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Tips & guides 3,726 views Feb 28, 2019
Top Tips to Engage and Grow your Charity’s Social Media

Social media is vital for the growth of every charity, and is a powerful tool to deepen relationships with your beneficiaries, donors and supporters. Having engaging conversations and interacting with your audience will help you to build trust and relationships online, which in turn can lead to increased donations, traffic and awareness. However, it’s not always easy to engage and grow your charity’s online presence – it takes time, and should be done carefully and thoughtfully.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with a range of amazing local charities recently. It has become apparent that working in a small charity often means that there is a lack of resource and time to focus on growing social media. With this in mind, I have compiled a list of seven recommendations on easy ways to help your online presence:

1) Use analytics to inform your content

All social media platforms have their own analytics and insights, which show a range of data, including demographic breakdown of your audience, top interests and engagement metrics. By checking these insights on a regular basis across your different social media platforms, you can discover exactly who your audience is (rather than assuming you already know), and tailor content to ensure that it resonates with your audience. For example, on Twitter you can take a deep-dive into your audience’s interests. If the majority of your audience is interested in food and cooking, you could encourage them to carry out a bake sale fundraising at their work, raising money for your charity.

2) Source content from a variety of places (and ensure it’s relevant)

(Photo credit: Georgia de Lotz)

If all your content is from one source, the level of growth on your social media will quickly stagnate. Ensuring that content is a mix of own publications (blogs) and external publications will keep your audience engaged. If you find it difficult to source content from different places, invest time in creating Google alerts with relevant key words, making a list of publications that post interesting industry news, following thought leaders on LinkedIn, and creating Twitter lists. All of these methods will help keep your content varied, and keep your audience engaged. Remember to keep your target audience in mind – will they find this interesting or useful? What actions will this inspire them to take?  

3) Make content visual, with a particular focus on video

Research shows that video drives better results. For example, Facebook video posts have the highest average engagement and, on average, will produce twice the level of engagement of other post types. With more and more brands investing in video, charities could benefit from creating their own visual content.

Information is more engaging if you see your favourite brand post a funny video or GIF, or explain a process through a helpful infographic. This is also the case for your charity; you can use a variety of content types to grow your audience, using humorous or compelling, interesting content to appeal to your audience.

4) Adapt content for different platforms

(Photo credit: William Iven)

According to GlobalWebIndex’s flagship report on the latest trends in social media, internet users around the world actively use an average of 7.6 social media channels. Using this data, it is safe to assume that your audience will be active on several different channels, and might even be following you on multiple accounts. As a social media consumer, their expectations of what they will see on each platform will vary. Avoid using the same content in the same format, across different platforms. For example, use fun and colloquial language on Facebook, post opinions on Twitter, and industry news and opportunities on LinkedIn.

In addition, make sure image sizes and description lengths are optimised for each channel – always think of the user experience. There are various tools online that can help you to achieve this, for example you can use Canva for free, allowing you to amend images to optimal sizes for each social media platform.

5) Have a process for dealing with negative comments

It’s not always sunshine and rainbows in the social media world, and there are often occasions where your charity will have to deal with negative responses online. Having a process in place will allow you to deal with these types of comments in a swift and professional manner. Our simple but effective online harassment infographic will help you navigate the process, with advice on when to comment, when to ignore and when to block.

6) Know what best practice looks like on each platform

The layout, functions and purpose of each social media platform are different, therefore what works well on Facebook may not work well on Instagram. By knowing the fundamental basics and best practices of each platform, it will allow you to maximise your charity’s reach and engagement with your audience. If this is an element of your social media strategy that is challenging, then check out our sister company Lightful’s best practice guides for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to help you.

7) Don’t use social media just to promote your organisation and services

If you simply promote your own campaigns, you can guarantee that people will soon stop engaging with your platforms and your audience will slowly decrease in size. Social media should be about having a conversation and building relationships, posting a mix of stories about your audience, industry news and thought-leadership articles. This way, people will use your social media as a hub for information, where they can also discover more about exciting campaigns, news and your services.

I hope you find this article useful; if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to find us on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

Angharad Francis is a Community Manager at Social Misfits Media, who work exclusively with charities, foundations, social enterprises and non-profits to help better use social media to reach their goals.