In today’s interconnected world, social media has become an integral part of our daily lives. With millions of users actively engaging on various platforms, standing out from the crowd has become increasingly challenging. Whether you’re a small one-person shop or a larger nonprofit organisation, capturing the attention of your donors and supporters on social media requires strategic planning and innovative approaches.

As we step into the second half of 2023, the social media landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace, presenting both opportunities and challenges for those seeking to make their mark and create impact. Algorithms continue to change, trends emerge, and user behaviours shift, making it crucial to focus and to get creative.

How the social media landscape is changing

In the early days of social networking, we the users were the primary product. We signed up willingly, we gave up our private information – and soon after figured out that our eyeballs and our information was being sold to the highest bidder.

However, in 2023, social media companies can’t make as much money off free users anymore.

This is because of three main changes to their business model:

  1. An overall weaker advertising market. Meta’s revenue has slowed in recent months, with a 55% year-on-year decline in net income in the fourth quarter of 2022.
  2. Increased privacy restrictions imposed by huge companies like Apple that make it harder to track users and their preferences. In 2021, Apple’s iOS update forced app developers to ask users for their permission to track them. If you use an iPhone, you’ve probably seen this by now. When you use apps, you’ll get a little pop-up saying, “Do you really want this app tracking your behavior across the web?” 94% of those users opted out – and social media advertising services struggled to reach the right audiences.
  3. Threats of regulation. Australia has joined other Western countries in banning the use of TikTok on government devices. The US Congress is considering a full US ban on TikTok, with new laws are being proposed in several states, including a complete ban on all social media use for anyone under 18 in Texas.

So how can nonprofits navigate this landscape and consistently get in front of their audiences on social media? Digi.Raise + Event.Raise keynote speaker Julia Campbell gives us three key strategies that will help you rise above the noise and leave a lasting impression with your audience on social media.

1. Share more short-form video, specifically Instagram Reels

Short form video refers to video content that is typically less than 10 minutes in duration, often ranging from a few seconds to a couple of minutes in length. This type of video content is usually created with the intention of being easily consumable, snackable, and shareable on social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Snapchat. Short form videos can be created in various formats, including storytelling, music videos, dance videos, tutorials, and more, and are often characterised by their quick, attention-grabbing nature.

66% of consumers say short-form video is the most engaging type of social content in 2022. The Sprout Social Index and 73% of consumers prefer to watch a short-form video to learn about a product or service according to The Leap

54% of nonprofits have an Instagram account and Reels are super popular.

How to do it

To succeed with short-form video, you need to get creative and test various video content ideas. It’s best to think about the key topics connected to your cause/niche that your audience will want to learn about. What questions do they ask you? What do you want to be known for?

You can break your existing long-form or print content down into quick, simple steps. Start your video by presenting the problem and conclude it with the solution. Viewers should have learned something by the end of every video.

To make the video pop, add graphics to help illustrate key points. Get the help of experts and thought leaders to explain key concepts. Once you’ve published a variety of short-form videos, look at your data. Which drove the highest engagement? Iterate and improve.

2. Explore influencer marketing

What is the difference between influencers and brand advocates?

A brand advocate will champion your cause for free-and they may or may not have a large audience. An influencer, whether they’re high-profile or micro, has a dedicated, highly engaged audience who trusts their recommendations. An influencer promotes your cause after entering into a partnership with your organization – many of these partnerships with nonprofits are unpaid, so don’t worry about having a budget for this. 

One example is artist Nate Taylor who promoted Geeks Doing Good 2021 on Instagram, an annual fundraiser through Worldbuilders that benefits Heifer International. Nate is a nano-influencer with just over 4,000 followers but a very engaged audience. In this post, Taylor gets an impressive 5.7% engagement rate (the average post engagement rate on Instagram is less than 2%).

How to do it:

Start by researching micro-influencers and nano-influencers in your niche. Don’t go for audience size – look for individuals who have a following that’s aligned with your target audience. If you want to grow your audience on Instagram, look there. TikTok? Look there. 

When you have identified a potential partner, reach out and introduce yourself, your organisation, and explain why you want to partner with that individual. Do not send a cut and pasted email. Be personal, be friendly, and make it clear what you are asking the influencer to do – and what the benefits will be for their audience and their brand.

When you’re working with micro-influencers, it’s a good idea to clearly outline the terms of the partnership. You can give them content and bullet points, even graphics, but make sure you give them the freedom to be authentic and creative in their posts.

3. Double down on LinkedIn

More than a tool for job seekers and hiring, LinkedIn for nonprofits provides the tools and resources your organisation needs to get the most out of the platform. With more than 1 million nonprofit organisations and 26 million nonprofit employees on the social networking platform, LinkedIn is for nonprofits, too. You can use it to connect with current and potential donors to help spark giving and campaigns as well as for general communications.

The best part? LinkedIn’s global network is made up of over 850 million professionals and many of those professionals donate to nonprofits regularly – LinkedIn for Nonprofits found that LinkedIn members are 56% more likely than the average internet user. Classy’s platform data revealed that LinkedIn is the highest converting social media channel for nonprofits, with a 30% conversion rate on mobile and 50% on desktop.

A whopping 98% of the LinkedIn users surveyed say they donate at least once per year!

How to do it

There are over 217,000 nonprofit pages on LinkedIn.

To create a LinkedIn Company Page for your nonprofit, you first need to have a personal account that includes your name and current position at your organisation. You’ll also need to list a work email address featuring your nonprofit’s unique email domain, rather than your personal email address. These LinkedIn Page requirements are in place to stop people impersonating your nonprofit on the platform.

Complete the page – Company Pages with complete information get 30% more weekly views.

1. Add your logo and cover image to personalise your page.

2. Fill out your description with details about your origin story, goals, core values, and positioning.

3. Incorporate relevant terms and phrases into your overview.

4. Include your organisation info, including your website URL, location, industry, and company size.

5. Customise your call to action to align with your goals

Create a memorable headline – don’t just regurgitate your mission statement. Below your nonprofit’s cover image, logo, and name lies your headline. Use this short snippet to instantly capture your audience’s attention by clearly communicating why your organisation exists. Pro tip: Encourage your staff to use this snippet for the headline on their own LinkedIn profiles, giving them an easy way to help amplify your message.

Bring your organisation to life with a description of your mission and purpose, how you deliver on your mission, and the impact you’re having. On LinkedIn, and any social media site, engaging pictures are essential. Use your Company Page banner image to communicate something about your mission and don’t just put your logo here (that doesn’t tell me anything at a glance).

In conclusion

Standing out on social media in 2023 will require a combination of creativity, strategy, and authenticity. By mastering the three key strategies of short-form video, influencer marketing and LinkedIn for nonprofits, you can create a strong online presence that resonates with your target audience and sets you apart from the competition.

Remember to stay on top of emerging trends, engage with your audience in meaningful ways, and be consistent in your approach. With these tactics in your arsenal, you will be well-equipped to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of social media and achieve your goals in 2023 and beyond. So go ahead and start implementing these strategies, experiment, and have fun while you create content that is uniquely you.

Recently named one of the 25 most influential nonprofit thought leaders and one of the seven nonprofit thought leaders to follow on Twitter during the coronavirus crisis, Julia Campbell is on a mission to make the digital world a better place.   

Julia will be the keynote speaker and deliver a masterclass at Digi.Raise + EventRaise 2023 in Melbourne on 24 + 24 May.

To read more articles by Julia Campbell on nonprofit digital marketing and social media go here.