Social media marketing plan for Not-For-Profits: what, when, where, the ethics?

Social media is becoming a strong resource for not-for-profits because it capitalises on what these organisations are best at–authentic storytelling, mission advocacy and community engagement. From animal rescue to human rights to environmental protection, charities are making an impact on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media outlets to inform the public about a cause and mobilise them to support that cause.

With this increased need for social media savviness within the charity sector, if you have a background in digital marketing and are interested in a job change, you can leverage this experience to manage social media accounts for a charity. Pursuing this career route offers the unique opportunity to use a sought-after skill in your possession for the purpose of making a difference in the world.

If the idea of social media for a cause sounds appealing, then we’ve got you covered. First we’ll break down the basics of why a not-for-profit organisation can benefit from this platform, then we’ll explain how to create a social media marketing plan for the charity sector.

What Can Using Social Media Offer not-for-profits’?

Social media is ideal for grabbing people’s attention, sparking conversations and generating interest. Keeping that in mind, you can help a charity recognize the value of communicating its message across this highly visible network. Currently, there’s an estimated 2.46 billion social media users worldwide (of that number, 1.86 billion are from Facebook alone) which means the potential bandwidth for a charity to spread its activism goals––both in the community and even beyond––is huge.

By showing an organization how to integrate social media into its mission, you can help them educate the community on a meaningful cause, gain support for events or fundraisers, recruit a workforce for programming, and establish a donor base. As we mentioned earlier, social media is for telling stories people care about, so remember to actually be social and present the cause in a way that others will connect with and feel compassion toward.

When Are the Optimal Times for Posting?

Although its objective is to form connections and boost engagement, posting on social media is also a strategy game. In order to maximize the amount of people who can see content being shared by an organisation, it’s crucial to know the exact times for scheduling a post. Gauge this information through social media analytics software and use those metrics to determine when the charity’s target audience is most active on social media––or in other words, most likely to read, click or share the posts.

Here are basic guidelines for when to publish content on three popular networks: On Facebook, this depends on the number of users following the account––if the organisation has less than 10,000 followers, post once a day, but if it has more than 10,000 followers, post twice a day at the optimal times of 9AM, 1PM or 3PM. On Twitter, it’s about competing for online “real estate,” so the more often you tweet, the higher your chances of being noticed. Aim for 2–5 posts a day at the optimal times of 12PM, 3PM, 5Pm and 6PM. On Instagram, there’s more freedom to posting, so experiment until you find a pattern the audience resonates with. But adhere to the optimal times of 8 AM, 9 AM and 5 PM.

Where Should these Posts Be Targeted?

Another factor is knowing which social media outlets to direct your efforts and energy toward––for our purposes, we’re going to focus on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Each of these networks has a certain type of demographic, so it’s helpful to compare those user insights with the audience profile your organisation engages with.

Some questions to consider when assessing the demographics are, “Do they live in urban or rural areas?” “About how old are they?” “What is the male to female ratio?” “What is their highest academic level?” “Where do they fall socioeconomically?” Once you collect this data for the NGO’s audience, stack it against each social media platform. If both user groups share the same age, gender, education, income and location brackets, chances are that network will provide a solid marketing springboard for the charity.

Are there Social Media Ethics Involved?

Effective social media marketing curates a meaningful experience for the audience––it’s not about pushing an agenda but forming a community. In order to make people feel safe and heard on this platform, encourage the charity to utilize these social media ethics:

  1. Respect their internet privacy and security on all digital marketing channels.
  2. Use appropriate, inclusive language and respond to comments with kindness.
  3. Be truthful and transparent, so followers see the organisation’s human side.
  4. Avoid impressing specific religious, political or cultural biases onto people.

Do you work in social media? Digital marketing? If you’re looking for a career in the charity sector you should check out our digital marketing charity jobs today.

Samantha Engman

After a decade of a successful career in marketing, Samantha Engman switched to content creation for aspiring businesses and deserving causes. Don’t miss out her articles on Twitter for useful tips on building your success online.

You might also like...

Don't miss another post, sign up to our weekly newsletter

Thank you for subscribing, you're on the list for the next edition!