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6 Social Media Strategy Tips for Nonprofits

As a nonprofit, you use social media to engage with your audience — from raising awareness, to collecting donations and inciting volunteers to sign up and help. But just how effective are your efforts?

If you want to stay on top of your social media game, you need to be consistently publishing, constantly iterating, and making changes based on what works best. Measuring success by the number of Facebook fans or Twitter or Instagram followers you have isn’t enough since many of those same people may not in the end be reading your posts or clicking on your links. 

Here are some tips that can help you develop a strong social media strategy that both ensure that your audience is actively engaged, and allows you to measure the results of your efforts.

1. Define Your Goals: What Do You Want to Accomplish? 

Having a clear goal in mind will help you develop an effective social media approach. What do you want your followers and fans to do? Selecting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or applying a SMART methodology can help you to set up clear, realistic goals. 


  • Tie each of your goals back to your organization’s overall mission. 
  • Take historical (if any) data into account while setting up your targets so that you can set goals that are realistic and achievable. 

2. Conduct Audience Research: Who Are You Targeting?

Identify your target audience and find out what matters to them in supporting your mission. You can approach it by observing online behavior, sending out surveys, conducting virtual or in-person interviews, or analyzing social media analytics. Watch our Audience Research on a Dime webinar to learn more about the process. 


  • Document your research results and data you’ve gathered so you can refer to them later. 
  • Once you’ve identified your audience(s), tailor your messages and use a consistent voice and tone to motivate them to take action.

3. Set Your Timing: When is Best to Post?

There’s no fixed formula that can be applied for all social media platforms, but there are still some helpful best practices. For example, a large nonprofits might want to aim for 1-2 Facebook posts, 3-5 tweets and 1-2 Instagram posts per day. Depending on the timezone of your audience, you’ll want to space it out so that people are getting a chance to come across you both in the morning and afternoon of their day.


  • Create a social media content calendar to stay consistent and on track. Tools such as Meltwater Engage or SproutSocial are good tools to help you manage and schedule your content across all platforms.
  • Review your social media analytics to determine the best time(s) to post.

4. Go Beyond Text: Use Photos and Videos

Statistics show that social media posts that include images and/or video have significantly higher engagement than those with simple text. This doesn’t mean that every single one of your posts needs it, but make sure that you’re giving your followers a chance to visualize your message; it will make it easier for them to understand your mission and ultimately engage with your content.


  • Keep an eye on your analytics to see which kinds of images and videos get the most engagement.
  • Use free tools such as Canva or Snappa to easily edit your images.

5. Use Paid Advertising for Important Moments

If you are launching a campaign to raise awareness or increases donations, paid social advertising can go a long way, and doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Targeting your ads by age, location, or even interest areas can help you narrow your scope of reach. And once your paid campaign is over, you can dig into the data to see what worked and what didn’t work.


  • Keep your target focused, e.g., don’t try to cover the entire country, but focus on one to two particular geographical areas.
  • Make your headlines clear and catchy so that people will be more likely take action when they see them.

6. Track and Optimize Frequently

Your strategy is most successful when you can learn from it, and recalibrate along the way. Google Analytics can help you track Social Media Referrals, Unique clicks, Visits, Traffic, and Engagement. Be prepared to adjust your organization’s social media strategy at least once a quarter so that you can be as targeted and as engaging as possible. 


  • Create weekly, monthly, and yearly reports that map back to your goals.
  • Conduct A/B testing on images and headlines to see how your audience reacts to different approaches, e.g., a headline statement vs posing a question.

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