Social Media Advertising Strategy for Nonprofits on $100/month

The truth is that social media is not free for organizations, it takes staff time to manage well. What’s more, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn are becoming increasingly pay-to-play platforms. Especially on Facebook and now Instagram, organic reach for organization pages/profiles are continually getting reduced organic reach. This is making Facebook an ad platform first and social network second if you’re an organization.

In the same way that not giving staff computers at their work stations to save money doesn’t add up. If your organization spends on social media or content creation then not giving them a budget to make sure the work is seen doesn’t add up. In 2019 and 2020 the way to be penny wise and pound foolish is to ‘save money’ by not taking advantage of social media advertising.

Facebook is not a social network it is an ad platform, especially if you are a company. Click To Tweet

Tutorial videos on digital advertising

These videos will teach you how to make the most impact using social media advertising with just $100 a month. We cover YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram with walkthroughs and strategies. 

Why $100 per month?

The goal is to train your marketing department into optimizing over time. Measuring results over time and hunting for attention/conversion opportunities. The strategies and approaches scale even if you ad a zero or two, but you may want to get intouch with us for advanced management when you start playing with this level of budget. If you schedule a drumbeat, monthly ad spend, it helps learn over time rather than blowing all of your ad budget in a frantic week around GivingTuesday. This blitz spends are often too fast to really A/B test and find opportunities. Plus, the value of building familiarity over time can far outweigh the one-and-done blitzes as demonstrated by the research in How Brands Grow. Here is an awesome interview with one of the researchers from How Brands Grow:

How to increase your follower count (and other vanity metrics)

Before we jump into how to increase your vanity metrics, you may be wondering if vanity metrics even matter? The answer: yes and no. Vanity metrics, such as your follower count or the number of likes on a post, do a great job of building credibility with your audience. They help legitimize your organization to new followers. However, they don’t help create significant digital impact. Vanity metrics are just  one of many touch points on the funnel of engagement toward meaningful action.

Here’s how you can build your following (and other engagement metrics) on just a $100 a month:

Run Page Like ads on Facebook and Twitter

Page Like ads are shown to people within your target audience that are most likely to like your Facebook page. Generally, page likes can cost anywhere between $1-$2 per like, depending on the audience. This ad type can help build your list by +50 followers per month.

Case Study: This past February Whole Whale ran Page Like ads for the Lung Cancer Foundation of America promoting Valentine’s Day related content with $100 and were able to acquire 149 page likes at $0.67 per like!

Twitter offers the same ad type: You can run ads that get people to follow your profile by boosting an old tweet or creating a new promoted tweet. Be mindful though, as cost per acquisition for followers on Twitter can go as high as +$3.

Boosting posts to increase engagement

Note that except in cases of event or key campaign promotion we do NOT recommend boosted posts as they have far more limited capacity to target ads than Facebook Business Manager

If you want to increase the number of reactions/likes, comments, and shares, you can put ad dollars behind particular posts to help increase engagement. With $100 bucks a month, you can put $10 – $20 behind 5-10 priority posts that need a extra attention on Facebook or Instagram. This can be helpful because statistics from 2017 show that for each post a nonprofit made on Facebook, it only reached 7% of its fans. Boosting posts can help ensure your content reaches your followers. You can do the same on Twitter by boosting existing or a new promoted posts to get more likes, replies, and retweets.

How to drive traffic to your website

If you want to focus on driving traffic to a particular page on your site, you can do the following:

Run traffic ads to key content pages

Do you have an awesome new article onsite and want to give traffic a little boost? You can run ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter that are optimized to be shown to those who will visit your site. On Facebook and Instagram, you can even optimize the ads for landing page views, which will show ads to people who as likely to  click to visit your site and stay long enough to take a key action on your site.

Case Study: Whole Whale ran traffic ads for the Lung Cancer Foundation of America promoting Valentine’s Day related content with $100 and were able to acquire 190 landing page views at $0.53 per landing page view which resulted in a few dozen goal conversions!

For $100 a month, you can highlight one important content page or split the budget between a few key content pages. This would be a great way to test different messaging or value props and see what resonates most with your audience.  

How to increase conversions on your website

If you want to focus on driving meaningful actions on site, you can:

Run conversion ads.

You can set up key conversions within Facebook and Twitter and run ads optimized for that particular action. For example, if you want people to create an account on your website, you can set up a custom conversion in Facebook and optimize your ad to be shown to people who are most likely to create an account. For this ad type, you must have a Facebook Pixel installed on your site.

The cost for a conversion can be expensive depending on your targeting and call to action, so we recommend keeping a close eye on these ads to make sure they are performing well.  

Run Lead Generation ads

If you want to build out your email list, you can run lead generation ads on Facebook that will capture users’ emails directly on platform. You can create a simple custom form to capture first and last name in addition to email address. This is a great ad type because, for most users, their information will auto-populate within the form, making sign up a breeze. Cost per email can vary widely: We’ve seen as low as $0.35 per email to as much as $50 per email, so we recommend keeping a close eye on this ad type as well.

Get started!

Main takeaway: Advertising on social media doesn’t require a six figure budget. You can do a lot on different platforms with just $100 a month. Try out these strategies month to month and see what works best for you.

Have any other ideas for advertising on a budget? Tweet us @WholeWhale and let us know your thoughts.