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Commentary May 24, 2017

Social media and NGOs: When and why to use key platforms

Not all social media platforms are created equal, but they do all have their strengths when promoting your NGO.

Knowing what to post on each platform (and why) can be tricky, but understanding the ins and outs of each tool is an important first step in using them effectively.

Below are a few tips to help you navigate some of the most popular social networking sites.

Facebook

• Celebrate your success – As an NGO, your followers are likely to be genuinely interested in what you’re doing. Facebook has a broad reach and allows varied content types to be posted, so it’s a great platform for sharing your success. People want to be a part of success stories, so sharing in your victories along the way can also get more people involved.

• Be consistent - Most of the time, after the initial page ‘like,’ users won’t return to your Facebook page. From then on you’ll probably only reach them through their own news feed, so post consistently in order to stay connected.

Twitter

• Be active – Twitter’s strength is its instantaneous, shorthand communication. Talk to your followers and be an active participant in the topics that are of interest to your organisation. Strike while the iron’s hot.

• Hashtag smart – Hashtags are a great way to involve yourself in the conversation beyond your existing network, connecting you with other groups or individuals with the same concerns. Making regular use of this feature will give insight that can guide future campaigns, and you’ll also increase your reach.

LinkedIn

• Make the most of your profile – NGOs looking to make the most out of LinkedIn should clearly communicate their mission and brand identity in their initial biography. Get your employees involved and update regularly with content from your website or blog to show other professionals (including potential employees and volunteers) what’s going on at your organisation.

• Build connections – Use LinkedIn to connect and build relationships with the companies you’d eventually like support from. You might do this by sharing or liking their content.

Instagram

• Tell your story – Instagram is a visual medium that offers a great opportunity to communicate your company culture and values. The best NGOs on Instagram use it as a way to show, rather than tell, what they’re doing and how their followers can help.

• Go live – Instagram ‘stories’ and the ability to go live with video are relatively new features for Instagram, but both are great ways to connect with your followers. It’s a unique way to keep supporters in the loop, particularly around any events your organisation is involved in.

No matter what platform you’re using, try to include a clear call to action for the user – whether it’s encouraging them to donate to your campaign, or simply urging them to read more on your website. If they know exactly what you want, they’re more likely to do it!