The largest single investment for any organisation on social media will be establishing an interactive audience. If you do not achieve this then your messages and calls to action will not be heard.
You will literally be talking to yourself.
When Bloom Creative Media were asked by Firewalking International to write a series of articles discussing how charities can utilise social media better we investigated a number of barriers and opportunities. Charities have matured on social media so there are countless success stories to draw knowledge from. Over the course of our article series we will supply you with hands on tips, useful online toolkits specifically for Facebook and Twitter as well as discussing specific case studies.
What we will discuss in this article is the single most important thing; how content can help build relationships on social media, as well as boost interactive involvement from your supporters.
Very simply, you can create a community through sharing the value that your charity creates, connecting with the people you help and sharing stories from your fundraisers. Here are some examples demonstrating charities who do this well:
You will notice in the three examples above that each carry a clear call to action:
- Dublin Marathon wants supporters to answer a question
- Macmillan Cancer wants supporters to text SOZ to 70550 to donate £3
- Pancreatic Cancer wants supporters to share their post
Whatever form it takes, content is the key that determines success on social media. AfriKids launched their blog as a way “to give everyone in their organisation a voice” The AfriKids team in London and Ghana update their blog every few days with a mix of human interest, opinion posts and plenty of photographs. AfriKids’ founder Georgie Fienberg says “We use the blog’s content to drive new audiences to our website with a view to spreading the word and generating interest in what we do. This ultimately leads to new partners and donors – the lifeblood of our organisation.”
What content and blogging will also do is increase search engine optimisation and increase website traffic by an average of 55% according to InBound Marketing Agents.
Social Misfits Media is a company who specialise in consulting with charities on social media. Their publication “Something to Tweet About” is a very useful tool discussing charity success case stories including AfriKids and Movember in the context of how their content was curated and shared across different social platforms.
Claire Diaz-Ortiz, head of social innovation at Twitter has been quoted, “Social media is not just about the ask, it’s about a) the relationship and b) the story. These are the two most critical elements that any fundraiser needs to build a strategy for how to best fundraise on any social media platform. It sounds counterintuitive, but fundraising on social media isn’t about the money, it’s about the relationships, and that should be your starting point.”
Child’s I foundation is a charity who reunite children in Uganda with their families or find them adoptive homes.
They have retained 60% of their supporters since 2009 and largely attribute this to their social media strategy. Kirsty Stephenson, digital strategist and project planner for Child’s I, gives these top 3 tips for success on social media:
- Take supporters on your journey
Be “unashamed storytellers,” because being transparent helps people feel close and connected to you. Invite them into your world by sharing photos, videos and blogs that tell your story.
- Embrace friends of friends
Leverage the connections your existing donors have naturally, whether you find them through Facebook, promotion or just by listening well. When someone shows interest, engage them in your mission and welcome them in.
- Get to know your donors
Listen, treat them like old friends and respond to their needs and ambitions. Show them what their gifts have enabled you to accomplish and how they are part of the change you’re making. Read more about Child’s I on The Guardian website.
In this article we have discussed the building blocks on social media, creating relationships through sharing stories. Coming next in our social media for charities series will be practical tips on using Facebook and Twitter. Let us know if you would like us to cover anything specific to your charity.
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