It’s hard enough for someone like me to keep up with the ever-evolving social media world, and “Social Media” is in my job title! I can only imagine how hard it is for my friends in fundraising to know about the latest Facebook feature, while remembering a major donor’s birthday, and meeting the print deadline for the annual campaign mailer. 

For most organizations, social media can take a backseat to the more traditional fundraising channels. While this is understandable, it’s good practice to take a step back and think about the donor’s full experience with your organization.

Content plays a big part in how they perceive and engage with your nonprofit. In fact, in our latest Donor Loyalty Study, we found an astonishing 72 percent of donors say they may stop donating to an organization because of the unsatisfactory content they receive.  

While I can’t give every organization more time and experience to craft the perfect social media posts, I can provide some insight into what’s coming down the social media pipeline. Here are three new developments in social media, and how your organization can take advantage of them:

You Can Now Target Facebook Posts to Specific Audiences

Facebook just recently launched a new feature that allows Pages to target content to the segment of their audience most likely to be interested and engaged with a particular type of post. This includes targeting by specific interests, age, location, and gender.

So how can you use this new feature?

Start off by looking at the breakdown of your followers and your current campaigns/active programs. Do you have campaigns/programs that a subset of your audience is most interested in? For example, if you are an animal welfare organization, you could target cat-specific posts to those with cat interests and dog-specific posts to those with dog interests. (And, yes, those are real interests available with the new feature.)

Could you take a post and rewrite that for different age groups to better speak to what they care about and where they are in their lives? Not all organizations are able to capture age in their database, but Facebook takes care of that for you. Millennials are also a great test group, because they typically like all types of content, as you can see in the chart below from our Donor Loyalty Study. If you are looking to test out some new messaging or campaign, this is a great opportunity to target your Millennial followers, those born between 1981-1997, using this new Facebook feature.

DL_M_XtimesMoreLikely

You will need to enable “Audience Optimizations for Posts” in your Page settings. You can find the full instructions for enabling your organization’s Page here: https://www.facebook.com/facebookmedia/get-started/audience-optimization.

Twitter is Removing Photos and Links From its 140-Character Limit  (COMING SOON)

While this isn’t official yet, Twitter announced earlier this year it will no longer be including photos and links in its 140-character limit for posts. You can see the full list of changes to come here: https://blog.twitter.com/express-even-more-in-140-characters.

So how can you use this new feature?

This is great news for all fundraisers, for a couple of reasons. First, you’ll never have to sacrifice a link back to your website or giving page. Twitter’s 140-character limit does force you to focus in on a single thought, which is a great exercise for all fundraisers. You have to ask yourself: What is the one thing you want donors to know and where can you drive them to take action (i.e. donate, sign up, learn more, etc.)? Link clicks also tell you how effective your content is, so you can optimize around what’s working.

In addition, your organization now can create more engaging posts with images without sacrificing a link or lead in text. Posts that include images produce 650 percent higher engagement than text-only posts. This goes back to creating more thoughtful and engaging content across all channels. You can also test this to see if spending time finding or creating images is worth the effort, which I’m sure it will.

Video Length has Increased on Instagram

Instagram rolled out an increased time limit for videos from 15 to 60 seconds back in April. You can also now see video views, to get a true impression number that hasn’t been previously available. These updates are already available for users, but you may have to update to the latest version of the app.

So how can you use this new feature?

While 60 seconds may not seem like a lot,  it’s just enough time to get someone engaged without losing their attention. You can see in the chart that most donors watch videos that are up to one minute, and where their attention falls after that. Instagram’s 60-second videos are a great opportunity to create “snack-sized” content to engage your audience in a larger story.

Fig14_VideoPreferences

For example, you could take a larger five-minute video you created and break it into a five-part, 60-second video series. If you don’t have existing video content that’s Instagram appropriate, grab a member of your staff, a volunteer, or someone benefiting from your organization’s mission and get them to share how the organization has impacted them, in 60 seconds or less. You’ll get some great stories and ideas for additional campaigns/messaging.

Now this is not a complete list of everything going on in social media. I’m sure a new feature update is being listed as this post publishes, but these are three updates your organization can start taking advantage of as you get more sophisticated in your social media strategy.

I’d love to hear in the comments how your organization is using social media and how you’re taking advantage of these new features!