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July 20, 2018

3 Cs to build your nonprofit social media presence

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Social media is not going anywhere. And for nonprofit organizations, having a social presence is necessary for marketing, communication, networking, and brand awareness. If you’re a new organization or your social presence has been lackluster, how exactly do you build a social presence?

The best way to build your social presence involves three key concepts: consistency, clarity, and community. By incorporating each of these principles into a social presence strategy plan, you’ll have consistent content to share, provide a clear message about your work and your mission, and connect to and network with the community you serve.

1. Consistency

Becoming consistent with your social presence is important—not only for making sure that you are posting on a regular basis, but also so you’re consistent with your content. A great way to stay on top of being consistent is to establish a monthly content calendar.

When planning your content calendar for each month, keep these three questions in mind:

  • What type of content do we want to post each week?
  • Which platforms do we want to post on each week?
  • How often do we want to post each week?

Due to the use of algorithms on most social networks, you want to make sure to post at least once each day to help increase the chances of your content being seen. However, this does not mean just posting any picture, quote, or video just for the sake of having the content posted.

Always remember that it is important to be consistent with posting at the times that your audience is most engaged. Your content should have a “call-to-action” for them to comment on, share, or like. Be consistent with using hashtags that relate to the post as well as your organization’s personality.
Tenelle Bailey quote

When building a consistent social presence, you need to also be consistent with your social branding. Your organization has built-in branding items that should be used across social media, such as logos, colors, and font. Make sure to remain consistent with adding these elements (where possible) to establish a clear, branded theme that is woven throughout your social presence.

Additionally, your organization should decide on a few main hashtags that you will use when posting content across social networks. This will allow for your content to create a branded, identifiable, and searchable social presence. For example, when posting to Instagram for SISGI Group, we always try to include the hashtags #sisgigroup, #nonprofitorganization, #socialchange and #nonprofitleadership. Take some time to research the hashtags used most often in your nonprofit’s area of focus and use them frequently.

2. Clarity

Building your social presence also means that you must be clear on the “Why?” when it comes to the reason that your organization is using certain social networks and what type of content should be posted.

There are few things to keep in mind when when setting up your social network profiles, creating, and curating content to share:

  • What does your organization want to accomplish on social media?
  • Who is your target audience, and what are you here to help them with?
  • What voice does your organization want to present on social media? Humorous, conservative, emotional, etc.

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you maintain a clear social media strategy as well as help you connect to the right audience for your work.

3. Community

The concept of building a community on social networks should be one of the main reasons that your business or organization would want to be on social media.

Although social media networks are a great place to promote and bring awareness to your organization, these days most of the social network platforms encourage “authentic community building.”

This means that the information being posted by your business or organization is perceived to be beneficial to potential followers, and is not perceived to be salesy or spammy. Similar to real life, where constantly talking about yourself and how great you is frowned upon, you don’t want to do this in a social networking space either. Think instead of building your social presence by creating two-sided conversations through your posted content.

When you create a consistent social media presence, you’ll find it easier to engage and connect with the community you serve. However, that community will not grow if you do not build upon your consistency and clarity, within your content strategy. Knowing how to balance the content that your organization shares and what content to share will help you to effectively build your social presence while building your community.

Refer to this content sharing chart to help you maintain a balanced content strategy:

 

Now it’s time to put these tips into action.

  1. Establish a workspace that all of your team can use to upload images, notes, and other useful attachments or information that should be shared. We’ve created a helpful template if you’re looking for inspiration.
  2. Decide on your organization’s branding concepts, social voice (emotional, serious, humorous, etc.), and posting schedule.
  3. Start planning monthly content on the calendar, keeping in mind the 3 C’s: consistency, clarity, and community.
  4. Post and repeat.
Tenelle Bailey
Tenelle Bailey is the Creative Services Director of a social media marketing firm, Creative and Social. In this capacity, she serves as Managing Partner, Marketing for The SISGI Group. She is a core team lead on all clients projects with marketing, web development, and social media outcomes as well as responsible for leading the marketing and communications for The SISGI Group and SISGI Beyond Good Ideas Foundation campaigns and programs. She has supported projects for the Connecticut Department of Higher Education, New Mexico Office of Workforce Development, and other small businesses and nonprofits by creating unique videos, websites, and content while also managing their social media and online campaigns. Tenelle enjoys helping companies and individuals manage their various marketing projects and creating useful content online that will build and grow their brand awareness.