The VPM Blog

Nonprofits Social Media Success: Knowing Your Audience

Posted by Jade Grogan on Apr 16, 2018 4:00:00 AM

social media audienceIn order to have a successful social media platform, a brand or organization must cater the content for their audience, specifically for each platform. Here, we’re going to be talking about nonprofits and the elements that go into making a successful and powerful social media campaign by centralizing content per platform.

Due to the increased use and prevalence of social media from the past few years, nonprofits are taking advantage of this and have jumped on the social media train. However, many brands and organizations lose sight that individuals following an account on Instagram may differ on Facebook, or Facebook and Twitter, etc. So one of the most important things organizations have to keep in mind is that they need to alter their content to effectively reach individuals. Social media has the potential to impact millions of users daily, which is why it has become one of the power tools when it comes to marketing.

Some media campaigns for nonprofits over the past few years have been quite successful. You may remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which garnered over $115 million in donations from the summer of 2014 and has skyrocketed since then. To refresh your memory, you may have seen hundreds of posts on your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter timeline of individuals dumping a bucket of ice water over their head. The ALS Association were the creators of this challenge, which had the goal of promoting the awareness of the disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and inspiring donations. The challenge went viral and was an overall success.

Why was it successful?

  • They did something visual. According to Sprout Social, studies have found that "posts with one or more images get more than twice as many shares on Facebook and Twitter than those without any images in them." This means that having compelling visuals like images or videos increase the likelihood for things to go viral.
  • The content was “buzzworthy.” At the time, this challenge was what everyone was talking about and is still mentioned today. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge spread like wildfire across the internet because it was considered a trendy topic. Some factors that went into making this challenge go viral was because 1) it was for a great cause, 2) it was original, and 3) it was funny. Everyone loves funny videos, but originality goes even further than just an average funny video. People were learning more about what ALS is and understood what the purpose of the video was for. This type of challenge had never been done before, which is what makes it original. 
  • The key demographic was everyoneOprah ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
    From kids to teens to adults, everyone was doing the ice bucket challenge, or if they didn’t, they were liking and sharing posts on the social media platforms. 17 million videos were posted online and totaled to approximately 70 million views. Additionally, celebrities were joining the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge movement, by posting videos and challenging other celebrities and their followers to do it as well. 

So what about other nonprofits? How can they hit their target audience by utilizing social media?

  1.  Identify what the target demographic and key audience is. This is one of the most important aspects when it comes to reaching people successfully. Once you clearly understand who your target audience is, then you can understand how to influence and engage with them. In order to do so, you first have to understand who you are as a company or organization. What is the purpose of your organization? Once you come to a realization of the goals and purposes of your organization, you can determine the people you want to target. After establishing who exactly you want to target, you can start planning how you can effectively reach them. 
  2. Cater content per social media platform by doing your research. By determining step one, you should research each platform to determine what content should go where to reach your audience. Research is essential in any social media marketing campaign. You want to make sure the content released on social media will be perceived the way you want it to be. A nonprofit organization that does this quite well is Habitat for Humanity. Habitat has different content per social media platform. The content on Instagram is more image focused; they use photos of people volunteering to build homes and their experiences working with Habitat. Facebook has video, image and written content; additionally, the Facebook page includes a lot of shared articles that Habitat for Humanity is mentioned in. Overall, Habitat for Humanity changes the content posted on each platform to effectively reach the target audience per platform.
  3. Content that is relevant to their audience. ResearchOnce you determine who your audience is, how you can cater the content per platform, and research what you are posting per platform, you can finally determine the relevance of the post. Specifying the content you release on social media will help your followers understand the purpose and goal you are trying to achieve. You are adding value to their lives by giving them information about the topics they care about. 
  4. Engagement with the target audience. Users love when organizations and brands reach out to them, not just for customer service, but actually connecting with them. Engagement allows users to feel like the organization cares about them and makes it a more personal experience. The Red Cross is a great example of doing engagement well. They are constantly connecting with their followers and reaching out to them. For instance, users that tweet to The Red Cross will likely get a reply from the official account with an actual response catered to their initial tweet. By doing this, users feel more connected and give them encouragement in continuing to engage with the organization.

Now that you have a better understanding of how to better cater your content to your audience, you're on your way to social media success. What's the next step? Download our free eBook! This eBook will show you everything you need to know and will teach you how to create an inbound marketing campaign. It's free, just click on the download button below!

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Topics: Social Media, Audience, Nonprofits

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