Post to Twitter at least twice a day. Post to Instagram once a day. Publish your posts at peak times for higher engagement. You often hear all about the different opinions and statistics about what you should do on social media, but what about the things you need to make sure you’re NOT doing?

Understanding the possible pitfalls are just as—if not more—important as the possible successes when it comes to your social strategy.

On this week’s podcast episode, we speak with International Justice Mission’s former social media marketing manager, Cameron Bartlett. Through his vast experience and successes in nonprofit social media strategy, he provides some pretty awesome tips about things you need to make sure you’re staying away from with your organization’s social presence.

5 Common Social Media Mistakes:

1. Posting things that only YOU care about

Always think through what your audience wants, not just what you want. Make a mindset change and put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Discover what is most important to them.

If people respond best to videos, post videos. If they prefer inspiring quotes, post those.

So, start by asking your audience what they want to hear from you. When you begin engaging them through content that they care about, your asks and content that you want to share will automatically be more welcomed. 

Measure what works and repeat. It sounds simple, but it’s rarely done.

2. Making too many asks

It’s so easy to get carried away with asking followers to do too much.

Sign up for our newsletter! Attend this event! Give to this cause!

First, let's focus on engagement. Once people engage and interact with you, then you can target THOSE people for the deeper asks.

Here's a strategic and effective way to tackle this: Once you see certain users interacting with your campaign more than others, target ads specifically to them that nurture that group to an ask. 

Make a strategic ask, not a redundant one that falls on deaf ears and turns people away.

3. Overcomplicating the messaging

Make your message clear and simple. Your message needs to be easy to connect with, so don’t overthink it with a verbose post.

Even if you have a lot of arms/facets to your cause, don’t hesitate to post about them one at a time. Many worry that if they don’t mention everything at once, users will think they are only involved with the one cause they are referring to in that moment. Escape from that mindset.

Here’s an example using The A Group.

We could try and tweet something like:

“We are a Martech agency who partners with nonprofits, ministries and other organizations to create effective websites, branding, marketing plans, technologies, apps, strategy, donor development…”

Bored yet?




It’s so easy to skim past something like that, isn’t it? You get lost and are no longer able to quickly identify with the statement. Instead, if we were to tweet something like the below, we can hook someone much quicker because we are helping the user identify a need and see a solution:

“Does someone know what your nonprofit does within 5 seconds of visiting your website? They should. Let us help.”

4. Failing to reward your followers for engaging or donating to your cause

Often, as a nonprofit or ministry, you have to make asks that don’t necessarily result in a tangible return for your followers. That’s kind of just the nature of what you do!

If you had a product or service to offer in return, it would obviously be much easier to make an ask.

So, when someone engages with you…engage them back! That's about all you can do, so be intentional and make sure they feel heard so that they continue to do that in the future. 

Ask yourself: what are these people looking to get out of engaging with our nonprofit? Maybe they want recognition. Maybe they want affirmation that they’re making a difference. Maybe they want to know that there is a real person engaging them with your brand.

At the end of the day, they want you to care enough to engage and make them the hero.

Do this:

“Thank you to our donors for making it possible to dig these 5 wells in Africa this week!”

Not this:

“Our nonprofit XYZ dug 5 wells in Africa!”

5. Not capitalizing on what is working

This sounds like something people would do intuitively, but more often than not, we get in a rhythm of post, post, post and forget to look back and assess what worked and what made people engage!

Go back and look at the posts that have the most comments, likes and shares (this is clearly something your followers care about). Then try and replicate that formula.

We hope this was helpful to you! If you’re interested in hearing more of this conversation, be sure to check out the podcast episode! Cameron gives a few more helpful tips (one is a 70-20-10 rule for posting) that we think you’ll find very insightful.

Listen to this podcast

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