Non-Profits and Social Media: Using Social Advertising to Tell Your Story

Organic social media is a dying marketing tool. The space is crowded. Creative assets are getting even better. Organizations are putting more time, energy and strategy into digital work -- and much more money. A lot of non-profits think: "I have a good message, people should want to support this organization that is very obviously bettering the world." But they're still not seeing the results they'd like on their social channels.

Unless you have a really large following, thousands of advocates sharing your content and maybe a couple of other organizations pitching in to spread the word, you probably won't make a dent in the social space. Even then, the odds are getting lower and lower as more and more voices, opinions and beautiful pictures crowd the social space. With average organic reach of Facebook pages with one million+ likes at 2.27 percent and one billion tweets sent every two days, it's easy to get lost in the clutter. Social advertising can help you stand out by making your great content visible to more people

So now that you know why social advertising is important, below are four quick ways to get started:

Study Up. If you don't have someone running social ads for you, get smart about how they work. Most of these platforms are self-serve, because you really can execute them on your own. Checkout Facebook BluePrint and Twitter's Flight School, for step-by-step guides and instructions.

Determine Your Goals. Don't run ads just to run ads. Start with goals that you want to achieve on social. These could be growing your audience, gaining attention for an initiative or even raising money in a crisis situation. Whatever your goals are, keep them in mind while planning, executing and evaluating your campaign.

Start Small and Get Creative. Non-profits need to use their budget wisely. A great thing about social advertising is that you don't need a lot of money to create a meaningful campaign and see a difference in reach and engagement. It's fine to start with a small buy and give different kinds of content a try to see what your audience responds to.

Pay Attention to Analytics. When advertising on social, another huge benefit is immediate results. You can see what works and can adjust the budget, message, audience -- really any part of the campaign -- in real time. Make sure to do regular assessments of your ads and see how you can enhance what you're promoting to increase engagement and get the results you're looking for.

Whatever you decide, remember this: It's okay to self-promote. People won't think that you're spending your money the wrong way or stop supporting you because you invested in social advertising. This is how you reach a new and wider audience, gain more supporters and influence more potential advocates.

If they can't see your message, how can you tell your story?