The Biggest Mistakes Nonprofits and Associations Make with Their Social Media

As a nonprofit or association, are you using your social media platforms effectively? Many aren’t. Here are some of the top mistakes that organizations make in managing their social media presence.

Being nonexistent or sporadic.

One post per month is not a social media presence. You don’t need to be online constantly, but having a consistent online presence, even if only one or two posts per week, assures visitors that you are actively engaged with the public.

Not having a dedicated social media manager or a content plan.

Unless your organization is comprised of only one or two people, the president or the head of the organization should not be in charge of handling social media posting. There should be someone on your team who can manage a steady flow of content to your social channels, whether you decide to post every day, three times a week or once a week.

Plan out a content calendar in advance so that you are not caught off-guard when a significant event or deadline is suddenly upon you. Use scheduling tools like Hootsuite, Buffer and Creator Studio (for Facebook and Instagram) to schedule all posts for the week or the month in advance. Have some pre-written “evergreen content” that can be shared anytime when news is slow and you are struggling with ideas for posts.

No interaction.

Many organizations go ahead and schedule out a variety of social posts, but then never check in to engage with comments or answer questions. The public will be put off if you post an event flyer and someone asks, “Is this a kid-friendly event?” and they get no reply. Be sure that your social media manager sets aside some time each week to check in and make comments, engage with partners and answer questions.

Not using video.

Video is king on social media. People respond to video and engage with it more. Don’t worry if your video shooting and editing skills are amateurish, just get started. Any video is better than no video. And be sure to upload the video directly into whichever platforms you can rather than simply sharing a YouTube link. On Facebook, a video that has been directly uploaded to your Facebook page and then shared by you, will get better reach and will automatically start playing in your fans’ newsfeeds. A YouTube link will be static, and most people will not click on it.

Putting the exact same content on every platform.

Different platforms have different strengths and your messaging should be customized or at least tweaked for each. Facebook is especially effective for events and communities around shared interests (Facebook Groups). Instagram is all about photos and can be effective for selling products with visual appeal. Instagram does not allow post sharing or links, so you need to come up with your own unique visual content if you want to use Instagram. Twitter is newsy and conversational and sharing others’ tweets and links is encouraged. Get more advice on how to effectively use the various social media channels.

Last-minute posting of big events.

Social media is not email. You need to do more to cut through the noise and reach people who aren’t checking social media very often. Don’t be afraid to post about a big event well in advance and then frequently, possibly even daily as the date approaches. If it is important, it may be worth spending a bit of money on an ad to reach a larger audience.

Unprofessional-looking, poorly-sized graphics.

There is no excuse for amateurish graphics in this day and age. Anyone can sign up for a free Canva account and easily make attractive flyers and other graphics without a design degree. Be prepared to make important graphics in different sizes and orientations for sharing on social media, because the dimensions of a header graphic on a Facebook event is quite different than what you would use for an Instagram post, for instance.

Visit this page for a cheat sheet of all the recommended dimensions for various social media applications.

Not using YouTube as a social media channel.

So many people still think of YouTube as a place where you upload a video if you have one you want to share, and then after you’ve shared the video, you forget about it. This is a mistake. YouTube is highly interactive and social and it is actually the most used social media platform. Most organizations would do well to consider ways to incorporate more video into their marketing strategy and engage more on YouTube.

Not using hashtags effectively.

As a nonprofit, you have an opportunity to use a hot trending topic to become part of the conversation. If there is a big story in the news that relates to your industry, get on Twitter and see if there is a trending hashtag around it. Let’s say you are affiliated with your local bar association and there is a big news story about a high-profile lawyer being disbarred. You could put out a tweet outlining what types of infractions can lead to disbarment and the relevance of an association such as yours. Include the trending hashtag to piggyback off of the ongoing conversation.

If you have a big event, you should also consider creating your own hashtag around it and ask attendees to use it and share. Your event will get more traction online and you will be able to see who has been sharing photos and tweeting about your event. Be sure to tag important co-sponsors and partners so that they will hopefully share your content as well.


Need help with your social media strategy? Contact us at J & M Business Solutions!