5 Ways for Your Nonprofit to Use Visual Content on Social Media

bigstock-Social-Media-Word-Cloud-10422092By now, most nonprofits know that social media smarts are a must for marketing. What some of them don’t know is how to use social media to its fullest potential: visual content.

It’s a fact that visual content drives engagement. According to Zabisco, 40 percent of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. Likewise, one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content saw a 65 percent increase in engagement, according to Simply Measured.

Promote merchandise and fundraisers

Merchandise is a great tool for brand awareness. You can dedicate a Facebook photo album, Instagram hash tag or Pinterest board to your t-shirts, wristbands and buttons, all with your branding. This works especially well for brands that make use of clever sayings, like Keep a Breast’s “I Heart Boobies.”

A great way to exercise this strategy is to post pictures of sponsors and volunteers wearing your merchandise. Pinterest is probably the best outlet for promoting merchandise. The site drives sales directly from its website. Twenty-one percent of people with Pinterest accounts purchased an item after seeing it on Pinterest, according to PriceGrabber.

You can also apply this social media marketing strategy to your fundraisers. Instead of posting photos of your merchandise, you can post Facebook and Twitter updates about incentives to raise money – silent auctions, Chinese auctions, raffles, drawings, etc. You can establish yourself as a leader in creativity, inspiring other nonprofits to find new ways to fundraise.

Highlight sponsors

Social media can be used to thank your sponsors – a great way to show your appreciation of the support they have given your organization. It’s a win-win for you and your sponsors – they can share it to their social media network and their audience will become aware of your organization and cause.

Larger-scale nonprofit organizations can dedicate Facebook and Twitter updates, Pinterest boards and Instagram hash tags to celebrities and well-known people who have supported their organization by donating, volunteering or attending an events. Smaller-scale organizations who many not have well-known ambassadors can do the same thing but simply with members of the community that have an interesting story or background.

A great way to do this would be to post a video of them speaking about your organization or participating in one of your events. For example, the Gates Foundation shares videos on its Pinterest account, including talks by Bill and Melinda Gates. While photos are a great resource, videos can take your content to the next level. And according to SEOmoz, posts with videos attract three times more inbound links than plain text posts.

Highlight trips and events

Highlighting trips and events by posting on-location is a wonderful way to show your supporters the impact they are making. This social media marketing tactic is perfect for nonprofits who organize clean-ups, mission trips, learning workshops, food drives and so on.

Imagine videos of members of your organization helping build a school in Nicaragua, and pictures and stories about the people they have met along the way. People can see first-hand the work that you are doing. It tells a story way better than a news update on your website would.

Also, these are the kinds of videos that people love to watch and share. An especially emotional one could go viral and inspire others to contribute to your cause. You could even highlight videos from your travels and events on a dedicated Pinterest board. Trust me on this one. Viewers spend 100 percent more time on pages with videos on them, according to MarketingSherpa.

Spread awareness

When it comes to spreading awareness, if the internet gives nonprofits a voice then it can be said that social media gives them a megaphone. Sharing tips and statistics is a simple task on any social media outlet. Your organization can author a series of updates that provide information relating to your cause, such as “breast cancer warning signs” or “how to help a loved one cope with cancer.” This will not only be a powerful resource for your supporters, but for anyone who might be affected by your cause.

A new and innovative way to share simple information is with an infographic – an informational graphic that can be easily shared on any social media. They’re not only engaging, but traffic-driving. Publishers who use infographics grow an average of 12 percent more traffic according to AnsonAlex.

Visual content is not only being increasingly used in online marketing, but is also especially important for nonprofits organizations. With each cause and mission comes thousands of stories to tell. Social media gives supporters, fundraisers, donors and volunteers a place to see and share these stories with engaging visuals.