Use social media as more than a virtual megaphone

Now couldn't be a more important time for charities to get on board with one-on-one social engagement, writes Tim Redgate

Tim Redgate
Tim Redgate

Despite a slow start, the third sector has really embraced digital and today social media is used regularly to raise awareness of campaigns. However, charities can still go further and there is plenty to learn from the consumer brand world, where 93% of social content is one-to-one engagement. That’s content which isn’t broadcast en masse but intended to cultivate good will from those individuals who are already interacting with the brand.

Now couldn’t be a more important time for charities to get on board with one-on-one social engagement. According to recent research, donors who feel engaged by a charity will donate 50% more annually than those who feel neutral about the cause they support. However, the same research highlighted that four in five donors currently feel detached from charities they support.

Video is the medium of choice to elicit an emotional response and this translates to higher levels of engagement. Video is the magic bullet for charities aiming to shore up support, yet many charities are put off utilising video, believing it will drain either budget or resource. However, there are steps you can take that can limit the cost and time spent, while ensuring you’re building meaningful relationships with your existing supporters over social media:

Harness The Right Tech Alongside Video

Social platforms and the brands that advertise on them recognise video’s engagement value and are investing heavily in video to engineer more meaningful interactions with audiences. Charities should follow suit – there are various cost-effective technology platforms you can tap into to deliver this on social, but you need to recognise which audience you’re trying to reach and how they consume their content. You could establish a live invite-only Periscope feed, push a dark-posted Facebook video that is only viewable to relevant, targeted users or use a dedicated platform such as EchoMany to instantly render and post personalised videos over Twitter or Facebook.

Make Your Content Work Harder

Most charities won’t have the budget to produce vast libraries of video, but previously produced content – adverts, promo videos or footage from events – can all be repurposed. One video can be repackaged and potentially distributed to hundreds of supporters. Remember that you don’t necessarily require polished, broadcast-ready content and it can in fact be more effective to use authentic, supporter-generated video from one of your fundraising events. All you need to do is top and tail this with your charity’s branding and instantly post it back to a supporter who has used a hashtag for your event.

Don't be scared to use data

Recent changes to the Code of Fundraising Practice have many charities nervous about utilising the wealth of consumer data available to them. Yet supporters using Twitter or Facebook already voluntarily provide a wealth of data simply by using these platforms. Don’t hesitate to tap this resource, which provides you with access to names, photos, locations and their own words which can be harnessed and programmed into personalised tweets and videos. Charities should naturally be responsible and sensible with the data of their supporters, but they should also be innovative too - modern consumers are crying out for personalised experiences.

Make it snackable

With mobile use only increasing, you should be seeking to personalise content that suits the smaller screen. Mobile users don’t commit to lengthy content, and when we develop a 30 second video we recommend the ‘personalised’ element – the user’s photo, name or their own Tweet – appears within the first three seconds. Mobile users are seeking distractions while waiting for a bus, so grab their attention quickly or they’ll simply continue to swipe down the feed.

Tim Redgate is the founder of EchoMany, the personalised video marketing platform

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