Social media continues to prove an effective outlet for charities wishing to connect with their supporters and influencers far and wide. The various platforms available provide the opportunity to reach audiences that may otherwise remain untargeted, and enable organizations to drive conversation, boost donations and share success stories. In order to implement a successful social media strategy, not only should output such as followers, likes and re-tweets be measured, but a solid reporting narrative that focuses on overall ROI should also be incorporated. Here are three ways in which charity organizations can create a targeted and effective social media strategy.
Define your target audience
Before embarking on the creation of social media content, it is important a charitable organization understands which channels are favoured by their target audience. Last year, the Guardian reported 80% of 18 to 24-year-olds and 73% of 25 to 34-year-olds used Facebook and Twitter respectively, demonstrating that these mediums were, and still are, highly relevant for charities wanting to engage with younger supporters. Additionally, a charity that wants to target influencers and professionals as donors would benefit from using enterprise networks such as LinkedIn.
As well as reaching out to existing fans and followers, a charity should continue to acquire new audience members in order to remain prevalent. By creating a content strategy that reflects the interests of the target demographic, new users will be drawn to follow a charity’s social media channels, ensuring the continual growth of a donor base so as to secure a tangible return.
Plan content in advance
Planning social media output ahead of time is paramount to discovering new topics and far-reaching themes that will spark audience interaction. For example, planning to report on national and international awareness days can help to obtain exposure and acquire donors, as the charity may not be known by audiences that already have an interest in that particular occasion.
For instance, an animal charity might take advantage of Pet Appreciation Week and pose calls to action within their social media content, asking fans to share something about their pets. Depending on the platform being used, a charity organization may also create posts containing bespoke, shareable image assets or comical memes. If budget allows, the same company might even run a social media competition, offering fans the opportunity to adopt an animal.
In order to remain consistent with social media output, a charity organization may also wish to utilise content calendars as a way of developing a targeted and comprehensive distribution plan. This would allow them to draw upon a number of resources ranging from public events and visual assets to competition posts to inform content, and would also help to establish the best times for posting throughout the day which some competitors may have overlooked.
Another factor to consider when planning content is seeking audience opinion, which is a key ingredient for a charity’s decision making. Having an in-depth understanding of what audiences want to see in their Facebook and Twitter feeds, from text-based imagery to embedded videos, means a charity organization can tailor their content strategy accordingly and maintain the loyalty of followers. By creating strategic and targeted survey panels consisting of current, past and potential donors, these can be used to gather content ideas from communities and can also be opened up to third-party organizations. As a result, each time a member responds to a survey by another company, both the panellist and charity earns a thank you payment.
Monitor conversations through data analysis
It is crucial that social media is used as a two-way communication tool to keep followers engaged and to demonstrate that their individual opinion and voice is of value to the charity they support. Using community management and responding to fans’ comments not only shows a charity is in tune with its audience, but also presents the opportunity to build a valuable rapport that may result in increased donations.
Additionally, using measurement tools such as Google Analytics enables companies to gauge consumer habits. Even if a fan does not comment or interact with posts, charity organizations can still establish how many people are subscribing and generating traction. To further inform a targeted social media strategy, a company might even carry out sentiment analysis to gain information on the type of content that captures audience attention. Selecting a sample of comments on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ and monitoring them for positive, neutral and negative reactions means a charity organization knows what to implement more or less of within their content plans.
It is important a charity organization keeps their audience in mind throughout the process of social media content creation. By defining the target market and establishing which networks will provide the greatest reach and generate the best return, this will provide the foundations required for a successful social media strategy. Mapping content via weekly calendars and researching national and international events to piggyback off both help to refine strategies and engage users. Conversations generated around content can then be analysed and monitored to provide insight into what resonates well and can inform future output.