Social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have opened a whole new channel for causes to reach potential donors and volunteers. But the internet isn’t simply the digital form of direct mail; your communication has the potential to reach large, individualized audience that is sophisticated, demanding and impatient. You need to put your whole toolkit to work in order to capture and keep their attention. Here are 3 simple rules and 4 suggestions to keep in mind as you craft your content:
- SHOW, DON’T TELL – Rule #1 is to keep your copy short and use captivating photos. Remember that the internet is a highly visual medium, so think of images and captions to illustrate your message, and think storyboard when you tell your story.
Hint: Animals are always a winner.
- MOBILE FIRST – The primary reason to follow rule #1 is that more and more users are viewing their Facebook newsfeed on a mobile device. They flip through images and scan the descriptions at high speed, if they read them at all. Remember to keep your pictures simple and uncluttered, so that the subject is clear on a palm-sized screen.
- LET’S GO TO THE MOVIES – Video content is on the rise and will continue to take over social media in the coming years, so include video whenever you can (Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes video, so it not only captures eyeballs, but helps you gain in reach). Also, most social networks auto-play videos without sound, so be sure to add brief subtitles.
- MAKE IT A CONVERSATION – Perhaps the internet’s greatest advantage as a marketing platform is that it enables easy two-way communication. Leave room for users to give reactions, feedback, suggestions and shares.
- ASK QUESTIONS? – Yes, definitely. Engage users with open-ended questions, quizzes, and polls. Find ways to present your vital information in a format that makes learning a game. Try leading readers by giving them part of a picture or message and having them click through to get the full image.
- LEAD WITH THE EMOTIONS – Many causes come armed with impressive statistics that demonstrate the range of need or the widespread reach of a problem, but one powerful image or a simple personal narrative can deliver much more impact and result in a deeper response. Facts are vital, but reaching people’s passions is crucial. As the saying goes, ‘people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’
- WHAT’S MY ACTION ITEM? – if you’ve captured people’s attention and stirred their emotions, don’t leave them confused about what to do next. Include a strong and clear call-to-action, whether it’s “DONATE NOW,” “JOIN,” or simply “LEARN MORE.”