Getting Social Media Savvy

Large charities have been reaping rewards for engaging their online audiences in a way that seems to have eluded many smaller organisations. But with 54% of giving occurring online and over 1.3 billion people on Facebook worldwide, you’d be missing a trick – and a heap of donations – if your charity has yet to immerse itself in the digital world!

Entering the digital arena gives you the opportunity to show donors just how delightfully charming you are – every day of the year. And, as a result, you can be sure to attract new supporters really committed to your cause.

If you’re still a bit shaky when it comes to all those different social platforms, these tips will help you on your way to ‘Online-Fundraising-Wizard’ status.

1. Audience first, always

Your followers have found you and chosen to follow you; they want to see what you’re up to. So, tell them! You need to create content that resonates with your audience, something they’ll engage with. The algorithms on most social media platforms mean that the more engagements your post garners, the more likely it is to appear to your followers’ feeds. Without comments or likes, your posts will go largely unseen.

And, it’s not as simple as churning out the same posts for different platforms, the audience is likely to be unique on each one; Grandma Dorothy is more likely to be found scrolling through Facebook than she is Twitter, typically more business and news-orientated. Think Twitter/LinkedIn for ‘News & Updates’ and Facebook/Instagram for ‘Stories & Smiles’.

It’s also important to consider how accessible your posts are; Instagram offers ‘automatic alternative text’ so you can hear descriptions, and ‘custom alternative text’ so those using screen readers can hear a description of your post. Twitter has an option for setting audible image descriptions, so those who are visually impaired can enjoy your snappy tweets!

500m people use Instagram Stories daily – and if that wasn’t incentive enough, they’ve just launched a fancy fundraising feature – a ‘click to donate’ sticker to lay over your main image – narrowing the distance from follower to supporter to just a click. Social good explain how easy it is to get going.

2. What are you trying to say?

You don’t have a whole letter to get your point across like a direct mail appeal (curse that Twitter 280-character limit) – so be concise. Imagine your charity is human and try and portray some of its charming personality.

And remember – repeating posts is ok! One particular post will only be seen by about 20% of your followers (and that’s generous), so reiterate your calls-to-action to boost those donations.

3. Visuals, visuals, visuals

Imagine you’re semi-vacantly scrolling through your feed – what catches your eye? To shine out from the abundance of baby pictures and memes, you need something striking, yet brand-aware that people can automatically associate with your charity.

And don’t be shy about posting what’s going on – we all know that people often misconceive hospices, for example, as being dark and gloomy places, so social is a great place to show just how bright and lively they are.

4. What time do you call this?

Your post is ready; now, when should you send it out? The best times to post are when you’re on your phone. If you make a note of these, there’s a cornucopia of apps you can schedule posts with (Buffer, Tweet Deck etc). Many double up as analytics tools – so you can really understand the behaviour of your ever-elusive following.

Just as we’ve warned about churning out the same post on each social platform – and that goes for your images too. One size does not fit all; each platform has different requirements, so research the most up-to-date size guide, so vital info or artwork isn’t cropped out!

With all this being said, if you are looking for someone else to do your digital dirty work – for each campaign we produce, we offer a digital package (highly recommended to get the most out of your appeal). So, get in touch (and of course you can say hi via Twitter or Instagram!).