Over the last ten years, social media has developed (almost beyond recognition from the ‘MySpace days’!) to become a vast and innovative platform that charities can utilise – as a media tool in its own right – to connect with their supporters at very little cost.
Social media is not the magical answer to everything – but, as we always say, it provides an excellent way for a charity to interact with their online audience by answering questions, sharing photographs and raising awareness of their cause. Here are some of our favourites gaining traction or holding their place as the best of the best in the world of social media:
The original domain of selfie-takers, Instagram is also a brilliant brand-building tool for charities – allowing you to shape and share a personal insight into your charity with photographs and videos. By showcasing imagery of recent campaigns, events and case studies, supporters are able to appreciate and understand how their donations are building your work.
You can immediately measure response by monitoring the number of followers you have and which photographs result in the most ‘likes.’ And, be sure to feedback. No one wants to interact with a static account, so stay relevant as well as monitoring what works well and what doesn’t.
Snapchat provides an excellent platform from which charities can connect with their younger audiences. With reportedly over 400 million snaps sent each day, this app can be used to send campaign teasers, to share exclusive content and to generate hype about upcoming fundraising events. RNLI and Muslim Aid are just two excellent examples of charities that have mastered sharing engaging content in order to relate to their younger supporters. Encourage your followers to send you their own ‘snaps of support’ and video snippets of taking part in your charity’s events and fundraising activities.
Mobile giving is huge – and charities will soon all be climbing on board. This handy little app makes it easy for supporters to raise money via mobile phones (charities can register here). You can also view a full breakdown of the donations received, which makes it easier than ever to monitor progress (numbers are our friends!). It is definitely worth setting tangible goals that will track growth, movement and interaction in the first place – otherwise it’s difficult to see what impact mobile communications are having on your audience.
Facebook, the social media giant we all know and love, recently introduced a ‘Donate Now’ button that organisations can add directly to their pages to aid fundraising efforts (with big hitters like NSPCC and Shelter doing the first honours). Installing this feature allows you to drive traffic to your website and makes it easier than ever for individuals to make donations. Just a click of a button and voila – potential supporters are linked to your online donation form. This option not only provides instant gratification for your supporters, it also makes it easier than ever for you to reach wide audiences.
The new online frontier
‘Posting’, ‘sharing’ and ‘retweeting’ are the new ‘word of mouth’ – and it’s never been easier to ensure that your charity’s message is out there. The benefits social media can return by far outweigh any potential concerns or time taken to invest in the activity. Ultimately, social media can help you to build stronger relationships, intimacy and trust by allowing supporters to share their own opinions and communicate directly.
With the continual advent of new platforms, there’s always a bit of hesitation – what do we do with this new thing? Does it help us? So take the time to experiment and see how they enhance your communications – there’s bound to be a platform to suit your charity, it’s almost guaranteed!