We take a look at the trends for charities to embrace on social media this year
Perhaps the biggest trend of 2021 is that audiences have become more socially conscious. Coronavirus created a surge in kindness and people are engaging with good causes more than ever. From clapping for the NHS and setting up local lockdown support groups, to wider current events such as Black Lives Matter and addressing the Climate Crisis.
This is brilliant news for charities. People are looking to brands to show their commitment to righting wrongs, with authenticity an absolute must. Charities have a head start, but it’ll be important to act in line with your strong values and strive for diversity and representation.
When topics in the media fall outside your usual expertise, consider teaming up with someone who has lived experience. By allowing someone else to #sharethemic and ‘take over’ your feed for a day you can shine a light on the issues.
For charities, one downside is the controversy over platforms facilitating hate speech and fake news. It’s a good idea to review the platforms you use – particularly when paying to advertise – to be clear that you can defend their use if necessary.
Live streams have become one of the easiest ways for charities to emulate the in-person experience for supporters. During lockdown, charitable organisations from museums and galleries through to zoos and the Donkey Sanctuary have given live tours on Facebook, Twitch, and Instagram.
A live stream or webinar can be a brilliant way to engage with supporters. You can record the realities of life for your beneficiaries and the hard work of your volunteers, to share the authentic, human face of your charity.
It’s a great opportunity to ‘push’ your content to a receptive audience, as followers should receive a notification when you go live.
The trend towards home-made content is set to continue. Brands and influencers have embraced the spirit of lockdown, making do with images and videos without the usual polished look. Far from a creative compromise, the homemade look adds to the sense of authenticity.
This is great news for social media marketers on shoestring charity budgets.
Snackable, shareable content is still a major driver of engagement on social media. Photos and other image-led posts still tend to receive the highest engagement rates, followed closely by video. Keep your feed well-fed, by sharing a variety of quote graphics, memes, gifs, and infographics.
That said, long-form content still has its place. Even TikTok is reportedly looking at extending its maximum video length from 60 seconds up to three minutes.
Where the content is compelling, there’s an opportunity to disrupt the scroll and engage with users on a much deeper level. Those who do engage will be like gold dust for charities.
Speaking of TikTok – one of the big successes of 2020 – it’s likely to keep growing, both in user volumes and in importance for charities this year. With the platform still in its infancy, there’s a massive opportunity to experiment with the format and engage with a younger demographic.
Macmillan Cancer Support began experimenting with TikTok as recently as November 2020. They have taken an influencer-driven approach, teaming up with cancer survivor and amputee Bernadette Hagans, to take a hilarious look at a very serious subject. Meanwhile British Red Cross has launched a second TikTok channel dedicated to sharing quick, simple first aid tips.
TikTok is a brilliant platform for ‘remixing’ and user generated content. Most charities would love to be at the centre of the next viral sensation, and if there’s ever another success on the scale of the “Ice Bucket Challenge”, the smart money says it will originate on TikTok.
The leading social media brands are increasing their focus on e-commerce, enabling in-app purchases to keep audiences on their platforms for longer.
We know that posts linking to external URLs are penalised on Facebook and actively discouraged by Instagram. So, as support for in-app selling improves, that’s an opportunity for charities with products to sell.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, people have been looking for comforting, cosy content. One of the most memorable ads of Christmas 2020 was a nostalgic look at Christmases past from Sainsbury’s and social media has been full of wistful looks back at times gone by. Nostalgia typically makes a comeback in times of recession, so it’s a trend that’s set to continue in 2021.
If charities can press the nostalgic buttons of their target audiences, you can capture the imagination and tug at the heartstrings.