Here at Communication Minded, we love our guest bloggers. But we particularly have some special love for February’s contributor, our friend, Rachel Gracy. Rachel graduated from UNCW with a B.A. in Communication Studies with a concentration in Video Production and Advertising. She is currently serving with Global Education Ministries in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Rachel is in charge of all video production and social media for GEM as well as a kindergarten classroom! In the fall of 2015, she plans to move back to Wilmington where she will be seeking a position in the field of communication!
Nonprofit Social Media: Starting From Scratch
I would like to start by saying that there is nothing normal about my job. I work at a tiny, private school in a small town in Mexico. For half of the day, I am a kindergarten teacher, and the other half, I am in charge of video production and social media management for Global Education Ministries (GEM), the nonprofit organization that our school is ran through. I could possibly have the strangest job combination of all time. And I love it.
Our school and our nonprofit organization have only existed for a few short years. Before I arrived on the scene in August, there was not much in place in terms of social media management or strategy. It is a very small team, and they did their best to stay updated on Facebook and MailChimp, but that was about all they could handle.
Not only was this my first job out of college, but I was also the first professional they hired to grow their online presence. I was up for the challenge, and I want to share with you a few steps I took in order to start my nonprofit’s social media from scratch.
Choose which platforms you want to use.
GEM was already on Facebook and Instagram. I already knew that these would be our primary platforms, but I also wanted to utilize Twitter. I was able to research other similar organizations and see how they used Twitter, which was very helpful!
Remember your audience.
This point was ingrained into my brain in college, and I still remind myself this on a daily basis. Our school is in Mexico, but our social media is aimed towards our donors and sponsors in the United States. Many of our school families interact with our social media, which inclines me to create content aimed towards them, but that is not the goal. Remembering your audience is crucial in achieving your social media goals.
Goals, goals, goals!
Speaking of goals, you should outline a few simple ones to keep your posts driven. When I began, our goals included increasing our Facebook likes, email subscriptions, and creating a foundation on Instagram and Twitter. These goals gave me direction when creating content and a way to measure the success of my work. As time goes on, your goals can become more specific and adapt to your nonprofit’s current needs.
Constantly collect content.
As I mentioned before, social media/video is only half of my job. I am also in charge of a classroom of kindergarteners— and they happen to keep me very busy. When you are posting 5-6 times a week, it is challenging to remain creative without having a large supply of photos and videos to choose from. I try to have my camera on me as often as possible, because you can never have too many photos. I also try to get a variety of shots so our audience does not get bored with similar posts each week.
Also, not ALL of your content has to be directly from your organization. You can continually collect interesting blog posts, articles, videos, etc. that simply relate to your organization’s mission. It is a great way to save yourself some time every so often and still get your audience fired up!
Whether you’re speaking to existing or potential donors, after reading your posts, they should feel more connected with your organization and what your organization is accomplishing. Responding to comments or shout outs can increase the chance of an individual reading future posts and taking further action with your nonprofit!
Social media (and IMC in general) is often overlooked as a wise use of resources for a nonprofit, but it is crucial. A study by Waggener Edstrom found that “Fifty-five percent of those who engage with nonprofits via social media have been inspired to take further action”. With some time and a lot of effort, social media can take your nonprofit to a whole new level of success!
To contact Rachel about her experiences, or to reach her about her ministry, you can connect with her on her Vimeo or LinkedIn accounts.