The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

How to stand out on social media

At this week’s Social Media for Nonprofits conference in Washington, DC, Avi Kaplan, Director of Online Strategy for Rad Campaign, challenged organizations to think about how they can break through the noise on social media when we live in a BuzzFeed world. Avi says the key to standing out is to focus on the right audience in the right context with awesome content. Here are just a few of the tips he shared with the crowd.

Connect with the right people.

Avi Kaplan SM4NP Conference

Keep in mind that your social media universe is comprised of three segments: your die-hard supporters, people who are likely receptive to your message, and those who just aren’t that into you.

Get more from your database. Look at your current donor list, email list, and social media followers. What do they have in common? Seek out “lookalike” populations as you connect with influencers and use this insight to inform paid social promotion.

Prioritize. Don’t waste time on audiences that aren’t in your sweet spot. Focus on the people who are already passionate about your cause, interested in your issue, or are supporters of your organization. They will help you reach more like-minded folks and create ripples from your social media efforts.

Understand the return on investment for specific audiences. Some segments of your audience are great sharers and likers, but other segments might be more likely to take actions like making a donation or volunteering. Learn the behaviors of each of your segments and plan your outreach accordingly.

Connect in the right context.

Being timely, relevant, and top of mind means hooking into the bigger picture. What else are your supporters interested in or talking about? Find appropriate ways to capitalize on trends, breaking news, and even memes to tap into the familiar.

Don’t miss your opening. Social media conversations move fast. What may be timely today may be passé tomorrow. If it takes you a few weeks to create, approve, and publish content, you’ve missed the moment. Create a social media system nimble enough to react quickly and find your organization’s share of recent news or trending topics.

Plan ahead. If you don’t have an editorial calendar to help you plan your content for social media and beyond, it’s time to create one. Avi shared that as part of your content calendar, you also need a “context calendar”—this is a space on your editorial calendar where you’ll plot out holidays, key milestones, seasonal topics,and more. Unlike breaking news or unexpected memes, these are events you can prepare for well in advance.

Optimize timing. Tools like Buffer, Followerwonk, and Tweroid can help you understand the best times to reach your audience and schedule your messages for maximum effect. This is especially important if you have limited time to spend on social media management and content creation. You need to get the most out of the effort you’re putting in.

Connect with awesome content.

Once you’ve zeroed in on your primary audience and understand the power of context, it’s time to think about the content that you’ll share. Go beyond reposting the same pieces again and again and get creative with visuals and topics that are top of mind.

Steal. Are you down with OPC? Other people’s content, that is. Some of your best social media interactions will come from curating content from other sources, or creating derivative works. Reach out to collaborate, offer credit, and use discovery tools like crowdtangle to find amazing stuff to share or emulate. (Social media coach Andrea Vahl offers some other ideas for finding compelling content to share.)

Learn what’s working through analytics. Don’t just mindlessly blast your followers with updates that are boring them out of love for your nonprofit. Measure which channels and topics result in the most engagement and action.

Experiment and take risks. Put a plan in place to manage your social outreach, but remember these platforms are flexible and forgiving. Since the flow of social is much faster than other channels, you can learn quickly and adapt. Try new things to see what works with *your* supporters.

Need more ideas for social media content? Download our new guide, 101 Social Media Posts, for suggestions that will help your nonprofit connect with supporters on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more.

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About This Blog

Carrie Saracini
Content Marketing Manager

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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