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A Guide to Social Media Strategy for Year-End Campaigns

Filed in Core Communications — October 17, 2019

In our blog we’ve pulled back the veil on our approach and methodologies through a largely ‘plug and play’ resources and Masterclasses so you can skillfully engage the funding partners your mission deserves.

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A successful donor cultivation program requires a thoughtful social media plan.   Each contact with your donors and supporters must be targeted, deliberate and have clear goals for success. This memo is intended to provide strategic guidance for your social media plan, as well as guidance for building your social media calendar between now and the end of the year.

Strategy:  Develop authentic and engaging social media content about your organization along with a specific posting cadence to increase your followers and keep the organization top of mind for potential donors throughout the year.

Salient Points to Guide Your Strategy:  Here some best practices for using social media to raise awareness about your organization. These recommendations are based on in-house expertise and Black Fox Philanthropy’s curation from multiple social media expert sources.  Some are general in nature and may feel a bit obvious.  Some are pointedly relevant to improving your strategy going forward.

  • Be clear about your posting goals. Is your goal to build brand awareness?  Generate clicks to your website?  Increase donations?  Be clear about what you need from social media before you design your posts.  For example, it isn’t optimal to rely on Instagram to increase website traffic because it doesn’t allow links (Facebook currently generates more website referrals than any other channel).  And building awareness about your work is fantastic, but it doesn’t typically translate into spontaneous donations.  Make sure your posts match your expectations!
  • Quality trumps quantity. If content is boring, repetitive or poor-quality, research shows you may actually end up losing followers.
  • Don’t be a self-promoter. Industry standards recommend that content should be 80% valuable and helpful to the audience and no more than 20% self-promoting.  You can help them better understand your work and the reasons why your mission matters. (though everything you post will ultimately boost awareness and donations!).
  • Tone matters. Content that is amusing, interesting, surprising or exciting drives up shares and clicks. Content that conjure feelings of sadness, anger or fear have the opposite effect.
  • Use images & infographics. Don’t only post pictures of your organization’s beneficiaries.  Use GIFs, quote images, infographics and short videos.  Keep it interesting for your followers!
  • Become a thought leader. Start discussions. Offer resources.  Engage and retweet partners and other influencers on your organization’s sites.  Post on theirs.  It all helps position your organization as a thought leader on your mission (which will help build your brand, put you on the radar of potential foundation funders and help lead to future donations).
  • Track what is trending. Keep an eye on each channel’s “What’s Trending Now” and respond to the issue.  Find a way to make your issue fit into the hot national/international conversations…and chime in. This will drive up clicks, shares and likes!

Turning Social Media Followers into Donors:  Your organization may be experiencing difficulties in converting “Likes” into dollars.  It is a common problem!  Here is an article from Classy.org that you may find helpful.

Social Media Tactics:  As with the strategic concepts above, you may find some of these tactics obvious as your organization already implements many of them.  I have included the “kitchen sink” just to cover all the bases.

 

Facebook/Twitter

  • Big things to keep in mind about the platforms… Facebook is great for longer, more informative posts and use it to drive followers to your website.  On Twitter, retweeting and curating content for your followers is encouraged.  And, the fewer the characters in your posts, the higher your engagement will be.
  • Reach a diverse online audience who are looking for a way to have a greater impact on your organization’s mission around the world.
  • Share compelling imagery and success stories that conveys the transformative power of your organization’s programming.
  • Vary photos with graphic-designed assets to increase variety in imagery.
  • Leverage storytelling to inspire meaningful engagement and action that link back to your organization’s website.
  • Share news stories related to your organization’s mission, political leaders or funding trends relevant to your organization’s work/impact.
  • Develop an engaging infographic on your organization’s reach and stats specifically calling out your organization’s mission and impact. Consider developing others that capture the scale of the global problem, and why.
  • Encourage Fundraising/Donations
  • Utilize and experiment with Facebook’s fundraising feature to help generate donations for Giving Tuesday and Year End Giving.
  • Experiment with $10 or other small amounts of ask to see if resonates with your organization’s followers.
  • Provide more statistics and posts that showcase how far their dollar would go with links to Donate Web Page.
  • Develop Animoto video or other video that outlines 3 reasons to give.
  • Promote a donor matching opportunity, if you can create one.
  • Frequency
    • 4-5/week. Days/times can change. Take a look at suggested posting times based on Buffer or Facebook Insights.
  • Partners/Influencers
    • Develop draft Facebook and Twitter posts (with photo) to share with board members, partners and influencers to push out at important times of year (announcing Spark? Thanksgiving? Giving Tuesday?) and to promote your organization’s year-end appeal.
    • Engage/retweet partners and other influencers on your organization’s Twitter Channel.
  • Ongoing Engagement
    • Continue to engage with followers and comments and any posts that your organization has been tagged in.

Instagram

  • Your organization has an opportunity to grow its Instagram audience and reach an online community that is more engaged than Facebook and Twitter.
    • Cross post on other channels and in newsletter to encourage social community to follow your organization on Instagram.
    • Apply a few trending hashtags alongside your organization and content theme hashtags to help grow audience. But be careful not to apply too many hashtags – research shows that it can work against you!
    • Follow other like-minded influencers, bloggers, media, engaged followers, other nonprofits, and brands nationwide and globally.
  • Raise Awareness within the Instagram community about your organization
  • Continue to highlight beneficiaries and quotes with compelling photos.
  • Develop engaging infographic on your organization’s reach and stats specifically calling out your organization’s mission and impact.
  • Encourage Fundraising/Donations for Giving Tuesday and Year End Giving. We can leverage some of the same tactics recommended for Facebook and Twitter, including:
  • Begin to tease Giving Tuesday and develop posts about the power of donation, impact, etc.
  • Provide more statistics and posts that showcase how far their dollar would go with links to Donate page.
  • Develop Animoto video or other video that outlines 3 reasons to give for 10 sec Instagram video.
  • Promote donor matching opportunities if arise.
  • Instagram specific: Integrate Instagram Stories to share fundraising call-to-actions.
  • Partners/Influencers
  • Develop photo and post draft to share with partners and influencers on giving Tuesday for your organization that will encourage donations to your organization as well as increased Instagram followers.
  • Frequency
    • 4-5/week. We recommend checking Buffer and/or Instagram insights for what days perform best.

Paid Media

  • Did you know Facebook recently became a “pay to play” platform? Now, your posts only reach 10% of your page’s likes or followers unless you pay to boost the post.  We recommend boosting your organization’s posts on Facebook and Instagram for $20 per post and developing ads for a minimum of $5-$10/day for the months of November-December.
    • Objectives would include:
      • Increased brand awareness
      • Increased post engagement for potential donations
      • Increased website conversions for potential donations

Content Calendar

Black Fox Philanthropy recommends you think about engaging a social media consultant to build your content calendar around this strategy, if possible.  However, with or without a consultant, we encourage that your organization accommodate these important calendar recommendations.

  • Frequency: Research shows that if you have a small following, posting too frequently (i.e. 2 times per day) will result in 50% fewer clicks per post (you may increase the overall number of likes but with less overall engagement).  Conversely, if you post only 1-5 times per month then your clicks will almost double.  The ideal frequency depends on your goals.
  • Thanksgiving – This is a fantastic opportunity for achieving the strategy goals discussed above – building awareness, increasing focus among your organization supporters and driving donations. Be creative and build your content around the themes of thankfulness, importance of family, reflection on “need vs. want,” etc.  Encourage your supporters to spark a conversation about your organization’s mission (and its global importance) around their Thanksgiving tables.  Don’t make it about your organization (as your name will organically surface) but rather about the issues – remember the benefit of positioning your organization as a thought leader!
  • Giving Tuesday (December 3rd) – This is one to ask, ask, ask! Begin putting it on your supporter’s radar two weeks ahead and continuously drive your request for donations in the run up to 12/3 with increasing frequency.  If possible, create a fundraising goal for the day ($5,000?), instill a sense of urgency and tie it to a specific ask – a discreet new program, project, or even the sponsorship of a beneficiary.  “Your donation on 12/3 is essential if we are to raise $5,000 for…”
  • December Holidays – Think of your strategy here as a combination of Thanksgiving and Giving Tuesday strategies. Tie your communications to the themes of giving, want vs. need, in place of another sweater this year… And ask, ask, ask!

We hope this comprehensive guide to your year-end social media campaign helps you