A Social Media Guide for Charities

In today’s digital world, social media has become ingrained in our daily lives. Recent statistics revealed by Statista Research Department indicate that there are 3.96 billion active social media users worldwide, an increase of 4.8 percent over last year. As a result, for charities this means social media can be a very useful marketing tool to help raise awareness and support for their cause.

What is social media marketing? 

Social media platforms are websites and applications that are effectively online communities people use to share ideas, information, interests, images and videos. There is a huge number of different platforms but some of the most popular are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Most people are familiar with using social media in a personal capacity — sharing updates and pictures about their lives with friends and family. However, it’s also used by a lot of charitable organisations as part of their marketing strategy to reach new audiences, increase awareness, and connect with their supporters.

Benefits of Social media

Gain new supporters – As a potential acquisition tool, social media will help your charity to quickly obtain new followers and supporters. As soon as someone has interacted with your organisation, for example by filling out a form to download material or register for an event, their contact information can be entered into your Customer Relationship Management system (CRM). The engagement can then be progressed from there, whether that be through social media or another medium, depending on their preferences.

Generate more donations – A key strategic goal of charities is to raise donations to support their mission. The CAF 2021 report analysis shows that cash donations saw a substantial decline causing donors to move online. More people are being asked to donate online than in previous years and most online engagement is occurring on social media. Typically, around six in ten who donated last year did so online via social media.

Important digital fundraising tool – A bit of a disconnect existed between social media and charity fundraising in the early days. This has changed. The rise of platforms in the non-profit sector means you can use social media to drive traffic to your website, run campaigns and even take donations directly.

Decide which channels to use

The key to having the right social media strategy is not to take on too much. As a charity you are more than likely already short on time and resources, so instead of trying to manage multiple social media accounts, focus your attention on a select few that are going to provide you with the best results.

In order to determine which method is best for you, you should know who your target audience is – which is likely to depend on what goals you are aiming for, and which channels they are most likely to use. Which social media channels are suitable for your charity will also depend on the type of charity and its purpose.

Some of the most popular channels include:

TikTok: TikTok has taken the world by storm in recent years. With the potential to reach audiences across the world, it is a platform to share videos and images. You can increase supporter engagement and enhance your profile through hashtags. Appeal to a younger audience with dynamic video content.

Instagram: Keeping in mind that Instagram is heavily focused on images, you’ll need to be able to create engaging posts that include both images and text. Instagram is best suited to high-quality photographs, but if you don’t have the resources or can’t share photos, you can also create your own graphics.

Facebook: Facebook allows you to share not only images but also text to its platform. It is easy to include links and is a good way to direct the audience to your website.

Twitter: While Twitter has a character limit of 280 characters for each post, it is still a great way to share quick updates, insights, and content with a wide audience through hashtags and increasing your reach.

LinkedIn: This is an important platform for corporate communications. It is what you could call a virtual business card. You can share your organisation with other professionals and businesses. Join the dots and use networks and connections to open new doors. You might use it to find long term donors and advertise any job opportunities.

Tips to make the most out of your social media platform

  1. Post interactive content to encourage engagement – Interactive content encourages your audience to do something other than read. It is possible to increase donations and volunteers by using interactive content that encourages your audience to do something other than just read. It isn’t always necessary to spend hours coming up with complex and innovative topics when you write this type of material. You can post Facebook surveys, hold Q&As via Instagram stories, run Twitter polls or ask your audience to share their story through normal status updates.
  2. Use visuals to drive website traffic – BuzzSumo reported that visuals boost engagement 2.3 times more that posts without visuals on Facebook and 1.5 times more for tweets. High quality photos don’t just make the audience stop and stare but due to large size demands, it gets more attention in a crowded newsfeed. If you are looking to increase brand awareness and drive more traffic to your charity website, using visuals can be a major bonus. Consider this when putting together content.
  3. Use hashtags to increase your organic reach. Hashtags allow your posts to be found in native search. All the big platforms make use of hashtags and have millions of users visiting their sites every day. Create your own hashtag and build a strong following or jump on popular hashtag trends and make them your own.
  4. Make it easy for followers to donate – when you are asking for followers to donate it is likely that they will have to click through to your website where the donation call-to-action comes into play. Giving your audience a clear, easy and simple way to get involved with your cause could be the nudge they need to make a donation. On Facebook and Instagram, charities can add donate call-to-actions to their social media posts, making it even easier for donors to support your mission.
  5. Run and attend live events – Live chats and events will help you connect with your audience better. People love to directly chat in real time and ask questions. Making sure you are real-time posting will help you grow organically.
  6. Don’t be afraid to be personal – When it comes to creating social media content for charities, remember the person behind the profile – keep it real! Even though you are representing an organisation it is good to respond, interact, add humour, use emojis etc. People will engage more with content that is relatable.

Creating shareable content for social media posts

A great way to increase engagement and boost your social media following is to create shareable content that aligns with your charity’s mission. By doing this you are:

  • Sharing content that creates connections. That can either be new relationships with new supporters or nurturing already existing ones.
  • Making your audience feel like they are apart of something. Shared information allows us to feel more involved with the world and enhances our sense of self-worth (particularly if people like, comment, and re-share).
  • Adding value. Those who share want to give others great content, so make sure to develop and link to blog entries, news articles, tool kits, and other resources that are authentic and valuable.
  • Being authentic. It’s a universal truth that people like sharing content that reflects their personal values. Link your posts to current news, affairs, and trends that align with your supporters’ motivations and interests.

Lastly MEASURE your results!

If social media isn’t providing the desired results, then it isn’t worth the time and effort. Knowledge is power. Be sure to track how successful your posts are and who shares and likes them. Your analytics will help you find out what works and what doesn’t. When you notice that some types of content do better than others, post more of them! Create content that resonates with your audience and use it to write your own recipe for charity social media success. Social media content can be easily managed and automated via CRM systems such as Dynamics 365 that are integrated with Marketing Automation solutions like Customer Insights – Journeys, ClickDimensionsOrloDotDigital, etc.

Authored by Racheal Hehir

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