Top tips for social media

This month I was delighted to be invited to present two social media workshops. The first was at Trading Aces which was organised by Andy Brady,  head of learning and research for charities & social enterprises at Anglia Ruskin University. The second was at the Small charities communications conference in London, organised by CharityComms.

The workshops were fun, although challenging! When you only have an hour, it’s tempting to try to cram in as much as you can but I focused mainly on Facebook and Twitter and tried to give practical and actionable tips for a range of expertise levels. As an accredited trainer, I would usually spend half a day to a full day focusing on social media (and even more if I could) so having just an hour was interesting! I had some really great feedback straight after the workshops and a few emails too so I’m delighted they had a good response.

As part of the workshops I put together a Ten Top Tips for Social Media handout, which delegates could take away with them to stick up at their desk. Download your free copy by clicking on the image. I hope you find it useful!


10 Top Tips for social media

Facebook rolls out new Donate Button

This week, Facebook rolled out a new call-to-action button for charities – Donate Now. The beauty of this is that you can link it to any URL – whether it’s your Donate landing page on your website or, if you’re on JustGiving you can link it straight into the one-touch donate flow or even to a specific Campaign page.

I covered how to use it over on JustGiving’s blog.

Here are a few charities who have already incorporated the Donate Now button onto their Facebook page:

Dogs Trust

dogs trust FB

Make a Wish Ireland

Make a Wish Ireland

Teenage Cancer Trust

Teenage Cancer Trust FB

Blue Cross

Blue Cross FB

Have you incorporated it yet?

The best group you’ll ever join

I’d like to introduce you to the best group on Facebook for people who work in the charity sector in PR or Comms (although just ‘charity’ will do really as we talk about a whole host of topics). The Third Sector PR and Communications Network was set up by Rob Dyson of Whizz-Kidz and the group has grown to over 2,100 members.

Third Sector PR and Comms Facebook group

Members can post questions, ask for advice, share relevant content or even post jobs. Recently we had a great debate about Binky Felstead being paid by Barnardo’s to promote their retail shops.

The best thing about the group is that you can post a question and get answers in minutes. It’s also a great way to network and get some peer to peer support. So if you’d like to join, send a request! Please take a look at the pinned post and send me a private message if it’s not clear from your Facebook profile that you work in the sector. This is to avoid spammers.

How to win at transparency

There is a lot of debate around how charities spend their money. Money that is, for the most part, donated by the public. So why shouldn’t donors know how their money is spent? Charities don’t always do a good job at being transparent so when I spotted this on Oxfam’s Facebook page I was impressed.


What impressed me wasn’t necessarily the post but how Oxfam is responding to comments like this one:


Now I’m sure there will be many who may take issue with the tone of the post, particularly as it insinuates that those who believe charities spend most of their money on admin are living in la-la land and are, well, s̶t̶u̶p̶i̶d̶  misinformed. Why this post works for me is:

1. They have used simple stats that everyone can understand. There’s no having to do the maths in your head to work out what’s spent on admin costs.

2. They are replying to comments, both positive and negative.

3. They are signing comments off with a name. An actual person. Not ‘Oxfam GB’.

4. They’re prepared. They must have known this would take off and they have factored that in and comments are being replied to in a timely fashion.

I’d be interested to know your thoughts on how charities could be better at being transparent.

Three new Facebook Features

Here are three new Facebook features, which I thought I would share with you.

1. Trending: Facebook has cottoned on that people like to post links to news stories on their timelines. In fact, according to a recent Ofcom report on News Consumption in the UK, 82% of people use Facebook as their daily news source. (And ‘news’ as in proper news, not what your friend had for lunch) Apparently Facebook will be prioritising news stories in their ever-changing algorithm…


2. Pages to Watch: If you manage a Facebook page, there is a new feature in the Admin panel called ‘pages to watch’. You can add up to five of your competitor’s (or other brands you manage) pages to monitor how many ‘likes’ they get and then get tips on how to keep up* (*What happens if you have more likes than them?). Apparently this feature is being tested so may not be available yet to all page admins. Thanks to Dawn Newton for letting me know about this feature.


3. Changing a Facebook page name: Now… I’ve saved the best for last as this has been a REAL headache in the past. If your charity/brand has had a rebrand and you need to change your Facebook page name, then take these steps:

  • On “edit profile” there is the option to change your name. It will ask the reason for the change
  • To validate the reason, Facebook will email you to say the request has been received and will be assessed but that documentation is required, by email, to confirm a name change (eg a scanned utility bill)
  • Following the documentation being sent, Facebook will email confirmation that it has been approved
  • You will then be able to log in and change the URL

Thanks to Jazmine Sandison for that one!

Some new and nifty social media features

I don’t know about you but I’ve spotted new features on a number of platforms recently. Have you? If not, never fear… here they are:

1. Pinterest Place boards – now you can pin places (buildings, restaurants, landmarks etc) on to a map board. It’s really easy to use and looks great. Here’s an example.

2. Instagram DMs –  you can now send a photo or video directly (and privately) to a friend on Instagram. Could this be a nifty way to build donor relations? Imagine getting a personalised Christmas card or fundraising ‘thank you’ from a charity you support?

3. Facebook donate button – you can donate to charities on Facebook now (US only for the moment but expect to see it here mid 2014). This could have huge implications for charities but of course a Facebook Ads grant would have been much better… Read this article for more info on the matter. And you can sign a petition here to encourage Facebook to set up a non-profit Ads grant, much like Google’s Adword grants.


4. Google + custom URLs – now you can change your Google + page URL, which surely beats those random numbers right? You will need to meet three criteria to be eligible: You have to have a profile photo, at least 10 followers and an account which is over a month old. Google is rolling this out in stages but you will be informed when you are eligible to change your URL. Be warned… once you set your custom URL, you can’t change it (like Facebook Page names – and we all know how painful that is if you rebrand).

5. Twitter mobile gets a facelift – The Twitter mobile App has a new look. And it is sleek. ‘Connect’ is now called ‘notifications’ and ‘home’ is now called ‘timelines’. If you have different Twitter accounts you can now move more easily between the two timelines.

Have you spotted any others? Share them in the comments field.

Social media is not a numbers game

Last night Channel 4 Dispatches reported on the fake fans industry. In Bangladesh there are ‘click farms’ where workers are paid to constantly log in and out of fake accounts to like or follow a Brand’s page or account. According to one company, pay only $3 for 1,000 YouTube views. 1,000 likes on your Facebook page? No problem, that’ll be $15 Sir.

This made me a bit ranty.

You can read mine, and other’s #fakefans tweets in my Storify.

We need to get past social media being a numbers game. It’s about conversation and engagement. It’s about getting to know your audience – your stakeholders/customers/donors/supporters and being able to have a two way meaningful dialogue with them.

Having thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of fans is all well and good. If it’s authentic. So yes we can all buy our followers and likes if we want to play the numbers game. But can you buy engagement? Can you buy this:



Or this:


No. No you can’t. It takes time and effort. And that time and effort is more than worth if when you get this kind of engagement


How will you use Facebook hashtags?

This week Facebook rolled out clickable hashtags – the ability to search conversations on Facebook and become part of a wider public discussion. Much like Twitter.

At the moment the service is not available to everyone and, like all of Facebook’s features, people will have the ability to set the privacy of their hashtags to Friends, Friends of Friends, Public and Custom.

So what does it mean for charities? 

As this is a new feature for Facebook, many charities are choosing to see how others will use it before jumping in themselves. Here is an example of how the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) are using hashtags for their Syria campaign:


Although it is early days for Facebook, hashtags are nothing new. However, I think Facebook hashtags will be highly useful for:

Integrating campaigns – a hashtag is part and parcel of the marketing mix in any campaign. Now, instead of being used just for Twitter and Instagram, you’ll be able to monitor, track and engage with people using that hashtag on Facebook. Facebook adverts for your campaign could include the hashtag, helping to spread your campaign further.

Social TV- think about Paul O’Grady’s For the love of dogs (#pogdogs) for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home on ITV. How many people tweet while they watch the show? Thousands!
According to Thinkbox in a 2012 report, 31% of people have chatted about TV shows or adverts in a second screen but this rose to 56% for 16 to 24 year olds. Now, those people who are not on Twitter will be able to take part in social TV conversations on Facebook. Of course this brings up resource issues (headaches) for charities already struggling with monitoring conversations on Twitter alone.

Targeting – using hashtags will enable you to better target your audience and make it easier for your audience to discover you and your services.

Trending – we all know how Facebook loves to change their Edgerank algorithm (how Facebook calculates where and what posts will show up on your news feed) and just when you think you have it sussed, they change it again…
I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before you will be able to pay for hashtags to trend, much in the way you can pay to promote tweets on Twitter. This will help ensure that your content will show up on your target audience’s news feed.

Have you tested Facebook hashtags yet?

Mobile Giving and why we should all be doing it

I had been meaning to set up a regular gift to the wonderful charity Child’s i for a while. I first heard about them when founder Lucy Buck spoke at a CharityComms conference. I was so inspired by the work that they do to find families for orphans in Uganda, but also by the fact that the charity was run entirely by volunteers. And these volunteers were making huge social media waves. And I was impressed and a little bit in awe.

Now I honestly have no idea why it took me so long to set up a regular donation but today was the day I was going to do it. (It may have been this image on my Facebook newsfeed that helped)


I went to their website and clicked on the big Donate Now button which took me to a page with a range of options, including regular giving, one off donations and fundraising. I clicked on regular giving and LO AND BEHOLD  there was a donate using your mobile phone option:


It was so ridiculously easy to set up. All I had to do was:

1. enter my mobile number and hit the button

2. wait two seconds for a text

3. reply YES

4. job done

What I really liked, apart from the ease and speed at which it took to set up, is the fact that I can cancel at any time just by replying STOP. Or, if money is a bit tight one month, I can reply with SKIP to miss a payment. Perhaps not great for the charity but good for me. Another thing perhaps not great for the charity was that I didn’t receive a Gift Aid option.

I do believe that by making regular giving as easy as possible for the donor, you will increase your regular giving overall and this is why more charities should be incorporating mobile giving into their donation mix. That and the fact that 60% of people surveyed by Open Fundraising, on behalf of UK mobile payments regulator PayPhonePlus, said that donating by text was their favourite way of giving to a charity.

Well done to Open Fundraising  for setting this mobile regular giving up for Child’s i.

Oh yes, and there was an AWESOME ‘thank you’ video delivered by text but you will just have to sign up yourself to see it.