Zoe Amar discusses how charities can get to grips with social media in just 30 minutes a day
A question I’m often asked by charities is ‘How do I make time for social media in a busy schedule?’ It’s absolutely possible to do this if you stay focused and use your time carefully, which is why my agency and Skills Platform wrote the Charity Social Media Toolkit last year to help charities who are at any stage with social media use these platforms even more effectively. With that in mind, here’s how you can cover all the essentials in social media in just 30 minutes a day.
One of the most common queries I get is, ‘But how do I get started on social?’ If you need inspiration, go back to your social media strategy and refresh your memory of your goals, your audience and key messages. This will get you thinking about what kind of content would work best and what success looks like. If you don’t have a social media strategy here’s a handy guide on how to put one together. A good strategy should be flexible but if you find yourself looking at yours and thinking that it has become outdated then it may be time for a refresh.
Next you need to plan, write and schedule your content. Ideally you’ll have already created a simple way to source content from colleagues, even if it’s just a shared spreadsheet or Word document. If not, putting one together will save you a lot of time. Take a look at what’s on your charity’s agenda for the day and, as a minimum, schedule a few posts to go out at peak times when you know your audience is online (your Facebook and Twitter analytics should give you some insights into this). You can then schedule them using a tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite.
Scheduling content is great but obviously you need to check in on your social media accounts and respond to any comments or queries. Get the apps for your phone so you see the alerts but also go in 2-3 times a day when you know your audience are online to deal with anything that has come up. As part of your content planning, you might want to think ahead to any common queries that could come up, e.g. if you’ve announced a fundraising event what kinds of things people might ask about it.
If anyone on your leadership team is still pushing back on the value of social media you can tell them from me that it is the best way to keep tabs on your stakeholders in real time. For example, on Twitter you could create lists of charities working in the same space, journalists, corporate partners, funders, MPs and other key stakeholders and take a quick look at what’s going on. You might spot that a funder has just opened a new grants programme, or that a journalist is looking for stories in your charity’s area of expertise. You could then feed back any relevant points to your leadership team.
Your mantra for social media should be ‘test, measure and learn.’ Take a look at your social media analytics to see how your content is performing, see how people are engaging with your content and think about what you could do even better. Here’s a quick guide on how to measure success on social media. What has and hasn’t worked and why? What will you do to action these points tomorrow?
Hopefully these points will help you get the most out of your time on social media. I’d love to hear what else you would recommend.
Zoe Amar is widely regarded as one of the charity sector’s leading experts in digital communications and marketing. She founded digital agency Zoe Amar Communications in 2013. Their clients have included Breast Cancer Care, The Commonwealth War Graves Commission and The School for Social Entrepreneurs. Zoe writes for The Guardian Voluntary Sector Network about charities and digital issues. She co-founded the Social CEOs awards. Zoe is a trustee for The Foundation for Training and Education in Care and sits on the Board Audit and Risk Sub-Committee at the Samaritans as their digital expert. She tweets @zoeamar
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