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7 Must-Know Social Media Terms for Anyone Starting a New NPO

7 Must-Know Social Media Terms for Anyone Starting a New NPO

When starting a new nonprofit, making your presence known can be critical within the first few years. Being present in the community you serve is important in proving that you’re not only committed to your mission inside the walls of your nonprofit, but outside as well. One way that you can do that is by leveraging nonprofit social media tactics to get your message out there and keep your community engaged.

Starting out on social media can be a daunting task, especially when the environment is ever-changing. Some commonplace terms for social media didn’t exist ten years ago, and if you’re not up-to-date, utilizing nonprofit social media can seem impossible. Here are some key terms to know as your nonprofit starts on its social media journey:

Hashtag: Simply put, a hashtag is a way to put a keyword into your messaging, which is important for nonprofit social media. Some good ones to use is your location or your main topic, but adding too many hashtag discourages engagement. Sticking to one or two would work best.

Tagging and Mentions: Referred to interchangeably, tagging and mentions are calling to another page or individual by linking their social media page. Yes, tagging and a hashtag are different! On most social networks, add a tag or mention to a post by typing an @ symbol, then the name of the person or page you want to highlight. This can be used for thanking your donors individually, quoting a thought leader in your space, or highlighting an amazing volunteer!

Social Listening: Just as you can use a keyword in your messaging, part of your social media plan should be tracking those important keywords. Social Listening is the process of tracking keywords to see when people are talking about it, and what they’re saying. This can be easily leveraged in your future messaging, and you can start a conversation with your community by replying to their social media posts.

Direct Message: Direct messages — also known as “DMs” — are private conversations that occur on your social media accounts. Your community may use direct messages to inquire about services and how they can enroll. Heads up: if you want to send direct messages on Twitter, both parties must be following one another.

Followers: These are the people who have officially joined in on your social media journey. On Facebook and LinkedIn, they have liked your page. On Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, they’ve followed your account or board. And on YouTube, they’ve subscribed to your channel. These folks have opted in to seeing your posts as part of their daily routine. It’s a great honor! Growing your account’s followers can help spread the word about all the good your organization does.

Engagement: This is one of the most important parts of nonprofit social media. It’s great that you’re releasing great content, but if you’re not getting engagement, you’re missing an opportunity. Simply put, your engagement measures how many times people click your links, share your content, or reply to your posts. It shows that people are paying attention and are interested.

Social Media Management Tool: Did you know that there are tools that can help you schedule posts in advance, interact with followers, and measure results for social media? You can keep track of activity across all networks from a singular tool. That can save a ton of time! Many even offer free licenses for single users – check out HootSuite and Buffer, two well-reviewed options that can take your nonprofit social media to new heights.

Social media gives you the opportunity to reach demographics you couldn’t before, and make a bigger impact. A good rule of thumb is to talk to your followers as often as you can, but it’s important to make those posts convey your passion. Social media can help convey your organization’s efforts, and help build your reputation. Wasting that on superficial messages to just have something up can hurt your budding organization.

Looking for more tips to help your growing nonprofit? Check out our eBook 3 Must-Read Tips to Start and Grow Your Nonprofit to learn what else you can do to start your organization off on the right foot and set up for future success. It is available in our Nonprofit Kickstart Bundle, which is available for download here.

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