An introduction to social media for small charities

hi my name is Poppy and I’m the
communications coordinator here at the SCC. Today I’m going to be talking to you
about social media – how to use it and why you should be using it at your small
charity you probably heard a lot about social
media, you may already be involved in one of the platforms you may already have a
Twitter or a Facebook or you may have nothing at all and just want to get
started either way hopefully after this
webinar you’ll be able to feel confident approaching these platforms and
confident in using them more to help your #SmallButVital charity. So I’m
going to be looking at the big four that’s Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and
Instagram – these are the platforms that are free to use, they’re easy to use,
they’ve got their analytics, their own advantages, their own disadvantages. But
hopefully there’ll be something that you can take away and implement in your
#SmallButVital charity. First off I’m going to be talking a little bit about
Twitter. So this is free to set up it’s really easy to use it’s recognizable and
it’s got a potentially really big reach it’s also got its own in-built analytics
which makes it easy for you to experiment and find out when you strike
gold. So a couple of things that’s crucial to know about how Twitter works –
so you want to start a Twitter account, what you do first is you need
to pick a handle (your “@xxx”) this is how people can identify you find you connect with you
– all sorts – so it’s quite important if you can that this is relevant to your
charity. The second thing is make sure you’ve got a picture. So on Twitter
when you’re setting up your page you’ll have to make two decisions: one is about
your banner and the other about your profile image this is important because
it gives legitimacy to your charity and is also an additional branding
opportunity so for us we use our brand because we have a logo but if you don’t
have a logo then don’t worry but what you should be doing is looking for
images you can use that are relevant to your charity and are clear so that
someone can look at it on a mobile phone and recognize that that is you. Equally
with your banner make sure that it’s got the sort of right
dimensions (see description for dimensions!) that it’s not fuzzy, those kind of really basic things can help
create a really professional-looking profile for you. The next thing is
following people. So you’ve got your handle
you’ve got your picture your pages set up with a short bio and all the other
relevant information, so you need to start following people online follow
relevant people – Twitter’s brilliant in that you can have a drop-down menu once
you follow one person that shows you all the other relevant people that you can
follow so what you’re doing here is you’re creating your community you’re
creating your network and this is crucial because it’s going to help you
connect with the right people and make sure the right people see that you’re
there because they’ll get a notification saying you followed them and can connect
with you in return. So you’re set up you’ve got your page ready to go now
it’s time for the big first tweet. Before you do your first tweet it’s important
to have a couple of discussions within your team primarily about what tone you
want to take – who you want to be online so a good exercise with this is to think
about the kind of accounts, if you have twitter, that you would follow that you
like to see if you don’t have it think about the kind of personas that
you follow in the news or the kinds of people you enjoy talking to their manner
their language professionally or personally, that kind of thing, and really
get a good picture of the kind of online digital presence that you want to have
going forward. Your next question might be how often should I post. it would be
very unhelpful to say as much as you can because as we all know a #SmallButVital
charity resources are strapped and you might not have someone dedicated to
social media. When you’re starting out an easy way to approach this is to give
yourself a target – say get out four or five tweets a day just to start
experimenting and gaining confidence and making sure you’re being heard on those
timelines. You can also try scheduling but that’s something that we’re going to
talk about a bit later and it’s probably an excellent solution to this problem of
how often to post with little resource The other thing that it’s crucial to
remember is there is no limit on this. Twitter is a very fast-moving
environment, a very fast-moving platform short form content so when you have a
creative moment if you have something exciting to say or you feel you can add
value just go for it don’t worry about you’ve already tweeted seven times that
day or you tweeted half an hour ago, if you’ve got content that you’re
excited about then put it out there People’s timelines move very quickly.
Equally don’t give yourself creative block – if you’re worried about it just
fall back on some more standard structured target reaching tweets, don’t
worry about it – again timelines move on and what you’re doing at this stage is
experimenting, you’re just trying to get people to hear your voice, connect with
you and know that you’re there. So we’ve talked about how often you should post
now we’ve talked about what you should post. So on Twitter there are loads of
different things you can do but of course you are limited by word count but
you can get around this in lots of ways so video content is king equally with
images whenever you’re tweeting try and include an image try and include an
infographic a gif all of these things can help boost your engagement rate
and are the kind of content that you should be putting out. Next we’re going
to talk a little bit about Facebook Facebook is something you’re probably
familiar with maybe personally but you would like to look at using it
professionally or maybe you already have one but you’re not sure how to engage
with people or what quite to use it for. Facebook again is a free tool and has in
built analytics. Facebook is a great place to build your network because there is
no word count and you can present your content in a slightly more flexible way
than with Twitter for instance. Facebook is somewhere you could put case studies
which is slightly harder to do on Twitter because of the word count.
Facebook is incredibly image and video lead as well – when people are scrolling
through their feeds they will stop for images and videos so it’s something to
bear in mind is that whenever you’re posting on Facebook it’s probably best
to include an image or a video to try and grab people’s attention and to keep
them there longer. Next up is LinkedIn now this very much is a more of a
business professional platform but that’s not to say that it’s not right
for your small charity. On LinkedIn there are a lot
of CEOs, people follow lots of different companies and it’s somewhere where you
can address more serious issues. You can post longer articles you can post blogs
and you can reach a slightly different network to that on Twitter and Facebook.
LinkedIn is a great place to share your campaigns, industry insight and use
your CEO, use your trustees. Get them to start posting about your charity and
linking to your charity LinkedIn page on their LinkedIn. The final one we’re going
to discuss is Instagram. Instagram for charities is something that is on the up
and up more charities are using *Instagram and with recent developments, like the
introduction of a donation button on Instagram stories (link to what stories are below!), it’s definitely a platform that’s worth considering
Just as with Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn you should think about the tone
and the pitch of your Instagram presence for instance if you’re a Kids charity
having a really brightly coloured lots of children’s faces very sort of bold
joyful stream is going to be important because when someone lands on your page
they’ll see your whole portfolio of pictures and get a real sense of your
charity. If you’re dealing with a more serious subject again it might be worth
looking at how you can portray that through images that’s appropriate to
your charity. Using Instagram stories is also a great way of making your presence
felt on Instagram people will come across your charity and be able to have
a more up-close informal immediate sense of what your charity is up to, who you’re
working with and if you do have volunteers or a network that you can ask
to take some videos for you when they’re out and about when they’re working with
beneficiaries then definitely do that and put that on your Instagram stories
so that people get a really visual immediate sense of the work that you’re
doing. On Instagram it’s also key to use your link function on your homepage.On
your profile of Instagram you’re going to have a section under “edit profile”
where you can put a link in your bio you’ll often see people saying “check the
link in my bio” to direct people to relevant webpages or micro sites. This is vital to making sure that you’re converting your engagement on Instagram
meaningful action so make sure you’re updating that regularly and
referring to it in the descriptions of your pictures. Now that you’re set up on
one or all of these platforms you probably want to start thinking about
scheduling content. As a small charity we know that time is a luxury that often we
don’t have and to be on Twitter all day is something that you
can’t necessarily do. That means you need to share your content in advance, you
need to make sure you’re tweeting over the weekend but you don’t want to be
working those hours or you’re busy doing other things for your small charity –
there are lots of different tools you can use to share your content the two
I’m going to look at today are Hootsuite and Buffer. Each have their own
advantages and disadvantages and there are lots of guides online that will walk
you through in much more detail which platform is best for you. Buffer and Hootsuite are both free up for up to three accounts so you can have your Instagram,
Facebook and Twitter content scheduled from these platforms. So looking at
Hootsuite this is fantastic if you want to be able to look at lots of
different streams of activity at once so here are just three so we’ve got “my
tweets” “mentions” and your scheduled content. On top of that you can add
hashtags so if there’s a conference you can’t attend but you want to see all the
live tweets coming out of it you could add that as a stream by just simply
adding the stream and just adding that hashtag so Hootsuite is excellent for if
you need a snapshot of what’s going on one of the drawbacks is it can be
overwhelming – you might have lots and lots of different streams and that can
be overwhelming if you’re looking at this for short periods of time or you’re
trying to get some key information or you just want to get your content out
and you don’t need all that. So an alternative to Hootsuite that can be
less overwhelming is Buffer. Now immediately you can see Buffer does not
have all those streams, what it does do is give you a really easy clear
user-friendly way to put out your content in in a schedule. You can also
put out the same content across all three platforms now I
wouldn’t necessarily recommend this because it’s always good to tailor your
content for the platform that you’re using for instance on Instagram you’re
going to be posting pictures on everything, on Twitter it’s good to but
there may be occasions where you want to retweet someone or you just want to put out
a really short snappy tweet and equally on Facebook you’ll want to put some
long-form text that just won’t go on Twitter, but that being said you can see
how easy it is just to free-form write, schedule it and then you can look at
your queue, your past posts and it also gives you a weekly report of how your
scheduled posts from here have been doing. So what I would say is if you just
want to get your content out really simply and you don’t want to have any of
any other considerations other than your content, Buffer is a great one. That’s
sort of a very quick overview of two scheduling tools but again I’ll include
the links below and there are lots of online guides and lots of articles comparing
different free platforms and I think really it’s about experimenting – don’t be
afraid to open up a free account with Hootsuite and with Buffer and use one, one week and then one another week, and see which one feels comfortable because
crucially if you’re scheduling, using a scheduling tool, it’s to make your life
easier so make your life easier and just choose whichever one feels good for you.
I’ve talked a little bit about analytics across all these different platforms. With each of these platforms they do have their own inbuilt analytics which
can be really useful in letting you know what is working and what isn’t and
also tracking your performance which is key to demonstrate the impact that your
social media activity is having for your charity and showing to stakeholders that
it is a really important way to create community, to connect with supporters and
stakeholders. On Twitter the analytics are very intuitive this is a dashboard
that shows daily tweets so you can literally see the impressions (which is
how often you are coming up in people’s timelines) day by day and you can track
it’s progress helpfully for us you can see a very
distinct pattern weekly which can tell us a little bit about when we should be
posting or which days the content was resonating with our followers and then
we can adapt our content and our schedule depending on those insights. You
can also have an overview of how you’re doing by month – this is particularly
useful for reporting so you can demonstrate that your tweet impressions
have gone up by certain percentage and the engagement rate, which is a really
key metric, is increasing so you’re showing that more and more people are
getting to know and interacting with your charity. LinkedIn equally has its
own analytics built into the site you can look at visitors, updates, followers
and various other demographics and interesting facts and figures. Again I
won’t go into it in a huge amount of detail because there are lots of online
guides and really helpful resources that can help you navigate it. Facebook will
give you insights as well, again it’s probably something that you need to have
a go at having a play with and getting used to all the different pieces of
statistics and facts and insights that it gives you and I’ll put links below for
resources that will guide you through Facebook Insights a little bit more.
Instagram ones are also something that is very useful to follow, you can track
your insights over the last seven days and you can have that on your mobile
phone and again it shows it to you in really easy-to-understand graphical form
so you can track your progress and you can record that really easily. So that
was a very brief Whistlestop tour of how you can use social media and why you
should be using it. Social media has been known as social networking and that is
something that is crucial to remember You’re creating a network, you’re not
just putting out content into the ether that no one’s going to care about, it
does have a real impact on how people understand your charity how people
connect with your charity and the kinds of people that you can attract as
supporters, funders, beneficiaries all those kinds of areas. As a small charity I can understand that this might fall towards the bottom
priority list but I would urge you to pull it back up there because it’s a
really easy way to connect with everyone to stay connected, to stay relevant and
to stay in people’s minds. So go out there try your hand at one or all of
these or just try putting out more posts try scheduling. if you just take one
thing away from this it will boost your engagement, boost your brand recognition
and hopefully result in more people supporting your charity.

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