6 Steps to Social Media Marketing Miracles

By Daniel Melbye, Save the Children

Like all communications strategies, your approach to social media marketing should be driven by the purpose of the campaign. What must change and who needs to be reached to bring about change? Within the overall communications plan, the social media strategy defines how to capture the attention of the target audiences and convey a compelling campaign message through social media in a way that supports your overall campaign goals.

1. Goals

Your online goals and your charity business goals should be aligned. Your charity business goals are most likely to include increasing income, and so should your online goals.

You may be getting lots of shares on Facebook, YouTube views or likes on Twitter, but do you know the value of these actions? Your social media marketing goals should be as closely tied to fundraising revenue as possible, either directly through donations or through lead generation.

It's okay to have more than one goal. But most importantly, make sure they drive real fundraising value and remember, whatever your end goals may be, make them concrete, measurable and achievable. How else will you be able to measure them and determine if you have in fact succeeded in achieving them?

2. Using Micro vs. Macro Conversions

One very important point about goals is not to overlook intermediate goals, sometimes known as micro conversions. We're often so focused on that last step, such as the donation, that we forget about the smaller steps in between that contribute to donor acquisition that gets them to take that next step along the donor journey.

By setting micro conversion goals you can gain a better understanding of the donor journey and what is and isn’t working on your website and therefore measure the incremental results of your digital marketing efforts. Then you can make tweaks to your website and digital marketing to increase conversions.

Establishing micro conversion goals that can be measured and later assigned a monetary value based on future donations is an essential way to measure the success of social media and determine how social media marketing is supporting your fundraising goals.

For nonprofits, these micro conversion goals may be newsletter sign-ups, downloading reports or bequest forms, or signing petitions. They may also be visiting specific pages of your website that identify them as potential donors.

The lack of micro conversion measurement and the assignment of social media as a source of leads and involvement in lead nurturing is perhaps the single greatest reason that many organisations doubt social media can seriously contribute to fundraising income. 

3. Understanding Your Audience

When choosing the people or groups your charity needs to influence, it may be helpful to think about the many different ways you can describe them. The more clearly you can define your audience, the easier it will be to make choices about your messages and communication vehicles.

Developing personas can be a useful approach to gaining clarity about your audience groups, their needs, interests and obstacles to engagement. These insights can be applied across your charity to define and understand your interactions and identify opportunities.

Personalising your communications by adapting your message and content to particular social media tools and segmenting the audience you are targeting through various channels can be an effective strategy that delivers positive results.

4. Create Great Content

A common challenge within many charitable organisations is not having enough consistent, compelling content. 

Great content is essential to succeeding with social media marketing and supporting all of your fundraising and communications efforts.

Your social media marketing plan should include a content marketing plan, comprised of strategies for content creation and content curation, as well as an editorial calendar. Strive for content that is relevant, current and genuinely of interest to your audience today.

5. Channels and Tactics

Do your research. It is important to investigate what social media channels best suit your marketing objectives.

Think about the demographics of each tool. Remember it’s not just about which platform has the biggest audience but who you want to reach.

The type of content you are producing is an important factor in deciding what platform you should use. That should narrow your focus significantly. What you want to share is important, but how you want to share it is important, too.

Twitter, Instagram, Mail Chimp or chat apps like Line or Snapchat are great for sharing live updates from the field, but if you want group discussions then Tumblr or Facebook are probably better.

Remember digital channels are just another medium to be included with traditional channels so combine and cross promote.

Repurpose content developed in other departments. Make it micro. Social media is short form, so break up those magazine articles into small snippets, create image overlays and edit down those videos into tiny clips.

6. Test, Evaluate and Adjust Your Social Media Marketing Plan

Test and evaluate. Discover what adjustments need to be made to your social media marketing strategy. Without it, how will you know what is working?

The more you post, the more you’ll discover which content, timing and frequency is right for you and which channels are delivering results. Keep refining, changing, learning and adapting what you do.


The most important thing to understand about your social media strategy is that it should be constantly changing. As new networks emerge, you may want to add them to your plan. As you attain goals, you may need to adjust them or find new goals for each network. New challenges might present themselves that you need to address. As you scale your business, you might need to add new roles or grow your social presence for different branches or countries.

As you get more of a feel for what social marketing can achieve, and what you need it to do for your organisation, you’ll be able to refine your goals and rewrite your strategy to reflect your latest insights.
Daniel Melbye specialises in digital marketing and has worked in a range of communications roles for commercial entities, government institutions and not-for-profit. He publishes a successful online magazine www.danielmelbye.com and has featured in a series of leading fundraising and marketing publications including Tom Ahern, 101fundraising and Networking for Good. Find him on Twitter @DanielMelbye.

6 Steps to Social Media Marketing Miracles



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