5 Social Media Trends That Could Impact Nonprofits In 2015

Lori Halley 12 December 2014 0 comments

The following is a guest post by Alex Balan, Public Relations Specialist at 123ContactForm.

The busiest time of the year for nonprofits is here. This means everybody is fully engaged in fundraising campaigns and events surrounding the holidays and year end. But while it is important to do your very best and make the most out of this period, it is also important to keep one eye on the future.

Given that social media trends change with the seasons, it’s hard to say for sure what awaits us in the next year. But there are some speculations about what’s going to happen and there are also lessons learned this year that are going to stay with us for a while longer.

So let’s look at what social media trends nonprofits may want to pay attention to in 2015:

1.   New Social Media Platforms Proliferate

New social media platforms have been on the rise this year as a direct response to perceived shortcomings caused by social media giants: an ever increasing amount of advertising, privacy breaches and nonvolitional gathering of demographic, psychographic and biometric data.

Contenders such as Ello promise to never sell user data while Yik Yak allows users to exchange posts completely anonymous with people that are physically near. The biggest challenge faced by newcomers is - like Google+ found out - to create a large enough userbase so it doesn’t feel like a ghost town.

Furthermore, new social media platforms that are interest-based (dedicated to one topic) such as Foodie or Fitocracy have a better chance to tap into existing communities. Although seemingly under the radar, they are a strong voice for those communities.

For nonprofits this represents an opportunity to spread their messages in a place with less noise and more willing ears. Facebook isn’t going anywhere for now, and no other social media has managed to make a dent in Facebook’s large number of users. However, engaging people on smaller platforms offers an extra chance to reach goals such as acquiring new donors, engaging a specific community and raising brand awareness.

2.   Direct Purchasing Comes To Social Media

Apparently earlier this year Facebook and Twitter started beta-testing “buy buttons”. Twitter has place buttons next to certain tweets, allowing users to make purchases in a click or two. On their blog, Twitter have announced they have started tests with a group of artists, brands and nonprofit organizations (DonorsChoose, GLAAD, GLIDE, Global Citizen and 9/11 Day).

This represents a huge chance for NPOs. First it lets nonprofits raise more money by selling merchandise on social media. Buying t-shirts, toys or even tickets to an event are a couple of clicks away.

Second, if donating is one click away and there is no registration hassle, then NPOs could tap into an ocean of one-time small donations. From this point on, the sky’s the limit, it all depends on the organization’s mission and strategy.

The advantage for organizations is that users don’t have to leave social media platforms anymore to make purchases from their website, the product comes to them. This gives retailers the opportunity to better measure return on investment and conversion rates. Furthermore, users don’t have to create additional accounts for every website they purchase from – which could be a huge game changer, making users more willing to spend money in one place.

3.   Video Will Continue To Dominate

In terms of engagement and entertainment, videos will hold the top spot. Campaigns such as ALS Ice Bucket Challenge or Kony 2012 would not have had the same success if it wasn’t for videos. And that is because videos are a compelling way to tell a story and really move people.

Micro-videos have seen a rise in 2014 due to their high level of entertainment in such a short period of time.  And although this medium is underutilized and considered daunting by NPOs, they should consider embracing this practice because such videos are much easier to share and have a heightened potential to become viral. If either experience or a small budget is stopping you from making videos, here is a way to create quality videos on a shoestring budget.

4.   Merge In-house Departments       

Departments in nonprofits need to merge because of the popularization of social media and its power in raising awareness. The marketing department, fundraising department or social media department need to become one because goals overlap and campaigns are intersecting.

Telling a story is key in building a strong brand and making your NPO relevant. As such, the process of communicating the story to the development team, who then need to work with the social media department and so on, is done much more efficiently when the department is one.

5.   Engage With Supporters In Real-time

It is essential nonprofits interact with supporters as soon as possible from the second they make contact. Whether they comment on a video, campaign or just ask a general question through a contact form, time is highly important. Engaging with them fast will help build trust around the organization and will communicate a level of transparency people love.

As a note, saying a simple “Thank you!” is not enough, but if you want more tips on how to engage with your audience, here you go.

These are just a few social media trends we think nonprofits need to pay attention to in 2015, what others do you think are important?

 ______

Alex Balan is a Public Relations Specialist at 123ContactForm, a web form and survey builder. He has a degree in PR from Bournemouth University, England and enjoys getting involved in local community projects.

Image source:  World social media network – courtesy of BigStockPhoto.com

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Friday, 12 December 2014 at 8:30 AM

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