How to Build a Community on Social Media: Tips for Nonprofits

How to Build a Community on Social Media: Tips for Nonprofits

By Sara Perry
Published On Feb 07, 2024
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Over 4.5 billion people use social media worldwide. That number is projected to expand to almost 6 billion by 2027, and among those billions are your community members, scrolling through their social media feeds daily.

With that many members active online, engaging them on social media is a great way to nurture relationships and expand your impact. Let’s explore how to build a community on social media and the transformative impact it can have on your organization.

Why is Social Media Important for Nonprofits?

25% of donors are inspired to give when social media is the communication method. Every like, comment, and share is an opportunity to tell your organization’s story, develop stronger relationships with community members, and increase impact. The top benefits of leveraging social media to connect with your community include:

1. Increased Awareness

The more members you can serve, the greater your community impact. Strategic social media usage highlights your organization’s mission and programming to a broader audience. It can also act as a key tool for supporting fundraising efforts, with 32% of donors having given through Facebook Fundraising Tools and 89% saying they will do it again.

Sharing content that connects with members strengthens your online presence, increases awareness among your community, and keeps current members engaged.

2. Deeper Member Relationships

Members want to engage with organizations that share their passion for health and wellness, community, and connection. Social media bridges connections, fostering a shared passion for health and well-being.

Your organization is the heart of your community, and your social media presence can bring that community space to the digital world. It’s a space where members can share their fitness stories, celebrate milestones, and offer feedback, strengthening the bonds within your community.

3. Greater Agility

Community needs are ever evolving, with new member preferences, challenges, and opportunities constantly emerging. It’s critical to maintain an open line of communication so you can keep members informed and engaged. Social media enables you to quickly and easily share new program announcements, safety protocols, community impact stories, and more.

9 Do’s and Don’ts for Building a Community on Social Media

1. DON’T Try To Appeal To Everyone

Rather than casting a wide net with generalized posts, tailor your social media content to resonate with your specific community. This targeted approach ensures your content will speak to your ideal members’ needs and make your posts more engaging.

Consider the type of content that resonates with your community the most and find opportunities to provide it. Creating content that reflects your community’s needs and interests turns casual social scrollers into dedicated members who feel seen and valued.

2. DON’T Attempt To Use Every Platform

Each social media platform has its own best practices and nuances. When resources and staff are stretched then, maintaining an active presence on every platform will quickly become overwhelming.

Instead, focus your efforts on one or two social media platforms that resonate most with your members. Focus on building an engaged community there at a manageable scope without spreading your attention too thin.

3. DON’T Copy Another Organization’s Strategy

Your community is unique. The social media strategy that resonates with them will look different than other organizations’ strategies. Organizations with successful social media accounts have defined their ideal members and discovered the type of content they connect with. You’ll need to undergo a similar process to see equivalent results.

92% of business leaders agree that social media insights have a positive impact on improving competitive positioning. Don’t use other organizations’ social media strategies as a blueprint, view them as a learning opportunity. Study their success stories and apply the principles to your organization’s social media strategy, using the lens of your community’s unique needs to guide you.

4. DON’T Post Without A Purpose

Posting frequently may seem like a positive way to keep your organization on your members’ minds, but without a defined strategy you’re just making noise. 66% of social media marketers say funny content is the most effective social media content for their business, followed by relatable content (63%) and trendy content (59%). Rather than posting for sheer visibility, align your social media content with your larger organizational plans.

Every post should support your program goals and marketing strategies, whether that’s boosting program registrations, sharing health tips, or inspiring members with success stories.

5. DO Focus On Your Members

Your social media feed should first and foremost serve your community members. Use your social posts to highlight how you’re serving members and encourage others to take part.

Create new or user-generated content about these topics to connect with members and show them how your organization is impacting the community:

@yteenlife Interviewing delegates at the Houston YG District Conference! #yg #youthandgovernment #media #houston #foryou #fy #fypシ #life ♬ original sound – YTeenLIFE

6. DO Stay On Brand

94% of business leaders agree that social media data and insights have a positive impact on building brand reputation and loyalty. When members engage with your organization online, they’re showing that they trust you with their time and health. Every aspect of your online presence should strengthen that trust and foster a deeper relationship.

Inconsistent online representation makes members confused about your mission and programming. Keep these elements consistent across your organization’s social media profiles, website, and other digital platforms:

  • Voice and messaging
  • Bio and About Us information
  • Color palette
  • Impact stories
  • Profile pictures and logos
  • Banners and imagery

7. DO Post Consistently

Developing a consistent posting schedule is the key to maintaining an engaged social media audience. You’ll need to balance the frequency of your posts. You do not want to saturate your members’ social feeds, but you also do not want to risk falling off their radar. Start simple by posting two to three times per week. Improve your strategy over time as you monitor your engagement metrics, and add more posts to the schedule if you’re seeing high engagement and ROI.

8. DO Set SMART Goals

Your organization’s time and budget are precious resources. Ensure your social media efforts are positively contributing to your overall strategic goals by setting SMART goals.

SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals will provide clear performance benchmarks and demonstrate the return on investment for resources spent on social engagement. Set time-bound goals are engagement metrics like number of followers gained or the increase in registrations to help determine what content to post, how often to post, and the budget allocated for those efforts.

9. DO Respond To Comments

Your organization shines when you’re connecting one-on-one with members. Don’t post content and forget about it. Like and respond to comments to show your members that you want to open a dialogue and value their engagement. Actively responding to comments and DMs will foster your community relationships and drive more long-term engagement.

Monitor Your Performance and Adjust

The first step to creating a successful social media presence is setting the strategy. The next step is to actively monitor your performance and adjust your approach by:

  1. Defining Clear KPIs: Outline which social media performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll use to measure your strategy’s success and guide changes.
  2. A/B Testing: Optimize your performance by experimenting with different types of content and messaging.
  3. Reviewing Analytics: Spot member trends, adapt your content, and optimize your posting schedule by regularly assessing social platform analytics.
  4. Listening to Your Community: Keep a close eye on member feedback, mentions, and comments. Use that information to refine your strategy.

Monitoring and adjusting your organization’s social media strategy is an ongoing process that requires data-driven decision-making. As you adjust your strategy, always ensure your social media efforts are aligned with your organization’s strategic goals and member needs.

Ready to Connect With Your Members Online?

The way you speak to your members matters, especially when you’re communicating digitally. Learn more about how you can cut through the noise and reach your members with your website and digital marketing.

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