Virtual Connection: Key Takeaways from Barlele’s Educational Panel with NXUnite

Social media is a powerful and accessible tool for connecting with your nonprofit community. On NXUnite’s “A Social Engagement: Effective Social Media Management for Nonprofits” panel, speakers discussed ways for mission-driven organizations to leverage social media. Whether highlighting a recent event or promoting a fundraising campaign, social media is a versatile platform for nonprofit communication. 

Barlele’s Becky Escher was joined by Lis Harper of Medley and Christine Gritmon of Social Media Pulse for this engaging conversation. 

Here are three key topics that the panelists addressed:

  1. Choosing your social media platforms
  2. Creating a social media strategy
  3. Building an online community

Choosing your social media platforms

One of the first steps in establishing a social media presence for your nonprofit is deciding which platforms to leverage. Nonprofits with limited time and financial resources must determine where to invest their attention for maximum impact.

Social Media Pulse’s Christine Gritmon offered insights into choosing social media platforms. She suggested that nonprofits consider two questions: where is the audience you want to reach, and where will you consistently show up?

After identifying the platforms your target audience uses, consider the types of social media your team has the capacity to manage. Christine noted that if you don’t like a certain platform, you won’t create the best content, engage in the most meaningful conversations, or represent your organization to the fullest. Similarly, smaller teams may not have the staff to support more time-consuming content creation for platforms like TikTok. 

To expand your social media presence, Christine suggested tapping into your board or volunteer base. For example, reach out to trusted youth volunteers, have a conversation about messaging and brand guidelines, and let them lead a social media initiative that will resonate with young people. 

Creating a social media strategy

In addition to establishing profiles across multiple platforms, your organization should create a social media strategy. This will ensure that your social media efforts are consistent and sustainable.

Becky Escher of Barlele discussed the importance of determining who in your organization is interested in and capable of taking on the responsibility of managing social media. Nonprofit employees play many roles, so it is essential that you designate a project leader.

Next, take time to outline a general content calendar. This is an opportunity to look at important dates in the upcoming month, consider what topics you’re passionate about sharing, and determine how much you can realistically commit to posting.

If you have limited time to dedicate to creating new social media content, consider revisiting content you already have. Snippets from a newsletter or direct mail campaign can be repurposed to your social media platforms, where they will be seen in a new form by a new audience. 

Building an online community

Social media offers an opportunity to reach your supporter base outside of in-person events. Becky shared examples from her experience building an online community of nonprofit supporters. 

Becky worked with an organization that had members with significant social media followings. These members served as brand ambassadors. When the members posted something related to the organization on their personal profiles, the organization reshared it to their page.

Nonprofit influencers create a synergy between personal and professional social media platforms. Leveraging your members’ existing following can connect your organization with a broader audience. 

In another instance, Becky worked to bring an online community to an in-person event. By posting content that visually grabs attention, stopping a continuous scroll, organizations can provide more information in post captions. Using this approach, Becky promoted an event that saw hundreds of young people attend on a monthly basis. 

Social media provides an opportunity for nonprofits to nurture relationships with their supporters. Beyond promoting events or asking for donations, organizations can use social media to build an engaged, active community of people who are passionate about their mission.