Social media for international development organisations

Categories: CommunicationsPublished On: 14th April, 20201082 words5.4 min read

Social media for international development organisations

Categories: CommunicationsPublished On: 14th April, 202049.2 min read

Social media is a key tool for getting your message out there, and building your profile. However, it can also be confusing and requires some detailed knowledge to use effectively. Simply having a social profile for your organisation may not help you achieve your goals – using it in the right way can however help you gain new followers, raise the profile of your organisation, and even develop fundraising opportunities.

So how can you make sure you are making the most of your social media activity?

Work out the platform that’s right for you

Facebook is a great tool for speaking to individuals who use it in a personal capacity. Posting videos, setting up Facebook Groups to engage a group of people around a topic, or using a small amount of budget to boost important posts so that more people see them are all ways you can make the most of Facebook. Find out more about getting started with Facebook and scheduling posts.

Instagram is a fantastic way to tell your story visually. If you have access to lots of great photography, setting up an Instagram account can be a good way to show off what you have been up to. The Story function is also useful for sharing your latest news. Use plenty of hashtags in your content to get your posts in front of the right people. Find out how to use Instagram as a non-profit here.

Twitter is ideal for short, regular updates aimed at connecting with individuals, organisations and official bodies, and building relationships with these accounts with the aim of raising your profile and increasing your following. Twitter doesn’t follow an algorithm as Facebook and Instagram do, so your content is more likely to be seen by more people. Find out how to use Twitter as a non-profit, and some examples of good non-profit use of the platform.

Do you want to showcase your journey and story in a professional manner, to help increase job applications or build connections in a professional capacity? LinkedIn could be right for this objective. Find out how to use LinkedIn as a non-profit here.

If you have access to lots of video content, then starting a YouTube channel is a good way of storing it and organising it by category. You can reach new audiences by making sure you are tagging it with the right keywords that people will be using to search the platform. Find out more information about using YouTube here.

There are many other new platforms emerging rapidly, and it’s worth keeping up with which ones could be useful for speaking to the audience you want to target. For example, Snapchat and TikTok are great if you want to connect with young people. Keep up with the latest social media news here.

Scheduling content

By using scheduling tools, you can be more efficient with your use of social media and free up time to use elsewhere. Although it is important to check in on your accounts daily, in order to answer any questions that may have been posted and catch up with news from your sector, scheduling content in advance is more efficient and means you can plan content ahead of time.

Using tools like Buffer, Hootsuite and Tweetdeck to schedule in your content ahead of time also means you can post at times of the day when your audience is online, but you may not be. Some scheduling tools have a free version, or a paid-for version with more features. It is worth trialling several to see which one suits your organisation best.

Creating content

Use a variety of different content types to keep things interesting, but make sure that the content you are using suits the platform you are posting it on.

For example, videos are best on Facebook because the platform will prioritise them over images as part of the algorithm that decides what to show in people’s feeds. Square images work best on Instagram, and GIFs grab attention on Twitter.

Take a look at this article that will help you find the perfect image dimensions for each platform.

Always try and post with an image or video, and not text only, as on all platforms text-only content tends to reach less people and get less engagement.

Want to make your own images? Online editors like Canva or Piktochart can help you create professional-looking images quickly using templates, and there are free and paid versions available to help you create posters, graphics, infographics and even animated videos.

Be active

In order to grow your following and increase awareness around your organisation, you need to dedicate time daily to social media. Posting, responding to comments and questions, finding new accounts to follow and interact with, and planning out what you’re going to be doing in the next few weeks are all important things to do in order to keep your social media pages active and attractive for visitors to hopefully decide to follow you.

Taking ten minutes at the start and end of each day to check in on your social pages is an easy way to keep on top of things. You may want to introduce a rota within your team, or allocate different team members a different social channel or responsibility to look after.

Evaluate what you’re doing

Being active on social media and putting in the work can achieve great results, but if you’re not monitoring how it is going and learning from what you are doing, you may not be being as efficient as you could be.

Take the time to look at the analytics section of each platform you are active on – keeping up with the statistics in this section will help you identify what posts have performed the best, allowing you to replicate those results again. For example, you might learn that your audience like it best when you ask lots of direct questions, or prefer to interact with video content over images. Taking time each month to check in on the analytics section could help you to get better results in the future.

Many platforms will allow you to get results for the month at-a-glance, making it even easier to see what is and isn’t working.

Find out more on social media analytics here.

We can help your organisation access training and advice on social media marketing. To find out more and get tailored advice, email us at