Good behaviour on social media

Sticker on a bus stop says 'Be Kind'

The third #ReclaimSocial day is fast approaching (6 February). The day is an opportunity to flood social media with positivity by sharing good news stories and celebrating heroes of positivity. Get involved if you can. The day aims to kickstart a rebalancing of the scales of hate and bad behaviour on social media.

We all have a role to play in demonstrating good behaviour every day. Both personally and from any corporate accounts we manage. Here are five examples of social media etiquette to generate a culture of positive connections (mostly relating to Twitter).

You might do all of these already. In which case, you are a hero of positivity!

Acknowledge when you have seen something

If you have paused to look at someone’s photo or thread or story – why not say something? Tell them that you have seen what they have done and what it meant to you.

You don’t have to write a pithy comment. A ‘thanks for sharing’ or ‘lovely photo’ or a thumbs up, is easy to do. We all need to feel seen.

If no one comments or interacts, we might not bother to post something similar again. What’s the point if it didn’t connect?

A like is ok but is a very passive interaction. Take 10 seconds to say something nice. Share the love.

Recognise when someone has interacted with you

I see this all the time on charity accounts. An organisation might ask a friendly open question in order to generate some user-generated content and to be fun on a Monday morning…. And then not respond to any of the responses.

So, all the people who have bothered to share a photo of their muddy run or say that they have spotted one of the campaign posters on the tube, are left hanging. Maybe they won’t interact in this positive way again? Maybe they think less of the charity?

Social media / comms teams can be spread very thinly and don’t have time to respond to large number of comments. But building connections and a community of supporters is very important.

If you don’t have time to respond to the comments, don’t ask a question.

If you do have time, acknowledge someone’s action. Being warm, open and inclusive may encourage other people to comment in future.

I think this is particularly important for member organisations and those which are looking for people to share their experiences. For example, National Trust are really good at chatting. This example from Transport for All asks people to fill in a survey about problems with dockless bikes but hasn’t responded to replies.

Say please and thank you

Remember when people used to say ‘Please RT’ in their tweets? There was evidence that posts with this in, were more frequently shared. Was it the power of the please or a polite ask that made the difference?

Do you say thank you when people RT something of yours with a comment?

Be social on social media

Back in the day, people used to share regular #FollowFriday recommendations of @people they liked on Twitter. It was a bit annoying but mostly nice. People also used to welcome new followers. Or send a welcome DM to say a personal hello (or an annoying auto one).

It might have gone out of fashion to do these things. People might also have stopped for a quick hello or a chat. It was nice. It was social.

We should still do this. Respond to questions. Join in. Say something positive. Take a look at Chloe Stables and Kristiana Wrixon who are both great at asking questions and getting responses.

Share good stuff

Interaction doesn’t have to be around a heated debate or responding to a negative piece of news or mass RIPing someone who has died.

Be generous with your knowledge and ideas. Share stuff that you love and makes you smile.

And switch off

As charities, prolifically using social media as part of our work, we may see examples of trolling or negative behaviour on a daily basis. These might appear as negative comments under our posts, hate stories directed at our organisation or projects, or trolling of staff or corporate accounts.

These actions are draining, frightening and depressing to deal with.

Sometimes it is best to just switch off. And do something else instead.

Your tips

What are your top tips for good behaviour or encouraging a culture of positivity? I’d love to hear them.

Tips about making the social media you consume, positive

Digital advent calendars – 2019

Here are some highlights from this year’s crop of digital advent calendars shared by charities, museums and other not-for-profits.

knitted santas in a box. smiling!

Fun and competitions

Ruby the Reindeer is visiting a familiar place behind each door of The Family Holiday Association’s website calendar. Your challenge is to name the places and rearrange the first letters of the answers into the title of a well-known song, in order to enter the competition.

Follow, like or share Deki’s advent tweets to be in with a chance of winning a mystery box of goodies! “Each box is filled with surprises and items that celebrate the vibrancy of the communities in Togo and what Deki means to our partners and staff.”

Stories

Screenshot of day1-5 on Bletchley Park's Instagram advent calendar

Bletchley Park are sharing photos of actual doors from their site and telling the stories from each of them. Check out their Instagram for stories from Hut 1 and the garage so far.

#iwill are posting stories which celebrate the difference young people are making across the UK. Check out the #iwill advent calendar.

Sharing learning

screenshot from Howard Lake's day 4 video about giant cheques

A wealth of information and learning from Fundraising Everywhere’s fab calendar shared in one handy thread. So far we have had Dana Kohava Segal on behaviour economics and Howard Lake on giant cheque pictures in press releases.

CIPR Not-for-Profit are also sharing learning through their calendar. They are promoting great resources and showcasing Christmas campaigns from the sector.

Fundraising

Day 3 of Literacy Trust's calendar showing Onjali Rauf's book - The Boy at the Back of the Class

The National Literacy Trust are sharing details of a book recommendation each day. They asked top authors which book they would give as a gift to a child this Christmas. The tweet includes a text donation number to support their #GiftofReading campaign.

Cats Protection are sharing stories of cats in their care, with links to different ways you can sponsor a cat or support their work.

Others

Orkney Library classic tweet from May - Take Meat On - recreating a-ha's classic tune in book form

Seen any others? Let me know.

Join in

It’s not too late to join in. Last year many organisations ran 12 days of Christmas reveals in the dead-zone after Christmas. What a nice way to share positive stories from 2019 or calls to action for 2020.

See digital advent calendars – tips and examples.

Do you live-tweet?

Some tips about how to get the most out of live-tweeting from a conference or event.

This week it is the epic Institute of Fundraising annual conference. Three days, 100+ speakers, a festival of fundraising best practice, shared learnings and inspiration. The #IoFFC programme is huge with ten different streams (such as digital and philanthropy) and sessions graded by level (intermediate or advanced). If you are there, it must be impossible to choose which sessions to go to. If you are not there, it is pretty hard to follow the busy hashtag as there are sometimes nine sessions going on at once and hundreds of tweets coming out each day.

Screenshot of tweets using #IoFFC. There are 743 new tweets sent since the conference started.

Thank goodness for the handful of live-tweeters, working hard to share key points and their top takeaways in a way that is easy to follow (examples at the end).

How to get the most out of live-tweeting

If you are at a conference or event and planning to live-tweet, here are some tips about how to do it.

  • Sit at the front. You’ll take better photos of slides which will be easier to read.
  • Use threads. This makes it easier for everyone to follow the whole session you are at. Whether you are live-tweeting every important point or just one or two key takeaways, do it in a thread.
  • If you are at an event with more than one session, start a new thread for each session.
  • On the first tweet, include the name of the session and who is presenting, including their @names if they have one. Include a screenshot of the title slide or something else to make the tweet stand out.
  • Don’t worry if you miss an important point. You don’t have to cover everything. It can be quite stressful to try and keep up.
  • Include the event hashtag in each tweet.
  • If you are including images, especially of slides, use alt text to describe what the image is showing. If this is text, transcribe it (or better still include it in your tweet). If it is a graph or chart, try to describe the meaning. Make your tweets accessible to everyone.
  • RT the first tweet from your thread(s) at the end of the conference or the next day when people are back at their desks and wanting to reflect on what they have learnt. Your thread(s) will help them.

(NB Some people don’t like using threads because individual tweets can’t be included in a Wakelet or equivalent later. Personally I think it is more important to live-tweet in a way which helps someone follow everything you have shared. If you fire out lots of individual tweets, some will be missed.)

Why not have a go

Live-tweeting isn’t for everyone. You may prefer to make your notes using a pen and pad to write or draw, or like to type longer-form notes. Or just sit and listen. We all have different ways of taking in new information. You need to get the most out of the event you are at.

But if you are confident on Twitter it can be a great way to take notes in a way that builds your profile and benefits others at the same time. If you can listen and tweet (and photograph) all at the same time you are good to go. Get on the wifi with your phone, tablet or laptop and start sharing.

You may find that having ready-made notes in this format, makes it easier to turn them into a blog post or report later. At the least you will have a thread (or series of threads) which you can look back on and / or share with colleagues.

Tips for conference organisers

Is live-tweeting part of your comms plan for your event? Don’t assume that there will be tweeting delegates in the room. You have put months of effort into curating an amazing event and lots of ideas and examples will be shared. Don’t waste the opportunity to own and drive wider discussions around it.

Here are some of the benefits of live-tweeting the event from your corporate account:

  • reach a wider audience than just the people in the room, both on the day and afterwards. People watching from afar will be looking for an official record of the event to follow.
  • interact with delegates a different way
  • preserve some of the learning
  • build a source of content which you can turn into something else later (for example it can be easier to write a blog post or news story or summary or email newsletter from the key takeaways if you have already written them)
  • help delegates to reflect on their own takeaways from the event by catching up with tweets afterwards
  • use your official record of the day to promote other events or next year’s event.

Make it easy for people to live-tweet your event:

  • agree and publicise the official hashtag early on – on the webpage about the event, joining instructions email and in the programme. Don’t make people guess what the hashtag is or use more than one!
  • tell people about the wifi code clearly at the start of the day. Add it to the programme and on the welcome slide.
  • include the @names of the speakers in the programme and on their slides so people can mention them without having to search.

Set the scene at the start of the day. Take a nice photo and tweet a welcome message explaining what the event is about and share a link to the programme so people can see what is being covered. Make this the first tweet that everyone shares.

#IoFFC live-tweeters

Here are some examples of live-tweeting in action:

*************************

Can I help you?

Get in touch if I can help you with content planning, training or strategy. I work with charities of all shapes and sizes. I can help give your comms or digital processes a healthcheck and ideas injection.

I also live-tweet at conferences and events. If you are a conference organiser, don’t assume that there will be delegates who can help your expertly curated event reach a wider audience. I can help. Please get in touch.

 

 

How to use a Twitter Moment

Twitter Moments were launched in 2016. They are generally underused in charity comms. A quick survey of 50 charity’s Twitter accounts found that only 18 had ever done a Moment. Most of the 18, had only done one or two. Yet they are a quick and easy way to present and preserve content.

Screenshot of 2 Cats Protection Moments with a small number of Likes

Engagement levels of Moments seem to be generally low but if you are using them infrequently and only sharing them once, this isn’t surprising. You need to have a content plan for sharing and integrating them within your comms.

Value shouldn’t just be based on likes, shares and opens. Having a permanent document of something is useful for lots of different reasons. For example a Moment can make it easier to share the story of an event during and afterward. Having an archive of Moments can help you to take stock and plan future comms. A Moment can be a great way to show Twitter activity to colleagues. Moments can also be used and reused as evergreen content.

Here are the most common uses for Moments:

  • to share an event
  • to preserve or share fragmented content
  • to have a permanent record of something important
  • to showcase your community
  • to present content in a different way.

1. Events

Runs, fundraising challenges and other events can generate a lot of tweets. The good ones can get lost in the noise or missed altogether. Having a Moment is a great way to showcase and celebrate what happened. They can brilliantly show the live atmosphere and hype of the event better than any write-up. And they can be useful months later when recruiting for next year or sharing the impact of what happened.

screenshot of Macmillan Cancer's tweet sharing their Moment of the London Marathon

Top tip: Try and make the Moment as soon after the event as possible. People get home and want to relive it. If your Moment is ready then, more people will look at it and share it with their friends. A Moment made a week later has missed the boat.

2. Content curation

Moments are also a great way to curate content on Twitter. Think of them as a simplified, single channel (much missed) Storify or Wakelet.

A Moment can be used to bring content together that would otherwise be hard to find. For example, responses to a question (user-generated content) or a series of tweets not made into a thread or when you want to include tweets from other people into your messaging.

screenshot of Time to Change Moment 1.4Likes

3. A permanent record

If something big is happening, why not make a Moment of it? Tweets will soon get lost in your back catalogue, never to be seen or used again. Document it live or after the event to help others follow what happened.

Tweet promoting Heads Together's Moment of the #MentalHealthMinute for Mental Health Awareness Week

See also: Rocur and Twitter takeovers – blog post from 2017.

4. Community building

I didn’t find very many examples of Moments being used to showcase community action. How could you use a Moment to thank or celebrate your community?

  • Cambridge CVS showcased small charities during Small Charity Week 2018.
  • Cats Protection gathered some of the best responses to their #CatMenDo campaign.

5. Fun / interesting content

Be creative. Moments can work in lots of different ways. Could you use a Moment to show your impact or as a brochure to your services or present complicated information (such as symptoms or research) in a Moment? Here are some examples of more unusual uses.

How to make a Moment – tips

If you haven’t ever made a Moment, they are pretty simple to do, just follow the steps once you click ‘Create new Moment’. Here’s a how-to guide from Twitter if you need one.

Here’s are some tips on how to do them well.

  • Choose a great cover image which will will be eye-catching and sets the scene for your Moment. I tend to put this tweet at the end of the Moment so that people don’t see the image twice straightaway.
  • Think of a Moment like an essay with an introduction, main points in the middle and conclusions at the end. Ease people in with a tweet which introduces the topic and at the end finish with something fun or silly or thoughtful. Don’t just trail off. I have sometimes written a tweet purposefully to use at the end of a Moment either in thanks or to ask a question or to signpost to further reading or a donation.
  • There should be a rhythm to your Moment. You have to curate it, so it flows and tells a story. For example you might put tweets next to each other which use the same colours.
  • Try not to include tweets which are very similar to others. Be ruthless. Not many people will make it to the end of a 20 tweet Moment. Put some good ones at the end – reward people for getting there!
  • Try to use tweets which only have one image. Tweets will multiple images take up more space and can disrupt the flow.
  • Include tweets with video or gifs or graphics to keep it interesting.
  • Make the title clear and short. Include the #hashtag if you are using one.
  • Tweet your Moment and @mention some of the accounts you have included to broaden engagement.

Top Moment makers

More about Moments

Do you use Moments?

Have you used Moments? Do you like them or think they are a waste of time?

Share your favourites and top tips in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Digital advent calendars – 2018

Highlights from digital advent calendars from charities and cultural organisations in 2018. So many organisations joined in with creative and impactful ways, using different channels.

Looking for ideas for 2019? See Nonprofit digital advent calendars – a round-up of tips and examples.

shop window dressed for Christmas with toys and a tree lit up (at night)

Here are my top five calendars (in no particular order) from this year. Which is your favourite?

Top five

screenshot from video: homemade cardboard stage with cut outs recreate a scene from 80s classic Christmas film Gremlins

1. The Family Holiday Association’s Christmas Advent-ures are recreating classic Christmas films in cardboard form. Each day is released across their social channels and links to the full calendar on their website. Each film has a question, and at the end the answers will spell a word. One lucky person will win a hamper.

It’s not getting much interaction so far which is a shame. Watch and enjoy snippets from the Snowman, Elf, Frozen, Gremlins and others.

screenshot of instagram calendar from Motivation showing young boy smiling in his wheelchair

2. International development charity, Motivation who provide wheelchairs are using Instagram for their calendar. On 1 December they shared a video of a 3D printer creating customised equipment.

Follow for stories about their work.

Cats Protection - super super cute kitten kicks off day 1

3. The annual Cats Protection calendar – #CatventCalendar – is getting good engagement. With super cute images of the cats in their care it’s not surprising.

Their local branches are joining in too. The Trafford branch is sharing tips and pictures each day in a thread on Twitter and on Facebook using the hashtag. The Cherwell branch is also using the hashtag and sharing stories of cats from their year. This is Angus McPussPuss.

Tweet sharing Daryl's story: "A Porchlight Christmas calendar: what we’ve been doing this year thanks to your support. We helped Daryl when he had given up hope. “Everybody but Porchlight turned their backs on me.”"

4. Kent-based homelessness charity Porchlight are using their calendar to share the impact they have made over the year.

They are using strong pictures, a consistent layout and the hashtag #LastChristmasHomeless.

Orkeny Library tweet launching their calendar - 'we might do one or none'

5. Orkney Library are re-sharing some of their favourite tweets (of their own) from the last 11 months. These simple recycled tweets are getting lots of likes second time.

Follow along using #OrkneyLibraryAdvent2018 for some classic Orkney humour.

And a highly commended…

Here’s a special mention for Doncaster Council for their 12 days of local business featuring local shop owners singing in one handy thread. Much more engaging than some of the recycling tips or Christmas cheer efforts from other councils.

More calendars

The full Wakelet of digital advent calendars 2018 contains lots more examples from this year. Themes include festive cheer, stories and messages, fundraising and promotions, volunteering and promoting other organisations, articles from the collection and reviews of the year.

Here is a Twitter list so you can follow along. The best time of day to look at it is in the morning which is when the new day is revealed.

See also #MuseumAdvent and #VolunteeringAdvent.

Seen any others? Let me know and I’ll add them.

Join in

It’s not too late to join in. Last year a few charities did a 12 days of Christmas run-down.

Looking for more ideas, see Nonprofit digital advent calendars – a round-up of tips and examples.

>>See also: Be a good Secret Santa.

Using social media for crisis comms

How your culture, use of social media and the crisis itself influences whether you should use social media to respond.

This blog post was produced for Hospice UK following the HUK Comms Day in July. It is intended for hospices and healthcare providers but is relevant to others too.

chaotic hose pipe, swirling patter

What does your crisis comms plan say about how you’ll use social media? Does your social media policy or strategy (if you have one) include detail about how to respond to an emergency or high-profile story? Do you have the skills and processes in place so you could hit the ground running if you needed to?

Charities have consistently been in the headlines this year. Some cases such as Oxfam, GOSH and Alder Hey were front page news for weeks. Charities such as RNLI and Dogs Trust had to set the records straight when journalists mis-reported stories about their work. We live in a time where people can voice their opinions loudly.

In crisis situations (which can be bad or good), social media can be well used to promote your side of the story, to connect with supporters and to even turn a story around. But to get it right, you need to fully assess the situation to work out how to respond. What you do depends on having a culture and framework where social media is a well-oiled comms tool.

Deciding what to do depends on the crisis and your approach to social media.

Different types of crisis

For the comms team or social media officer, a crisis occurs when they have to drop everything to work on the issue. Therefore a crisis can take various forms. For example a crisis can be:

  • an organisational crisis – physical incidents (fire, flood, power cut, bad weather etc) / patient incident / funding crisis / fraud / malpractice / data breach / high-profile patient / patron in the news
  • a crisis in the local area – as community-based organisations, should you join in with local issues? If a local crisis hits (such as a big accident, fire, local celebrity scandal) do you have capacity or the inclination to connect with local people or show solidarity?
  • social media ‘crisis’ – this means something which is primarily on social media. This could be something you have started yourself which has ‘gone viral’ or a hashtag you need to join in with, or a patient documenting their illness which includes the care you are giving them.

How you respond depends on the situation. And the culture and community you have created around your comms.

A social culture

Does your organisation primarily use social media to broadcast? This means that your Twitter or Facebook feeds are effectively noticeboards announcing events or news? There is no interaction or engagement.

Or is your social media, social? An organisation with fully social channels typically does many of the following:

  • receives and responds to comments – building relationships with supporters
  • comments on other people’s messages – this means they follow and listen to others, responding where relevant
  • connects with local people and businesses away from their own channels – either in other forums or groups, or joining in with social media ‘events’ like #BirminghamHour
  • being creative with social – joining in with trending or topical issues
  • using storytelling
  • trusting staff and volunteers to use social media in their work (this is especially key if you had to draft in colleagues to help out in a crisis)
  • building a group of followers who stand up for the organisation.

If you have a social rather than broadcast approach to your comms and social media, when a crisis hits, you will be in a better place to respond. Partly because you’ll probably have a bigger audience but mostly because you will have an engaged one.

Comms planning

Key to responding well is planning. Have you done a training exercise around a crisis situation? Have you brainstormed situations and standard responses? Even if these scenarios never occur, it is useful to have done the thinking so you can apply it to a different situation.

It is essential to have done thinking around:

  • your tone of voice and housestyle. How is this different on social media? How would your press statement work cut and pasted on to Twitter? Do you need to change the jargon or simplify the message? What images could you use?
  • your integrated comms – how will you use different social channels? How will this integrate with your website, print and email comms?
  • processes around publishing to social media, including monitoring and responding out of office hours. Do you have a list of who uses social media in a professional capacity to represent your organisation so you can get hold of them in an emergency?

I have produced a set of questions to help you work out whether it is a good idea to respond or not – see Crisis Comms Questions (PDF). There are no right or wrong answers and not every question will be relevant. This is intended to help you think about the situation either as part of your crisis comms planning in ‘peacetime’ or if you are in a live crisis.

screenshot of questions about whether to take action or not

Examples

In addition to well documented crisis, played out on social including Oxfam, GOSH, RNLI and Dogs Trust, here are some examples of hospice crisis comms in action.

St Giles Hospice – #MakeFredFamous

Some of the tweets received to #MakeFredFamous

91-year old Fred attends St Giles Hospice’s computer group. The team asked people to wish him happy birthday via their Twitter feed. It took off!

To date there have been 45k retweets and 40k likes and thousands of people sent birthday messages. Fred was featured on local news and radio.

The team worked out when to calm the situation down and regularly checked in with Fred that he was ok with the attention. Fred signed off the press release. The coverage helped them to tell people about a different aspect of their work as Fred wasn’t a patient.

Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall

Sample of tweets responding to a theft at Thorpe Hall

When someone stole donations from the hospice last Christmas, the team wrote an open letter to the thief on their website and promoted it on the social channels. This inspired people to do something to help.

Local people, businesses and community groups rallied round and gave donations. The story got on the local news. The hospice was overwhelmed by the response and over £5000 was raised.

Thorpe Hall could have said nothing about the incident but by approaching it in a positive way, the story spread and inspired people to get involved with great results.

Useful reads

See also 5 digital comms tips for hospices – a blog post from 2015 with some great examples.

What do you think?

How has your organisation approached crisis comms? Are there situations where you purposefully haven’t used social media? How do you make decisions about what to do? Who decides?

Please do share in the comments. I’d particularly like feedback on the PDF questions – are they useful / what’s missing?

Can I help you?

Get in touch if I can help you with digital copywriting, content planning, training or strategy. I work with charities of all shapes and sizes. Can I help give your comms or digital processes a healthcheck and ideas injection?

 

 

With thanks to Sue Ryder, St Giles Hospice, St Wilfrid’s Hospice and St Ann’s Hospice who shared their experiences as part of research for the workshop / blog.

What can we learn from recent user-generated viral content?

Diminishing trust in charities, institutions and experts is widely discussed at the moment. As comms professionals how can we tackle this? We still have important messages to get out there.

I have seen a few examples recently where individuals on Twitter have shared important messages which have gone viral. What is it about these messages which have worked where charity comms just haven’t connected?

Here are some examples of when a charity’s message goes viral without the charity being involved or when an individual shares a public information message which a charity has been working on, and reaches more people. And finally some suggestions of what we can learn from this.

Time to Change’s beer mats

On 23 April @CarSeatArmRest with 3100 followers tweeted an image he’d taken of Time to Change’s In Your Corner campaign beer mats with the words “These beer mats are SO needed. Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 49, killing three times as many British men as women. It’s time to talk about men’s mental health!!”

To date, the tweet has had 209k likes, 77k RTs and 300 replies and it is still going strong. It doesn’t contain any hashtags or @mentions. The beer mat / coaster art work was launched six months ago.

Tweet showing images of Time to Change beer mats

I spoke to Time to Change’s Seb Baird who said. “We had a little bit of social buzz when the coasters were launched. They were placed in selected pubs at campaign launch in October 2017 but the people we’re trying to reach with this campaign don’t tend to talk about mental health on social media. The fact that they went viral now speaks to the relevance of the message and the difficulty in predicting how things spread on social. It also shows how people respond to physical materials differently to digital assets: I don’t think a tweet with the same message on a social graphic would have been as popular!”

“When this tweet took off we decided to take a hands-off approach, only retweeting the original post and replying to messages in the threads where they were relevant to the product and our organisation. We wanted the message to come first and our brand to come second.”

“That said, we had a 4x spike in our new Twitter followers that day, which is pretty great given we didn’t get an @ mention. We’ve had about 50 downloads of the coaster so far – they weren’t originally on our materials platform because they’re quite a niche product, so we had to upload sharpish and send the link in our Twitter replies.”

“By sod’s law, this happened on the one day of the year where the digital team were all out at a conference together. This meant that we picked it up quite late, and didn’t get to have a live look at how it went viral. In my view, it’s a testament to the strength of the messaging and the urgency of the topic, and it shows how important it is to have individuals taking your message and brand forward themselves; that authenticity is invaluable.”

The viral campaign was covered in The Independent (note autoplaying video on load) giving it a further push. You can download the coaster for yourself on the Time to Change website.

Other examples

Cancer charities have been trying to educate the public about sun damage and sun screen for years. On a sunny day last week, Jonathan Hume tweeted a thread about how sun cream works getting thousands of likes and RTs. People were replying with questions about different brands of cream and how to ensure sun safety.

Jonathan Hume's thread about sunscreen ratings

I don’t know whether any cancer charities spotted or got involved with this thread but compare it with CRUK’s similarly timed sun safety message which didn’t get much interaction or this one from Macmillan.

CRUK tweet about sun safety. 49 likes, 34 RTs

Did you watch Stephen Fry’s announcement that he has prostate cancer? This HuffPost article argues that well-intentioned public information doesn’t work – Stephen Fry’s message about prostate cancer spurred me on to get checked.

Earlier in the year, blind Twitter user Rob Long’s plea for people to use captions / alt text on images on Twitter got 178k likes, 145k RTs. Seemingly doing more to boost awareness about accessibility on Twitter singlehandedly than other of the organisations working in this area.

tweet from rob long asking twitter users to activate and use accessibility settings.

However it is worth noting that RNIB’s request for people to capitalise the first letters of words in hashtags to make them easier to read did well later in the year.

RNIB: Simple tweet reminding people to CapitaliseTheFirstLetter of words in hashtags to make them easier to read.

(NB this blog post about how to get alt text right is worth reading if you are new to image descriptions. It was widely shared at the start of the year following Rob Long’s tweet.)

Lessons

1. People respond better to advice or requests from peers than authority figures

We’re in an age of fake news, distrust of experts and too much noise. No wonder we turn to our peers for recommendations and information. What can you do about this?

Bring more voices into your comms, let people tell their own story (rather than you presenting their case study). Some methods include hosting and sharing user-generated content (see blog post from 2016 on Anthony Nolan’s Facebook content strategy and look at NHS Give Blood comms) and Twitter takeovers.

Listen to your community and those outside it. Do you read your organisation’s timeline or follow relevant keywords on your social channels? Use social media to be social rather than to broadcast. Join in with conversations but don’t dominate them.

Many charities also now reach out to influencers and find ways they can work together.

2. Simple content works best

What proportion of your content is information giving? Your evergreen content strategy probably involves big topics (“hey find out about symptoms!”) and a helpful link to your website. That can be daunting or disrupting to consume.

Think instead about micro information – what are your top tips or life hacks? What simple, practical tips or information do you have which might get uplift on a Friday afternoon? Think detail or niche but interesting and useful.

Think also about your tone of voice. Do you write in an approachable, clear, warm way? Are you writing as an friend or a parent or a teacher? Do your tweets include clutter? The messages which worked well above didn’t have hashtags or links to get in the way.

3. You don’t need to be involved in every conversation but you do need to make sure you can capitalise on the engagement

Time to Change decided not to get too involved in the beer mat conversations. They didn’t need to. The message was the important thing. But they did recognise that they needed to do more to make the artwork more widely available and quickly added them to their resource library. What do you need to do to make a message or resource fly even more?

Conclusions

I am not saying you should ditch your social strategy to use these approaches. You should do what is right for your brand, cause and audience. But it is worth reviewing your methods and impact and testing out how you can use social to really engage with people.

Any other examples?

Have you come across any other examples or have tips based on how you’ve tackled this problem? What do you think about these examples? Please do share in the comments.

See also:

Can I help you?

Get in touch if I can help you with digital copywriting, content planning, training or strategy. I work with charities of all shapes and sizes. I can give your comms or digital processes a healthcheck and ideas injection. I have some time in May and June. Drop me a line.