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The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Graphic Marketing For Your Nonprofit (Checklist)



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Now that you know the role social media plays in nonprofit graphic marketing strategies, it's time to explore best practices for designing content around your audience and marketing goals. It's not enough to just post whatever comes to mind. Likewise, you don't want to follow the marketing tactics of other organizations to the T because their approach won't be tailored to your nonprofit specifically. The key to unlocking your graphic marketing potential is developing the psychology behind your posts. This article will show you how to be deliberate in your content marketing by giving you tips on what to post, when to post it, and why.

Balance Your Marketing Goals While Engaging Your Audience

Your online activity is your primary engagement force. As such, your content needs to support your mission and deliver your message adequately without seeming "salesy." Over the years, we've noticed the best social media posts for nonprofits tend to serve a specific goal, such as

  • Audience engagement
  • Raising awareness for your organization
  • Increasing community involvement with your organization

To make your posts more visually appealing, be sure to:

  • use your company colors and logo
  • stay consistent with your brand and tone
  • make your designs visually appealing with only a few fonts, colors, and enough space between elements

Whether you are posting a quick update about a fundraising goal being met or an in-depth video of a past volunteering event, you want to do so with a specific goal in mind to ensure you are providing value to your audience. Here are some tips to help you create content that satisfies both your audience and your marketing goals simultaneously:

1. Share Thought-Provoking Content

You don't have to do all the heavy lifting! Facilitate engaging conversations by providing thought-provoking commentary around hot topics and current events related to your mission and the work that you do without being too polarizing. One way to do this is to follow other organizations' social media accounts or issue-based campaigns' RSS feeds to share their relevant content to your profile. Doing so gives readers an excellent opportunity to engage with the subject matter and talk about it in a real-world setting. Here are some ideas:

  • Share news updates, especially local news
  • Make holiday posts
  • Spotlight (and tag) leaders in the industry who are involved in philanthropy

Marketing Tips

  • Test out optimal posting times by looking at your engagement analytics. Hootsuite says the best times to post are right around 6 AM - 12 PM for news-related topics.
  • Take into consideration the lifespan of social media posts. YouTube and Pinterest have the most wiggle room in that you can resurrect old content without seeming out-of-touch. Be careful with Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, however. These platforms age posts in a matter of hours.
  • Want to find trending topics? Check out Google Trends for the latest stories and insights.

Design Tips

  • Because you are sharing someone else’s content, the design of the post will need to take a back seat, BUT you still need to pay attention to the content. Remember the type of audience you have. Share content that respects their views.
  • When you share a post, you can add your commentary above it instead of adding it in the comments. Here is where you get to show off your organization's tone and personality.

The psychology behind this: sharing trending content can raise awareness and engage your audience by attaching yourself to others' virality.

2. Get REEL

Start posting real videos of your team and your causes, live and prerecorded. Your audience wants to feel connected to your story and the impact you make together. You are more likely to gain participation and donations if your followers feel like friends and family. We know that video converts over images or plain text, so don't be afraid to put yourself and your organization out there. Here are some ideas to get you camera-ready:

  • Record a tour of your office and team
  • Start vlogging with your team out in the field
  • Go live at your events

Marketing Tips

  • Cross-promote your video posts on all your social platforms. In this way, you can reach all of your subscribers, wherever they are.
  • Always preface upcoming content in a current video. This gives the public something to look forward to, and they are more likely to show their interest by subscribing or choosing to be notified.

Design Tips

  • You don't always have to have a fancy production setup. Organic video posts can be more impactful. Feel free to pick up your camera phone and press record!
  • Instagram Reels allows you to post 15-second clips to share to your feed or story. Have a longer video? Your followers can continue watching on IGTV.
  • Have fun with it! Instagram and Facebook allow you to attach polls, stickers, music, and more to your stories.

The psychology behind this: posting authentic videos of your organization can increase your online reach and make your audience feel more engaged. It's okay to promote your campaign here as well, as videos will convert at a higher rate than any other content type.

3. Share Your Organization's Internal Activity

Keep your viewers in the know about what your nonprofit is doing and how it impacts their world. People want tangible information about their donations, and what better way to show them than with visuals! Doing this also increases your credibility. Start by posting stats, facts, and data about your causes and engagement activity. We encourage:

  • Sharing stories of the impact you've made
  • Donor and other community testimonials
  • Monthly, quarterly or annual reports on funding raised
  • Posts about campaign dollars reached as they progress
  • Highlighting staff and volunteers

Marketing Tips

  • You can use your blog to write about your organization's milestones. Then, all you have to do is create a post that links back to that blog post. Include your call-to-action on the blog page.
  • Try and give something to your readers in exchange for their email or add an incentive to a donation request.
  • Ask past donors to follow your social pages and submit testimonials.
  • Start a hashtag challenge or contest to accompany your posts.

Design Tips

  • Use simple, digestible graphs, charts, and other visuals to report the facts.
  • On Instagram, break up long posts into multiple images/videos and add "Swipe Left" or "Swipe Right" to the image/video or in the caption to alert viewers that there’s more to see.
  • Facebook also allows multi-media posts, and you can even choose a different layout to make it stand out.

The psychology behind this: sharing your nonprofit's activity can promote your cause even further while strengthening your brand awareness. A call-to-action is the perfect next step once potential donors have been properly introduced to your organization.

4. Promote Your Cause Proudly

By now, you may have realized that varying the type of content you post is a great content marketing strategy, but don't think of this as just a tactic. If you want people to get involved and don't want to feel like you have to coerce them to do so, start making posts that speak to them. Readers will be eager to hear more, and you'll feel the weight lifted in your donor and volunteer acquisition endeavors. Promote your cause proudly and increase conversions by:

  • Giving readers the details about upcoming events they might be interested in
  • Summarizing the results of past events
  • Thanking everyone, including donors, for their participation

Marketing Tips

  • Use archived posts on Flashback Friday or Throwback Thursday to remind users of the work you've done.
  • Alternatively, highlight your archives in a "This Day In History" series.
  • Promote your future events at least 4-6 weeks ahead of time. This gives your team a chance to market it and potential donors an opportunity to allot funds to your cause.
  • Perform market research by asking your subscribers about their interests

Design Tips

  • Don't stuff your social images with too much information. The purpose of a post is to grab their attention. You can put more information in the caption or on the landing page the post redirects to.
  • Make your claim bold and clear by using a large font and a focal color. Tell readers who your cause is supporting and how much funding it will take to help out.

The psychology behind this:  giving people the information they need to feel confident they are making a difference is an easy way to promote your cause. Your ideal donor wants the shared responsibility of providing aid to their community. Your promotional posts, call-to-actions, and other engagement methods should reiterate to them that your nonprofit is the medium to meet this need.

And that concludes our social media graphic marketing tips for nonprofits!

If you were wondering what to post on social media, we hope this article helped you progress toward identifying what it takes to appease your board members and marketing goals without forgetting about your audience. Here's that checklist again:

  1. Participate in current event conversations
  2. Use authentic videos to connect on a deeper level
  3. Share the facts about your organization's impact
  4. Include your audience when you promote your cause

To start you on the right path in your social media marketing efforts, get a year's worth of social media graphics all done for you! Nonprofits in our network are getting more done in less time by deploying this checklist without the hassle of designing it from scratch.

Grab your graphics to jumpstart your success!