Below are 7 common mistakes nonprofits make when using social media. Are you guilty of any of them?
Using Automated Updates
Using automated updates is never a good idea. This will make your posts sound robot-like and insincere. Social media followers want to know they are dealing with a human, so take the time to add some personal touches to your social media interactions. When possible (for example, in comments, which we will discuss in more detail later), you should refer to people by name. Also, even if you are not using automated posts, your updates will still look automated if you are following a formula too closely. For example, if you link to all of your new blogs with “Check out our latest blog!” your posts are without a doubt going to appear automated. Instead, give a small introduction (1 or 2 sentences) abut the blog and then link to it.
Blogging is the prefect opportunity for your nonprofit to prove its expertise. Not only does this help build trust, but it also brings in people who may have been previously unfamiliar with your organization. If you regularly post quality content (3 times per week is the recommended number) that answers questions some people might have in relation to your organization, you will eventually bring in new supporters. It may take some time and a lot of patience, but it will happen
Not Curating Content
Believe it or not, not ALL of the content you share via social media needs to come directly from your organization. Content curation involves linking to and introducing interesting content (blogs, videos, etc.). Simply find content that relates to your organization and briefly tell your followers what the article is about and how it is relevant to their interests. This is an easy way to keep an active social media feed. However, you do not want to post too much, which we will discuss in the following section.
Posting Too Much/Not Enough
Not posting enough will make your social media account look barren. However, posting too much will make you look like a spammer and will most likely annoy your followers. So, how many posts should you aim for? A good rule of thumb is no less than 1, but no more than 2 post(s) per day. This will put you at an average of 5-10 posts per week.
Bluntly Asking for Money
No one is going to want to follow an organization that only turns to its followers when it wants money. As we’ve mentioned in the previous sections, you should also be regularly blogging and curating content. And when the time does come for you to ask for donations (which of course, once in awhile is fine), it’s best not to be blunt about it. Tell what the money is used for and, most importantly, why there is a need for the money. A great way to do this is through testimonials from people your organization has helped in the past. Also, be sure to thank all of your supporters and update everyone on how much money was raised after all of your fundraisers. This will greatly increase the chances of your donors giving again in the future.
Responding to comments can be tricky. Especially when those comments are negative. And improperly responding to comments can be a PR nightmare, as anyone who has been following the story of Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Botique & Bistoro (WARNING: some may find the language in this article offensive). As you can see, the bakery tries to defend itself, but does not do so with any logic. Instead, it resorts to using caplocks, vulgarity, immaturity and stubbornness. The best thing here would have been for them to back up their points with facts and evidence. If they have no evidence to back their claims, an apology and a sincere message about making improvements would have been much more acceptable. Never get angry, personal, or hateful with your social media comments. Use common sense and you should be fine.
Not owning up to your mistakes
Mistakes are going to happen, and most people understand that. Often, people think the solution to something simple like a Facebook status typo is deleting the post and acting like it never happened. Unfortunately, once something is posted to the internet, it’s most likely not going to go away. This is especially true if you have A LOT of followers. If the mishap is funny enough, some users may take screen captures and post it to sites popular websites like Reddit. The best thing to do in this situation is to own up to the mistake and, if appropriate, have a sense of humor about it. Here is an excellent example of how a social media blunder can be handled with grace.
What are your thoughts on this list? Is there anything you would like to see added?