At a recent workshop, one delegate described how her charity’s engagement on social media has dropped recently. When we asked her about it, she realised that this had coincided with a change in her charity’s “voice” on social media.
Previously, she had used a chatty style in her posts, until senior management suggested a more formal approach. This is a common issue, and if you find yourself in a similar position, feel free to share this blog with your boss!
Be Professional, not Formal
Firstly, being professional is not the same as being formal. You can be rude in a suit (Presidents’ Club!) or you can give great advice in a pair of jeans (the Great Cause Comms dress-code of choice). Social media is SOCIAL – so as long as you are being sociable and not anti-social, you are onto a winner.
If your organisation is feeling nervous about individuals posting on social media with their own personality, you can differentiate different “voices” using square brackets. This is one of my favourite things to do [Emma].
You don’t need to do this all the time; especially if what you are posting is fact rather than opinion. But it is an accepted way of sharing appropriate opinions in a way that will resonate with others.
Historically, our client had chatted using her charity’s Twitter account, while
watching popular TV; such as #britainsgottalent. We agree with her that just because office hours are 9 to 5, doesn’t mean that social media goes to sleep.
Everyone knows that popping to the pub after work is good for team morale, so why wouldn’t you also chat to your social circle on social media in the evening? And if you have a GSOH, don’t be afraid to show it. It’s a great way of building authentic relationships.
Share where you care
Talking of resonating with others…it’s not all about you. Be sure to support others in their on-line efforts too. We recommend retweeting content that is broadly related to what your charity does…but it’s OK to extend it a little to reflect your personal passion. For example, one of the @givebloodnhs team seems to love Blue Planet, Emma shares lots of content about #adoption, and I am always likely to share content about #surrogacy and childhood #cancer [Kate].
Get Inspired by Great Examples
Having been a TOG (“Terry’s Old Git”) since my early teens, I am inspired by the wonderful Hellen Bach and the fundraising work that she has done in association with Terry Wogan, and since his death [Emma].
This is a great example to show to managers who are concerned about the use of a personal “voice” in external comms. Connect with Hellen and Norm at CharityGoods.com to support their work and receive their lovely chatty newsletters and updates.
Being personal doesn’t mean you have to be fluffy; the success of #blackmirror shows how much people love having their thoughts challenged. We’re not suggesting that you get as controversial as Clarkson or as tactless as Trump; simply confront preconceived ideas and bust myths.
Talk about what is important to you and your organisation – as long as it is TRUE – even if it might make some people a little uncomfortable. Never, ever defame or spread ideas that you would not be willing to defend in person.
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