Building an audience and maintaining an active and effective social media presence is not as easy as it used to be.
Rewind the clock little more than three years, and a few cleverly constructed captions on some sporadically uploaded images could generate interest, build your brand and help gain support for a good cause.
Today, social media is immersed in complex algorithms, paid and sponsored ads, and often-convoluted insights. Without a dedicated social media manager to keep you on track (a luxury rarely afforded in the charity sector), social media can appear complicated and overwhelming.
There’s a lot of choice when it comes to social media for charities, and a common trap is to spread yourself too thin and try to have a presence across all channels.
Focus on one or two platforms and put the time and energy into doing them well rather than having a weak presence everywhere and failing to do enough to get noticed.
Research to find out where donors and potential supporters are active and focus on those platforms first.
If in doubt, start with the platforms you’re familiar with and know how to use, and always measure results to identify where you get the most engagement.
Social media is often the job that’s left to the end of the day, completed in a rush, or overlooked entirely.
The bad news is that followers want consistency. The good news? Scheduling tools!
Most platforms will allow you to schedule in content to avoid the need to be continuously active in the programs. Take an hour or two at the start of each week to upload an ongoing stream of content, so your audience always has something to engage with regardless of how busy your working week becomes.
Create a content calendar
There are many notable dates in the charity calendar, but it’s easy for them to sneak up on you in a busy environment. Create a quarterly content schedule and make a note of all relevant dates relating to the charity sector and NFPs.
International Volunteer Day, Giving Tuesday and International Day of Charity are all events you can build up to and maximise your exposure rather than rushing a last-minute post as you realise the day is nearly over.
Engage with others
Social media gives lots of chance to increase exposure, but even though it’s screen-based, it should be no different to any other form of networking. Creating content and expecting people to engage with you is a two-way street and you must allocate time to connect with those who are relevant including other charities, corporate donors and those who support you in the community.
Comment on and share their content to build exposure organically.
Feature staff and volunteers
While content must focus on the impact made by the cause, social media also provides an excellent chance for an audience to get to know you on a personal level to help forge even better relationships.
Feature staff members and their experience. Create pieces on volunteers and their accolades. Even write about donors who have made an exceptional contribution to help you achieve your mission (always with their permission of course).
It’s easy to focus inwards when creating social media content using words such as ‘we’, and ‘I’. Focus posts on meeting the needs of your audience and provide them with a reason to follow you.
Look for opportunities to connect your supporters with each other. Perhaps you can create business networking opportunities or prospects within the community.
Consistently provide content that is bigger than you.
It’s easy to get caught up in a flurry of excitement at the launch of a new event or program and post excessively, and then nothing for weeks, but you must have a consistent social media presence outside of this.
Don’t post for the sake of it; content should always relate in some way to your mission but try to upload something relevant every one to two days to keep your cause at the forefront of your supporter’s minds.
Social media is fast becoming a business tool that few can do without. Whichever platforms you choose, setting up a business account will provide access to in-depth analytics which will help your social media presence grow.
When you integrate social media accounts with your website and email marketing with SupporterHub, you can also gain access to more detailed analytics which allow you to identify who has responded to your posts and the actions taken as a result of the engagement.
Learn how to understand analytics so you can create content that your audience loves to consume to help extend your impact.
Encourage giving directly through the charity website or fundraising page
While a social media presence is essential, if a donation is made through social media, the charity can’t access the donor data to build a relationship and help the supporter reach their giving potential.