The Dos and Dont’s of Social Media

Social media has emerged as a valuable communication tool. It has changed the way people and communities interact with organisations and gives grantmakers access to personal, frequent, and multi-featured ways of communicating with their desired audience. We have chosen to profile this medium for communication because it is increasingly recognised as an essential counterpart to other more traditional communication channels.

“Communication always has to adapt,” says Rene Vosloo of Discovery. “And there has been a massive change in media, with organisations becoming publishers of their own content, in many different forms and on different platforms. I am certainly seeing less reliance on traditional media. In the evolution of digital media, storytelling is going to become more central.”

Social media is different from other forms of communication because it is immediate, is interactive, and allows the user to contribute content. In the world of social investment, these elements make information more accessible, feedback quicker, and networking more extensive.

Pranill Ramchander notes that Anglo American has a Facebook page and Twitter account where it posts links of its video clips of beneficiaries telling their stories, as well as profiling people within the organisation through leadership sound bites and seeking to stimulate discussion around social investment.

Using social media well is about more than just having a Facebook page, however. Grantmakers need to think about the types of audiences they want to reach and which social media platforms will work best for their communication goals. Here are some basic ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ for using social media to communicate for impact.

Do

Complete your profile information

This is often where people will look to find out more about what you do, where you are based, and how they can get in contact. Have a link to your website and clear, up-to-date contact details.

Stay active

People lose interest if you leave long spells between posts. Ideally, someone (or multiple people) should be responsible for updating content on a regular basis, and moderating conversations for spam and profanity.

Keep content new and interesting

Links to articles, opinion pieces, and other useful content give your followers added value.

Provide relevant content

Be selective about what you post; make sure it is always relevant to your communication goal.

Be punchy and to the point

Keep the length of your posts short and use simple language.

Check punctuation and accuracy

Always check twice!

Have questions

Posts with questions get more engagement than those without.

Include a call to action

Give users something they can do to get involved.

Use images

Remember to include clear descriptions of what the images are showing.

Use analytics

Most social media platforms integrate metrics that will show you how many people are engaging with your content so you can see what type of posts work best for your audience.

Start slow

Build your capacity over time and don’t try to launch on multiple platforms at once. Start with one platform and only expand once you’re comfortable.
Maximise existing networks

Invite people from your existing networks to engage with your organisation online.

Post during peak times 

According to Buffer, the biggest usage spikes on social media occur in the early afternoons on the weekend.

Don't

Post more than twice a day

And even that’s quite a lot, particularly for Facebook. If you are tweeting about a live event, make sure each tweet is relevant and doesn’t repeat information. Less is more.

Repeat posts

This can become irritating to people who see the same post several times. Rather, post at strategic times when you have the best chance of reaching the most people.

Post content without attribution

Get permission or attribute if you are re-posting or re-tweeting content from another source.

Post the same thing on different platforms

Each platform has a specific style that works best. (Pictures work excellently on Facebook, but article links work better
on Twitter.)

Mix platforms

For example, don’t link Twitter posts to Facebook. People who follow you on Twitter do so for a reason, they don’t want to be redirected to another social media platform. Linking to articles and other websites is fine.

Respond to every comment

Users can have conversations with one another without you needing to contribute; it’s only necessary to contribute if
you have something new to add or are responding to a question.

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by GrantCraft using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Communication That Counts.