For a while, nonprofits only had to worry about posting on Facebook. Then it became a good idea to have a Twitter. Recently, Instagram has become indispensable to organizations getting the word out. And that’s not to mention Youtube, Snapchat, Twitch, LinkedIn, or Tik Tok. Or the brand new platform that probably launched somewhere while you were reading this paragraph.
So with an ever-increasing number of options and an increasingly fragmented audience, how do we choose where to focus our energy? Here are five tips to help you choose where to spend the majority of your time and resources on social media.
1) Make a choice!
The most important tip out of all of these is that you do indeed need to make a choice. If you are a large national organization with a robust communications team, then you might be able to have a presence on most of the platforms listed above, and others.
If, however, you are more like most of our partners and have one communications person at most (and often not even that!), then we need to make smart bets with our time. Most platforms require you to regularly post and engage if you want to build a stronger presence, so it’s better to have 1-2 robust platforms than a bunch that aren’t engaged.
2) Know your audience
The audience of each platform is becoming more distinct, and you need to think through who you are trying to engage. The first thing to consider is who your audience is currently, or who do you want your audience to be? Do they have a certain profession, background, wealth, or education? How old are they? What do they use social media for?
Answering these questions will help you decide what platform to choose. For example, Twitter users are typically wealthier and more educated, but also less engaged on the platform. Facebook is the best for donations given the age of users, but you might be missing out on early career professionals.
3) Decide on a goal
Not all platforms drive equal engagement either. Facebook sees the most activity, but given the algorithm, is the hardest to predict your overall visibility. Instagram gets a lot of views, but often less engagement. And the engagement is less likely to lead to action. Twitter is the least engaged, but a great way to get info out. So, depending on if your goal is to drive donations, keep donors, engaged, or inform supporters of your work, you may want to choose one platform over the other.
4) Think about your content
Finally, think about your content. If you don’t have the experience, time, or topic matter for a bunch of engaging photos and videos, Instagram may not be the platform for you. Similarly, if you don’t have regular updates or if your issues aren’t in the news often, Twitter may prove difficult. Make sure you are set up for success on the platform you choose.
Consider your audience and your goal, and let these two factors drive your decisions on social media. We don’t have time to do everything, so pick 1-2 platforms to double down on for the rest of the year. Consistency is the most important factor in being successful on social media.
Guest Author: Matthew Gayer, Co-Executive Director, Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington