Top 10 tips for using social media effectively

Social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives, from using it to catch up with friends and family, to a tool for businesses looking to expand their customer base. Check out our top tips for using it as a charity – the possibilities are endless.

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1. Know your social media channels

As easy as it would be, unfortunately one piece of content doesn’t work across multiple social media channels. Marketers and social media managers should understand how the algorithm works on each social media platform and then work out how to utilise it in a plan. It was an algorithm change that made Facebook more video-based, and Instagram is much more likely to show content if it gets a decent number of likes within the first five minutes.

Knowing how the channels work will also help you create content that works. TikTok is perfect for videos under a minute and unpolished, personal and authentic, whereas Instagram thrives off well-framed images or infographics. And Twitter, as the current most popular platform for charities, works best with short-sharp and informative sentences with a photo or two thrown in.

2. Hire a social media guru

If you want to use social media to its full potential, hiring someone who lives and breathes it would put a charity at an advantage – if they have formal social media marketing training then that’s even better.

For smaller charities who perhaps don’t have the capacity to hire someone to work on social media full-time, look at hiring someone from generation z or the latter end of the millennial generation. At these ages, they would have grown up around social media and have more of an innate ability to understand trends, pick up on any new platforms and may encourage some new and creative ideas.

3. Question and answer

One of the best things about social media is that content doesn’t have to be un-interactive in an endless doom scroll. Every platform allows interaction to some extent – from a simple like or comment on Instagram, to duets on TikTok, or polls on Twitter. Encourage interaction from your followers and they’re more likely to remember your charity in the future. Ask questions, start a hashtag or even a challenge – the ice bucket challenge is remembered to this day for a good reason.

4. Dedicate some time

Surprisingly for some, crafting good social media content can take a lot of time, particularly for multiple channels. Taking images and videos then editing them, planning the right time of day to send them out and writing the perfect caption can take more time than you think.

Social media managers should also be able to spend time replying to comments, scrolling through platforms to see what is trending, what is going viral and then working out why. There is a reason isn’t becoming an essential full-time role for many charities to have.

5. Know your audience

As well as being an expert on social media platforms, social media managers should also be aware of the audiences. Who are you trying to engage with? You won’t find anyone born after 2000 on Facebook. Similarly, there won’t be many Baby Boomers on TikTok or Snapchat. Craft your campaigns to a target audience, and then use the right social media to target that audience specifically with particular pieces of content. If you tick all the right boxes, the likes, shares and interactions will start rolling in.

6. Eyes on data

All social media channels can give us a wealth of data, which we can use to assess performance and plan future activity accordingly.

Before starting a new project or campaign, charities should take a deep dive into the bigger picture metrics using a social media audit. Suggested six areas to focus on include: followers, audience insights, engagement, top performing posts, campaigns and competitors. This should help charities to plan future activity. develop campaign plans, day-to-day activity, and so much more.

7. Share, share, share

Part of what makes social media so successful is that it leans into our desire to be nosy and gives insight into every-day lives. The best thing a charity can do is share everything they can. Successes as well as failures, struggles and wins will endear the charity to your followers and make them invested in your journey as a charity and therefore more likely to volunteer or donate.

8. Have some personality

Some of the most successful social media accounts, particularly by brands, are ones that show a little personality. Don’t be afraid of letting your social media managers have some fun with the content, replies and interactions on your channels. People know that there is someone, or a few people behind the screen and letting them out may work well for the charity. A well-crafted reply can go viral and give your charity more exposure than a campaign may have.

9. Trend watch

Part and parcel of the social media age is the fact that trends can come and go in an instant. Every day there is a new hashatag on twitter, dance challenge on TikTok or filter on snapchat. Keep an eye on these trends and work quickly to use them to your advantage, some of the best brand accounts on TikTok are ones that use trends and twist them for their own advantage. Be brave with your content and you could be the next viral post.

10. Register correctly

Most social media platforms offer special features and resources for charities. Facebook and Instagram allow them to add “donate” buttons and run fundraisers from their accounts. YouTube offers Link Anywhere cards, production resources, dedicated technical support, and fundraising tools.
Make sure to enroll as a non-profit in order to access these benefits and while you’re adding buttons, add links to your social media accounts to your website, newsletter, and email signatures. Make it easy for people to connect, and give them confidence they’re following official accounts.

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