Social Media Planning for Associations & Nonprofit Organizations

 

Download our Guide to Building a Social Media Plan

Social Media Planning for Associations and Nonprofit Organizations

 

Introduction

Associations and nonprofits have an amazing opportunity to engage their communities through social media. In many cases, this community is already invested in some capacity with the organization.

 

Learn how to make sure you are effectively leveraging your content through social media to increase engagement with your community and ROI for your association!

What is a social media plan?

In short, it’s a comprehensive strategy for your social media marketing and should include:

  • A clear list of goals and objectives.
  • An audit of your existing social media presence.
  • Competitive analysis.
  • A basic social media content plan outline.
  • Established methods for measurement and analysis.

 

Why do you need one? Simply put, you’re ensuring effective use of social media marketing efforts and increasing your ROI.

A social media plan helps:

  • Maintain consistent posting schedules across channels.
  • Avoid last-minute rushing to find content to share.
  • Missing the boat on trending topics due to poor planning.
  • Converting likes into customers.

 

Getting Started

Sometimes the hardest part is knowing just where to start.  To help with that, use this seven step guide to build your own social media plan.

 

Step 1: Audit Your Current Social Presence

Before you strategize about where you are headed, take the time to evaluate where you currently are and do a little house keeping.

  • List the social media platforms you are currently utilizing.
  • Determine which you should be utilizing more and ones you haven’t posted on in a while.
  • Decide which, if any, you should add.
  • Do a Google search to see if there are any other profiles listed for your company you may not know about. If there are, create a plan to either merge accounts or delete old accounts.

Then, once you know what platforms you want to focus on, make sure all of your information is correct.

  • Are your bio sections fully filled out?
  • Is your company information such as address, services and hours correct across all platforms?
  • Do you have high-quality, attractive and relevant cover photos and profile pictures in place?

To help keep your review organized, use a tool such as our Social Media Audit Template, or put your information into an Excel spreadsheet that you can share with your team.

 

Step 2: Define your goals

Now that you have a better idea of what your current social media presence looks like, you can begin to layout your plan.  Start by listing your core business goals for that year or quarter (get specific!). Next, add measurable goals for your social media marketing that align with your association’s strategic plan or business plan from above.  This is answering the question, “Why are we on social media in the first place, and is it contributing to our overall goals?”

Here are some examples:

  1. Drive conversations with current membership.
  2. Build connections with prospects and engage in new communities.
  3. Establish industry authority.

When writing out you goals, get specific about the platforms as well. What are you hoping to achieve on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram?  Are your goals the same for each? Do you have a different audience that you are looking to attract on one platform rather than another?  This is your chance to set yourself up for success!

To help you with the process, use an easy-to-follow goals template for laying out each of your overall business goals and aligning these goals with your social media efforts for your most utilized platforms.

 

Step 3: Define your audience and their voice

If you haven’t already identified and documented your audience, it will be important to do so now. By identifying who it is you will be speaking to on your social media platforms, you will be able to tailor the type of content they are interested in, know what their expectations are and consider the problems they face.  Try to focus on 3-4 types of people that represent the majority of your audience.

 

Step 4: Focus on a few key social channels

Most associations don’t have the bandwidth to establish and sustain a great social media presence on more than a handful of channels, and that’s OKAY! Not to mention that your audience might only be active on a some and not others. 

So, learn where your competitors are by conducting a competitive analysis.  This will help you to determine where you need to focus your efforts. 

Download this guide as an e-book!
Included you'll find an Excel Template for your own: Social Media Competitive

To do this, list who you feel your top three competitors are. Then, for each, list their most utilized platforms. Even the simplest of analyses can help you see who your competitors are and how effective they are using their social media marketing.  From there, you can determine where you may need to increase your presence or create your social media strategy around your findings to stay competitive.

 

Step 5: Develop a content plan

Now that you know who your audience is, what they are interested in and what platforms your team needs to focus on, it’s time to start building a social media content plan.  Organizing an entire content plan can seem daunting at first, so we recommend working on a basic outline to get started. You can use one we developed on the following page. 

First, list 2-3 of your main personas (target audience).  Then, identify topics of interest to them, followed by which platforms they utilize the most.

Next, consider your main topics that are important to your audience and to your brand. You can then break those down further into subtopics. 

Lastly, identify where content for the topics comes from and in what format it will appear.

 

Step 6. Build and schedule your content!

Now that you have a plan, it’s time to establish a consistent posting schedule to start seeing results.

Start with a schedule that is achievable for the size of your team and one you feel comfortable sticking with.  Set goals for how frequently you will post, and hold yourself accountable to following your schedule.

 

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Step 7: Measure your results

How are you going to know if your strategy and plan were successful?  Measure, measure, measure!  There are a million different things you can track on social media so start looking at how much traffic is being driven to your site and engagement. It’s easy to get in the analytical weeds of social media, so start by simply watching your platforms, see what people are responding to, where they are heavily engaging, and what keywords and topics create the most buzz. Key takeaway, keep it simple:

1.Net new fans and followers.

2.Number of interactions.

3.Visits to your site from social platforms.

 

Sharing your social media plan with your team

If you are the only person responsible for creating and posting content, then you may already be off to the races.  However, if you work with a team on creating and publishing your content or have other members on staff that occasionally post to the main accounts, you will want to share you schedule with them.  Here are some suggestions for getting everyone on the same page when it comes to your social media plan:

1. Keep it brief but informative

Making sure everyone understands your social media strategy is important.  Provide an outline to your team along with key takeaways. Be sure everyone who may post on social media knows your brand’s tone, messaging and image standards.

2. Keep the content calendar accessible

Sometimes, one of the hardest pieces of this process is getting everyone to use the same tool.  Make sure your social media content calendar is on a platform your team already uses or is comfortable using.  For example, if you like our template, but no one on your team uses Excel, turn it into a Google Doc. or Spreadsheet that everyone would use, and can be easily shared.  

3. Keep it fun

The last thing a social media meeting should be is stale, so make sure your meeting is anything but.  Use this as a time to brainstorm new ideas, learn what people are responding to and share content that has done well on your platform.  Need a little more fun? We suggest puppy videos!

 

Need a little more help?

If all of this sounds great, but you are still crunched for time to put it together, you may be ready to call in backup.

That’s where we come in. WaterStreet Creative is an extension of your team. We have the time and resources to not only build an exceptional social media strategy for you, but put it into action with content creation, monitoring, analysis and integration into your greater marketing plan.

 

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