By Heather Mansfield, founder and editor-in-chief of Nonprofit Tech for Good
The average growth rate for social media ranges from .64% to 3% per month, depending upon the platform. In other words, the era of organic growth on social media is over. To grow your nonprofit’s following on social media, you need to make a concerted effort to let your supporters and donors know how to find your nonprofit on social media.
1) Feature social media icons on your website.
For more than a decade, Nonprofit Tech for Good recommended that nonprofits feature social media icons in the header of their website. However, there’s no disputing that the power of social media for nonprofits has diminished significantly in recent years and the question is: Why make a concerted effort to send your website visitors to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter when once they follow you on any of those sites, they are unlikely to see any of your posts and tweets anyway?
Due to the restrictive algorithms imposed by Big Tech, many nonprofits have come to realize that organic reach on social media is at an all-time low and as a result, they have moved their social media icons to the footer of their website leaving the header reserved for only the most important calls-to-action. For example, the “Donate” link and “Get Updates” button on the Girls Who Code website:
Footer (visible on every page of their website):
Girls Who Code still wants to let their website visitors know where they can be found on social media, but not at the expense of sending potential donors to their donation page or growing their email list.
2) Include social media icons in your email newsletter.
Nonprofit Tech for Good has an average click-through rate of .4% for the social media icons featured in the footer of our newsletter. Meaning, for every 1,000 “Total clicks” in our weekly newsletter, 4 are a click on a social media icon. If we moved the icons higher in our newsletter, the click-through rate would increase, but the featured content in our newsletter takes precedence over the desire to convert email subscribers into social media followers.
Where to feature your social media icons in your newsletter depends upon your digital marketing priorities, but at the very least, having the icons featured in the footer helps subscribers who are interested in finding your nonprofit on social media do so without distracting them from the featured content in your newsletter. For example, the Jane Goodall Institute:
3) Add social media icons on your “Thank you” landing pages.
“Thank you for subscribing” and “Thank you for your donation” landing pages are underutilized and neglected by most nonprofits. After a website visitor “Submits” their newsletter subscription or a donation, they stare intently at their screens waiting to land on a confirmation/thank you landing page. It’s a rare moment when your nonprofit has their undivided attention, yet the vast majority of “Thank you” landing pages look like they have not been updated since the early 2000s.
Follow the lead of the World Wildlife Fund and design your “Thank you” landing pages to grow your social media following:
4) Add social media icons to your “Thank you” emails.
When someone subscribes to your newsletter or makes a donation, they should automatically be sent a “Thank you” email. It’s shocking how many nonprofits do not include social media icons or ways to get more involved in their “Thank you for your donation” emails — don’t you want your donors to also follow your nonprofit on social media? Again, most “Thank you” emails look like relics from the early 2000s.
That said, in this example of a “Thank you for subscribing” email, Water.org requests in their that new subscribers add Water.org to their safe list and follow on social media:
Social media icons are also featured in the footer of their “Thank you for your donation” email, but a more prominent, direct call-to-follow would likely improve their click-through rate:
5) Add a call-to-follow to your print campaigns.
Promoting URLs effectively in print materials can be a challenge because URLs are often too long and difficult to type into a browser. The Africa Wildlife Foundation cleverly uses its website domain name to promote their social media profiles by creating easy-to-type redirects. For example, awf.org/facebook, awf.org/instagram, and awf.org/twitter. Another idea is to use QR codes in print campaigns.
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