I don’t think I need to convince you that social media is a non-negotiable in today’s world. If you want to reach people – basically any type of people – there is a social media platform that will help you do it. For nonprofits, that means finding and activating people to join your cause.
Whether you’re still dipping your toes into Twitter or you’ve mastered everything from Pinterest to Vine, you’ve no doubt asked yourself: how do I keep a consistent flow of posts on these platforms? If you’re scrambling for social media content, here are some of our favorite ideas to get you started.
The key with all of these ideas is to be human and look at your analytics to see what is working. Build on those strategies that are driving engagement and chuck the ones that aren’t.
- Design. Create a template using Canva that you can use and reuse. A consistent look will help establish your credibility as a content producer. Make sure to include your logo or website URL so it can be traced back to your organization.
- Factoids. Pull facts and stats from your annual report, recent research, or static content on your site and make a shareable image with a fact. Bonus points for adding visual elements like graphs to help drive the point home.
- Be a curator. Make a Twitter list (hidden or not) of influencers like bloggers, journalists, news sites, and partner organizations who may share information that’s useful to your audience. This makes it easy to retweet or find new ideas for content that works well.
- Serialize. Create a custom series (like “Reading rec Wednesdays”) and consistently publish content that users can come to expect.
- Trendwagon. Jump on existing trends, like #MotivationMonday, #WomanCrushWednesday, #FollowFriday, or other hashtags you see are trending on Twitter and other platforms. Using these will give your posts more visibility.
- Fill in the _______. Post fill-in-the-blanks and ask users to respond with their answer in the comments. These work best when you present them in a visual way, like a colorful image with text. If you’re less established and worried about no one responding: activate volunteers or staff members to get the ball rolling.
- Inspire. Create uplifting content with inspirational quotes and images related to your cause. These can come from celebrities or individuals within your own community.
- LOL CATS. When in doubt, integrate cat videos. But seriously – does owning a pet help people recover from a certain illness? Was there a recent news story related to dogs in your field? Jump on anything that’s an excuse to post your favorite animal video.
- Search for Pinspiration. This platform is highly visual and you can easily see what content is doing well by searching on related phrases. Follow like-minded organizations and recycle content here onto other platforms.
- Ask the audience. Crowdsource your content – have users post their own photos to Instagram using a hashtag you create, and repost the best submissions. This creates great user engagement, and also adds to your arsenal of content to post now or later.
- Be alert. Set up Google Alerts on key phrases that are related to your organization so you’ll consistently get updates when your cause is buzzing. Respond in near real-time when people are actually having a discussion.
- Photos are worth 1000 words! Equip your team to take photos and videos at on-the-ground events whenever possible. Set up a Google Drive folder or an email address that your staff knows they can send footage to. For presentations, have speakers add a slide to their deck asking users to tweet questions, photos, and videos from the presentation. Make it as easy as possible for your staff to collect useful content.
- Borrow like an artist. Steal content from your other platforms and see what similar organizations are doing to engage their audience. If a post did well on LinkedIn, make sure to tweet out an abridged version. Host your Youtube videos on Facebook to gain more views.
- Watch this! People love videos. Create great video content on the cheap using free tools: For free/cheap video editing try iMovie or Viosk. For cheap animations: Prezi or Spriteapp. Or outsource to a cheap freelancer using Fivrr. More design hacks here
- Livetweet conferences or other industry events. A quick burst of activity on your Twitter or other accounts like this can mean a lot of new followers and engagement, while establishing your organization as a thought leader in the space.
- Quiz time. Ask quiz-style questions, and have users comment their guess in the comments. Follow up the next day with the answer. (Boom! Two separate post ideas in one!)
- Make me laugh, clown. Don’t be afraid to keep it light! Find funny gifs on giphy, memes on memes.com, political cartoons, ecards, or make your own funny content from jokes or funny celebrity quotes. Search for “animated .gif” + your topic, or take a shot at creating your own.
- Click around on Reddit. It’s one of the top platforms for user-generated content and there are constant discussions (ranging from serious to, er, very light) on a huge variety of topics.
- Cultivate a community of guest bloggers. Getting people to write content for you is a win-win-win because it (a) helps their exposure, (b) builds their commitment to your organization, and (c) gets you free content for your site, which builds your SEO and gives you fodder for social media. Reach out to your extended network and build a list of volunteers who will write just for you.
- FOMO. Frame content in a way that makes people feel like they are missing out on news or information everyone should know.
- Ahhhhh! Can you illicit shock in your posts? Is this something you have to see in order to believe? Browse the titles of UpWorthy.com to see how they make ordinary posts into must-reads.
- Be useful. Create content that makes people better at doing what they do as it relates to their jobs or relationships.
- Incite controversy. Is there a hot-button issue or debate that you can play into or represent a devil’s advocate position? “You won’t believe Trump’s opinion on X” – sadly this will probably work for depressingly large range of issues.
Consider the emotion that your post is being designed to illicit in your audience. Aim for high energy emotions because those are the ones that get people actually sharing or taking action around your content.
Ideas are cheap – execution is what ultimately matters. Don’t lose sight of what matters with your social strategy. Are you trying to move people up an engagement ladder? How does your content support this?