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Why social media is important for charities

Social Media and Charity

Social media is one of the most popular resources for charities to connect to people. According to a recent study, UK charitable organisations have doubled their supporters through social media in the past year. But there are certain charities that find social media landscape a little too daunting to venture into. Charities need public support and to find new supporters, volunteers and potential donors, they must keep looking for new methods. Social media can prove to be one of the best and most effective ways for the charities to build their supporters, share successful stories, boost donations, encourage people to sign up, network with like-minded organisations, demonstrate their potential or recruit volunteers.

Planning Your Social Media Campaign

To perfectly plan your social media campaign, you need to think carefully about what you want to achieve and what type of audience you want to target, after that, you can choose the best way to reach them. For example, to attract corporate investment it may be more important to have a professional LinkedIn company profile and group page than it is to connect directly with consumers through Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. For press and general communications Twitter and video channels such as YouTube and Vimeo can provide effective platforms that more easily bridge the gap between trade and consumer.

Geography will also be an important factor as Xing is more likely to reach a German audience and QQ or WeChat will reach Chinese users where other social networks are often censored or restricted. See this useful Target Internet report for further details.

If you are a start-up or relatively new to social media, then it can be wise to take it slow. Start with one or two platforms and then consider more when you have built up a bit of a following and an understanding of what messages and methods of communication work best for you. It’s easy to be tempted to throw yourself in and sign up for almost everything, but keep in mind that you need to be active on each platform where you create profiles, as well as taking the time to build a following and be interactive with your followers. There is no point communicating to nearly no one and if you do build up followers, but don’t have the time to respond to them then they will soon switch off.

What Does Social Media Offer?

Social media lets you enter a 2-way communication and lets you engage with a very high number of supporters one on one. More than that it enables campaigns to go viral by inspiring your supporters to share the message with others who then become advocates themselves. Whether you are looking to raise donations or awareness for a cause the age of the smart phone means that a funny clip, a powerful message or an intriguing photo could kick start some incredible results. For those of who may not have seen it the Flaw in the Law campaign by the NSPCC is a fantastic example of this – inspiring over 50,000 people to sign a petition which ultimately brought about a change in UK law.

For the quick-to-respond, sharp-minded marketers, it is also a good way to jump on the bandwagon of existing social media crazes. The Salvation Army #StopAbuseAgainstWomen did just that with the images of a woman wearing the now infamous gold and white/blue and black dress with bruises visable on her legs and the caption ‘WHY IS IT SO HARD TO SEE BLACK AND BLUE’.

The Growing Importance of Video

Although many marketers are now using video content as part of their marketing mix, it is often overlooked in terms of its importance. With Facebook Live enabling live streaming of filmed content, Twitter and Instagram now encouraging video uploads and YouTube recognised as the second largest search engine in the world; the importance of video is growing every day. Cisco are predicting that by 2019, video content will total over 80% of all global web traffic.

Reaping Social Rewards

Whatever social mediums you use, there are many tips and tricks to make managing them less time consuming and effective. If done right, social campaigns can be highly cost effective and achieve incredible results, but careful planning and integration with the rest of your communication messages is essential to ensure that you stay consistent with your objectives and achieve your goals.

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Celebrating the success of film in fundraising