How-Tu Tuesday: Using Social Media As A Charity

Picture for Rene Looper Rene Looper

October 13th 2015

Social media is a powerful communication tool which possesses the benefit of being applicable to any industry. It began as a tool to connect friends and family, and this is still one of the main reasons that people are active on the numerous different platforms. Business has also realised the potential of social media, with most companies (in almost all industries) having some sort of presence on at least one network.

However, in addition to using social media for simply being social, and to help market your brand, charities, not-for-profits and social enterprise, are also using this communication tool to help raise awareness of their cause and need for support.

Here are our top tips for engaging your audience and increasing support for your cause:

1. Educate and Be Transparent

Share with your followers and potential wider audience, the issues that affect them, either from a humanity, health, environmental, regional or global perspective. Whatever the cause may be, details of why it matters most should be communicated in the most effective way possible to capture the attention of a very saturated market.  People are being targeted every day by many different charities and causes, so it’s important to be as transparent as possible and to be clear about how lending their support will make a difference, and why it is needed in the first place. This can be achieved through sharing images and videos, links to articles, news reports and statistics; anything that highlights and illustrates the need for support.

2. Think Message and Audience First

There can often be a temptation to use the ‘latest’ or most popular social media platform without firstly finding out if it will be an effective way to reach your audience. It’s important to initially think about who you need to reach out to and the message you are trying to communicate before looking at which platform to use. The answer to the first two questions (who and what) will often guide you to which platform you should be present on.

3. Engage, Don’t Broadcast

Creating dialogue between you and your followers is a far more effective strategy when creating valuable relationships, as opposed to simply broadcasting untargeted posts. One-way messages with no call-to-action does nothing to instigate interaction and engagement and is much more likely to get lost in the social stream and be ignored. Being proactive will spread your brand message faster and give you a higher chance of converting people reading your posts into people supporting your cause.

4. Create Campaigns

Campaigns on social media can be an extremely cost-effective and time-efficient way to start a conversation and spread awareness of your charity or not-for-profit. Large marketing campaigns can often be hugely expensive and timely to plan, making them unattainable for small charities to execute. A social campaign, whether that be on one platform or multiple networks, simply needs an idea that will get people involved and interacting with your brand and a way to then track this engagement. The easiest way to achieve all of these things is to create a hashtag, bespoke to the campaign that users can use when taking part, allowing for levels of engagement and the overall success of the campaign to be tracked and monitored.

5. Prioritise Your Followers

As well as current followers, businesses are always trying to aim their marketing activities at the wider audience and those considered potential followers. This is also important for charities, but it is even more important for those using social media for a good cause to focus and prioritise their current followers. As already mentioned, charities and the philanthropic industry is a very saturated and overcrowded market, so when people choose to support your charity over another, they should be recognised. The way to do this is to maintain relationships with your followers through retweeting and favouriting their posts, instigate conversation and encourage people to take part and be visible in your campaigns, petitions and events which are raising awareness of your cause.

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