The pandemic has hit many sectors across the country pretty hard including most players in the social sector. The digital services industry, however, has seen an uptick in growth, and none more spectacular than in the digital advertising world. According to a recent IAB press release, social media advertising was “seemingly pandemic proof, with a 16.3% growth in revenue in 2020, representing nearly 30% of all internet advertising revenue”.
The global shift towards social media as a source of information, entertainment, and communication means that not-for-profit organizations must be ready to follow suit, embrace the paradigm shift, and maximize this medium to engage in multifaceted ways with their community of supporters. Being successful at scaffolding this emerging platform means choosing the right tools for the job. Let’s talk shop!
What are social media tools? Hammers, screwdrivers, and paintbrushes!
There are a collection of tools that can help you create, organize, measure, and beautify your organization’s social media presence and they are mostly in a state of constant evolution. Not all SM tools are the digital kind though, you would be surprised that there are still some classics that aren’t necessarily online. Let’s take a look at the different categories of social media tools at your disposition.
Organizing tools – From a clear communications strategy that segments audiences to quarterly theme calendars essential for post planning – these essential organizational tools require more mental bandwidth than the digital kind. Of course you can still embrace cloud-based calendars and collaborative online documents, like those offered by Google Suite or Sharepoint, to develop the planning part of your social media presence with your team.
Creation tools – Writing and recording content, collecting and creating graphics, editing text and videos to fit specific platform parameters, and beautifying the elements that you will be using to represent your cause online all have specific tools to make the job easier and the result better. Automating the scheduling and posting of your creations is made simpler if your team has a limited amount of resources to dedicate to social media account management.
Measuring tools – Analyzing what works, determining whether target audiences are being reached, measuring organic versus paid reach, and monitoring who is interacting with your cause in the social media sphere are just some of the items that need to be evaluated on a regular basis. Thank goodness there are tools to help you measure your ROI and the success of your campaigns and strategy.
What is the best social media management tool for nonprofits?
The tools now available on your smartphone used to exist independently as stand alone items – camera, calendar, phonebook, photo album, etc., but look how quickly we have adapted to having them in a centralized location that fits into the pocket of our jeans.
Getting a single tool that helps to manage the different elements needed to take control of your social media presence is not always a clearcut task. Social media management (SSM) tools each provide different options that might or might not make your life easier. Take Buffer, for example, it is a great bulk scheduler but falls short on tracking who is interacting with your content.
Nonprofits should seriously be thinking about adopting, if not already done, a versatile tool that combines a customer relationship management database (CRM) with the various categories of social media tools mentioned above. If you are not sure if your organization needs a CRM, take a look at all of the different elements that it can be combined with and how it can be used to increase the impact of your organization. We have been working with Zoho and Salesforce with many of our clients because of their compatibility with other applications and their accessible pricing for small to mid-sized organizations. There are even special prices for qualifying nonprofits.
When asked in a recent Linkedin Live event for Nonprofits, Scott Harrison, the CEO and founder of Charity Water, said he regretted not investing earlier in system processes and data management. He strongly believes that having good data helps organizations make better decisions and ultimately allows them to know their supporters better and offer the kind of relationship they are looking for with an organization.
“Before we adopted a good system, we were all over the place with Excel sheets – it was a mess,” said Harrison during a #Better Together Speaker Series discussion.
Combining your CRM with effective social media management tools (SSM) takes things a step further by offering you unprecedented access to information about your donors and the potential for reaching new people that were previously unaware of your organization.
A Social CRM can notify you when a donor in your database engages with content that you have posted on social media, automatically updating their CRM profile. Your organization now understands what interests that donor, allowing you to create better donor journeys.
What social media tools are free and which ones are worth using?
|Free social media tools||Worth it?|
|Canva||Totally try this photo editor! There is no excuse for ugly posts. While you’re making things pretty, don’t forget FB profile photos, your logo on photos, and posts with customized text and image combos.|
|iMovie||Easy to learn and fantastic results. Start editing video on iPhone or iPad, then finish on your desktop. Add titles, logo, subtitles, music, and effects – just keep it short!|
|Hootsuite||Sure – if you have only three social media accounts and one person managing up to 30 scheduled messages per month, it is worth getting your feet wet! It might not take a long time before you realize you need more.|
Top 3 new social media tools that increase impact for not-for-profit organizations
1. Social CRMs – Maximize donor relationships by taking advantage of the crazy amount of data building up in the social sphere that can compliment your social media initiatives. Take a look at these integrated options and see which one best suits the needs of your organizations: Zoho, Salesforce, or Nimble.
2. Online video editors – Online video is on the rise and we should be creating better video posts. The good news is that it has never been easier, especially with online video editors, no need to download software anymore. Give Veed or Adobe Spark a try the next time you want to show your social media followers how you are making a difference!
3. Instagram Stories – Develop content that has value for those in your community, then share photos AND videos about your cause and why it’s so important. Remember that people give to people, experiment with Instagram Stories as a live visual way to connect people from within your organization with your followers. Listen to their reactions and respond.
All the tools in the world
You can have access to all the tools in the world but if the person wielding them is not skilled then chances are they won’t be effective at all. There is a misconception that just because someone happens to be a millennial or younger they will automatically be skilled at social media management.
While it is true that this particular demographic spends more time than any other on social platforms, the human skill set needed to be effective in crafting an organization’s social presence is often more about having good people skills, being a natural storyteller, and having the right instinct about how the landscape is developing.
Your social media manager needs to have experience as a consumer of social media in order to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each platform and they must work in tight collaboration with the rest of the communications team to inform them of developments gleaned through social listening, among other insights available through analytics.
Social Media S.O.S.
If all these tools and the management of your organization’s social media presence is overwhelming, don’t be too quick to dismiss this digital avenue. It is clearly an area that has a great impact on building awareness about your nonprofit and engaging supporters. Take for example a recent survey by Campaign Monitor where 39.5% of respondents said they discovered nonprofits to donate to through Facebook.
Social media is an essential component of any well crafted communications strategy, but it also requires the proper investment to be effective. A realistic budget for social media marketing needs to be included in yearly plans. It should be clear to the social sector the value that social media can bring to organizations and to the broader social causes we are collectively working.
If you are not sure where to start, we are here to help get the ball rolling. Give Phil a call if you want to discuss the best way to address your social media needs, be they tool selection, integrated strategy, advice on human resources, or a full service quote to manage your social media presence using all of our creative and technical know-how.
We look forward to answering any of your questions – drop us a note anytime.