Guest Blog: Top Tips for Getting Started on Social Media
Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook can be powerful tools for campaigning, fundraising and growing supporters. Investing in social media channels can help you to:
- grow followers who may support or join your charity in the future
- spread awareness about your fundraising, events, campaigning and wins
- have a platform to speak to decision makers
- connect with other activists and organisations
To get started on your journey to success on social media, here's some best practice guidelines.
1. Think about your audience
Audience is always the best place to start when you’re looking at new communications channels. Think about the people you’re trying to reach, do some research to find out what social channels they’re using most, and consider what they need to be given in order to find your content useful and take action.
For example if you’re trying to reach a youth audience, Instagram could be the best channel for you. If you want to build coalition relationships or a local community, try Twitter. If you want to reach as many people as possible, Facebook could be the right place to start.
2. Always give value
People will follow and engage with your social channels when there is value in it for them. This means leading with news and insight, rather than constant pushes to fundraisers, petitions or other asks.
Try the 80/20 rule; keep 80% of your content useful, interesting, and insightful for your desired audience without asking much of them. The other 20% can include asks, for example sharing petitions.
3. Invest in social
Planning, writing and sharing social media content, along with managing community responses and social ads, is a full time job. To make your new channels a success, invest in someone to manage them. If creating a new role isn’t doable at the moment, make sure you have enough time in your schedule to give social the attention it needs.
Investment in paid social advertising is also a must for new channels. Unfortunately, social media platforms make their money through advertising revenue and won’t give worthwhile visibility to brands and organisations that aren’t utilising paid ads. In fact, without paid advertising, less than 10% of your page followers will see your posts.
But don’t worry, ads don’t have to cost the earth. To start growing your reach and audience, identify your top performing posts and ‘boost’ them to your page followers with a small budget. This will make sure your content is getting seen by people who want to see it, and the more they engage, the more the reach will go even further.
4. Speak to your followers
One of the most valuable things social provides is access to conversation with your followers and supporters. Make sure to respond to their comments, expanding conversation by asking further questions. This will make them feel valued and turn social followers into advocates for your organisation.
5. Use consistent branding
Brand recognition is important on social media. It gives weight to your profile and content, meaning more people will be willing to follow and engage with you. Make sure you have clear branded profile pictures and banner images, as well as snappy and up-to-date bio copy to make it clear who you are and why you’re here.
6. Use dynamic content
Making social content can seem daunting, but with visual trends moving towards quick, self-shot video often seen on TikTok and Instagram Reels, you don’t have to worry about being perfect.
Try out different types of content, like photography, long-reads on your website or in press coverage, and quick-fire video. See what your audience responds best to and move on from there. Don’t be afraid to try new things!
7. Test and learn
No two social profiles are the same, and content that works for one charity may be the opposite of what ends up working for you. The important thing is to trial different messages, content formats and posting times - then take a step back to see what your audience is responding to best. Learn from your results and move forward with more of the content that has received the most interest and engagement.
There is no quick fix to success on social media. Building an engaged audience takes time and effort, but there’s no better time to start investing in this process than right now. Take your time, don’t try to do too much at once, and learn from your results. You can do this, and your organisation will benefit.
Paige Ardrey, Social Media and Engagement Manager at Friends of the Earth.
Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland are part of an international community dedicated to protecting the natural world and the wellbeing of everyone in it. They lead campaigns, provide resources and information, and drive real solutions to the environmental problems facing us all. Find out more about Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland.
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