Getting started with social media

This week I have been mostly preparing for my Google+ webinar ‘Why Use Social Media’ (watch it on YouTube) which is part of the Grow Your Charity Online programme. It is aimed at small charities who are unsure whether social media is worth the time and effort or those who just don’t know where to start.

I have been particularly inspired by the four organisations who replied to my tweet sharing details of how social media has made a big difference to them. My huge thanks go to Make Lunch, Manchester Mind, Orphans in Need and Age UK Solihull.

There are so many resources and events out there to help charities get better at social media but not that many to help if you are just at the start of the journey. The how-to guides on KnowHow Nonprofit are excellent but the volume is quite daunting. To help, I made a new one which brings them all together: How to get started with social media.

The CharityComms guide to social media for charities is a slideshare presentation by Matt Collins and Vicky Browning. It is packed with useful advice to help you decide which channels (if any) are right for you.

Sometimes reading guides isn’t enough. It is useful to talk to someone who can help analyse which channels are right for you, help you think about how to use them and get you started. Please get in touch if you’d like me to help you.

The social media divide

This week it’s all about social media. It’s social media week – wickid! There are lots of events and hashtags to learn from. I’ve been reading Visceral Business’ Social Charity Index of the top 100 social charities where they ask whether we have reached a tipping point where social is the new normal. And today, Zoe Amar launched her top charity social CEOs competition citing research which said that “eight out of 10 people are more likely to trust and buy from an organisation whose CEO and leadership team use social media.”

But there are still many organisations who are very far behind. The digital divide is wide. Many are not on Twitter / Facebook / YouTube etc let alone Vine, Storify or Pinterest. Some struggle to have an online presence. Some don’t even have email (one example I heard recently was of an organisation run by women who had to ask supporters to email their husbands’ work accounts).  So the barriers of kit, skills, confidence, time are still very real.

Yet the benefits are big. We all know that the opportunities for sharing what we do, connecting with others and learning through social media are great. Visceral Business’ Anne McCrossan wrote very clearly about the benefits for small charities.

So, what can we do? As digital natives we can share what we have learnt to help others join the party. Can you add anything to KnowHow’s social media how-to guides? They are wiki’s so we should all keep them up-to-date and start guides on new topics. Do you support organisations new to social media with a welcome or #ff / #ct? Could you mentor someone via CharityComms who is just getting started?

Next week I am running a FREE google+ hangout via Media Trust’s Grow Your Charity Online site. The webinar session is called Why Use Social Media. Please join me or help spread the word using the #gyco hashtag.

Let’s share the love.

Other reading