Tip Sheet: Social Media and your Historic Place

If you’re looking for a great way to attract a broad range of supporters and to nurture a younger audience, social media is the way to do it.

Your Fundamentals

What is social media?

Social media are websites and applications (also known as apps) that allow you to create your own content and share it with a large and diverse audience. The act of engaging with others via these applications by sharing, reacting to and commenting on others’ content is called social networking.

There are many social media networks out there. Some of the most common platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. When you choose your social media tools, think about which social media channels your followers are using. If you haven’t yet, survey your donors and find out what social media channels they use.

Why use social media?

There are many advantages to using social media. Use it to tap into an endless network of supporters, to share stories of impact about the work you do and spark meaningful conversations with your followers. Social media is also a great medium for embracing new fundraising trends, and a terrific way to drive traffic to your website, donation page or other webpages that have content you’d like to share.

Which social media platforms should I use?

Every social media channel is different. Are you a research organization that deals with factual information, articles, and statistics? If that’s the case, photo-based social media platforms (such as Instagram) may not be for you. But, Twitter, combined with a blog, may be just right. In choosing your platform, think not only about what it is that you want to say and what you want to share, but how.

Medium to large sized organizations and businesses should be on at least two social media platforms, and working on a third. But, every organization is different. You may want to try out different social media channels to find out which platform is right for your organization.

Social media is important tool in your fundraising toolbox. Aside from being inexpensive, social media can also be used to supplement and reinforce your mailing campaigns. And, it lets you connect directly with your audience, creating new relationships.

Social media is also a great place to connect with key influencers. As people like and share your content, you are growing your network. And, influencers can share and reinforce your message. And, don’t forget that social media is also a tool to exercise good stewardship. Consider using social media to thank your donors.

Tips on how to use social media to reach and engage with new audiences

01. Keep it fresh

Don’t underestimate how important it is to keep your social media feeds fresh. If you don’t, your followers will disengage. Although it’s important to keep your followers up-to-date on what’s happening, keep in mind that your social media feed is not just a place to talk about your own organization. You should also strive to share relevant content and stories that will fuel a conversation.

02. Tell stories of impact

Many organizations in the heritage sector have both members and donors who are followers, so it’s important to think about your social media feed as a way to demonstrate the impact you have in the community. Share stories about the work that you do to engage with communities, and about the people who participate in your programs and benefit from your work.

03. Use images and graphics

Visual content (such as photos and graphics) is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. If you don’t have a good photo to accompany the content, use graphics to reinforce your call-to-action or to make your content more interesting.

04. Use video

Using images typically increases engagement, so you can imagine how much engagement you can get with moving pictures. Videos, fortunately, start automatically as someone looks through their social media feeds and can catch someone’s eye more than plain text or an image. But keep your videos short, focused, and clear to avoid losing a viewer’s attention.

05. Use hashtags

A hashtag helps categorize content on many social media platforms. Using a hashtag is a way to join the conversation, find content on a specific topic, and makes your own content easily discoverable. You can also create your own hashtags!