6 Social Media Trends for Nonprofits in 2023

March 7, 2023
7 minutes

On social media, some things are forever, like those embarrassing photos your ex posted at that toga party during senior week. But in terms of over-arching trends, nothing lasts, so it’s important to be vigilant about all the latest and greatest social media maneuvers. If your nonprofit wants to stay top of mind and ahead of the curve, here’s what you need to know about social media in 2023.

(Special thanks to Melissa Leventhal, our ingenious Social Media Manager, for contributing to this article! Go like and follow our social accounts—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok—for more fundraising ideas, nonprofit trends, and awesome examples!)

1. AI is here to stay.

Unless a friend printed out this article and mailed it to you because you’re on day 97 of an internet cleanse, you’ve already heard a lot about AI. We’re seeing all sorts of new technologies coming out (hey there, ChatGPT!), and they are good—in a terrifying sort of way—at what they do. In the year ahead, AI will impact content creation across the board, and that includes social media.

What you need to know

What you need to do

AI isn’t a replacement for a human, but it can definitely help streamline workflows, generate ideas, and pinpoint what your audience is looking for content-wise. So, take advantage of those capabilities to plan your social calendar and lighten your workload. At the same time, remember that with the rapid adoption of AI in marketing, tools that are specific to marketers will be created and iterated on quickly. The game is changing—and fast. Be on the lookout for new use cases for AI and be ready to think creatively about how AI can be of use in the nonprofitsphere.

2. TikTok use continues to go up.

You already knew that all the cool kids are scrolling TikTok, but now, everyone’s doing it. In fact, the average American watches TikTok for a staggering 80 minutes every day (Washington Post). In 2023, people will keep tuning in, so make sure you’re at the top of their FYP (For You Page).

What you need to know

  • The average person on an average day spends 34 minutes socializing and communicating in person (American Time Use Survey). That means folks are spending wayyy more time on TikTok than socializing IRL.
  • TikTok videos were originally capped at just 15 seconds in length. As of 2022, you can upload 10 minutes of video, allowing ample room for creative storytelling.

What you need to do

Many of us have held off on TikTok because change is hard and we already have SO MUCH going on. But now’s the time to hire a TikTok expert (or maybe you have a Gen Z board member who could lend a hand?), get your account up, and become the CEO of nonprofit dance-offs. (It’s a TikTok thing, we swear.) If you’re still feeling intimidated, here’s some good news: nonprofits are already in a position of success, according to TikTok itself! That’s because over 40% of TikTok users said brands have to “lift their spirits” to motivate them to part with their hard-earned cash, and there’s nothing nonprofits do better than sharing a rousing success story (TikTok’s 2023 What’s Next Trend Report).

3. User-generated content and influencer marketing makes an impact.

User-generated content (UGC) and influencer marketing might sound complicated, but every time you take a photo of your daily latte and post it online, boom. You’re making UGC. In a time when everyone has something to sell, people are gravitating toward authenticity and humanity, making UGC your ticket to social media success.

What you need to know

  • About 90% of consumers report that UGC influences their buying decisions more than marketing emails and even search engine results (HubSpot).
  • 72% of Gen Z and Millennials follow influencers on social media (HubSpot). That’s over 40% of the US population—and a lot of nonprofit supporters (Statista).
  • In 2022, people watched influencer content 13.2 times more than media and brand content (Tubular).

What you need to do

You already know that social media is effective for online fundraising. (Well, 79% of you do, according to the Global NGO Technology Report 2019.) But some nonprofits waver on whether influencer marketing and UGC is worth it. Here’s our advice: Don’t overthink it because you already have a leg up here. After all, it's difficult to find a nonprofit that's NOT using UGC—usually in the form of client testimonials and the nonprofit's story. So, keep doing what you know, lean into your unique story, and be the influencer you want to see in the world. And if you don’t know if you’re an expert in UGC (or what UGC is in the first place), now’s the time to find out.

4. Companies are investing more in video content.

With TikTok dominating the social scene and other platforms jumping on board with their own offerings, be they Instagram Reels or YouTube Shorts, video content is here to stay. If you’re still focused on text and photos, it’s time to embrace the moving image.

What you need to know

  • Almost 93% (!) of global internet users watch digital videos each week (DataReportal). That explains why 90% of global marketers are increasing or maintaining their investment in short-form videos this year (HubSpot).
  • 73% of consumers prefer to watch a short video, as opposed to a text-based article, e-book, or infographic, to learn about a product or service (Wyzowl).
  • In 2021, nearly 76 million people in the US scanned a QR code on their mobile devices, a 15.3% increase compared to 2020. That rise is expected to continue, and by 2025, usage of mobile QR code scanners is projected to reach approximately 99.5 million users (Statista).

What you need to do

We think it's time you made short-form videos a key part of your outreach strategy. Share links in your direct mail, play them at events, and splash them across social media. Additionally, QR codes are gaining enormous ground, especially with the donor’s cousin, the consumer. Use QR codes to introduce videos into spaces previously reserved for words or static images.

5. Employee advocacy increases organic reach.

In a world where organic content isn't what it used to be and ad spend rules the world, brands can leverage employees as brand ambassadors to boost their organic content, have more control over brand messaging, and build brand presence. As a bonus, it helps employees build their own professional profiles.

What you need to know

  • A recommendation from a friend or family member makes 83% of Americans more likely to purchase that product or service (Convince & Convert).
  • Word-of-mouth marketing is estimated to contribute to 13% of all sales (LXA).
  • In a recent study, over 87% of those surveyed said that employee advocacy contributed to expanding their professional network, and 76% believed that it helped them keep up with industry trends (Hinge Marketing).

What you need to do

As with these other trends, this is made for nonprofits! Word-of-mouth marketing is a great minimal-cost strategy to tap into if you want to increase donations. What for-profit industry can claim more passionate employees? How many corporations have mission-focused staff? What other company fundraises as a team for the cause they work toward every day? Yeah, you’ve got this.

6. Social media customer care is a must.

When people reach out to brands on social, they expect a response. But now, brands are using their responses to drive brand awareness. Some even have their own dedicated customer accounts.

What you need to know

  • The global population is about 8 billion people (Worldometer). As of January 2023, 4.76 billion people use social media (Kepios). That means well over half the population uses social media—and they probably need some help.
  • From 2020-2021 alone, the volume of consumers who reported a preference for social messaging for customer service jumped a whopping 110% (ZenDesk).
  • 89% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase following a positive customer service experience (Salesforce: State of the Connected Customer).

What you need to do

This is an easy and obvious win for nonprofits. Invite engagement from your community by asking questions, inviting feedback, and encouraging interaction. And with today's automation solutions, you don’t have to do much to check this social media box.

Sure, social media trends come and go, but by staying on top of them, you can lead the pack in the year ahead. It’s time for a 2023 social media glow up, friend! Go get ‘em.

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