Social Media Content for Nonprofits: April Tips & Topics

Sharpen your pencils, do-gooders! It’s time to write your social media content calendar for April. Like the pollen outside, time to let the ideas fly!

Social Media Tip of the Month

Video doesn’t have to be a huge, stressful production, but they can be incredibly engaging and rewarding. Here are some videos ideas you can do with your phone (just don’t forget to shoot it holding your phone sideways) in under 60 seconds:

  • Mini staff interviews
  • Behind the scenes look at a project or initiative
  • Office tour
  • Treatment/Efforts in progress
  • Mimi interviews with the people you support

April Social Media Content Ideas

April 2: Children’s Book Day

The theme of last month’s Social Media Marketing World 2017 in San Diego was a refocus on being helpful to your community. Children’s Book Day is an excellent opportunity to provide resources to your followers by sharing book recommendations. You can do this with a blog post, quick video or even individual posts throughout the day. For example, the nonprofit I work for, MiracleFeet, will use Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories to show pics of our favorite clubfoot books for parents to read to their children.

April 5: Day of Hope

Started by Child Help, this campaign is to remember that every year millions of children around the world are victims of abuse and neglect. Remind your followers how they can get involved with your organization to help children in your community or beyond.

April 7: World Health Day

An event hosted annually by the World Health Organization and this year’s theme is depression. If your nonprofit is involved with mental health, today is an excellent way to join the conversation on social media to bring awareness of your efforts and how others can help.

April 10: Sibling Day

Always a trending hashtag on Twitter and a prime opportunity for sibling story telling. You could have one sibling interview the other or share a story of how helping one sibling helped the family as a whole. Endless possibilities!

April 11: Pet Day

Time to give some love to those service dogs! Oh, don’t forget to share any pics of the office dog (if you’re lucky enough to have one!).

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My buddies – Kevin and his service dog.

April 15: Microvolunteering Day

Besides being a crazy long word to type, your content on this day must showcase all the quick and easy ways your followers can make a difference without a huge time or monetary investment.

April 16: Easter Sunday

Don’t be that guy – you know, the brand that uses a religious holiday for self-serving purposes. Just saying.

April 17: Haiku Poetry Day

Who doesn’t love a haiku? Refreshing and fun way to share your organization’s message.

MiracleFeet Tweet
Similar example from World Poetry Day.

April 20: Volunteer Recognition Day

You should recognize your volunteers often and with sincerity and April 20th is no exception. Use social media to give your volunteers shout-outs. Just make sure they are ok with you using their photo and/or name.

April 22: Earth Day

Always a trending day! You could host an environmental campaign in your community and share live updates throughout the day on social media.

April 29: World Wish Day

In honor of the anniversary that inspired the founding of Make-A-Wish in 1980 this is a day of granting wishes for sick children and thanking those who made wishes possible. If Make-A-Wish has helped any of the families you support, today is a great way to thank them and stories of their share their wishes.

What Your Favorite Social Media Platform Really Says About You

One of my favorite interview questions was from Ignite Social Media. They asked me what was my favorite social media platform and why. It was a great question, because it tells a lot about a person. If I had said Myspace, I wouldn’t have gotten the Community Management gig. Three years ago, my answer was Twitter. I liked to stay on top of NHL news and talk shit with fellow hockey fans. Huh, not sure what my answer would be today.

Here’s what your favorite channel may say about you…

TWITTER

You like to talk. Like you really, really like to talk. Twitter is the one social media platform that allows you post like a mad (wo)man and get away with it, thanks to the short lifespan of tweets. You probably also love your sports updates, pop culture news, and brand updates.

FACEBOOK

You’re a people person. You like keeping up with family and friends while sharing your own life updates with the occasional rant. Change makes you itchy and Facebook is your old reliable pal.

INSTAGRAM

If Insta is your favorite social hangout, then you are probably a visual, creative person. You like to be thoughtful and intentional with the content you produce. You dig being inspired by like-minded people.

LINKEDIN

Ah, the platform of professionals. You’re classic with a touch of old school. You like staying on top of industry news and scoping out that next lead or networking opportunity. Heck, you may not even use the other social media platforms. LinkedIn is enough for you.

SNAPCHAT

You’re a spontaneous, confident busy bee. You share personal experiences with a carefree attitude. You may also be a little cray (in the most loving way) and appreciate that your pics will never come back to haunt you…maybe.

PINTEREST

Organization is the name of your game. You just love your boards and boards of pins (most of which you will never try). Your desk, closet, and kitchen are all pinspired. You’re a fun, go-getter with a passion for trying new things.

Did I get you right? What is your favorite social media platform?

4 Ways Brands Can Use Instagram’s New Slideshow Feature

Instagram launched a new feature this week that allows you to upload up to 10 photos in one post. It is a swipe-to-view slideshow. Personal translation: I can now show close-up shots of my beagle’s precious ears, eyes, whiskers, and tail in one post – oh boy! Hopefully brands will utilize this new update in a more productive way. Here are four ideas to get you started.

1. Before, During and After

You no longer have to rely on a video or collage to show your work in progress. This works beautifully for nonprofits wanting to show the progress of their good work. For example, as a Social Media Manager at MiracleFeet, I’ll be using this feature to show kids before treatment, during the casting, and the happy after photo with one upload. Love it!

India before and after TW

2. In the Making

Similar to the above, but with more of an emphasis of starting from scratch and ending with a finished product. I’d like to see a brewery use this idea for crafting a new seasonal ale. This would also work well for restaurants, cleaning services, contractors, etc…

3. Zoom Out

For a more artistic (and mysterious!) approach, take a series of photos that start crazy focused in on something and zoom out with each new shot. Envision a gorgeous, intricate flower at a nursery: at first you just see vibrant colors, then a hint of a petal, and finally the whole bloom to announce hydrangeas are on sale.

Flower collage

4. Events

You no longer have to worry about picking your 1-2 favorite photos from an event to share. Highlight your event by sharing photos in order, so fans can experience set-up to after-hours. We will certainly see this used by brands and celebrities this Sunday for the Oscars.

Add those hashtags and get posting. #Slideshow already shows over 70k posts. So, what are you waiting for? Get started, ‘Grammers!

How to Use Twibbon to Promote Your Novel

I shouldn’t be sharing this tip. I should stuff it deep in my pocket and use it for the day I’m finally published (yes, I’m staying optimistic). However, the social media manager in me is dying to share this helpful tidbit. So, all you genius, over-achieving bastard authors (I’m not jealous) can enjoy it now and hopefully it will still be cool when I try it.

What is Twibbon?

According to Twibbon it “is the best free tool on the web to increase exposure, likes and support.” Interested? Thought so.

A Twibbon Campaign supports a cause, brand or organization on Facebook and Twitter in a variety of ways. My two favorite features are the ability to add an overlay to your supporters’ Facebook or Twitter profile pics AND they can publish a message of support on their Facebook or Twitter accounts.

When should authors use Twibbon?

Your book release is the perfect reason to use this microsite. Leading up to the release, your friends, family, and fans can change their profile images to show your brand and share messages of your upcoming release. Unlike a tweet or post, the content won’t wither and die in a couple hours. Every time they publish content their profile photo shows your messaging. Score!

How would it look?

Let’s use examples from two one of my favorite book series. George R.R. Martin gathers people in droves when his books come out, so he could use Twibbon as a way to show House pride*. Oh, could you imagine the conversation that would organically happen when you find out your coworker is House Greyjoy (gag!). Here’s a mockup of A Dance with Dragons release on my Facebook profile pic with my House of choice. Dragons rule.

dragons

Now for my girl crush, Gena Showalter and her Lords of the Underworld series. She is also a bestselling author that is adored by many, but Twibbon would help fans like me show my support and excitement for the weeks leading up to her LOTU next release, which is The Darkest Torment on May 31, 2016! A tattooed butterfly is her series brand. It looks way better on a supernatural hero, but you get the idea.

GS

I’m actually using Twibbon now for the Muscular Dystrophy Association Shamrock Campaign. Not only was I a former MDA employee, but I wholeheartedly believe in their efforts to cure muscular diseases, like Duchenne MD. This is a Facebook post I was able to share from their Twibbon campaign.

mda post

Why it works!

Awareness and impressions. Throw a hashtag in your overlay and in your social media content and you’re likely to see a spike in followers and mentions. It gives your followers an opportunity to be brand ambassadors for your upcoming book release.

So, please try to give me sympathy and support when I can finally use Twibbon after I publish a book and you have a naked profile pic. Well, not naked…I think that is frowned upon in social. I mean a bare, a bare profile pic.

*To make this work you would have to set a campaign for each House.

5 Social Media Tactics to Boost Creativity

The dreaded blank page. All that white space. It’s the stuff of nightmares.

horror

Whether you are a content creator, community manager or author, it is your job to transform all that white space into a spellbinding, revenue machine.

Easy, right?

No. This is what turns my hair gray. Why do we put ourselves through this? Simple–the light bulb moment is unbelievably satisfying. This moment isn’t always going to happen at your desk or your usual writing spot at your home. Time to pack up and head out in search of your next ah-ha moment.

1. Hit the Gym

This could actually be going for a run, using the elliptical in your house or lifting weights at the gym. Fresh oxygen will flow through your noggin and breathe new life into your ideas.

TIP: Keep your phone handy with a notes app open or bring a notepad and pen, so you don’t forget any of your ideas.

2. Visit an Animal Shelter

This may seem like an odd choice, but hear me out. All those furry babies have a story that is usually written on an info card or you can ask an employee or volunteer. Their history, attributes and quirks can be thought provoking for authors to big brand copywriters. If you’re looking to get away from a clinical or traditional approach to brainstorming, this option could be for you.

TIP: Be sure to leave a donation before you go! Better yet, if you’re a responsible human being, take a pet home and love them forever and forever.

3. (Nerd Alert) Go to the Library

Remember those big structures with shelves of books? Those are libraries and they are filled with light bulbs just waiting to be turned on.

TIP: Don’t immediately go to your genre. If you write for a realty company, hit up the fantasy section. Write romance? Grab a few pop culture magazines. This will force your brain to really think outside the box.

4. Word Race at a Coffee Shop

Grab a buddy for a fun brainstorming session over a cup of Joe. Come prepared with 8-10 questions related to the content you need to write on individual note cards. Let’s say you need to create content for a rental car company for a summer road trip campaign. Here are some sample questions you may ask:

  • What do people love about road trips?
  • How could things go wrong on a road trip?
  • Where did you travel as a kid?

note cards edited

Put your note cards face down on the table, set your phone to a 30-second timer, and flip over a card. You both write as many answers as possible per card. The person with the most answers at the end of the game gets a drink on the loser. Either way, you walk away with a stack of content ideas.

5. Go Camping

Ah, the great outdoors. Relaxing, but it also forces you outside your normal routine. You have to build a shelter, start a fire, and cook a meal on a stick. Think about your content needs and ask yourself how your brand could be used to help or what trouble your characters could get into while alone in the woods.

TIP: Take lots of photos. Take photos of your campsite and things you see when you go for a hike. You can reflect upon these images later for more ideas.

Get your butt out of your chair and go find your next light bulb moment. Be sure to share it with me when you do!

When to Shut Up on Social Media

Many brands and organizations decide to go dark, or stop posting, on social media in the face of a national or global tragedy. Just a couple years ago, most brands and organizations would have come to a screeching halt on social media in response to a terrorist attack. Sadly, numerous tragic school shootings and bombings have occurred over the few years and we’ve become desensitized as a society.

When I woke up to the news reporting the Brussels bombing, I immediately opened my laptop to reschedule my organization’s content for the day. It wasn’t even a question for me. I’m not going to ask people to donate to the nonprofit I work for when so many people are grieving or terrified.

When I checked Twitter I was shocked to see how many, if not most, of the brands I follow were tweeting as usual. Hot deals to travel ads (but really?!) were all up in my timeline. So, it made me think, “When should a brand go dark on social media these days?”

Some have argued that stopping our daily routine is letting the “bad guys” win. I give zero f**ks about the bad guys. I care about the people who were killed, injured or traumatized and all their friends, family and community that were impacted as result. I care about being respectful to them and I want my brand to be respectful to them. With that in mind, here are the things you should consider when questioning if your brand should seize social media activities.

Move your content or handle with care.

In most cases, your content should be easily moved to another day with no repercussions. On the day of the Brussels attacks, charity: water actually paused their 10th anniversary celebrations for World Water Day. I can imagine what time and effort went into developing that campaign, so I find their decision incredibly honorable. If they can shift a whole campaign for a day that only comes once a year, you can hold off on your daily, regular content.

charity water

Sports teams are a good example of posting as usual, but with added sensitivity. Sports bring people together. The Carolina Hurricanes played the night of the Brussels attack, I know Caniacs would have been dumbfounded if the team wouldn’t have live tweeted the game. It was also their annual St. Baldrick’s fundraising event, which gave people a reason to celebrate something uplifting. Although, they did not acknowledge Brussels on social (that I saw), they did have a moment of silence in the arena. Well played.

The news has stopped their daily coverage.

If news programs, like the Today Show or Good Morning America, are doing nothing but reporting a tragic event, then you know that event is top of mind for most people. Your audience most likely doesn’t want to hear about your upcoming book release, sale or restaurant menu special.

Your brand ties into the event.

Even if it is a distant relation, you should go dark on social media if there is a tie to the event. Hotels, airlines, hell, even a suitcase company, shouldn’t be pushing out content after an an incident at an airport, for example. It’s so incredible insensitive.

Going dark on social media doesn’t mean you should disregard engagement or ignore customer care issues. You should stay active, alert and aware of when it is appropriate to start posting again.

My thoughts and prayers are with Brussels and those impacted by this devastating event.