12 Tips for Winning on Social Media

The number of people using social media is climbing—up 10% year over year, according to a 2022 report from Hootsuite.

Social media is the marketing channel of choice to build awareness, grow an audience, stay top-of-mind with key demographics, generate and nurture leads, build authenticity and earn trust.

That’s some heavy lifting.

With social media, you can find a large market that you can parse and target. Your reach has minimal cost, especially compared to other marketing channels.

The trouble is, every brand is trying to maximize their social ROI. So, what can you do to stand out? These ideas can help.

12 Simple Ideas for Doing Better on Social Media

1. Be visually consistent. Create a style for your posts, from the images you select to your tone and voice. Consistency in your format and approach will help your followers spot your post in their feed. Plus, consistency is a hallmark of trustworthy brands.

2. Use images. Fundraising is emotion. Images pull heartstrings faster and more effectively than words. Planned giving tip: Nod to the legacy element of your work with images that show multiple generations or a throwback photo to demonstrate progress.

3. Get good at telling micro-stories. Think of your captions as little, tiny blog posts. Done well, captions can encourage likes and shares and may help you with the social media algorithms. Your words also project authenticity (where we assume photos come with a filter).

4. Mix in simple posts. A healthy dose of posts that don’t have an ask—an inspirational image or a striking quote—can really pop in the scroll. Planned giving tip: Offer a quote from someone who benefitted from a legacy gift.

5. Boost your promotions. Reach a broader audience with boosted posts. Remember your reader for these: People who don’t follow you already. Create content and visuals aimed at newbies who may not interact with your mission today. Planned giving tip: Boost posts when you have a great lead-generating offer (like will planning 101) or a time-based story to tell (like new tax laws that could motivate gifts).

6. Be authentic. Resist the urge to work your photos too much. Don’t try to be perfect or glossy. Real is better; it communicates authenticity.

7. Use CTAs. Tell your audience what you want them to do, whether it’s to download an offer or follow a link to read a story. Remember WIIFM: What’s in it for me?

8. Get good at video. Explore using native video on Facebook; that is, hosting the video content on your Facebook page. Their algorithm will reward you for keeping people on Facebook rather than linking them out. Instagram Reels are rewarded the same way. Planned giving tip: The Boomer generation loves video. Tie a mission video into an ask for the future.

These final four tips can help your social media team with their day-to-day:

9. Post when your followers are online. Use the Insights feature on your account’s dashboard to learn the habits of your followers. Post when they’re active and you’ll hit the top of their feeds more often.

10. BUT also consider posting at night. Yes, your followers will be less active, but there will also be less competition in their feed. Plus, you may end up at the top of their feed when they tap into the app in the morning. It’s worth a test.

11. Post consistently. Post too little, and you’ll struggle to gain relevance within the algorithms; post too often, and you’ll look spammy.

12. Be strategic with your hashtag use. BuzzSumo analyzed more than 1 billion Facebook posts and discovered that posts without hashtags got more engagement than posts with hashtags. It’s worth testing a branded hashtag that you always use. Avoid more than five hashtags with a post or you’ll look spammy. Planned giving tip: Hook into a National Holiday, like National Tax Day, and use the hashtags that others are using.

Don’t Overthink Your Posts

Great, you’re ready to be strategic with your posts…now what topics should you cover? A content mix that is manageable for your team, but also achieves your goals is key. Here are a few ideas:

  • Take followers behind the scenes at your company or at events.
  • Spotlight volunteers.
  • Celebrate unusual or humorous holidays.
  • Highlight meaningful accomplishments.
  • Spotlight your team.
  • Ask for their opinion.

(Bonus! Check out one of our most popular blogs of the past year, 7 Social Post Ideas for Nonprofits That Come Straight from the Heart.)

Social media is a data commitment. You should be analyzing your results and making decisions going forward. Which posts get likes and shares? Which increase followers? Which generate click-throughs? Based on your results, you should refine your calendar from month to month. With time, a consistent, effective and manageable approach will emerge.

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