Social media plays a huge part in all of our lives both on a personal and professional level whether we really want it to or not. It has become such an intricate part of our lives that even our phones now have built-in screen time monitoring with the ability to set time limits on apps.
When everyone is constantly connected to the online world, taking advantage of your charity’s social channels to harness your follower’s power to share your messages globally can offer a whole new world of support. An increase in donations online frequently follows an increase in follower engagement.
But how exactly do you increase engagement with your followers? These 5 ways can help bring your social feeds to life.
Decide which platforms are right for your charity
The most obvious first point is to choose social platforms that are relevant to your target audience.
In the UK, there are over 45 million social media users which is roughly about 67% of the population. Each platform has its own key audience so it’s best to keep your target supporter audience in mind when choosing which platform(s) to focus on. Take a look at the brief breakdown of social platform preferences based on ages.
Ask and you shall receive
For your supporters to engage with you, your content has to be interactive yet simple. If you’re not asking questions, your audience may not feel invited to the conversation.
Quick polls, interactive quizzes and live Q&As are all great ways to interact and engage with your users. It’s a great way to experiment with what works for your audience while learning more about what they want to see more of or whether your current marketing efforts work for your audience.
We, as social media users, are much more receptive to posts which make us feel included in the conversation. We want to give you our thoughts and opinions and feel involved even in the smallest of ways. We love to talk about ourselves and tag our friends in funny posts but rarely like to be asked to do things explicitly.
Though users feel time-poor, they are usually passively scrolling through their feeds while waiting for a train or their friend at the coffee shop. You need to be thumb-stoppingly disruptive, make your users stop and smile enough that they want to share it with their friends.
Employ the Three A's
Creating interactive and engaging content doesn’t stop at polls and live Q&As. It’s about building a well-rounded social strategy to build more followers and engage your fans. Keep your audience in mind when posting always ask yourself “So what?”.
Most social media strategies found online are hard to transfer to charities and not for profits because it’s difficult to curate relevant content from other sources which is the key element to most of the strategies proposed. Steven Shattuck of HubSpot proposed a three-part system for charities, the “Three A’s”
- Appreciation - We all feel good when we’re recognised and appreciated. Social media is a fantastic low cost way of publicly acknowledging your supporters, followers and donors.
- Advocacy - You all have a cause or a mission. Share more about this cause or mission. What is going on that’s awesome or not-so-awesome? Don’t forget the knowledge that your staff hold too, create internal blog posts, videos or podcasts and share them!
- Appeals - Can ask for donations, volunteers or another form of help - This could be a monetary donation, new volunteers or asking your followers to share a new campaign. Remember if you’re asking for money be specific, “£5 will provide us with X to do X”
Within all of this don’t forget to humanise your not-for-profit organisation. Show them behind the scenes of something you’re up to, be fun, be humorous and then when you are asking for help it won’t fall on empty ears (or eyes!) and your followers are already bought into the idea..
All of your donors and supporters want to see real evidence that what they have given is making an impact on your cause or mission. This is also the same for potential new donors, they need to see that their future donation isn’t going to go on your staff Christmas party but is instead of having a direct influence otherwise they will be hesitant to donate in the first place.
Tell stories using:
- Real photos and videos of how your donor’s money is being spent and the impact that has created.
- Showcase real people/animals etc. that have benefited from your charity. This creates a personal connection that your followers can relate to. Create a story submission area on your website if that’s relevant.
Consistency is key
If you’re invested in pushing your social media platform(s), then you have to be consistent and everyone involved needs to be on the same page. Creating a social media content calendar will help you to plan and schedule posts in advance but can also allow you to allocate responsibility to others for certain elements. We find that HubSpot has a fantastic free social media content calendar to get you started.
Determine a posting frequency that works for you. Remember to post frequently enough that your charity gets in front of your audience regularly but leave enough time to source, create and share engaging content
Sprout Social have collected data to determine the highest engagement for Non profits per platform.
Over time, you’ll learn what content gets your audience talking and engaging. To begin with, it'll be an experiment and there may be a few hurdles to jump but be persistent and you will reap the benefits.