Written by Becky Fitzpatrick, Digital Marketing Associate
“I was put in charge of making our organization’s social media strategy. Where do I start?”
This is a question often asked by those nonprofit individuals who have the exciting task of building their organization’s social media strategy. At first glance, it’s an easy job: take a look at your social media and make changes to help it perform better. I mean, you check your personal accounts over 10x/day, how hard can it be?
And then you do a Google search and realize there is a lot more to a social media strategy than a list of tips and tricks. Advice like “post more photos”, “only post when people are online” and “stand out from competitors” is only useful as general guidelines.
First, your social media strategy should have a strong introduction. This document will be circulated around your office, through different departments without you to explain why it’s important. The intro should explain why it’s crucial for nonprofits to get social, industry benchmarks of online marketing, and how your specific nonprofit will benefit from a strong online strategy.
Second, perform a self-audit. External agencies or consultants do most audits, but if you’re in a time crunch you can perform a basic one yourself. Outline who your organization is: your values, goals, mission, and purpose. Then delve deeper into your online persona. Audit your current messaging, your audience stats, and your website traffic and content, and give suggestions for improvement.
Third, do some thorough competitor research. Discover who your top competitors are and carefully examine their website, social media, emails, and other online components.
Fourth, build your action plan. Discover what your internal goals are. Does your team want to focus on gaining traction on your blog, engaging users on Facebook, growing your following on Twitter, or increasing traffic to your website? Depending on these goals, choose which channels are most appropriate for your organization and audience. Then outline who will be on your online team and what their roles will involve. Develop a posting strategy of what, when and who will post content on which channels.
Fifth, develop a paid advertising strategy. Each social media channel has different opportunities for advertisers, so be strategic when choosing channels. As social media giants monetize their platforms, paid advertising is becoming crucial for organizations trying to expand their reach.
Sixth, analyze and test your strategy. Lay out what tracking tools to use for each channel, set benchmarks around your internal goals, and provide an outline for reporting on these analytics.
Seventh, provide a list of best practices. After weeks of researching your strategy, you should have a pretty good grasp of best practices for social media management and content creation. But your team may not. Lay out helpful tools for finding and creating content, tips for interacting with industry leaders online and a list of individuals and organizations to follow online for advice.
Eighth, build your unique content calendar. Explain what a content calendar is and why it’s important. Then decide what platform to use for your organization. Should you build a calendar on Google docs? Or use a pre-made platform like CoSchedule or Sprout Social? Lay out options for automatic posting platforms like Buffer and Hootsuite so your team can see every option available.