It’s important that your social media accounts are managed by someone who fully understands your work. They need to know your specific goals and those of your supporters. They will also need to be able to handle criticism and respond well to it.

It's not all about you!

While social media platforms are the perfect way to get your message out, never forget about your audience. It is vital to know their thoughts on certain issues and give them a platform from which to speak. Share content about your area of work from other sources. Curate an interesting newsfeed. 

Respond to your audience

Whether it’s a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ or a more complicated, in depth answer, make sure you respond to your audience. It is important for them to know that you are reading what they say and that you are in touch with their interests and needs.

Use visuals

As humans, we are involuntarily drawn toward images and videos. They are far more eye-catching and engaging to your audience, as opposed to written content. A recent Facebook study found that posts containing photos received 104% more comments than posts with simply text or links.

Stay current, keep updating 

It is believed that between 80 and 90% of your audience will not return to your Facebook page / Twitter feed once they have liked or followed it. It is therefore imperative that you are constantly updating your content, as this is your only chance to remind your audience who you are. Regular updates also ensure fresh ideas and interaction with your audience.

Timing is everything 

It is important to identify trends that inform you when your audience most often engages with you on social media. Wrongly-timed posts will go completely unnoticed and buried within the newsfeeds of your audience. One should identify these trends as soon as possible.

Don't be afraid to ask 

As simple as it sounds, this is both the most effective and overlooked engagement strategy. Never be afraid to ask your audience for help in terms of getting your word out there. Ask them to re-tweet and share your content. Being straightforward and upfront with your audience creates an instant trust between you and them.

Don't spam! 

Spamming refers to sending out constant messages to a large number of recipients. While this may seem obvious, many nonprofits lose members of their audience by constant spamming. Nothing will have people unliking your Facebook page or unfollowing you on Twitter quicker than a constant stream of irrelvant or repetitive messages.