Digital round-up – April

Highlights from the charity digital web in April.

Includes a bumper crop of blog posts from CharityComms, Lightful and others, plus a charity rebrands, Marathon comms and some juicy hashtag content.

Close up of pots of rusty nails, green scissors and yellow string

Building digital success

**Don’t forget that if you have content on Storify, you have until 16 May to remove it before the site closes. There are lots of alternatives such as Wakelet. Which ones have you tried?**

Getting the measurements right

Infographic from ParkRun's tweet showing average finish times

Building excellent teams

Rebrands / new websites / building websites

Charity content

We all know about the big awareness days but what about the small obscure ones? Even International Carrot Day can be celebrated on a slow news day. Check out some great examples in this Twitter Moment.

There was some nice St George’s Day content around including this video from National Trust and Macmillan dusted off their #EdBallsDay tweet. Plus some great April Fool’s Day campaigns.

What does your social media strategy say about whether you should join in with an unexpected trending conversation or meme? What criteria does it have to satisfy or do you use instinct to make a decision? Some organisations I speak to just don’t join in, others will wait until their peers are joining in. Trending topics can give engagement a real boost. Remember how we all joined in with the 280 characters change on Twitter? This week some charities joined in with #MyHandleExplained. This example from WWF (“Wildlife not wrestling”) really stood out. This one from @MoreThanADodo was good too.

#MyHandleExplained tweet from WWF showing fighting polar bears

It can be hard to get humour right. This post by Jon Ware explores why and what we can do about it – Why the Absolute Unit was absolutely inspired digital comms.

London Marathon

Made to Move - wheelchair athlete whizzes past the Lucozade station on the Marathon

Full-on London Marathon fever lasts for about a week from the expo to when the aches and pain fade after the event. Use your content well to embrace this if you have runners or supporters involved.

Did you see the London Marathon cheer-off banter on Twitter and mascot banter between Breast Cancer Now, Macmillan Cancer, Breast Cancer Care, Teenage Cancer Trust, CLIC Sargent and others?

Jack Munroe used Twitter to connect fundraisers with supporters ahead of the big day.

Marathon day itself is a whirlwind on social media. On the Monday following the event, lots of charities shared stories about the impact all the fundraising would have as a way of thanking their runners for the pain and giving them a final push to pass on to sponsors. Many will be reliving the day through photographs and messages. Take a look at some examples in this Moment. Many charities also make Moments of their tweets from the day to curate and document it for prosperity and future use. These are also a great way to publicly celebrate (and thank) the effort of the runners and supporters. Take a look at examples from Scope and Macmillan.

UK Fundraising also shared a round-up of some of the highlights.

Brathay Trust did an excellent job with their crisis comms following the death of supporter Matt Campbell. As the news broke, they quickly released a statement. They added his story to their homepage, shared stories about their work on social to connect with their new audience and produced graphics to help promote #MilesForMatt. As the money came in, they released further statements at £100k and £300k sharing their reaction to the response and what the money means to them as a small charity.

As people are still running their 3.7 miles for Matt, the total is still going up. Currently it stands at a staggering £330k + GiftAid. For a small charity, who have never had so many tweets, they have done a brilliant job of connecting with the running community. Building long-term relationships with these supporters will be harder but many more people have now heard of Brathay and their work than before.

Brathay Trust - statement via Twitter reflecting on the week following Matt's death

NB It is worth having a look at the work Samaritans did following the death of Claire Squires’ in the London Marathon 2012 which raised over £1m. Here’s more about the Claire Squires Fund.

Other stuff

What else did you read or see this month? Do share in the comments.

How can I help you?

Why not 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.

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Did you miss March’s round-up? Catch up with more good reads!

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Should charities join in with mega-hashtags like #MontyThePenguin?

Some charities are excellent at using social media to join in with non-charity memes as these Twitter examples show. But is it right to jump on the bandwagon?

The John Lewis ad

On Thursday John Lewis released their 2014 Christmas ad. If you haven’t seen it, it features a boy and penguin. By lunchtime it had had 90,000 views on YouTube, just an hour later it was up to 300,000 and today up to 4.3m! Everyone was talking about #MontyThePenguin (he’s got his own Twitter account – @MontyThePenguin).

Charity responses

WWF who are in partnership with John Lewis responded by promoting their brilliant adopt a penguin page via this tweet which got 100 RTs and 97 favourites.

Tweet: Turns out @johnlewisretail love penguins too & support our work in Antarctica #MontyThePenguin http://po.st/LENAiF

and followed it up with this one.

Tweet: .@johnlewisretail have sold out of #MontyThePenguin. Now's your chance to support a real penguins! http://po.st/LENAiF

They also added a penguin to their homepage and paid for a series of promoted twitter ads which appear at the top of the search results for #MontyThePenguin. As the advert runs in the weeks heading up to Christmas no doubt there will be a huge serge in people adopting penguins. (See more about this in the UK Fundraising article about MontyMania.)

JustGiving joined in with a lovely picture and a plug for WWF.

Tweet: Do you love #MontyThePenguin as much as we do? Show us your heart hands for @WWF_UK and say #ICare about penguins.

Charities unrelated to penguins got involved too. Age UK used it as an opportunity to promote the Big Knit. It got 37 RTs, 14 Favourites and 37 clicks through to the website.

Tweet: Help our #MontyThePenguin find his mate this Christmas. Join the #BigKnit

And Save the Children UK used Monty to publicise their Christmas Jumper Day.

Tweet: We think #montythepenguin would look great in a #xmasjumperday knit!

Dogs Trust sent five rehoming tweets about dogs called Monty including one about Monty the Jack Russell. They each got between 36 and 67 RTs and reported that ‘weekly RTs were up 53% compared to week before and new followers were up 66% compared to previous week’.

Tweet: Just like #montythepenguin our sweet Terrier Monty from @DT_Shoreham is looking for love... and a forever home! #love

Many others used it as a chance to plug their Christmas shops or cards (such as Breakthrough Breast Cancer).

Conclusions

Joining mega-hashtag (or newsjacking) activities such as #MontyThePenguin can be a quick and harmless way of promoting something. It can help you reach new supporters and shows existing ones that you aren’t just wrapped up in your charity bubble. If it fits with your brand, it is good to do something fun. You have to act quickly though. Although people will no doubt be talking about Monty for a while, launch day and maybe 1-2 days after are the window for joining in.

However some argue that charities should stick to strategic marketing (see Charities should be leaders, not followers on social media – Third Sector article).

Personally, I think that an organisation’s content strategy should always leave room for spontaneity. If something big comes along, careful thought should be given about whether it fits and if it does, give some time to get involved. These examples all fit brilliantly with the spirit of the ad and are done really well. Hats off to them for responding so quickly and in a smart way.

What do you think?

Do you think charities should stick to their core activities and not join in with memes like these? Or do you think they give a nice boost if pitched right? Have you seen any other good responses? Or have any insights into the time it takes to respond and the impact it has?

Add a comment or tweet me your views, I’d love to hear from you.