4 nonprofit fundraising social media mistakes to avoid | Miratel Solutions

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4 nonprofit fundraising social media mistakes to avoid

In our ongoing series that provides you with the best possible tips for using social media to assist with nonprofit fundraising you sometimes can be overloaded with information about what you should be doing, how to do it and when. As valuable as much of this information is, today I thought I’d share a few tips about what not to do which could save you time, better engage your audience and most importantly stop donors from leaving your social media stream.

As much as social media can help build your audience there are some mistakes that can just as easily diminish it, so let’s take a look at some of those.

1. Tweet less but say more – There is a growing theory that I tend to believe that business to business and business to customer (in our case nonprofit to donor) engagement is going to ebb away from Facebook and move over towards Twitter. I’ll explore why that is in a future post but you may have noticed that Facebook keep adopting Twitter methods (previews and hashtags to name just two) to emulate the Twitter style. Twitter is an exceptional method to deliver targeted content to a specific audience but as a tweeter don’t go to the well too often.

Unless you are a giant organization with hundreds of thousands of followers and a genuine need to share information around the clock keep your tweets to a reasonable level. Tweets for public consumption (your breaking news, blog updates or images etc.) should ideally number between 3 and 6 per day. Try a month at 4 for example and then raise to 6 to measure what’s working well for you in terms of follows and retweets and general engagement, there is a sweet spot to be found and your audience engagement will help tell you this. Don’t forget automating tweets is a great way to keep the tool at work for you over the weekends or when you’re otherwise committed.

2. Not all social media is needed; determine your primary and secondary tools – There are no hard and fast rules with exactly what will work for everyone. The specific cause you are helping to promote, the demographics of your audience and the type of  information you wish to share will each play a part in helping you decide which tools can do the most for you. While some organizations are perfectly placed to provide strategic content via YouTube or LinkedIn others might see exceptional results from StumbleUpon or Reddit. It’s worth noting that besides the image focused social media platforms (Instagram, Pinterest etc) Reddit has seen exceptional growth over the last twelve months so it might a great time to return to it or try for the first time.

Ultimately though you need to cut your cloth to your available time, a social media strategy that chooses one or two primary tools in addition to the likely obvious pair of Facebook & Twitter is the ideal balance of 3 or 4 options to market with on a near daily basis. In addition you may decide to add 2 or 3 others as secondary tools that you update less frequently or only for specific reasons or events. Moreover – make a commitment to reviewing what is working well every six months and refining your approach, do not try to spin a dozen or more social media platforms simultaneously as you’ll actually achieve less.

Avoid this being the only focus of your tweets (avoid #hashtag mania)

3. Avoid #hashtag mania – One of the growing and ineffective trends seen on Twitter and more recently Facebook is extreme overuse of hashtags. Try and be very specific when using hashtags as a very peripheral one is only going to hurt you from an SEO perspective. If your hashtag promises one thing but upon reaching the page, blog post, tweet, Facebook update the reader finds little of related interest you’ll have a 5 second visit and little chance of follows, likes, retweets or return visits. I’d suggest that most updates truly merit somewhere between two and four hashtags, if you’ve added more you need to pare them down.

4. Stop talking and become your audience – You’ll often be shocked (I am) by which images or posts generate a lot of comments, likes and retweets in the social media world but find a way to measure them. Your followers can grow like wildfire due to retweets and Facebook shares so measure which formats and what type of information your audience is reacting best to. Not every communication you make has to be about you, sometimes use the time to highlight other causes, great accomplishments or some old-fashioned good news. Each can help your audience realise there really is a person behind your social media and not a system of automated updates. After all it’s a social enterprise.

I do hope that some of these help and while I know so much comes down to planning, measuring and adjusting your social media strategy these tips can help save you time and avoid common mistakes I see elsewhere. If you have other recommendations please share in the comments.


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Miratel Solutions is a Toronto call centreeBusiness, and letter shop mail house specializing in professional fundraising services including telephone fundraisingonline fundraisinglottery servicesdonation cagingdonation processing and other donor management services. We are committed to our CSR business values in all contact centre services and mail house operations and advancing the missions of the nonprofits we proudly serve.

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One Response to 4 nonprofit fundraising social media mistakes to avoid

  1. Pingback: Will Twitter overhaul alter how you use the tool for nonprofit fundraising? | Miratel Solutions

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