Here’s the dream: You fire up Facebook → You share a link to your nonprofit organization’s website → Hearts and minds are changed forever.
Can the dream come true? Absolutely. We start by laying the foundation so that your website can make your social media outreach *shine*.
1. Article Titles
When you share an article on social media, the article’s title becomes a key factor that determines whether someone will click or not. Write provocative titles. Keep them under 90 (max 100!) characters in length. If relevant, include words that are also popular hashtags.
2. Featured Image
If an article is shared along with an image, research shows that the post will receive more response on social media. Add a relevant featured image to your article or pages, either in the designated “featured” field or as an image within the page itself. (The exact implementation varies across website platforms. See #8 for advanced tips about the tags that determine which article images are shared on social media.)
3. Social Media Icons
Create icons for each of your organization’s social media accounts and display them on one or more of the following areas of your website: header, footer, sidebar. (Use Google Image search if you’re looking for social media icons.)
4. Landing Pages
A landing page with focused content will help you turn social media browsers into doers. Create specific pages on your website to serve as the main destination for each of your social media campaigns.
For example, if you are recruiting volunteers via social media, create a “volunteer” landing page and always use that landing page as the link you promote on social media. The landing page should include only information relevant to your specific goal. In the volunteer campaign example, a landing page might have: a title inviting people to volunteer, a paragraph of text about the rewards of volunteering, a picture or two of people in the act of volunteering, a brief contact form to express interest in volunteering… and that’s it. No donation form. No upcoming events. No latest news.
5. Authors’ Social Media Links
Highlight the experts on your staff by posting links to their professional social media accounts (with their permission) on your website. Twitter and LinkedIn work best for this purpose. You can add these links in a brief bio about the author and place the bio in the footer of a research report or article.
Infographics have legs! They can help you reach new audiences as they are shared widely across many social media platforms, from Twitter to LinkedIn to Pinterest. Just be sure to include your website’s URL and nonprofit logo within the infographic itself. (Tools such as Piktochart and Canva will help you create your own infographics.)
7. Social Sharing Tool
You may have noticed social sharing tools on other sites. They often look like a small string of social media icons. Social sharing tools allow a visitor to easily share a page or article on social media sites or even via email. The research is still inconclusive as to whether they increase social sharing, but the tool can definitely help by providing you with more analytics about how your site is being shared. (AddThis is a great DIY social sharing tool.)
8. Meta Tags
Warning: extreme website nerdiness ahead. There are a ton of new meta tags that help your site succeed in social media. These meta tags help Facebook determine which image to select when you share a link, they help Google determine whose Google Plus profile to feature in search results as the author of the article, they help Twitter embed the title and a preview of an article.
If you have a dynamic content management system such as WordPress or Drupal, which are being constantly updated to incorporate new technology, then your site may already have these tags, or it may be easy for your developer to implement them for you. If you have a static, outdated or proprietary system, I can’t say what options are available, but it may be worth inquiring!
By the way, if you need help with your nonprofit website, send me an email! We might be a good match for each other.
Here are the names of these tags, in case it’s helpful: open graph (Facebook), Twitter cards (Twitter), Google Authorship (Google).