Social Media is always changing - that you can count on. Recently (Note: this article was from 2016) there have been some especially important changes (or announced changes) that may be particularly relevant to nonprofits. Here I discuss a few of them and what they might mean for your organization.
The Like button has become synonymous with the social media giant. Anyone who runs a Facebook Page strives to collect Likes (along with Comments and Shares) on their posts. Soon, "Like" won't be the only response your audience can provide. When Facebook releases "Reactions" to all Pages, Facebook users will have a variety of ways to respond to posts. Reactions like "Sad," "Angry," "Wow," and "Love" will be options, in addition to the ubiquitous "Like."
What does this mean for your nonprofit? Will new types of content get better responses when a full suite of reactions is available? And how will Facebook measure engagement of each of these reactions? Most importantly, how will these reactions affect Facebook's newsfeed algorithm?
Keep an eye out for this change and think about how your Page's content could change to take advantage of it.
You may have already seen celebrities live-streaming content in your Facebook newsfeed. Now it's being rolled out to all iPhone users. This feature is not available for Facebook Pages yet, but hopefully it will be in the coming months.
Why would a nonprofit want to live-stream anyway? This HuffPost Impact article gives some good examples of what is possible. For example, you could share a big announcement, offer a live Q&A, or even stream a live video of a phone-a-thon.
For now, staff members can live-stream from their iPhones on behalf of your organization, but be alert in case this feature becomes available for Pages, too.
Facebook has already rolled out a new option to better target your Facebook posts to specific audiences. In addition to Audience Restrictions, which has existed for a long time and allows you to restrict a post from being seen by certain geographic areas or ages, you can now select a Preferred Audience. The Preferred Audience feature allows you to select Interests to make your post more likely to be seen by people who have expressed interest in the same things on Facebook. For example, if you post an article about hiking, you might choose "hiking" in the Preferred Audience section. Facebook is then more likely to show your post to people who have expressed an interest in hiking on Facebook or liked a Page related to hiking. Preferred Audience also provides detailed analytics about which Interests were more effective at driving Likes, Comments, and clicks on your post.
What does this mean for your nonprofit? It might be worth experimenting with Preferred Audiences for some posts. The deeper level of analytics may also help you determine if your targets are helping you create more engagement (clicks, Likes, Shares) and are worth continuing.
For anyone who manages the Instagram account for an organization, this is probably the most exciting social media update: Instagram now allows you to switch between accounts within the app! In the past, if you had both a personal Instagram account and managed an organizational account, you would have to log out and log back in each time you wanted to switch accounts. It was tedious and could potentially lead to your posting on the wrong account.
What does this mean for your nonprofit? Your job just got easier! Celebrate this long overdue gift from Instagram and go add both accounts to your Instagram app today.
YouTube is also adding functionality that can be helpful to nonprofits. In particular, YouTube recently rolled out Donation Cards - a simple pop-up that can be added to any YouTube video that allows the viewer to click and give a donation to a specific nonprofit.
The best news? ANYONE with a YouTube account can add a Donation Card to their videos. You don't have to be a nonprofit to fundraise with these Donation Cards.
What does this mean for your nonprofit? If you haven't already, start using Donation Cards to get donations through your organization's fundraising videos. Another possibility? You could ask your supporters to post a video about why they support your organization and add a Donation Card to allow their viewers to give. Camps could have alumni share their favorite memory of camp with an included Donation Card. Think of it as a simple peer-to-peer fundraising tool.
Social media is always changing - by the time you read this article things may already be different. A mastery of social media is a major asset to your organization. It's in your organization's best interests to keep track of social media trends and consider how you can best utilize them to maximize your organization's reach and engagement.