Why Should Your NGO Use Social Media
Something everyone has struggled with since the start of the pandemic is the how to connect with people. This is especially important for NGO’s, who often times rely on donations and volunteers from their community. Social media can be a strong resource when used effectively. As someone who was technophobic pre 2020 I have grown to appreciate the power of social media, but knowing where to start can be a headache in and of itself. While I would advise contacting a professional below are some good starting points and questions to ask yourself:
- Who is your audience? Different platforms attract different people, for example Tiktok and Instagram are where you will find a younger crowd and on Facebook you are more likely to find a older group. You do not need to pick one platform, but it maybe easier to start with a platform that appeals to your preferred audience first.
- Figure out how to simplify the goals of your organization. Social media is all about quick phrases and short texts (mainly). Shortening your goals can be pretty difficult after spending so much time picking your goals in the first place, but it is necessary. While you may want to info dump and that will be okay on occasion, you should keep it short.
- Establish brand colors. If you have not already created brand colors, start with 6. This will make your platform appear more consistent and professional.
- Look into hashtags that apply to your organization. Relevant hashtags are a great way to get discovered by new people. Organic exposure can be difficult to come by, so staying intone with trending hashtags can be very helpful.
- Decide if you want to invest in advertisements and if so what your budget will be. As mentioned above, organic exposure is harder to come by with all of the other competition on social media. A well done ad can double your followers. The information you will need is who are you wanting to attract, this will factor in age, location and interests. For example if you are a NGO working with students in Oregon you would set the age to 18-24 in Oregon who are interested in education. If you would like to dip your toes in, then you can start with a one week ad with a $35 budget and if you like your results you can grow from that.
- Do not forget that is it supposed to be fun. These social media posts are not blogs or articles they are something fun meant to engage with your community. Throw in some emojis and whitty comments.
Anything is better then nothing, social media gives your organization a platform to connect with people who would have otherwise never heard of your organization. There is no harm in trying.
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Great advice Elana! The last sentence bothered me. Does it sometimes hurt to try? Messaging is extremely powerful and can easily go awry. I often think of my kids and how I post things about them on social media without their permission and I wonder when they are older and find out, what will they think? My 6 year old recently told me he wishes he had his own Instagram page already and wants a Facebook account so that he can post his own things on the Buy Nothing Group. But to your point about NGOs and non-profits, the stories we tell about the people we help is sort of like the stories I tell about my kids. You have to ask permission before sharing someone’s story and you need them to be informed about why are you sharing it. If you are using their story to fundraise, they should know that. I loved this article I came across recently about ethical storytelling in public health. I think it paints a good picture about how we can share the story of the work we do without playing into poverty porn culture. https://www.minervastrategies.com/blog/from-populations-to-people-inspiring-action-through-ethical-storytelling/