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  • 28 Feb 2019
    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.   
    6238 Posted by Angharad Francis
Tips & guides 3,574 views Aug 23, 2019
Social Media Trends for Charities to Look Out for in 2019!

It can often be difficult to keep up with the latest trends in the digital world. Everything from up and coming artificial intelligence, chat bots and the likes of Alexa voice control, to new releases and platforms updates, can result (and often, not result) in exciting and purposeful change for charities. In this blog, Social Misfits Media’s Angharad Francis takes a look at what we can expect to see in the second half of 2019!

E-commerce within apps

What could be easier than being able to buy all your favourite products whilst scrolling through social media?

According to DigiDay, like social media giants Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat have now released a new feature allowing users to access shops within the app itself. This is powered by Shopify, and aims to increase engagement rates and dwell time within the Snapchat app. For now, this new option to have an e-commerce store within Snapchat is limited to select accounts. However, other social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram already allow brands to showcase shoppable products.

Creating social media campaigns focusing on e-commerce opportunities could work particularly well around the Christmas period, whereby charities could showcase their goods, such as Christmas cards or clothing, to raise funds for a given campaign.

Meaningful Engagement

The more engaging a social media platform is, the more time a user will spend on it. One platform doing this well is Instagram, with their Stories feature. From GIFs, to countdowns, to quizzes and polls, there are endless options for users to experiment with, and create engaging stories to share with friends and family. Most recently, Instagram have released their new “Chat” sticker within Stories. This simple feature allows users to ask their followers to join a new chat group. Charities could use this to discuss a new report, a specific goal, or to have a Q&A with their CEO, allowing their audience to gain additional insight into the organisation and connect better online.

If creative skills and resources are not a constraint, another new feature charities could use on Instagram is the new AR feature.

This feature, created to increase dwell time within the platform, allows users to design their own effects within stories. Charities could use this as a way to create a more personalised experience for their audience, for example if a charity is selling a new product to raise funds, they could use the AR filter as a way for users to try the product on in their story before purchasing.

Facebook Groups

Although the Facebook algorithm continues to push user-generated content with its meaningful conversations update, platform users are increasingly turning to groups to communicate. Charities can create a group for their organisation, in order to generate organic engagement and awareness, and allow conversation with their audience beyond a Facebook page. Alternatively, if there is a lack of capacity and time to invest in social media, charities can engage in existing groups as a brand. The benefit of this is that instead of setting up a new group, charities are able to communicate with their audience using an already engaged group. This could help them to raise awareness of a fundraising event, locate volunteers or ask supporters to sign a petition.

Podcasts

The popularity of Podcasts continues to increase, not only with countless new comedy and lifestyle podcasts, but also within the charity sector. In the UK, the number of weekly podcast listeners has almost doubled in five years, from 3.2m (7% of adults aged 15+) in 2013 to 5.9m (11%) in 2018. In addition, Google recently announced that it will start surfacing podcasts alongside videos, images, news, and web pages related to a user’s search. This will make podcasts more discoverable, allowing an online audience to easily find and listen to them through Search. 

Here, Kirsty Marrins lists her top ten charity podcasts, including our sister company Lightful’s charity podcast, Reclaim Social, which interviews people within the charity sector and looks at how they use social media to focus on sharing positive and inspiring news. Although this may require a certain level of time and resources, podcasts are a great way for charities to broadcast their latest news to new and existing audiences in an engaging and accessible way.

I hope you found this article useful; if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to find us on 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. 

Photo credits: Top - Thought Catalog, Bottom - Pete Pedroza.