How to use social media to attract and engage volunteers on your volunteering platform

Learn how the use of different social media channels helps to (re-engage) volunteers on your platform!

How to use social media to attract and engage volunteers on your volunteering platform

Deedmob invited Florentine Haeusgen, Youth Volunteer Manager of the Order of Malta’s global youth volunteering platform Vision 2050, to write a guest post on how to leverage LinkedIn and Instagram to attract more volunteers to the platform. Florentine is an expert in using social media to connect with potential volunteers and has a proven track record of success in increasing volunteer engagement through these platforms. By sharing her insights and strategies, Deedmob hopes to help other volunteer organisations effectively reach and engage with potential volunteers through LinkedIn and Instagram.

___

In this article we want to focus on the use of LinkedIn and Instagram to attract and (re-) engage young volunteers on the Order of Malta’s global youth volunteering platform Vision 2050. Since our launch in May 2022, we have been using Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to share the newest content on Vision 2050 with our audience. What we have seen is that these three social networks complement each other and appeal to different target groups due to their different focus. 

I would like to share some insights and tips and tricks on how you can use the social media platforms efficiently without spending too much time on them based on our experience. 

WHY DO WE USE LINKEDIN AND INSTAGRAM ON TOP OF FACEBOOK?

We decided to have a page on Instagram because 

  • it appeals to a much younger target group - more than 50% of Instagram users worldwide are said to be under 34. Many millennials no longer have a Facebook account but exclusively use younger platforms such as Instagram.  
  • it focuses on visual information transfer through photos and videos – using Instagram automatically encourages us to produce/ask for good images and video footage, which is beneficial for all our social platforms.
  • it has a “story” feature – we know you can do stories on other social platforms but the reach of stories on Instagram is much higher than on most other platforms and allows us to use a more tangible, immediate way of sharing content.

We created a LinkedIn page because

  • it has a professional audience – most LinkedIn users are either professionals or aspiring professionals. Our volunteering and internship opportunities are attractive to many young professionals as a means of improving/gaining certain skills and complementing their career path.
  • it has a different algorithm – precisely how social media algorithms work will always remain a mystery to us. What we know, however, is that unlike Instagram and Facebook, LinkedIn posts tend to re-appear on user’s timelines even though they might have been posted weeks ago. This means popular posts get more and more likes over a longer period of time. 
  • it is possible to share more content than on other platforms. Not only can you describe opportunities in more depth but you can play around with different ways to tell your story. For example, we have  started exploring posts sharing results of scientific articles about the positive impact of volunteering on mental health. 

HOW CAN YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA MOST EFFICIENTLY – SOME TIPS & TRICKS

1. Keep and update a social media calendar

Without our monthly social media calendar, we would be completely lost running three pages on three different platforms. This is what our calendar looks like and how we manage it. :

We try to prepare our posts two weeks in advance. It saves a lot of time and then you don’t have to worry about it but just copy and paste it on the respective day. It also gives you the flexibility to shift things around if needed. This could happen if for example a time-sensitive opportunity has been uploaded or you think another post would fit now better on a specific day.

You can download a template of the content calendar in Dutch and English by following this link.

2. Post regularly

The number of posts you post every day depends very much on the size of your organisation as well as your capacities. To sustain a certain continuity and visibility of your page, it’s recommended to post at least once a week. We usually post three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), ideally in the mornings (between 8-11am) because research shows that that is when most users check their social media platforms.  

Having said that, it’s important for us to only post if we have something to say - if we don’t have enough content to do a second or third post for the week, we don’t do one. 

Looking at the Deedmob analytics (“Traffic Sessions” & “Unique visitors”) over time, it’s evident that the days where we post on social media correlate with a higher number of clicks on the platform. 

3. Be creative to increase your reach

Over time it can become more difficult to come up with new ideas. Here are some tips which help us to stay creative.

a. Keep an eye out for national holidays and other special days such as World Poverty Day (October 17), International Day of Volunteering (December 5) as well as festive periods such as the time before Christmas and create relevant posts for those times promoting your organisation/your volunteers/your opportunities. 

b. Think of regular campaigns to highlight volunteering and your opportunities from other perspectives such as “Quote of the month” from a volunteer or beneficiary talking about the impact of volunteering or “Opportunities in the spotlight” to highlight different opportunities.

c. Look at the social media accounts of other organisations who offer volunteering opportunities and get some inspiration from them – we don’t have to reinvent the wheel but can learn from each other! 

d. Play with the variety of formats offered by the different platforms to share content. We had very positive experiences with Reels on Instagram (there are many Apps helping to create Reels for free), Stories on Facebook and Instagram and with sharing scientific articles about the positive impact of volunteering on LinkedIn.

e. Tag people and organisations who you are mentioning in your posts or who could be interested in your content – by doing so, your content is more likely to be shared and this increases your visibility and number of followers. It’s a simple not time-consuming trick with a very positive effect. 

f. Use Deedmob analytics to learn more about your audience and customise your content. Look at the age range and geography of your users as well as which other websites lead visitors to your website. Some simple examples: Look how the age range changes after you have increased your engagement on Instagram. If many users come from a certain city, you could make a story visiting a volunteering opportunity in that city or make a little thank you post with an info graphic to thank the three cities where your organisation is the most popular.

4. Create a landing page

A landing page allows you to share multiple links on social media which you can edit at any time. We use it especially for Instagram because you cannot share links below posts. We use LinkTree’s free version and are very happy with it. Have a look.

5. Find volunteers to support you 

Although it sounds like a lot of work, I promise you that with those tips and tricks you should not spend more than 15 minutes for posting on all three social media platforms on the day you want to post plus every two weeks 1 hour to plan the posts for the upcoming two weeks. However, we are a very small organisation and sometimes time is short. Therefore, we sent out a call for a volunteer to help us. Not only does it save us time, but with another creative mind in our team came many new great ideas that help us communicate in new ways. 

We hope that this article helps you to discover the enormous benefits of using social media platforms and has inspired you to get started!