This article was co-written by Social Misfits Media - non-profit social media specialists.
Facebook is a great platform for charities to raise awareness and support for their cause. But with over a billion users worldwide, finding and reaching the right people can be like casting a net into an ocean - paid promotion options are usually needed in order to generate engagement.
Platforms like Twitter and Instagram are a similar story, having become over-saturated. Charities on these plaforms must battle for attention with high profile brands and it can be difficult to be heard above the noise. If this sounds familiar and you are finding it challenging to engage your audience through these core channels, you aren’t alone.
By only using the core social platforms to target your audience, it’s hard to know if you’re reaching the right audiences and building deep relationships with them. In order to tap into a smaller, yet more highly engaged audience, you might want to consider focusing on more niche platforms that target on specific verticals.
Niche social media networks are increasingly emerging, as people want to connect with content that resonates with them, whilst sharing the platform with people who have the same interests.
We've listed just a few examples of online communities and social media networks that charities might want to explore.
Looking to make the world a better place? Look no further than the ‘do good’ social platform, Care2. The platform aims to unite its members with non-profits and socially responsible brands to fuel progress on causes around the world.
Care2 is made up of topical articles, success stories, causes and petitions. With over 53,000 members and 2,750 non-profits onboard it's potentially valuable for small non-profits with limited marketing resources or for businesses who are targeting an audience that are dedicated to building a better world.
The best way to describe Reddit, for the uninitiative, is a community made up of communities or 'subreddits'. These communities span from general interest to as niche as you can imagine, with over 36 million registered users. Whatever your area of interest, services or geographical reach, there is an active and enthusiastic community of people out there in a subreddit somewhere.
Some subreddits are for a more generic audience. r/AskReddit
is a great place to ask thought provoking questions of Reddit users, whereas r/AMA
(ask me anything) gives anyone a platform to be 'interviewed' by users. You may want to check out this guide to using Reddit for non-profits by Non-profitMarcommunity
Question and answer platform Quora is an online space to get and give expert advice. Organisations can individuals can establish yourself as a thought-leader in your niche by answering questions on Quora, which come up in Google searches by people asking the same question.
Unlike other platforms, you can get some great and often very specialist advice from experts, however as always the advice is only as good as the person answering them. Quora works by asking users to verify their own authority on the subject they are answering about - check out this guide to Quora for marketers.
Social network Meetup.com connects people in real life by allowing people to sign up to events and community groups through its digital and app-based platform. There are groups on anything, from hiking and the outdoors, to sports, languages, tech, crafts, the arts, movements and activism - pretty much any interest, hobby or profession you can think of.
Users can join existing groups or set up their own, and invite people to local meetups near them, wherever they are in the world. People from non-profit organisations can join and interact with groups related to their service area or set up their own events through the platform.
A real gem for local charities, on Nextdoor.co.uk people can set up their own online communities to discuss local issues, buy and sell products and get to know what's happening in their local areas. Users must be verified as living in the postcode, so communications remain private. Nextdoor is particularily useful for finding out local information and urgent warnings (like severe weather warnings). It can also be a great platform for local charities to showcase their work and to organise fundraising events, and for volunteers to talk about their efforts and recruit.
Are your service users parents or children? Then it's very much worth your time getting to know Mumsnet, the number ome platform for everything parenting-related in the UK. It hosts discussion forums where users share advice and information on parenting and many other topics. Mumsnet has an 'influencers' network with over 10,000 bloggers, vloggers and social media influencers. There's also a huge Mumsnet community on Facebook.
The influence of this website can't be underestimated. The NHS recently used Mumsnet as part of it drive to recruit 40,000 new nurses over the next few years. In 2009, then prime minister Gordon Brown and opposition David Cameron used its webchat to try and influence voting in the UK general election, which newspapers called "the Mumsnet election" because of the use of the site to influence politics.
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