We take a look at where the opportunities are for charities on social media as we head into a new year. We also chatted to one charity social media specialist to hear where they will be focusing their efforts for 2022.
The conversation on social media is increasingly around topics like ethics, health, wellbeing, kindness, and community. People are also looking for spirituality, meaning, and a connection with nature. All this adds up to a great opportunity for charities looking to engage with their audiences online.
Whatever your objectives, storytelling is a crucial tool in the charity communication toolkit. Social media offers an abundance of options for storytelling, from image carousels to live video.
Snackable content is important to cater for short attention spans. However, there’s still plenty of room for longer-form content that allows you to connect deeply with your most engaged audiences. This creates opportunities to convert them into active volunteers, donors, and partners.
Jessie Hunt is Marketing and Digital Communications Co-ordinator at the charity Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP). She told CharityDigital: “We always see our best engagement from real stories of people with lived experience. Stories that make it into the press always generate a strong response, and tie-ins with awareness day hashtags also help us to reach a wider audience.”
Social media has long been a place for people to interact with organisations, and frequently a place to complain about them. For brands, a quick response to online criticism as part of their customer service can be vital, to defuse any animosity and prevent a PR backlash.
Sometimes criticism can be turned into a positive for a charity, as the RNLI comms team demonstrated this summer.
Now the trend is towards not just customer service, but service delivery too. For many charities it’s important to bring support services to where people already hang out online, instead of relying on them to come to you.
By having an active presence on your social media channels, you can be there to educate, reassure, and signpost resources to anyone in need.
Jessie told us: “Postpartum psychosis (PP) is a medical emergency, so our trained peer supporters monitor our social media pages daily to support people as soon as they reach out. Our peer supporters draw on their lived experience and knowledge of the condition to give people the support they need.”
Livestreams are a great way to beat the algorithms. On most social media platforms, will be notified when you’re live.
Video gets much of the limelight, but audio has always offered an unrivalled level of engagement and intimacy. There’s an appetite for audio, with more than half of listeners increasing podcast consumption in the first half of 2021 – in spite of the drop in commuting.
It’s worth looking at creative ways to make audio a part of your social media strategy. There’s a growing number of options for sharing live audio too, with the likes of Clubhouse and the new Twitter Spaces.
Over at APP, Jessie told us they have been experimenting with a range of content, through Facebook live, Instagram stories, and other media. They’ve hosted interviews with experts, shared mindfulness content, quizzes, and educational how-tos. She swears by Canva, which is a brilliant tool for creating slick videos and branded content.
And speaking of how-to videos, we can expect it to become easier to create and share them 2022, thanks to LinkedIn’s recent acquisition of Jumprope.
Although TikTok has well and truly arrived, there are still many charities who have yet to seriously adopt the platform. And as a small charity it’s important not to commit to too many platforms. That said, if you’ve been quietly watching and waiting to see if it was a flash in the pan, 2022 is a good time to take the plunge.
Jessie told us she has been watching how other charities have been using TikTok for good, with Citizens Advice delivering consistently great content. She is keen to set up an action group with staff and ambassadors at APP to collaborate on their TikTok strategy.
With a sensitive cause it is important to adopt the platform in a way that’s tonally right for their audiences.
Jessie explained: “TikTok looks like a brilliant place to engage with our younger audiences, such as student midwives and other healthcare professionals, and of course young parents too. We’ve been watching how our audience use the platform so we can tap into those audiences and raise awareness of PP with relatable, human video content.”
Here are some other features for charities to look out for in 2022: