Social media myths for nonprofits
Social media can easily become overwhelming if you’re trying to keep up with trends, algorithms, and new platforms. And some of the advice you read out there isn’t even real advice but myths that have been perpetuated for years.
However, if you can recognize these social media myths for what they are, you can make your workload lighter and focus instead on producing amazing content that works for your nonprofit’s audience.
Myth #1: You need to be on every social media platform
Reality: You can choose to be on platforms that work for your nonprofit and your audience.
Being active on every single social media platform is a lot of work, even if you have a full-time social media person. Consider focusing on two to three accounts that have your highest following and most engagement.
At a minimum, you should claim your profile on platforms you’re not going to actively use and keep it up to date. That way, you don’t have to worry about someone taking your handle. And, if you want to use it in the future, it’s ready to go.
Myth #2: You need to make video content, especially if you want to reach younger audiences
Reality: Yes, video content is nice, but it is a lot of work and might not fit your audience.
Before fully committing to video, make sure it’s what your audience wants, that you have time to dedicate to it, and that the topic will translate well into video.
If video isn’t the best fit, don’t worry about it. Static image carousels on Instagram and PDF carousels on LinkedIn are great alternatives that get a lot of attention.
Myth #3: You can hack the algorithm to get more followers and engagement
Reality: You can’t. What you can do is create consistently good content tailored to your audience.
Each social media platform has an algorithm that determines what content is seen by users and at what frequency. While it is good to be aware of what each algorithm is prioritizing, you don’t need to completely shift tactics every time there’s a change.
Your audience follows you because they care about your cause. Make content that demonstrates impact and highlights what you do, and they’ll keep following and engaging with your nonprofit on social media (regardless of algorithm updates).
Myth #4: [Insert social media platform] is dead
Reality: As long as it’s not really gone (RIP Vines) and your audience is still there, the platform isn’t dead.
Facebook may be ‘dead’ to Gen Z, but it’s active for older generations. And while some affinity groups have left Twitter, others continue to use the platform.
If your nonprofit’s audience is there, don’t worry about news saying it is ‘dead.’
That said, this is a good reminder not to fully rely on a single platform. If a platform winds down, make sure you give followers an alternative way to reach you. A good option is encouraging people to sign up for email as a platform declines.
Myth #5: You need to post X number of times a day at XYZ times
Reality: How often and when you post on social media should be based on your audience (and capacity).
What’s key here instead is consistency and quality. It’s better to have two to three great posts a week than five not-so-great posts. Check out our experiment trying this on Twitter. In our case, posting more frequently did not pay off and just led to a much higher workload.
Instead of basing your posting schedule on generalizations, find a consistent schedule that works for you. If you use a tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social, you can see data on what times and days work for your specific audience.
Myth #6: You need to run paid ads to be effective on social media
Reality: Putting money behind your posts will help expand reach, but there are other ways to grow social media following.
To give your social media a boost, consider running a campaign where you ask followers to share your content. This can be a form of generosity for people who want to support your organization.
If you have the budget, experiment with small paid ads. Investing even a small amount, like $20, in advertising on Instagram and Facebook can make a big change in who is seeing your content.
What social media myths should we dispel next? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments.