The chat revealed further insights from experts on how charities are using social media – or how that could be. Here’s a summary of the chat and responses:
As you might expect, there were a diverse range of response for why organisations are on Social Media. Small Charities Coalition use it to share opportunities with members, while Ross McCulloch encouraged the asking of a pragmatic question – how can social help me get my job done? Using social for customer service is one example of this.
Kirsten Urquhart from @youngscot explained that they are using social to delivery services and information to where young people are spending their time. This means using visual channels such as Instagram and Snapchat for direct youth engagement.
Most organisations have moved beyond a focus on crude measurements of success such as follower size. Zoe Amar advised that any social media measurements must be aligned with organisational objectives. There’s no point having a huge social following if it has no direct or indirect impact on your charity’s core goals.
Beth Murphy concurred, adding that your social measurement shouldn’t just be about big numbers for the board.
Madeleine Sugden agreed that real actions count more than likes or retweets. We can all recognise how easy it is to like a charity post, but the real action we can take is to click and fully read an article, to sign up to a campaign or to donate funds to the cause.
For smaller charities (and many larger organisations), the biggest challenge with social media is time and money. Ross McCulloch explained that most charities are tiny and don’t have a digital budget or team.
Madeleine Sugden suggested her article on managing social media for small charities as a useful resource. Kirsty Marrins has also written a guide to resourcing social media out of hours. You also find plenty of relevant tips on the Charity Social Media Toolkit.
Other challenges raised included encouraging a change in culture to be more responsive and playful.
Another common issue raised by Search Star is being able to maintain a consistent tone of voice with different people picking up social media as part of their job role. To counter this, brand guidelines are essential, though variation in personalities can bring content to life.
Regardless of size though, a fundamental problem is that many charities dabble with social media without developing a strategy behind it.
Charities can feel overawed by social media, but Ross McCulloch laid out three things that every charity needs with their social media. A social media strategy, policy & content plan. They can be short and simple.
You can make the first steps with your social media strategy with the first chapter of the Social Media Toolkit.
We asked participants for any final words of wisdom. These tips included:
Kirsten Urquhart rounded things off nicely by recommending that charities experiment, play and create and to be brave about your content & strategy to engage your audience.
A side chat developed around the rule of thirds for content management. Crystal Hall asked if charities should still be using the social media rule of thirds, or if there were new rules for content.
There was overwhelming support for the rule of thirds, with Zoe Amar believing it still holds true the Small Charities Coalition making use of them.
Kirsty Marrins advocates the rule of thirds to help make content more manageable and balanced.
So what is the rule of thirds?
Kirsty Marrins explained that it is ensuring that your social stream is made up of 1/3 your own content, 1/3 other people’s content that’s relevant and 1/3 engaging with others.
Many thanks to everyone who took part. For more tips. guidance and ideas about social media for your charity or non-profit, do check out the Charity Social Media Toolkit.
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