5 Tips to Craft a Powerful Data-Driven Social Media Strategy

October 11, 2023 0 Comments

There are so many innovative marketing ideas out there for nonprofits to take advantage of, especially when it comes to social media outreach. However, sometimes it’s just as effective to go back to the basics and improve your existing marketing efforts.

Social media trends and best practices change so often that it’s helpful to ground your approach in data and regularly reevaluate your social media presence as your supporter base grows and changes.

In this article, we’ll give you five tips to upgrade your social media strategy using data. That way, you can ensure you’re reaching out to supporters in a systematic, evidence-based way. Let’s get started!

1. Conduct prospect research.

AlumniFinder defines prospect research as the process of determining donors’ capacity and desire to give to your nonprofit. As a result, you can establish who your most promising potential donors are and identify major donors.

Prospect research is useful when developing your social media strategy because you can use the data you collect to tailor your campaigns to current and potential supporters. Take a look at the two main types of data nonprofits collect during prospect research:

  • Wealth data. Prospect research allows you to evaluate donors’ capacity to give using information such as business affiliations, stock ownership, and home value. This data helps you determine which specific donors to reach out to in your social media campaigns.
  • Philanthropic data. The other type of data nonprofits collect as part of prospect research is philanthropic data, including personal information, past giving, and nonprofit engagement history. This information can help you understand your supporters’ interests and tailor your messaging accordingly.

When you know more about your supporters, you can create more targeted social media campaigns that take their preferences and history into account. For example, you can identify prospects to reach out to through direct messages or use demographic information to develop more specific campaigns.

2. Append missing data.

Once you determine who your most important prospects are, you can fill in any missing information you need from them and other supporters in your database.

Nonprofits resolve gaps in their databases by appending missing data. When you work with a data append service, their team will pull the data you’re looking for from third-party sources to supplement your database.

In this case, it’s most important to append social media profiles. That way, you can ensure all current and potential supporters follow your organization’s social media accounts. However, you can also append other information to round out your database, such as:

  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Employment status
  • Language preference
  • Date of birth
  • Location

You can use this information to narrow the focus of your social media campaigns. For example, if you’re an animal shelter in the Atlanta area, you may want to prioritize targeting local supporters. When you append your supporters’ locations, you can create a segment in your database of local supporters to reach out to in your campaigns.

3. Create audience personas.

Based on your collected data, create audience personas you can target on social media. Group your supporters into different categories so you can develop individualized campaigns for each segment.

Continuing with our animal shelter example, you may have three main groups of supporters: Young adults looking to volunteer, families looking to adopt, and older adults looking to donate. You can develop these audiences into unique personas that each have their own interests and needs in order to target them more effectively on social media.

For example, this organization could create the following personas:

  • Anna Martin, a 24-year-old living in Atlanta who doesn’t have the space to take in a pet of her own but wants to be involved in the shelter’s activities
  • Elizabeth Johnson, a 41-year-old mother living in the Atlanta suburbs who wants to adopt a pet for her family
  • Edward Green, a 73-year-old living in Atlanta who is passionate about supporting animal shelters and wildlife conservation centers

To better flesh out these personas, this organization could send surveys to its supporters to supplement its donor data with qualitative research. For instance, you might learn that young adults like to volunteer with their coworkers, so you can create and promote group volunteer opportunities on social media to target this audience.

4. Align your campaigns with your audience.

Use your audience personas as a guide map for your campaigns. Start by choosing platforms for each campaign based on your audience.

For example, Getting Attention recommends leveraging Facebook challenges to encourage peer-to-peer fundraising on social media. Since nearly 24% of Facebook users are between the ages of 25 and 34, Facebook challenges are best suited for personas that fall within this age range.

The messaging of your social media campaigns should also align with your personas. For example, to target Elizabeth Johnson and other similar supporters, the animal shelter may create a campaign detailing how they prepare animals for adoption. 

They could create posts that explain how animals go through the fostering process to make sure they’re family-friendly and socialize with other animals in the shelter to ensure they mesh well with other pets. This information may entice families looking to adopt a pet to seriously consider choosing that particular shelter.

5. Analyze social media post performance.

Assess whether your campaigns are helping you gain new support by analyzing how your social media posts are performing. Compare the engagement on each post to determine which types of content and messaging are most effective. 

Many social media platforms will also provide additional analytics to help you evaluate your posts’ performance. For example, if you create a business account on Instagram, you can view insights such as how many accounts you’ve reached, how many accounts you’ve engaged, likes, comments, saves, shares, and replies for each post.

To hear directly from your supporters, you can survey your social media followers to see if your content resonates with them. They may even provide suggestions for how you can improve your content to make it more relevant.

Social media isn’t just a marketing tool. If you leverage it correctly, your social media can spark a community where your supporters meaningfully engage with your content and each other. When you incorporate data into your social media strategy, you’re bound to better reach your supporters based on what matters to them rather than mere guesswork. As a result, you can form authentic connections with your supporters using social media.