• Jennifer Ruthe

EPISODE 10: Social media

Everything your organisation needs to go social

You can’t write a road map for new fundraisers without talking about social media. So here it is. In the final episode of our ‘Step Change’ series we’re going social. Why? Because 3.78 billion people have a social media account and spend almost two hours every day scrolling - three if they’re Gen Z*.


Which channel should I use?


Don’t panic. Just because you could be on TikTok or Instagram, doesn’t mean you have to be. One of the biggest mistakes organisations make is spreading themselves too thin, and trying to be everywhere at once. You don’t. Building a strong social media following takes time and effort, so focus your energies on one or two platforms.


Not sure which one to choose? Like all good fundraising communications, it starts with your audience. Who are they, and more importantly, where are they? As you might suspect, Facebook remains the most popular channel, but look a little closer and there are some definite trends emerging. Younger users, for example, tend to be on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and TikTok rather than Facebook. Millennials and Gen X prefer to spend their time on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, whilst Baby Boomers can mostly be found on Facebook.*


You also need to think about what it is you want to get from your social media. LinkedIn, for example, is a great place to share professional content, build your organisational networks and ‘brand’ - if that’s what you’re after. But if you’re looking to engage individual donors on a more personal level, you might find the informality of Twitter is a better way to do it (that’s not exclusive of course, it’s just an example).


*We got our data from the Global Web Index report, 'Social media marketing trends in 2021'.


What should I post?


Ahhhh, the age old question. You’ve got an account, now you need to do something with it! As a rule, when it comes to posting on social media, it’s important to remember you’re a human being talking to other human beings. Even if you’re posting from an organisational account - talk in the first person. It’s also probably the one place in the world where it’s totally okay to break some fundamental grammar rules. We LOVE following social impact organisations on social media, there's soooo much exciting content to read and loads of events to go to. And if you want to round it off with a smiley face emoticon or GIF, why not? (If it works for your brand, of course) 😉.


As for content? Over the weeks we’ve covered lots of different areas of fundraising communications, and you’ll be pleased to know that much of this will work for social media.


Still a little unsure? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Remember! You wouldn’t stand in a room and just shout at people, and the same rules apply in social media. Yes, you will need a schedule of content to push out, but you also need to make time to engage, react and respond. Read other people’s posts, share and comment. Join live chats. Ask questions, run polls. Share content that’s just for fun. Behind every social media account there’s a person, so don’t be afraid to give your posts and profile a little personality!


How often should I post?


There is no hard and fast rule for this, and if you’re a smaller organisation (which you probably are, if you’re reading this) chances are you’re balancing your social media management with a million other things too. But if you really want to get your message out there you are going to need to put some time and resources into it.


Ask 10 different people how often they should post and you’ll get 10 different answers. Here are mine for smaller, resource limited organisations:

  • Facebook: two to three times a week

  • Twitter: one to three times a day

  • LinkedIn: once or twice a week

  • Instagram: two or three times a week

Of course, you don’t have to do it all live. Facebook and Twitter make it nice and easy to schedule posts in advance. Need something a little more advanced? Why not check out some tailored-made social media tools like Buffer, Lightful and Hootsuite.


Got five minutes to spare? Why not log-in, and have a scroll. Don’t post - use the time to comment, engage and share other people’s content.


What can I do to help grow my following?


Every organisation is different, so don’t worry if you don’t have hundreds (or thousands of followers) straight away. There’s a reason people do social media as a full time job! Don’t expect miracles. It takes time to build your profile, and the more you put in, the more you will get out. Or at least, that’s the idea.


To get a sense of how fast your following should (or could) be growing take a look at some peer feeds and monitor their growth - this will give you an idea of the kind of metrics you should be aiming for.


Looking to boost your numbers? Don’t forget to:

  • Use hashtags and tags: Linking your conversation to popular or trending hashtags is a great way to get your message out there - and if you’re quoting a person or organisation, be sure to use their social media handle (if they have one) it’s one of the best ways to get shares and expand your reach.

  • Add photos and videos: Posts that have photos and/or video content are far more likely to be engaged with than those that don’t. Not got any photos? Pixabay and Unsplash have a great range of free, royalty free images you can use.

  • Add sparkle with emoticons and GIFs: I used to hate them, but now I can’t imagine the end of a sentence without one. Go for it. They bring life, colour and personality to your posts.

  • Include a call to action! If you want people to comment or share, visit your website or join an event, don’t forget to ask. You’ll be surprised what you might get.

  • Time your posts: If you post in the middle of the night, people will be sleeping and no-one will see it. Your analytics will show you when your followers are online, so make sure your posts are timed to match.

  • USE YOUR ANALYTICS: Building a social media following is like creating a recipe. Don’t be afraid to try different posts, styles and contents. If it works, do it more. If it flops, do it less. Each social media channel has its own basic analytics, so there’s no excuse not to delve into your headline data.

TOP TIP: I find ‘live’ tweeting a great way to boost followers. Joining online web chats, conferences and events (or even hosting your own) is a great way to engage with your fellow social media community, get to know people and for them to get to know you!


Before you go...

It might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Yes, social media is a HUGE subject and we’ve really only just scratched the surface - but you learn by doing. So take a deep breath, choose your channel and get ready to join the digital conversation.

You’ll be glad you did.


This blog was brought to you by Molly& Jen as part of our Step Change series. Click here to find out more.


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