One thing you should know about me: I am an idiot.
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t say or do the wrong thing, or get involved in some sort of hilarious mishap. As a child I boarded a bus without my skirt, which had fallen off mid-run to the bus stop. I once told my boss that I was going for an episiotomy instead of a similar sounding (but very different meaning) dental operation and up until two years ago, I was adamant that beached whales were a species.
For a socially awkward person, conferences can therefore, be a daunting experience.
Who to speak to? How to approach people? And most importantly, how to survive a full day without saying or doing something stupid?! However, the beauty of a social media conference is that you can chat to people via Twitter before meeting them in real life: you can get a flavour for personalities, and get all the awkwardness over and done with online.
By the time I arrived at #SMEX15 (which was a challenge in itself: naturally, I got lost, and ended up putting a call out for help on Twitter), I had already chatted to a good proportion of people in the room. After striking up a conversation with a marine biologist about her handsome tuna necklace, and joining in an X-Factor-worthy rendition of ‘Happy’, it was time to go to our sessions. After much excited chatter and deliberation, I selected the following sessions: ‘The Inside Scoop: Getting the Most Out of YouTube’, ‘Brilliant Blogging: Make Your Blog More Effective’, ‘Picture This: Getting Creative with your Visuals’, and ‘Be Heard Above the Noise: Developing a Digital Content Strategy’.
So, what did I learn from #SMEX15?
Share top quality, media rich content
Whilst content is, without doubt, still King, images are Queen. Whether you’re sharing quotes or statistics, making an all-important fundraising ask or promoting vital services, using images can vastly increase user engagement. With free tools such as Canva, creating top quality images has never been easier.
People like routine so creating regular, themed content is really important. Whatever platform you use, schedule in regular posts so that your users know roughly how often they can expect to hear from you. By posting irregularly, you run the risk of seeing your engagement and followers decline.
A person-centred approach is key to your content strategy
People like stories; they like emotions and above all, they like something that is relatable to them. Exclusively relaying dry information over and over again – like what soup your charity’s café is serving today, for example – simply doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s boring; it’s not personal. Don’t get me wrong; this information has a place and can be important, but not if it’s all you are posting. What about the people behind the café – what’s their story?
Invest in video
With so many free tools such as Vine and Instagram video, creating video content has never been easier – all you need is a smartphone. And of course if your charity happens to have a video camera then platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo are free to host your videos too.
This blog originally featured on Just Giving, on the 2nd of March 2015.