|Social media has significantly levelled the playing field for marketers, as even the smallest organisation has a chance of reaching a wide audience if they have an imaginative and well thought-out campaign. But working out where to start can be a daunting task, and charities that have used social media for a long time still can’t always be sure they’re using it as well as they could do. Fortunately, help is at hand for marketers in the Third Sector who want to boost engagement via Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and other social networks.
The Skills Platform has launched the Charity Social Media Toolkit, a new online resource that offers best practice tips and advice on how to avoid common pitfalls, all in a single, easy-to-read space.
Since social media is a free resource that millions of people routinely view each day, it can be hugely valuable to charities who want to engage with existing supporters and encourage new people to donate to their cause. After all, it’s far less dependent on how much money they have than alternative marketing methods, such as advertising on TV. It’s therefore great to see a concerted effort to remove the barriers that might stand in the way of a successful social campaign.
So what key issues will it encourage you to think about?
Which social network should you use?
Different social networks have forged their own niches and are favoured by different types of people. For instance, Snapchat is mainly popular with young people, LinkedIn concentrates on forging professional networks and Instagram is mainly focused on image-based content rather than text. By understanding these differences, you’re in a better position to determine where to focus your limited resources.
Plan your content
Any promotional drive needs to be planned and well-timed, and this is certainly true with social media. So once you know your overall strategy, devise a day-to-day plan, working out when and where you will post different types of content, from status updates and links to blog posts to infographics and videos. Remember though, a plan should be based on evidence rather than guesswork, so find out what types of posts your target audience are most responsive to, and time them so they appear at the times when the most people are likely to be using social media.
More than one person will be working on a charity’s social account, but this shouldn’t be obvious to the public. You therefore need to decide what your voice will be like and what tone you will use, and then ensure every contributor posts with these guidelines in mind. Similarly, your social media profile needs to fit seamlessly into your wider marketing mix, pushing the same message and promoting the same ethos. Otherwise your brand message gets muddled and nothing you say will resonate with the people you want to get on board.
Cross-promote your social media account
Don’t expect donors and volunteers to just stumble across your social accounts. Actively promote them by including the URL on leaflets, notepaper and posters as well as your website. Promotional items could also be distributed with your Facebook or Twitter account details, products like trolley coin keyrings, pin badges and cotton bags are popular brand builders and can help raise funds too.
Track your results
Social media offers effective and easy-to-use analytics tools, so it’s easy to measure your progress and find out what people are engaging with your content. It will help you determine what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong, so you can refine your approach and deliver even better engagement in the future. Don’t overlook the main measure of all though – whether or not your social media performance is actually helping to boost donations. After all, lots of likes, shares and retweets aren’t worth much if they’re not actually leading to conversions and boosting your coffers.
Sources / Further Reading
Charity Social Media Toolkit Skills Platform
Social toolkit launched to assist charities Charity Digital News