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Want to improve your organic social media content? Try these tips

Oftentimes, nonprofits prioritize paid social over organic. While paid social is a major player in your digital fundraising strategy, a strong organic social presence provides tremendous support to your larger digital plan.  

In our recent “Listen Up!” study, we found that engagement and familiarity are huge drivers of strong donor relationships. And strong relationships lead to larger gifts.  

Organic social is an excellent—and cost effective—channel to engage with your donors and grow familiarity. In fact, our research shows that 60% of respondents with strong donor relationships engage with the nonprofits they support on social media, compared to only 19% of those with weak relationships. 

But how can you be sure that the content you’re posting to your social channels resonates with donors? In this blog, I’m sharing a few tips to help nonprofits optimize their organic social content to help drive engagement and grow their following. 

Tips for success: 

1. Monitor your performance metrics 

You can read dozens of articles about the best times to post or guides on what to share. And while those are great resources, the best resource lies in your data! Use your social media management platform to take note of what type of content receives the most shares, likes and engagement. 

Then, create “content buckets” or “themes” of your top-performing posts. This could include videos, success stories, informational posts, in-action volunteer moments, program updates and more. As you build out your social calendar, use these content buckets to guide your posts. 

2. Make your captions meaningful 

Use direct calls-to-action (CTAs) in your post copy to encourage your audience to do exactly what you want them to. This may sound simple, but it’s super effective. For example: 

  • Donate today 
  • Share this 
  • Leave a comment below 

In addition, write copy that hooks readers in the first seven or so words to capture their attention. Ask questions, use powerful words and incorporate emojis to spark even more engagement.  

3. Use mobile-first and friendly content 

Where do you scroll social? Probably on your phone, right? The same goes for your followers. Most of your social views will come from mobile devices, so make sure your content is optimized accordingly. Here are a few ways to do that:  

  • Use visuals to generate higher engagement 
  • Add subtitles to videos for viewers who listen without sound 
  • Optimize content vertically to make it scroll friendly 

4. Keep an eye on trending topics or viral formats 

Social media trends come and go quickly. Don’t feel pressured to jump on every trend—that's a full-time job! However, when you spot a trend that resonates with your organization or mission, don’t be afraid to hop on the bandwagon and make it applicable and relevant to your audience. 

For example, many animal welfare organizations posted about the #BettyWhiteChallenge on their social channels in January 2022. It made perfect sense to honor what would have been the 100th birthday of the late actress, who was a lifelong animal welfare advocate. 

5. Take pulse checks 

Host regular feedback questionnaires via Instagram and Facebook stories to ask your audience directly what they want to see more of, their preferred content types and their most used social channel to help you optimize your content to your audience’s preferences.  

Also, keep an eye on your reporting as a secondary source of truth. Once you figure out what your audience likes best, lean into it!  

It’s important to remember that organic social growth takes patience. But if you engage with the audience you have now and tailor content toward what they respond to, more followers will come naturally over time.  

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Julia Patterson

Julia Patterson is an expert in organic social media marketing. As RKD’s Digital Media Senior Manager, Organic Social, Julia helps build organic strategies for our nonprofit clients that align with their fundraising messages, engage their followers and drive channel growth.

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