Now that my New Year’s resolutions have died in the far off land of Adulting, join me as I ponder what I really care about in 2016: helping nonprofits navigate the digital landscape to promote causes and issues helping make the world a better place.
Social Media and Websites
It seems dated in 2016 to characterize social media and websites as distinct digital entities, since they work hand in hand. This blurred website and social media landscape means you need to think of your content promotion strategies holistically and keep user experience at the center of your efforts, instead of focusing your strategy on one channel or platform.
For example, an annual report in PDF format that is 50 pages long and promoted once on Facebook and Twitter isn’t going to cut it in 2016. Think about your audience and how to design both a product and experience that will get as many audience members as possible to read and absorb the accomplishments of your organization. This might mean you break the report down into a series of easy-to-digest segments that you share over the course of several weeks. Or perhaps it means a video series where you share the top five highlights of your organization, accompanied by a longer narrative on your website.
Whatever you need to promote in 2016, think of the user experience first in your planning phase, and the channels (social media, websites and other digital spaces) at the end.
2016 Platform Updates and Trends
Have your user experience in mind? Great! Now let’s start thinking about updates to platforms and trends for content promotion.
- Facebook—Love it or hate it, Facebook continues to prove critics wrong and is evolving to become even more influential than it was in 2015. And a bonus for nonprofits: Facebook is testing a feature that would allow users to donate to your organization directly from Facebook. Expect more announcements and a possible rollout in 2016. Start with this article from Slate if you need a good primer on how the news feed algorithm works.
- Twitter—Things aren’t looking so good. While Twitter is thriving for journalists, the entertainment industry and some niche audiences, it may not give your materials the exposure you need. A bizarre change to the tweet length policy announced in January is also perplexing long-time users.
- Instagram—Make way for the brands. Instagram developed an advertising structure in 2015 and is enabling new features that will make brand management easier, like managing multiple accounts from one device. Let’s hope 2016 is not the year of pay to play for Instagram, but it’s looking more likely every day.