#GivingTuesday and social media go hand-in-hand. It’s right there in the event’s name — it’s a hashtag. And since the 92nd St. Y started #GivingTuesday in 2012, it’s become a staple of the nonprofit fundraising calendar. Because #GivingTuesday is a day built for social media, it’s vital for nonprofits to harness the power of social media to have the biggest impact possible on December 3, 2019.
We recently hosted a webinar on #GivingTuesday social media strategy, which you can watch in full. We went over everything from how to make the most of Instagram, to workarounds to Facebook’s new challenges, to managing your internal workflow.
In case you don’t have time to watch the full webinar, we’ve put together five important tips that will help you build your #GivingTuesday social media plan!
#GivingTuesday Social Media Tips
1. Use Hashtags!
So, first, we want to clear up a little bit of confusion. #GivingTuesday is not two words. The event name is a hashtag — it’s meant to inspire online conversations, to be searched for and easily found, to connect nonprofits and people.
How do hashtags work?
Hashtags work by turning words or phrases into searchable terms. When you put a hashtag (or pound sign) in front of a word or phrase, it becomes hyperlinked. The link will connect your post or tweet with other posts or tweets using the same hashtag. And this allows people to find others who are interested and talking about a particular topic.
Hashtags rose to prominence on Twitter, but nearly every social media platform uses hashtags to connect posts and connect users. This is why #GivingTuesday’s name is a hashtag — by using the event name, your nonprofit becomes connected to donors and other organizations working to change the world. Pretty powerful, huh?
How do you use hashtags?
It’s very simple: You stick a hashtag (or pound sign) at the beginning of a word or phrase. A space will stop the hashtag. So, for instance, if you tweeted something with “#Giving Tuesday,” the only searchable part of your tweet is “giving” and your tweet won’t be connected to other #GivingTuesday posts.
And for something so simple, hashtags are surprisingly effective! Tweets with hashtags get around 60% more engagement than those without hashtags. Both Twitter and Instagram allow users to follow hashtags — Instagram will actually put the hashtags users choose to follow right in their feeds!
#GivingTuesday social media hashtags
Another important thing to understand about #GivingTuesday as a hashtag is that it refers to the global event. It’s not specific to any platform. Platforms like Mightycause tend to use our own hashtags to separate our own event from the global giving day. So, to post about your #GivingTuesday campaign on Mightycause, you should use our hashtag: #mightytuesday
Get found through hashtags
We recommend conducting hashtag research to see what popular hashtags people use related to your work. For instance, on Instagram, #adoptdontshop is an active hashtag for animal welfare organizations to use. Instagram will actually tell you how active a hashtag is when you start typing it into a post. (So, use ones that are active!)
2. Be a Storyteller
We’ve talked about #GivingTuesday storytelling before, but this is a different kind of story. We’re talking about Instagram and Facebook Stories.
What’s a “story,” anyway?
“Stories” are the Instagram and Facebook response to Snapchat. And if that doesn’t help because you’re not familiar with how Snapchat works, here’s a better definition. Stories are a feature of the Facebook and Instagram apps that allow users to capture a photo or video, use editing tools to jazz it up, and send it to their friends and followers. And they disappear in 24 hours (unless you take steps to preserve them in your feed).
Benefits of Stories
Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook, by the way) use an algorithm to sort users’ feeds. This means that, sometimes, users won’t see things you post chronologically — which is a huge issue when you’re promoting #GivingTuesday! But the time-sensitive nature of Stories is a great way to grab people’s attention because they are chronological, and because they occupy prominent positions on both Facebook and Twitter.
Another big benefit is that since both platforms want users to post Stories, they will go to great lengths to help your stories grab attention. If you’ve never posted an Instagram Story, Instagram will send your followers a notification that you’ve posted your first Story, prompting them to watch. Facebook does the same. And both platforms will also send out notifications to your followers if you post a Story after not posting them for awhile.
Challenges of Stories
The biggest challenge to Stories is that you can’t post live links in them. (Well, on Instagram, you can… if you have 10,000+ followers, which is a pretty high bar if you’re not Chrissy Teigen or a Kardashian.)
How to use Stories
We won’t bore you with the technical details, because Buffer has done a great job of writing how-tos for both Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories. But here’s how you can make smart use of Stories in your #GivingTuesday social media plan.
- Build hype and awareness. Use Stories to generate excitement for your #GivingTuesday campaign! Give quick, fun snapshots of what you’ve got cooking for #GivingTuesday.
- Promote Power Hours and Golden Ticket hours. Since these are time-sensitive fundraising sprints, and someone seeing your Facebook post about a Power Hour doesn’t help you if people don’t see the posts in their feeds until the next day, Stories can be a great, strategic way to grab attention.
- Use them to bolster your regular posts. We don’t recommend using Stories instead of regular old posts, but as a way to augment them. By using Stories, and hitting on the same messaging, you can be seen by more people and make your #GivingTuesday campaign robust, dynamic, and memorable.
3. Go where your audience is
There are a lot of social media platforms, and a good social media marketer should build a presence on as many that make sense. But… #GivingTuesday is a high-stakes day. And for that reason, we recommend focusing on platforms where you have a larger audience.
You’ve got limited time and, if you’re like most nonprofits, limited resources. So, it’s important to be efficient with your time and efforts! Look at where your biggest audiences are, and focus your attention there. There’s no need to waste time trying to fit Pinterest into your social media strategy if you don’t have much of a presence there. Go where your people are!
4. Utilize volunteers
Coming up with a #GivingTuesday social media plan can feel overwhelming when you’re small. So many posts to plan! Who is going to write them? How will you collect the images you need? Do you know anyone who can edit a video?! But relax. There are people to help you with all of these things: volunteers.
Jobs that volunteers can do
So, nonprofits often restrict volunteers to certain roles. Greeting visitors, landscaping, sorting in-kind donations, maybe answering phones. But the world is full of people with awesome skills! You might have some volunteers pulling weeds who shoots and edits videos as a hobby. Maybe you have someone answering phones who works as a freelance graphic designer. Odds are, your volunteer pool is full of people who could help you with your #GivingTuesday social media plans!
They can write social media posts for you, help you monitor and respond to comments thoughout the day. Volunteer graphic designers could help you create a nifty #GivingTuesday-specific logo, or create a killer inforgraphic. Photographers could help you create images that compel people to donate and round out your campaign. You might even be able to find volunteer who can help you copyedit and test links. There are so many things volunteers can help with, so ask!
If you have a volunteer manager at your nonprofit, reach out to them. But if you don’t, you can try asking for help with #GivingTuesday social media via email, social media (of course), and you can also post a volunteer opportunity on the Calls to Action tool on Mightycause. All registered nonprofits will have FREE access to this tool throughout the event, which allows you to post opportunities, along with a description, gather any documents you need signed, and track your Volunteers in our Supporters tool. (You also have free access to Supporters and our other Premium features!)
But, you’ve got be registered to access Calls to Action. So register now if you haven’t already!
5. Have a Plan, and Schedule!
Nonprofits that fundraise successful and top the leaderboards on #GivingTuesday have one thing in common. They have a plan. There are a lot of moving parts on #GivingTuesday, from leaderboards to Power Hours to Golden Tickets, so winging it isn’t an option if you want to be successful. Plan your strategy ahead of time.
We also recommend scheduling your key content and any time-sensitive posts (like announcing the start of a Power Hour) ahead of time. Most platforms have free tools you can use to schedule posts. Facebook has Publishing Tools, Twitter has Tweetdeck, and Instagram … well, Instagram is a little trickier. But you can queue up your posts as drafts, or just make sure you’ve got the content at the ready on the big day!
The first step in any plan, though, is to register! So, get to it.