Using social media for marketing is nothing new, but the effective use of platforms like Twitter and Instagram for nonprofits is something that many seem to find overwhelming, at least to begin with.
An effective use of these platforms means identifying whom you’re reaching and why and then making good use of hashtags to engage them and, where possible, get more eyes on your donation pages.
Using hashtags for your nonprofit social media can result in a 70% increase in likes. But fundraising hashtags are more than just a list of relevant words at the end of each post. There’s a trick to getting the most out of using them, and we’re going to go over those in this article, so keep reading!
Why You Should Use Twitter and Instagram for Nonprofits
Your social media platforms should be a major driver of your nonprofit awareness and engagement with supporters. Social media provides so many angles to reach people and get your message across, and knowing how to use them all as part of a social media strategy is the key to maximizing support and donations.
Much like advertising for a product or service, social media provides organizations with a marketplace of thoughts, ideas, and, ultimately, bank accounts that are relevant to their needs. With calculated approaches, marketing efforts can engage with these people and nudge them in the right direction.
A powerful marketing approach makes use of all social media platforms and tailors its content to the demographics who use them. This is something that can take a lot of financial and human resources to implement in total.
If you’re starting, managing all the social media platforms at once can be an overwhelming prospect. Consider focusing on two platforms instead, whether this is Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, or others; focus on two that approach outreach from different angles.
Using Twitter and Instagram for nonprofits are two great examples of the different approaches you can be taking with this strategy as they have similarities in the way the message can be spread, but they are also very different platforms.
Nonprofits who engage with their audience do so by starting conversations. With Twitter, this can be done with snappy, character-restricted updates and brief talking points. With Instagram, the approach is more visual and eye-catching. Photo or video captions can spark discussions, but the initial approach is artistic.
Twitter has 450 million logins every month. For Instagram, that number is over 1.4 billion! This is a wide audience and a great opportunity to find your crowd and get your message out.
Brand building is only one element of a good content strategy on these platforms. Instagram, in particular, is a great place to run fundraising too. Here are some ways in which these platforms can help your nonprofit.
How to Use Social Media for Nonprofits
There are numerous ways that social media platforms can help you grow your brand and reach donors. Again, if you’re starting out, focus on one or two platforms at a time, and build up gradually. If you already have all of these platforms, there are a lot of ways you can boost their effectiveness. Here are some suggestions for using Twitter and Instagram for nonprofits:
Keep your profiles active
Maintaining social media accounts is more than just having a photo album or contact page. Social media is a virtual organism whose health is tied to its activity. Keep your pages up to date and keep producing new content regularly.
Make sure you post relevant content with Calls to Action (CTAs) in your posts and make your connections easy to access. Contact buttons are good for this, as they can streamline your communications channels by letting visitors contact you with a single click.
Keep your brand design and tone similar across all platforms, and make sure they’re interconnected well. This is a matter of brand awareness and is important to consider when designing websites, emails, and other media too.
On Instagram, it’s now possible to connect donation pages to Instagram stories. With donation stickers inside story posts, donors can contribute without being led to a third-party site. This is a huge advantage to nonprofits.
Facebook has the option of signing up for its Charitable Giving Tools, which nonprofits will have to do If they’re not registered with Facebook Payments, and it’s necessary to change your Instagram account to a business account before you can go ahead with the charitable donations buttons.
From there, it’s a matter of regularly updating your stories, integrating your tweets and Instagram live videos into these stories, and driving your audience to your donations button.
Social media is all about networking, so don’t forget to give credit and exposure where it’s due. When you work with a donor or a partner organization, make sure they get the recognition they deserve and take them in your posts.
This has the added benefit of alerting them and prompting them to share your post with their network, boosting your exposure. With social networking, what goes around often comes around, and you should be focusing on connecting people as much as possible.
When someone with a valuable audience follows your cause, you immediately get connected with their network, and that means more eyes on your project, so don’t forget to boost the online presence of others where possible.
Use Fundraising Hashtags
For numerous social media platforms, hashtags provide a way of bridging these connections and expanding your network. Hashtags are an under-utilized method of connecting distant nodes and bringing more voices into the discussion and more eyes onto your message.
Nonprofit hashtags are essentially clickable links that bring people into your sphere of influence, and when used wisely, they are a powerful boost to your social media strategy. There’s a lot of hidden power in those clickable terms at the bottom of social media posts, and if you haven’t thought about them before, now is a good time to pay attention.
The Power of Fundraising Hashtags and Where to Find Them
Hashtags are a common tool that few know how to wield to their potential. Creating a unique hashtag for your nonprofit will help create an army of advocates for your cause and guarantee you a much wider reach, leading to more donations.
When someone clicks on your hashtag, they’re led to content that matches that theme. This is where designing and implementing your hashtags are so important. We’ll go into detail about how to use them in the next section, but it’s important to understand that the more generic the hashtag, the more competition you’ll have on an audience’s feed.
Hashtags can be unified across each of your social media platforms to drive traffic in your particular direction. This can help make all of your content easier to discover, boost the presence of this content, and help label and categorize your material for users to find easily.
Hashtags increase traffic on Twitter and Instagram, as well as other platforms like Facebook and TikTok, and even LinkedIn. In fact, they can significantly boost likes on a post, as well as help it branch out into distant realms and new audiences.
There are loads of sites online that you can use to find trending or unique hashtags to use, and by intelligently employing your hashtag approach, you’ll be able to ride the waves of hype and draw attention in new directions. Sites like Hashtagify.me, for Twitter, for example, also provide a metric indicating the hashtag’s popularity.
Instagram also has its own internal hashtag search function that’s worth experimenting with. However, using nonprofit hashtags correctly is about more than simply plastering each post with related words. In fact, with hashtags, less is usually more.
How to Use Nonprofit Hashtags
The first step to making the best use of hashtags is, as with everything in marketing, knowing your audience. People explore the internet in many different ways, and this is important to factor into your social media strategies; it’s also why making use of multiple platforms is so important.
With hashtags, this means understanding what your demographics are looking for, where they’re looking, and how they phrase their searches. A demographic primarily using Twitter may have a different term for the same concept than one using Instagram, for example, so you should tailor your hashtags around this, even if the content is the same.
For example, age differences may determine whether a demographic uses the search term “nonprofit” over the term “charity” while they may be looking for the same thing. This means you should use the hashtags familiar to your demographic on the platform you expect them to be using.
Then, you need to understand why you’re using hashtags in this particular instance. Are you looking for new followers or to nudge current ones to your donations page? For reaching more people, it’s usually a good idea to pay attention to trending hashtags, which you can do from inside Instagram itself.
Once you find one that matches your mission, add this to your content to make use of this current trend and watch people sign up and follow.
Decide on general or specific hashtags. From searching online or from within your social media platforms, you’ll come across hashtags that are vague and cast a wide net. Some examples of these are:
Again, these may be great for finding large crowds of people, many of whom may be interested in learning about your project. These can be used for general content or project updates that aren’t specifically designed to drive donations.
For more specific content relating to your cause, it can be better to use cause-specific tags that reach a smaller yet more fitting audience. Some specific nonprofit hashtags might be:
Clearly, these identify the cause more accurately and catch the attention of higher-value connections. However, there is good reason to make use of general hashtags too. Both approaches should be used together so that you cast a wide net for boosting your network and narrow in on those who might be likely to donate.
These are some general guidelines, but there are some important best practices to follow when using hashtags, and we’ll go over those soon. First, let’s take a look at some great examples of hashtags that have had success for nonprofits.
Successful Nonprofit Hashtags Examples
If you’re wondering what a successful hashtag campaign might look like, take a look at some of these examples. While they’re not specific to real events, they’re inspired by real-life successful social media campaigns using hashtags.
· Combine with a drive - A great way to make hashtags work is by aligning them with a real-life action. For a beach cleanup, for example, volunteers will be happily sharing their stories, photos, and tweets as and after they work. This is the perfect opportunity to ask people to share with a specific hashtag for your cause.
This means that volunteers show up, they contribute to the cause and then they share with your chosen hashtag. This gets more eyes on the project, bringing in more volunteers. Hi-Viz jackets can be printed with your hashtag on them, making your project visible in all shared media from all volunteers.
· Run a Quiz - Engaging your followers with a quiz relating to your cause, you can request that answers be submitted with your chosen hashtag. This is a good way to spread information, engage followers and boost your social network at the same time, and can be done on almost any platform.
· User-submitted content – A great way to start a trend is to have users post something of their own with your hashtag. Going back to the beach cleanup example, this could be a photo of some local beach trash alongside a tag like #TimeToCleanUp, to generate interest and awareness before an event.
User-submitted content works well to branch out to new viewers and gets people joining your cause before it’s even started.
Engagement is the key to the successful use of hashtags. With the right prompting, you can get your followers to market your cause on your behalf and boost awareness while nudging people toward your donations page.
Whichever method you choose, it’s good to keep in mind some of the hashtag best practices below.
Across all platforms and every intent, following a few good nonprofit hashtag principles goes a long way. Here are five things to keep in mind when posting:
· Brand consistency – while you may change your hashtags to suit your posts, keep them in line with your brand and keep your imagery and tone consistent. This will cement an impression in the minds of your followers of who you are and what you’re about.
· Be Responsive – Don’t set something up and neglect it. This can have the opposite effect of disappointing your followers and providing a lackluster experience. Keep the connections warm and the energy engaging.
· Use the right number of hashtags – Understand the limitations of your platform! Different platforms suggest different numbers of hashtags, so don’t plaster walls of them on each post. For Facebook and Twitter, consider one to two hashtags. LinkedIn can handle up to five, and Instagram is more forgiving with the potential for between five and thirty hashtags.
· Be imaginative – Even when using generic hashtags, something like #Donate is probably going to waste a slot. Be aware that you only have a few to use, and put the work in to think of or research the right ones. Remember, different platforms have different audiences, so tailor the tags around this.
And that’s about all there is to it. Of course, the best use of nonprofit hashtags will come with some trial and error, so make use of analytics where possible and follow successes and failures alike to identify how to improve the effectiveness of your work.
With the tremendous boost to engagement with and visibility of your cause, hashtags can take your fundraising to the next level. But simply throwing in any related keywords won’t cut it. If you’re branching out and looking for new followers, find out what’s trending and jump on that bandwagon.
If you’re trying to make your brand stand out among your current followers, spend some good time working on catchy and unique hashtags that will likely trend in your favor. Then, engage with people, create value and nudge them in the direction you need to maximize your donations.
As part of a nonprofit’s social media and communications drive, it’s necessary to understand the way people make use of their mobile devices. Social media reaches people where they are: on their phones. Similarly, text services like Rally Corp work to engage and mobilize support from the comfort of their mobile devices and help to make it easier to engage, educate, update and nudge for donations.
Rally Corp also has a fundraising thermometer to keep track of your drives success and show immediate results to your donors and followers as the money comes in. To see this in action, just request a demo here.
We hope you have found this article helpful. Please feel free to reach out if we can help you get results.