Top charity use of trending news stories

Now, newsjacking has been around for ages and charities have been taking advantage of trending hashtags, or news, in both good and bad ways – mostly good.

Recently, I’ve noticed one charity that seems to have nailed it.

They have clearly thought their key messages through and they are reaping the benefits – their latest one, which focussed on the news story that skinny jeans could be bad for your health (oh dear, Hipsters) had 74 Retweets.

So who is it?

Here’s one for National Kissing Day.

But best of all? These ones for Game of Thrones.

I think these are wonderful examples of how to take advantage of trending hashtags, in a meaningful way. Have you spotted any others?

Five top tips for building online communities

Today I delivered training for Media Trust on Building Online Communities to a number of charities. The training was really interactive and it was wonderful to have delegates that were enthusiastic, confident and happy to share their own experiences and tips.

We covered a lot of topics but I wanted to share five top tips for helping to build and engage a community. They are:

1. Experiment with posting times

Have you looked at your Facebook Insights to see when the people who Like your page are most active? You might be surprised… if your target audience are parents, for example, then experiment with posting at 8 or 9pm. This is when the kids have gone to bed and parents finally have a chance to sit down and check Facebook.

2. Think ‘mobile’ first

As of March 31, 2015 there were 1.25 billion mobile monthly active Facebook users. So when you’re creating your post, make sure the first two sentences have your call to action or conveys what you want people to take away. Chances are if your post is too long for mobile, most people won’t click to read more.

3. Keep the conversation on your cause

If you are going to make use of trending news stories or trending hashtags, make sure they are still relevant to your cause. If you can’t think of a way to tie in your charity’s work/values/mission to a trending hashtag – don’t do it. Here are some good examples (and one bad) of ‘newsjacking’.

4. Keep it real

Real people, real stories and authentic images. People love human interest stories and hearing about other people’s experiences so why not showcase them? Avoid stock images and use real people – photos of smiling, happy faces get the most engagement. Try it!

5. Always say ‘thank you’

This could be literally – as in thanking fundraisers on your social media channels or thanking volunteers but it is also about thanking those who engage with you. And that could mean something as simple as liking their comment on your post or replying to it. With Twitter this could be Retweeting, favouriting or replying with an @mention. If someone has taken the time to engage then they should be acknowledged. This means they are also more likely to comment, Like or share your content again.

Got any other tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment or tweet me at @LondonKirsty

What do charities and a Tube Strike have in common?

Tube staff are striking over plans to close down a number of ticket offices, leading to job losses of almost 1,000. So what does this have to do with charities?

Technically, nothing. Tube line info maps on the other hand…

A very clever and serious tweet from Save the Children, highlighting the crisis in Syria:

Save the children

And this one from Macmillan to highlight that their helpline is open, even if tube lines are closed:


Leonard Cheshire Disability highlights the inaccessability of tube stations for wheelchair users and brings home the message that for them, it’s like everyday is a tube strike day:

Leonard Cheshire

Have you spotted any others?


Newsjacking on Social Media

This week saw the arrival of the Royal baby, or #RoyalBaby if you’re on social media, and with the news came the inevitable newsjacking.

So what is newsjacking? It’s using real time breaking news to add your own angle or agenda in order to generate engagement among your followers, promote a relevant product or services and hopefully gain some new followers at the same time.

So how did charities ‘newsjack’ #RoyalBaby? Here are some examples:

Dogs Trust offered tips and advice for introducing the new baby to Kate and William’s dog:


Macmillan South East promoted their fundraising efforts for Macmillan:


The RNLI  and Breakthrough Breast Cancer went down the ‘congratulations’ route but cleverly tied it in with the Royal’s personal connection to the charities: 

This photo is from the launch of the RNLI lifeboat in Anglesey and was the couple’s first official Royal engagement after announcing the news of their engagement.




The link in the tweet takes you to Breakthrough’s website to a page on why Prince Charles is a patron.Doctors of the World chose to highlight the plight of children and mothers in Africa and brought more of a serious message to the news of the arrival: 



Here are some tips for newsjacking:

1. It’s obvious but timing is everything. Hashtags don’t trend for days on end so you need to act fast

2. Choose your newsjacking topics wisely – it’s not a good idea to newsjack natural disasters or tragic events as Gap learnt…



3. There needs to be a natural connection. Don’t newsjack topics that aren’t somehow aligned to your organisational goals