As I mentioned in the last post, social media for nonprofits should be like shooting fish in a barrel: “Bingo!” every time. We all love to get behind a good cause – the problem these days is exactly which cause to choose.

Campaigns like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (above) went viral due to a number of factors: a great visual stunt, celebrity support, timing (it was August 2014 – the height of summer in most English-speaking countries).

But for most nonprofits, success is not so much about making one massive splash then receding from public view – it’s more like the drip-drip of a constant current: having a place in the public consciousness, year in, year out.

A new report from Brandwatch, Social Listening for the Nonprofit Sector, analysed the social media activity of 24 leading nonprofits. The top-line conclusions aren’t rocket science, but if you work for a nonprofit and want to build a loyal following, you’d be wise to take heed:

1. Use more image links (photos leading to another webpage) on Facebook. Only 33 per cent of posts currently use image links – but these posts generate a whopping 63 per cent of shares.

2. Respond to more mentions on Twitter. Nonprofits currently only engage with one out of every 224 @mentions. This indicates that nonprofits, like most brands, are very good at disseminating information, not so great at community engagement.

3. Post more tweets on a Sunday. Activity across all sectors tends to dip at the weekend, but nonprofits’ ratio of re-tweets to tweets is highest on a Sunday – this suggests it’s worth putting out a few more tweets that day to make the most of that extra attention.

It would be good to know more about the negative side of campaigning – for example, the kickback that can come if you’re dealing with a controversial issue. Hopefully that will come up in a future report. In the meantime, I’m doing some work with a nonprofit right now so I’ll factor the above tips in. Will keep you posted!

Photo: Anthony Quintano