Ideas For What to Post on Social Media: Non-profit Edition
If you've ever heard 'You need to post on social media everyday to grow!', you may be wondering: 'Who has that much content to share? 🤔' Well, first, you don't need to post everyday to grow–you just need to post consistently (Ex: posting on Mon, Weds, Fri every week). Second, you probably have a lot more content that resonates with your target audience than you think.
All of the suggestions included in this article will only be successful if you have an intimate understanding of who your target demographic is. You are creating content for them, after all. Keep in mind: If you try to appeal to everyone you'll end up appealing to no one.
Before we dive into ideas on what to post on your social media accounts, I've included some general suggestions on some of the pitfalls to avoid and things to consider. But, you can also skip ahead to the 'what to post': - Statistics
- Behind-the-scenes - News - Questions - Education
TOO MUCH TEXT
I see organizations do this all the time––trying to fit as much information as possible into a single post. No judgement. I get the impulse. You want to share the WHOLE story. However, no matter what you’re sharing, do your best to keep it short, concise, and impactful. If you’re sharing a quote from a client, pick the most impactful part (or, if the entire quote is impactful, split it up across multiple slides in an Instagram carousel).
The format in Figure 1–which has contact information, titles, descriptions and photographs all jammed together–doesn't keep in mind how people consume content. We quickly scroll from one image to the next, and if something doesn't capture our interest in the first 2 seconds, we keep scrolling. Which brings me to my next point:
VISUAL HIERARCHY Visual hierarchy is just another dimension of 'too much text'. However, using a visual hierarchy can sometimes allow you to maintain viewer attention while also including additional information. Keep in mind that people will naturally read text from big to small, and that light colours jump forward and dark colours recede backwards. Use this to your advantage (and make sure 'titles' are catchy, invite curiosity, or grab attention).
All of the suggestions for content that I mention below do not refer to the format in which you post. Format is the *type* of media you choose. For example, news can be shared through static text, with an image, or through video.
There is no golden rule for which format is best, as it will depend on your audience. My suggestion? Use A/B testing to determine which 'format' resonates with your audience:
Unsure what 'format' performs best? Try doing some tests, changing a single variable like: content shared as statistics/bold titles, asking open-ended questions or providing options, 15-second videos versus 1-minute videos, etc. Do your best to keep other variables the same (Ex: time of day posted, day of the week, etc.). A/B testing is a user experience research methodology. It provides you with better clarity on how people interact with your content so you can optimize the experience for them.
Alright, now into the actual suggestions:
Statistics are a great way to quickly drive home a point, are very ‘share-able’, and position your organization as an authority on the subject.
There are two primary ways to use statistics: Non-specific: Broad statistics tell a bigger picture, like how many people in Canada experience homelessness every year (like in Figure 2). It speaks to the severity of the issues you and your organization are working towards solving.
Specific: Specific statistics relate directly to your organization. For example: ‘We served over 20,000 families in 2021’; ‘It only takes $5 to feed a family in need today’.
Just like the other suggestions on this list, quotes can be used in literally any industry. They can be timely, evergreen, be taken from the news, your blog, or a client testimonial.
Non-specific: These are quotes from industry leaders, entrepreneurs, advocates, and other individuals who can add value to your mission. Using ‘non-specific’ quotes can have broad appeal, add credibility, and support like-minded leaders. Be careful not to go 'too broad' with the quotes you're using, or it won't resonate with your target demographic. Keep it relevant and timely (using them on notable days, for example).
Specific: Specific quotes, like statistics, relate directly to your organization. They can be from clients, workers, sponsors, or press. On the opposite end of the spectrum, be careful not to make specific quotes 'too specific’. Quotes that speak to subjects we can–in some way–relate to or empathize with are more likely to be shared.
Profiles are important tool in non-profit storytelling. Statistics are great, but zooming in and sharing individual experiences is a great way to connect with your audience.
In Figure 4, nonprofit Twentytwenty Arts created an advocate 'leader spotlight' series and used this quote as the first image in a carousel that shared Francisco Vera's story (an 11-year-old advocate who began receiving death threats for his stance on the environment).
Non-specific: These are profiles like the one in Figure 4 that share the perspectives of leaders, advocates, or other organizations.
Specific: You can create profiles on donors, clients, or even the people who work in your organization. Zooming in allows people to connect with the faces, names, and values of the people behind-the-scenes...
IV. BEHIND THE SCENES
Depending on the kind of work your non-profit does, consider sharing photographs of your day-to-day activities and at events.
You can share photographs of staff, donations, office pets, tools you use, and other aspects of your organization. Photographs, like Figure 5, can help show a little personality, and give your audience a sense of who they're trusting their donor dollars with.
Your team: Share insight into who is working at your organization, the role they play, and why they feel connected to your mission.
At the end of the day, we all resonate more with individuals than a finely curated ‘organization’ profile.
Activities: Just received a big donation of coats? Running an art workshop? Take photographs of items, drawings, spaces, and other activity-related events.
If you want to produce content that is relevant and trending, you can comment on or share recent news articles.
Posts like Figure 6 always get the most traction, engagement, and reach (on all platforms!). The more specific you can be with the news content you share, the more engaged your target demographic is going to be.
As a nonprofit organization, you probably already have your eyes and ears to the ground, so anytime you read an article that you think will resonate with your audience, share it! It gives them an opportunity to learn along with you.
My best tip is to simplify the process is to turn on Google Alerts. If you have a Google account, simply click here and type in keyword combinations that are relevant to your organization. Google will send you an e-mail (as often as you'd like), with news articles that contain these keywords.
Improve your engagement by creating content that people want to share their perspective on.
Figure 7 was from a series 'What's in a word?' that aimed to start a discussion around commonly used problematic words.
There are a couple methods for encouraging engagement, including:
Fill in the blank
This or that (two options)
Tag someone who ____
As a nonprofit organization, you probably have resources, insight, and knowledge to share with your audience.
In Figure 8, Mosaic Institute is sharing research done by one of the fellows in their UofMosaic program. Not only does this showcase the work the organization does, but educates their audience.
Non-specific: You can educate audiences on the issues related to your organization.
Specific: You can educate audiences through resources you have created.
VIII. NOTABLE DAYS
There is a day for literally everything. National donut day? There's a day for that. National hangover day? There is a day for that. Going through the calendar year and selecting dates that align with your organization's mission can help you capitalize on this momentum. You can use any and all of the suggestions below as a way to capitalize on these dates. National Day is a great resource for Canadian 'holidays' you can draw on.