HOW TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO SUPPORT YOUR FAVOURITE CHARITIES

Social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are now a well-established way of staying up to date with the brands, companies and organisations you're interested in, but have you ever considered connecting with your favourite charities using social media?

Not only is it possible to stay in touch with the fundraising activities of your chosen causes, in many cases your activity on social media networks can actively help you support them and further their work. Here’s how you can use social media to make a difference to your favourite charities:

1 BECOME A FOLLOWER

These days, it’s very likely that your favourite charities will have a presence on social media. The ability to promote charitable work, fundraising events and ways to donate are widely used and encouraging connections can make social media an essential part of any charity’s marketing plan.

Start by following the page or profile of a charity you support on the social networks you use so that their updates appear in your news feed. For example, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Simply interacting with the updates, images and videos a charity posts, such as liking, retweeting, sharing or commenting on them, alerts all the people in your personal network to the same content, and so on, helping to spread their message to more and more potential supporters. This is especially effective if you have a large following yourself, but can work no matter how many followers you have. Don’t forget to use relevant hashtags to make your updates even more shareable – these categorise your content and flag it up to people who may be searching for it.

2 JOIN A THUNDERCLAP CAMPAIGN

Sharing a charity’s news and updates as they appear in your own news feed can be an effective way of supporting them, but if you could somehow share the content at the same time as all the charity’s other followers, the results could be amazing.

That’s exactly what Thunderclap does – takes a Tweet or Facebook post and sends it out via the social media profiles of everyone who signs up to share it – at the exact same moment. More and more charities are making the most of this technology, so look out for opportunities to join Thunderclap campaigns created by your favourite  charities. Alternatively, take a look at the Thunderclap website to see if there are any charity campaigns underway that you could add your voice to.

To join a Thunderclap campaign, simply click through to the campaign page to see the date and time it’s due to be sent, and choose which social media platform you’d like to participate through. You’ll need to authorise Thunderclap to post via your profile, but it will only do this when you actively join a campaign.

3 INTERACT WITH LIVE CONTENT

Real-time content is fast becoming the next big social media trend. It gives an immediate live snapshot of whatever a charity is up to at that particular moment in time, such as a fundraising event or working on the ground delivering aid, truly making its supporters part of the action.

Both Facebook and Twitter have their own version of a live video streaming platform. Facebook’s is called Facebook Live, while on Twitter it’s known as Periscope. Both apps allow you to join a live video stream hosted by a charity you follow. If you’re online when the video starts or while it’s underway, you’ll get a notification asking if you want to view it, but charities will usually let you know ahead of time too. You can also like and comment on the live video, and invite friends to join the stream.

Facebook also allows charities to set up live Q&A sessions with the people behind the cause, which gives a fascinating insight into all aspects of their work. A charity will usually publish details of when the Q&A is due to happen, and then post an introductory update at the allotted time. The chat then takes place via the comments section, as followers post questions and representatives from the charity post replies.

4 SHARE YOUR DONATIONS AND BECOME A SOCIAL MEDIA AMBASSADOR

Every time you make a donation to a charitable organisation, you can share it with your friends and followers on Facebook and/or Twitter, letting them know you’ve made a donation. This is one of the best ways to alert others to your support of a charity, and acts as your own personal endorsement of a cause.

If you want to do more on behalf of your favourite charity, why not write a blog post about their work and why they mean so much to you, before sharing it among your friends, followers and even via email? By linking back to the charity’s social media profiles, it’s possible that they will share your blog with their own followers too, helping to increase the reach of your message.

Finally, consider using social media platforms to meet other supporters of your chosen charities and organise ways to fundraise as a group. A ‘tweetup’ is a face-to-face meet up of people who have been brought together via Twitter through a shared interest. You may not know them in person, but with your collective passion for the same cause, there’s really no limit to what you might be able to achieve.

Don’t forget, it all starts by following CAF on our social media profiles across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Connect with us now to keep up to date with our latest news and charity updates.

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CHARITIES - STEP UP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA

Are you a charity looking to connect with your supporters through social media? Our article on boosting your fundraising through social media can help.

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