December, with all its festivities and family affairs, is my favourite month of the year. However, this month also marks the end of one of the most creative annual charity traditions: Movember.
Movember raises money, inspires action and has fun along the way; the Global Journal currently ranks the organisation in the top 100 best NGOs in the world. Inspiringly, it took Movember just ten years to become the charitable and fundraising powerhouse - not to mention, landmark event - it is today; 1.1 million people participated in Movember in 2012, raising $147 million USD for men's health. A key reason for Movember's well-deserved success is its incredibly effective approach and use of social media. The crew at Movember understand that social media is about your networks engaging with you both online (through social media platforms) and offline (through activities such as fundraising and awareness). They also realise that to maximise this engagement, they need to be creating and sharing original content - a fact that many charities, NGOs, and social enterprise have yet to fully grasp.
Content can be opinionated blog posts, videos, infographics, guides, mobile apps or, as is most associated with Movember, pictures of your beneficiaries or volunteers. It doesn't matter if your content is professionally produced or created by an amateur. What really matters is that your stakeholders - donors, beneficiaries, staff, leadership, and volunteers - see your content and interact with it in a way that is tangibly beneficial to you, both on- and offline.
Over the last couple of years, I've seen the conversation about social media in the charity and social enterprise space pivot from 'why should be using social media' to: 'we understand its potential and we have a presence across platforms, but how does my organisation use social media to best drive meaningful engagement?' This is an important shift. It means that charities and social enterprises are no longer questioning the potential of social media. Rather, they want to effectively integrate social media into their fundraising and marketing strategy. However, for most organisations, creating and strategically sharing original content can seem daunting.
That's why, in collaboration with Aegis Media, Social Misfits Media has published a free guide aimed at helping charities and social enterprises create and share original social media content. Titled, "Something to Tweet About," the guide includes in-depth looks at how organisations as diverse as AfriKids, the Red Cross, Breakthrough, and Movember approach content creation and distribution. It also includes interviews with experts from Facebook, Google+, YouTube, and JustGiving. You can download a copy here.
While there is no secret formula to creating engaging social media content, the best examples of content have two things in common: the content is original and it has been distributed in the right way to the right people.
Creating content doesn't require much more than time; while money can help, it is by no means a guarantee of success. You can create content on little to no budget because authenticity and a direct call to action ("donate here") are the key ingredients for success. As Jessica Mason, lead at YouTube for Good, states "professional videos are wonderful and it's great if you have the budget to make them. But [lack of budget] shouldn't keep you from making videos. On YouTube we find that authenticity and storytelling tend to be more important than the quality of the video."
For more top tips, go and download the guide. Remember, social media is now the number one reason people all over the world are using the internet - more than email, shopping, etc. That means that it's on the various social media platforms where your organisation's stakeholders are spending a significant portion of their time. You need to ensure that you are strategically engaging them in a genuine and captivating manner, and the only way to do this well is through creating and sharing your own content.