Using the POST Method for Creating a Successful Nonprofit Social Media Marketing Plan

This a guest blog post by John Hayden

You’re probably winging it.

You’re winging it if you take lots of action with social media and email marketing, but still fail to see results. You might be following a few best practices you learned in a webinar (if so, congrats!). But who has time to attend webinars every day?

Using the POST Method for Creating a Successful Nonprofit Social Media Marketing Plan Charityhowto

The surest way to achieve your fundraising goals is to have a plan. Plus, writing it down helps remove anxiety and uncertainty from the process. Swayed by the whims of the board or your boss, you find yourself getting pulled in all sorts of directions that have little to do with retaining donors and growing your community.

You’re smart enough to know what’s important, but lack a clear plan for achieving your goals. And when finally get around to making a plan (if you ever get there), you’re not sure what to include.

A smart social media marketing plan for your nonprofit identifies your target audience (what they like, where they hangout), a plan to engage them, and a plan to retain the converted (those who sign up to follow your social media outlets).

Think of your marketing plan as a playbook for the field – something you can refer to again and again during the heat of the battle!

The following marketing plan helps you answers these critical questions:

  • What segment of your community are you trying to engage?
  • What’s in it for them?
  • What’s in it for us?
  • How will we measure success?
  • How will we promote the campaign?

The best plan marketing follows the POST method

Developed by Forrester Research, the POST method is an effective framework for creating your nonprofit’s social media marketing plan.

  • People – Where does your community hangout online? What do they talk about?
  • Objectives – What specifically are you trying to achieve with digital marketing?
  • Strategy – How will you answer WIFM (What’s In It For Me)? What value will you offer in exchange for their email, money, time, or influence?
  • Tactics – Which tools and tactics will you use?

You can learn more about the POST method in Groundswell, a book by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff.

Let’s dig into each on of these.

P – People

You can’t achieve even a basic level of success on social media if you don’t understand your people. No one will like, retweet, or repin your blog post if you haven’t answered the only question that really matters: What’s in it for them?

O – Objectives

If you don’t have a destination any tool will do. Any best practice will do too.

Clear objectives helps you determine if you were successful or not. Long-term success on social media requires a lot of trial and error. But you have to know what’s a trial and what’s in error. Plus, they help you discover what you’re doing right!

S – Strategy

Your strategy is more than just a plan. It’s a plan that will meet your objectives based on what you know about your people.

In other words, strategy is about a value exchange. What are you going to give in exchange for their email, money, time, influence and attention?

Whether it’s a meaningful pledge, or a sweepstakes, write down exactly how you will offer enough value to encourage them to help you achieve your objective.

T – Technology

Once you understand your people, objective, and strategy, you can confidently select the tools and tactics you’ll use for your campaign. For example, if your strategy is to engage Millennials on Instagram, creating content around a hashtag would be a tactic.

Next Steps

Now that you have an outline of the POST method, it’s time to start planning! Take some time to write down ideas for each of the four categories in the framework.

Want to learn more about organizing your social media marketing for your nonprofit? Check out John’s free CharityHowTo webinar.