In the world of nonprofit social media, the landscape is
changing so rapidly, and it’s becoming harder and harder to build
community in our hyper-connected world.
Three billion people, around 40% of the world’s
population, use social media – spending an average of
two hours every day sharing, liking, tweeting and
updating on these platforms.
That breaks down to around
half a million tweets and Snapchat photos shared every
Not only is social media use showing no signs of slowing down,
yesterday’s tried-and-true growth drivers are becoming
increasingly obsolete, demographic shifts are resetting donor
expectations, and the promise of technology to reach new supporters
has never been more real.
There is a lot on the plate of the modern nonprofit social media
It’s getting harder to manage the chaos, avoid burnout, and do
your work more effectively and efficiently without losing your
To help you get focused, I recommend adopting these five habits
in the New Year.
1) Focus on building a community, not just an audience.
Social media is not just about grabbing attention and growing an
audience. It’s about
building a community.
As nonprofit social media managers, we have to know inside and
out who we want in this community, and what they want to hear from
This is why so much nonprofit social media content falls flat.
No purpose, no reason to exist – just simply promotion.
You may say, well, we want to engage everyone! Everyone with a
pulse needs to be a part of our online community!
Let’s get real for a second. Your mission and your message is
not going to resonate with everyone.
If you are a small nonprofit dealing with a niche issue or a
local problem, you have to face facts that your online community
will be a lot smaller than a national organization.
Community building is the focus of my upcoming book,
How to Build and Mobilize a Social Media Community for Your
Nonprofit in 90 Days – click here to get notified when it’s
My best advice is to nail down who your choir is – and
preach to it.
If the choir is singing together in harmony, they will bring
others in and share your gospel.
Leverage your current community members to
bring others into the fold.
Unless you are dealing with an issue that is getting national
press coverage, it’s incredibly difficult to get traction from
complete strangers online.
Every day, go into your communities (let’s stop calling them
platforms) and see what’s working. Answer comments and questions.
Be present and don’t over automate.
Always be learning about your community and what they are most
interested in, what moves them, what drives them, what inspired
Create content just for them and more will follow.
2) Set a timer.
How much time do you have to spend on social media? Is this 100%
of your job, or just 10%?
The best way to determine
how much time social media management is going
to take is to clarify how much time you have to devote to it.
The truth is that getting results on social media is much like
getting results out of an exercise plan. Consistency and intention
If you have thirty minutes a day to get a quick walk in,
that’s better than sitting at your desk all day every day and
getting zero activity.
If you can fit in an hour walk once per week, your results will
be even better. The same goes for social media.
No matter if you have all day or just an hour a day to focus on
social media, you need to create a time management plan to avoid
spinning your wheels and wasting time (so easy to do on these
platforms that are designed to grab our attention and keep us
I recommend the popular Pomodoro
Technique, where you set a kitchen timer (it doesn’t
have to be a tomato timer) for 25 minutes.
If you aren’t constantly monitoring your social media
accounts, using the Pomodoro Technique at the beginning of the work
day will help you focus and ensure that you have addressed all
messages and notifications that came in overnight.
Remember that the work of social media is not just posting and
promoting your own stuff and then leaving.
The real work that gets results is the most time-consuming –
it’s interacting, building connections, exploring topics,
creating content, and tweaking, analyzing, improving.
Once the 25 minutes is up and the timer dings, you are done –
no matter what you did or did not accomplish.
You can then set it again at the end of the day, or in the
middle of the day. It all depends on how many channels you manage
and what else you have going on that day.
Social media management takes discipline and practice, but a
time-based strategy like this is absolutely crucial for nonprofit
social media managers that have other competing job
3) Take mental health breaks.
Mental health stress on social media managers is a real thing,
and the ramifications are just beginning to be
The always-on mentality dominates pretty much every industry
right now, but is especially true with social media.
Consistent use of social media can be
detrimental to our mental health and so taking a step
back now and again is essential, even if it doesn’t seem like an
option because there’s just too much to do.
This may mean turning off social media notifications when you
leave the office. If you absolutely need to respond to something,
set aside 10-15 minutes of dedicated time after work to go into the
platforms. Then shut it down for the night.
It’s also important to take digital detoxes and vacations, to
come up for air.
To give your eyes a break from the screen, here are some great
mental health podcasts to listen to:
with Dr. Cassidy Freitas aims to demystify mental
health and therapy and make it more accessible through
Jen Gotch is Okay…Sometimes is a mental health
podcast from the founder of Ban.do, chronicling her journey with
bipolar and anxiety.
Selfie is a self-care podcast hosted by a
psychotherapist and a lifestyle blogger, exploring important themes
like sleep, healthy eating, and balancing the body, mind, and
4) Just say no to perfectionism.
Content is never going to be perfect, and your social media To
Do list will never be fully complete.
We have to be ok with done and imperfect, as it’s better than
simply not done at all!
I don’t mean allowing lazy mistakes and awful content to take
But you shouldn’t be spending hours designing and tweaking one
single Instagram post, or spending hours editing a smartphone video
that is going to be 30 seconds long.
Attention to detail is great but perfectionism is a killer.
Get that post up. Edit it later if you find a drastic
Test, see what’s working, and do more of that.
5) Advocate for yourself.
Every job has its busy periods, but constantly feeling like
you’re struggling to keep your head above water is not okay.
As Thea Neal wrote in
her must-read post “Should you ask your
social media manager if they’re okay?”:
We’re expected to be marketers, creators, analysts and
customer service people. We’re stressed out.
If you are a team of one and your work responsibilities amount
to three full-time jobs, you have to be honest with your supervisor
and the Board that this is not sustainable.
Conduct a detailed inventory of your time, listing out as many
tasks as possible and how much time it takes to accomplish
Don’t be afraid to advocate for your work!
For more on how to
get the respect you deserve as a nonprofit social media
manager, watch this video:
It’s a busy, noisy, crowded online space.
Sometimes, people can be not-so-nice.
Sometimes, the work feels thankless.
Sometimes, it feels like you are doing it all alone.
You are not alone – come
over to Facebook and join the community of nonprofit
social media managers, fundraisers, and storytellers, all going
through similar things!
Let us know how we can support you.
Here’s to a very happy and healthy New Year!
5 Habits of Successful Nonprofit Social Media Managers in 2020
appeared first on marketing
for the modern nonprofit.