What hiding ‘likes’ could mean for your nonprofit

What hiding ‘likes’ could mean for your nonprofit

What’s new on Instagram and Facebook

Last month, Instagram announced that they are rolling out a feature that gives users the option to hide their public ‘like’ counts on all posts in their feeds. Put simply, users can now prevent others from seeing likes on their posts—and also choose not to see how many likes other people’s posts are getting. 

Despite a lack of rigorous research on social media and mental health, the company decided to let users opt-in or out of hiding likes after testing the feature in small groups for the last couple of years. They also announced that the feature would be heading to Facebook in the coming weeks.

This change might come as a relief for users who feel the stress of comparison that ‘likes’ often produce and may now find more joy in their favorite platforms. In recent years, Instagram and Facebook have been the center of discourse about the relationship between the toxicity of social media, mental health, and body image

But for brands, influencers, and nonprofits who use their platforms to connect with their audience and promote their work, removing ‘likes’ may disrupt what it means to be successful on social media. 

But why?

In a recent blog post, the company wrote that the new option is part of an effort to offer users more control of their experience on Instagram and Facebook. “We tested hiding like counts to see if it might depressurize people’s experience on Instagram,” the company wrote. “What we heard from people and experts was that not seeing like counts was beneficial for some and annoying to others, particularly because people use like counts to get a sense for what’s trending or popular, so we’re giving you the choice.”

In addition to the flexible ‘like’ options, Instagram also announced new inclusion and safety updates, including a new feature to filter abusive DMs and a Diversity team to address the needs of Black users. Facebook will also offer new ways for users to control what they see on their newsfeed, including Feed Filter Bar, Favorites Feed, and Choose Who Can Comment.  Additionally, Facebook will fund more external research about users’ experiences on Instagram and is requesting research proposals from academics and nonprofits. Both platforms have faced criticism for failing to crack down on hate speech in the past, and these features are an opportunity to both course-correct and set a new conduct standard. 

The jury is out on the social impact of these decisions and how they might help eliminate social media toxicity at a high level. But they’re likely to improve the in-app experience on an individual basis and perhaps win back users who were pulling away from socials to protect their mental health and well-being.

So what comes next?

So what might these changes mean for businesses and nonprofits? Undoubtedly, Facebook and Instagram geared these updates toward everyday users instead of brands and organizations. However, they still offer an exciting opportunity for professional accounts to experiment with their content. A more laid-back and less toxic user experience could mean that your followers feel more comfortable on Instagram and Facebook and spend more time there—which would mean more eyes on your content. By hiding likes from your audience, your organization can post what feels authentic to your mission without conforming to the pressure of the algorithm or the trending page. Plus, your audience can form an opinion on your post based on your content instead of how popular it appears to be. Finally, breaking away from traditional success metrics could mean opportunities for innovation, risk-taking, and connecting with people who are truly aligned with your mission, not just seeking prestige.

Although there’s good reason to be optimistic, nonprofit marketers should still be prepared to make some shifts in light of some users ditching likes. While you’ll still have insight into your own analytics, users may no longer see who else is engaging with your content—removing the element of peer pressure that has long been a driver on social media. 

It will take time for marketers—and their audiences—to adjust to a new experience on Instagram and Facebook. But by staying true to your audience and creating content that consistently speaks to your mission, nonprofit marketers can make the most of the changes as they continue to roll out.

Nonprofits should build relationships with local media

Nonprofits should build relationships with local media

Advertising is essential for nonprofits, but finding the right strategy that works within the required budget constraints isn’t always easy. As a result, nonprofits often put advertising on the back burner—and consequently miss out on an opportunity to connect with a broader audience, promote their brand, and build awareness around their work. 

Luckily, there are simple steps a nonprofit organization can take to improve advertising without wasting a ton of time or money. 

Write Advertorial Content

Nonprofits looking to up their advertising game should consider investing in “advertorial” content—content that looks like an editorial or objective journalistic article, but is written by an advertising partner. As opposed to more traditional ads, advertorial gives nonprofits the space (and the word count) to amplify their mission and fundraising efforts while making connections with newspapers and magazines in their communities.

Certainly, the cost of an advertorial program might make some organizations pause. However, nonprofits can typically negotiate lower advertising rates or create programs to have advertising donated through in-kind programs

Connect with Local Journalists 

Through advertising programs and contests, nonprofits can build mutually beneficial relationships with local media outlets. Nonprofits can grow their volunteer and donor base, improve visibility in the community, and share their story with their community members. In turn, media outlets can generate advertising revenue and promote causes that matter to their readers. 

Reach out to journalists at your local paper. If you work in a variety of markets, start building relationships with media in each region or city. These personal relationships with local reporters can help you take advantage of advertising—and potentially win you earned media coverage, too!

Ask Media Partners to Get Creative 

Advertising in local media outlets isn’t limited to display ads, or even advertorials. Nonprofit clients can purchase branded content, such as articles, videos, and live or virtual events, through programs at newspapers and magazines within their community. 

A study from Pressboard Media found that branded content is 22x more engaging than display ads. Readers spend an average of 36 seconds engaging with written branded content, which is significantly higher than the average 1.6 seconds that they’ll spend with a banner ad. Nonprofits can tell the stories behind their fundraising efforts through paid editorial-style content and highlight the people and places behind your work. This content feels more authentic to your nonprofit’s voice and values than traditional advertising. 

In addition, many media outlets also have in-house creative studios and events teams—giving partners access to high-quality video, podcasts, and events. Bring your big ideas to your local paper or magazine—and see if they would be willing to partner with you!

Understand What’s Possible (And Point to Examples from Other Local Media Partners)

To find the best way to leverage local media in your advertising strategies, start by exploring the options available in your area—and do your research on what has been done before. 

The Chicago Sun-Times publishes sponsored content in partnership with businesses, nonprofits, and other third-party organizations. The content reads like traditional editorial content, but since it’s technically paid advertising, the partner organization is in the driver’s seat when it comes to storytelling. The partner organization is listed in the preview of each story on the Sun-Times website, which means even the skimmers and scrollers will get a glance at your organization’s name. 

The Chicago Reader also hosts a branded content program that features local nonprofits and social impact giving opportunities. Program clients pay for and participate in developing the content that is written and produced by the alternative weekly’s editorial team. 

Minnesota’s Mpls. St.Paul Magazine, which is dedicated to service journalism and promoting events within Minneapolis-St. Paul, hosts several events each year to help drive traffic, brand exposure, and sales for their partner organizations. The nonprofit or business is listed as a partner on the event’s content and gets additional exposure to the magazine’s audience. In turn, the magazine can demonstrate its values and its commitment to the community. 

These programs, and others like them around the country, offer nonprofits a critical opportunity to tell their story on their terms, grow their supporter base, and increase brand awareness in their community. 

Advertorial content in local media outlets is an essential tool that nonprofit organizations can use to reach a wider audience and control the narrative surrounding their work. Nonprofit leaders shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to their local papers’ advertising departments to initiate a brainstorming session. Together, you can collaborate on ideas for articles, events, and other media services that serve your storytelling needs, promote your organization, and engage your community. 

4 Reasons Your Nonprofit Should Try Clubhouse

4 Reasons Your Nonprofit Should Try Clubhouse

Since its launch in 2020, marketers have been chatting about Clubhouse, the limited-access social network where users can jump into audio rooms together. The app draws users in by promoting off-the-cuff, unplanned, and fast-paced conversations. It invites people to tell stories, meet interesting people, and share ideas around various topics. 

The concept might sound confusing at first, but imagine attending a party (wow, what we would give…) and hopping from room to room, joining the conversations that interest you most. Users are free to listen in, but those who want to contribute to a discussion can simply “raise their hand,” and moderators can choose to invite them up to the “stage” to speak. The users who add value to a room are more likely to be selected as moderators for future conversations. 

It’s too early to get a read on the longevity of Clubhouse, but nonprofit marketers are already finding value in the platform. Despite its exclusivity, Clubhouse offers organizations a unique opportunity to engage with their current audience and reach out to new prospects by using the platform to build brand awareness, network with other users, and promote thought leadership.  On Clubhouse, nonprofits can foster candid and insightful conversations related to their mission and connect with potential partners, donors, and allies. 

Clubhouse is currently in Beta mode, so it’s not yet available to the general public. Current users can invite others to join them on the platform, and other iPhone users can sign up for the app’s waitlist. Since it’s not open access yet, and various celebrities, activists, and influencers have made appearances in rooms, it’s certainly succeeded in building interest off the buzz and a sense of exclusivity. 

While adding yet another social network to your already overloaded plate might seem daunting, Clubhouse is worth exploring—simply because it gives you unique access to active and engaged communities. 

Here are four reasons your nonprofit should try Clubhouse: 

Young man speaking into his phone on clubhouse.

1. Show off your leadership and insights.

Nonprofit leaders and marketers can take advantage of the platform’s drop-in nature to establish themselves as thought leaders around a given topic by joining existing conversations as a guest. By sharing your story and experience in the nonprofit space, brainstorming solutions to the problems that leaders on the platform seek to solve, and offering support to other users’ missions, you can add value to the community—without making it all about you.

Two people connecting via phones.

2. Connect with new people.

Before leaving a room, users can solidify the relationships with their new connections by directing listeners to your organization’s website, contact information, and social media accounts. The more relationships a user builds on the platform, the more likely it is that another user will invite them to moderate a conversation.

The definition of the word expert

3. Establish yourself as an expert.

The opportunity to moderate in a room allows users to stand out as an expert on the topic at hand. Users can also start rooms or clubs centered around their work and mission. Nonprofit leaders can use their own rooms to build brand awareness by providing listeners with overviews of their organization. They can also ask other users within the same space to speak on topics or offer feedback on specific projects or ideas.

Jars of change representing fundraising

4. Fundraise on Clubhouse!

Clubhouse also offers non-profits another platform to host fundraisers, whether on their own in partnership with other organizations. In February, a group of Clubhouse users started a room dubbed “Clubhouse Loves Texas,” which was set up as a week-long fundraising initiative following the winter storm in Texas that left thousands of people across the state without power, food, clean water, and other critical resources.

Since Clubhouse doesn’t include a fundraising tool, the platform Pledgeling facilitated the event. The organizers raised over $115,000 for local nonprofits such as Houston Food Bank and Austin Area Urban League. The event featured drop-in conversations from politicians and celebrities from the area, including singer Andra Day and former Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke. The success of the event speaks to the power of Clubhouse, where thousands of users can join a room at once, in contrast to more asynchronous platforms such as Facebook. In an interview with OneZero, Houston Foodbank Annual Giving manager Jessica Dominguez noted how exciting it was to see event organizers provide real-time updates to an actively engaged audience instead of a static platform.

And earlier this month, moderators of the club LA Food Gang hosted a fundraiser for Off Their Plate. This non-profit organization delivers funds to struggling AAPI-owned restaurants to make meals for AAPI community organizations. The event raised over $58,000. 

With Clubhouse, nonprofits can garner interest through real-time discussions in a way that just hasn’t been possible in a world that’s suffering from Zoom fatigue and a lack of in person interaction. It’s one more great tool for conversation in a world where video calls feel exhausting but we still want fun ways to connect.