So you want to know how to promote a charity event using social media? The key is to utilise social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn - just to name a few. Never put all your eggs in one basket and rely solely on a single social platform. The importance of integrating multiple networks cannot be stressed enough.
Here are a few tips our team at Ultimate Experience recommends to kick start your charity campaign and build a list of attendees who are just as eager as you are to make a difference.
1. Don’t Forget the Hashtag
It goes without saying that Twitter should be one of many social networks that you’re using. That means you should also have a hashtag to go with it. There is a pattern that all trending hashtags have in common.
They usually meet one or all of the following:
- They’re short
- They’re clear
- They're created weeks in advance to allow sufficient time for it to trendWhat are some good event hashtags?
What are some good event hashtags? If your organisation was combatting world hunger, for example, then an effective hashtag may be something like #HungerNoMore, #NeverHungryAgain, or #StampOutHunger.
These examples are all fairly short, and they’re definitely clear, so that people who see it for the first time will definitely know what they mean.
Here’s a few other tips for hashtags:
- Only use one or two at the most
- Promote it through other mediums like email, or on your website
- Actually use it; many event planners come up with a good hashtag but for some reason choose to use it sparingly as if it was something that could be used up
2. Engage Your Followers
Many people think they know how to promote a charity event in social media. However, those same people fail to garner much traction for their events. If you want to develop a strong following, then you have to be the active engager. This means you should be the one to start the conversation and get the ball rolling.
Instead of just sending out information, send posts that elicit a response. After sending a tweet with a link to your latest blog post, for example, you can follow up a few minutes later with another tweet asking followers what they think or to encourage them to comment.
There are plenty of other similar methods. Perhaps you can send a funny, lighthearted picture on your Instagram with the event hashtag and encourage others to submit their own selfies, while also using the event hashtag.
Remember, just because your event is raising awareness about a dire problem doesn’t mean the event itself and the promotion has to be all serious.
3. Make It Inspirational
Roughly 6,000 tweets are sent every second. With so many being sent, it can be hard for your tweet to gain any traction if you’re not a celebrity or a high-profile figure. There is one way, however, to ensure your tweets garner massive attention, and that is to share personal stories. More specifically, a personal story related to your own cause.
This was done to perfection by Tyler Riewer, content specialist for the charity organization charity:water. Riewer frequently travels around the world to areas that seldom have access to clean drinking water, much less social media. As such, these impoverished areas rarely receive the much needed media attention.
Riewer posts one to three tweets a day and usually adds a photo of the children from the visiting area. This hardly fails to garner attention because it contains someone’s first-hand account of working directly with the children and seeing with his own eyes the widespread poverty that exists.
4. Use YouTube
Remember that YouTube is also a social network. More people are creating videos as part of a bigger promotional stint for their event. Some are even creating their own vlog series in lieu of a regular blog post.
If you want to know how to promote a charity event in social media, then you can’t just stop at posts on Facebook and Twitter. You have to diversify and exploit sites like YouTube or other video streaming services.
There are all sorts of videos you can release, such as:
- Whiteboard animation
- Q&A sessions
- Snippets of last year’s event
Ideally, videos should be brief and to the point. Try keeping it within two minutes or so. You can also use annotations that pop up on screen with links to related videos. As for the description below, introduce your company and upcoming event with a link to the signup page.
Donors Choose is one company that really made good use of YouTube. The organization, which connects donors with teachers from schools in low income neighborhoods, regularly releases promotional YouTube videos. The videos are syndicated through the org’s Google + page where it reaches the group’s 52,000 followers.
5. Make It an Organisation-Wide Effort
Yes, there may be one or two designated people assigned the marketing role. That doesn’t mean, however, that those people have to be responsible for everything. When it comes to the social media aspect of your event, everyone should play a role, from the company founder to the weekend volunteer.
For every person that actively engages on social media, that’s a whole new set of social media friends that learn about the cause. On top of that, there should also be a social media policy in place to ensure everyone is on the same page.
The policy doesn’t have to be complex, but it should provide a guideline for members to abide by. They are, after all, representing the organization, and any conduct deviating from the guidelines can reflect poorly on the group.
6. Share Memorable Quotes
Instead of imparting your own words, share words of wisdom from some of the world’s greatest leaders, past and present. Messages of compassion, hope, and generosity are especially effective and reminds people that with the world’s problems come opportunities for people to come together and show selfless support.
You can post a quote every day from a famous figure, or even come up with your own or share one that was sent by a follower.
This was done by the Open to Hope Foundation, which provides services to grieving families who recently lost a loved one. The organisation routinely sends quotes about death, grieving, and healing to provide some form of solace to its members who are still reeling from loss.
When you do this, you slowly build trust within members of your community. In this respect, you create long-term loyalty and support without even directly selling to your followers.
7. Create a LinkedIn Event
LinkedIn is usually overlooked when it comes to charity groups. The social network, after all, is designed primarily for for-profit companies. It’s still perfectly suitable, though, for charity orgs to create their own LinkedIn page. This presents an opportunity to acquire new followers that you may not already have on Facebook or Twitter.
Also remember that just as you can create a Facebook event, you can do the same with LinkedIn. On top of that, you can also create a LinkedIn Group or join an existing one. These are all opportunities for connecting with new faces and spreading word about the difference you’re trying to make.
Spread the Word, Spread the Cause
Now that you know how to promote a charity event in social media, go out and do it. Success won’t happen overnight, but with time people will get to know what your organization stands for. When they get to know you and the group, then they will warm up to the idea of standing up for positive change.
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