It is almost a luxury for an NGO to have a dedicated communications colleague. This position is typically combined with other areas, in most cases with fundraising or volunteer coordination. This means that only a few hours a week are devoted to communication tasks. But we know that communication, including social media communication, is very important for smaller organisations to keep our followers up to date with our work and even to attract new supporters. After all, today we often search for information on social media before we even look for it on the organisation's website.
If you are in the same situation, where you only have a few hours a week to spend on communication, this article is for you. We'll try to give you useful tips to help you fill your social media platforms with time-efficient, but relevant and informative content.
Which social media platform should we be on?
Before we dive into content production, the first and most important thing is to decide which social media platform(s) to use. The right platform for you depends on your capacity, your target audience and the type of activity you are doing.
It is important to know that although it has its challengers, according to statista.com, Facebook is still by far the social media platform with the most users in Hungary. It is common to say that Facebook is now only for older people, but statistics show that there are many users in the 25-35 and 35-55 age groups, and if you are specifically targeting the over-55s, there is practically no point in thinking about any other social media platform.
We recommend Instagram if you can produce a lot of exciting and high-quality photos/videos of your work, as the main focus is on visuals, and most Hungarian users are in the 25-35 age group.
The youngest users have "moved" to TikTok. If you are targeting your messages specifically at 15-24 year olds, you need to get to know the TikTok interface and the basics of video editing.
If you want to strengthen your professional partnerships, you should also create a LinkedIn profile where you can share your professional successes, milestones, internship or job opportunities.
As mentioned above, optimally, we should target different audiences on each platform with different messages and content, but if we don't have the capacity to do this, there are tools that simplify communication across platforms.
META Business Suite - post to Facebook and Instagram at the same time!
With the acquisition of Instagram, the Facebook company has created META, which allows you to manage your Facebook and Instagram posts and ads from the same interface, saving you a lot of time and effort. If you want to be active on both platforms at the same time, work from META Business Suite. Here you can link your pages together so you can publish the same post to both platforms with one click. This is a less "elegant" solution than having individual content on both platforms, but if you don't have time to produce separate posts, it's very practical.
When you type the text of the post into the text box, you can select and personalise the text that appears on both platforms, so you can, for example, add some hashtags under your Instagram posts to make your content easier for users to find.
How many times a week, on which day, at which time of day should we post?
There is no universal answer to this question. Although there are plenty of "These are the best days/times of day to post!" articles, it's actually best to test for yourself how your own audience reacts to your content and when. Think about who reads your posts, try to think with them in mind. Try posting only in the morning/morning for a few weeks, then only in the afternoon/evening. You can do the same thing with weekday-weekend comparisons. It takes a bit of time and patience, but it will probably pay off if you can read a pattern.
If you don't have the capacity to post something every day, you should allocate time and content and stick to 2-3-4 posts per week, but do it consistently - that's where the content calendar will help you.
Content calendar (social calendar/content calendar)
One of the foundations of effectiveness is planning, and social media communication is no different. Plan in advance the type of content you will post on each platform so that you have a regular and consistent flow of information on your pages.
It's best to create an online content calendar, which is basically an excel spreadsheet with the dates and platforms where your posts will appear. That way you can see in advance how many posts you have for a given week, or if a good idea comes to mind, you can make a note of it so you don't forget. There are plenty of free content calendar templates available online if you type the term into a search engine. Choose one you like and then personalise it.
It may seem "too professional", but it's only a bit more work the first time you create it, and afterwards it can save you a lot of time and effort, especially if you're working on organisational communication with several people at once.
Some things to look out for when setting up your content calendar
When designing your content, it is important to keep in mind the right proportion of different types of posts on your platform. If we often share "drier", more professional content, it's worth relaxing with a photo or two from the office or a nice story about the community we support. Think about and pull together what types of content you typically have and give each a colour code in your content calendar. Try to arrange your weekly plan so that you have one of each colour on the calendar. Example: post a success story/story/blog post on Mondays, a professional piece on Wednesdays, and a behind-the-scenes photo from the office or the field on Fridays. Users like to see the people behind the action. Show them who you are, even take a series of photos of your staff, it gives credibility to the organisation and doesn't cost a lot of effort or planning: good quality life photos taken with a phone are perfect.
Another useful feature of META Business Suite is timing, which can also save a lot of time. Once you have filled in the weekly content calendar, you can keep the post texts in a separate document (or in another tab of the spreadsheet). On the one hand, this is useful because it ensures that nothing gets lost (even the best of us have had Facebook freeze while writing a long text and lose the whole thing...), and on the other hand, it's easy to search back later, and if you're writing a series of posts, you can copy out standard text. Once you have the texts and pictures, it's worth timing the posts so that you don't have to deal with it for the rest of the week, it will 'run itself'. Don't sit back completely, though, check once a day that everything is working as you'd like it to. If there have been changes in the meantime, we can always delete or modify the timed posts.
Leave tasks to our volunteers!
You can also save a lot of time in communication by delegating certain tasks to your volunteers. They don't have to produce the content, but they can help with a lot of the little things. Here are some examples:
Photography: basic, but not necessarily something everyone will remember. Ask one of our volunteers to follow a day of the crew around the office with a camera or a phone with a good camera, and we can use the pictures later on over many weeks/months.
Replying to comments and messages: it is important to always reply to messages and comments in a timely manner, as interaction is one of the most important features of social media. If we often receive messages with similar questions, we should create a "frequently asked questions" document, which our volunteers can easily answer and we only need to deal with specific cases. The same applies to answering comments. Have a pre-defined policy on what to do if we receive a rude, offensive, abusive or out-of-context comment. We can hide the post, delete it, or report/banning the user. Again, it is important to be consistent and treat similar cases in the same way. It is also good to have a policy that can be shared with the commenter as a reference in such cases.
Content calendar: based on the colour-coded example in the previous paragraph, our volunteers can help you plan the content, even weeks/months in advance.
Anniversaries: ask our volunteers to collect in advance, throughout the year, anniversaries that may be related in some way to our activities. Let's experiment and not just look at the classic holidays or the big international days, as pretty much everything has a day nowadays. Feel free to look for exciting days that can be turned into an educational poster with a twist.
+1 most important thing: keep your site fresh, up-to-date and consistent!
In the "what to post" fever, it's easy to forget the most important thing: that the basic data and description of your site is always up to date! Whatever the social platform, the first thing someone looks at when they click on our page is our profile picture, cover image, intro text and other descriptions. Make sure you keep them fresh! Check if the description of your page from X years ago is still up to date or if it's time to update it. Have we provided all the interfaces you can use to contact us? Are the opening hours/other information correct?