Dealing with digital changes

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Dealing with digital changes can be overwhelming for any charity, especially with limited time and resources to keep up with the ever changing world of Facebook, Google, Twitter - and the new platforms that seem to come along every day.

Recent updates to Facebook’s Newsfeed algorithm and to Google's Ad Grants programme has meant many charities are scrambling to keep up with these changes. This task is made harder when the digital channels regularly change their algorithm and policies, making it more difficult for many charities to keep up with these digital changes.

Charities need to keep up with what changes have taken place recently, while also keeping an eye on changes coming down the line and preparing their teams for when those changes come into place.

Here’s our advice for how to deal with digital changes:

Dealing with digital changes

  1. Don't panic
  2. It's not all about you
  3. Post less, but better
  4. Don’t be reliant on any one channel
  5. Focus on engagement
  6. Dig into the data
  7. Focus

Let's look at each of these strategies for dealing with digital changes in turn:

Don’t Panic

Some corporates are panicking about the changes that are going on, with some shutting down their businesses as they relied too much on Facebook. These digital changes should not affect charities as much as for-profit brands.

Yes, there are changes and it will affect brands. But charities are great storytellers, with brilliant content and fantastic supporter communities.

Remember that, use your amazing content and supporters and you shouldn’t need to panic with every change that takes place.

It’s not all about you

Many charities use social media and other digital channels as a dumping ground for content, even if that content is only going to appeal to a small portion of their overall fan base.

Social media managers need to be gatekeepers here and ensure that content being published is of interest to your community, not just used to appease internal stakeholders.

This is particularly important given Facebook's recent Newsfeed changes. If content is not going to drive “meaningful engagement”, then it’s not worth posting as it will affect your Facebook Newsfeed.

Post less, but better

Focus on the quality of the content. It’s much better to post less content that is engaging and people like, rather than lots of content that is less engaging.

This is partly why the likes of Facebook have made their changes – they don’t want a mass of uninspiring content.

But when you do find that particular pieces of content are doing well, then you should be promoting that content with some Facebook ads.

If you need a guideline for what content should be promoted, remember this: “Only promote awesome”.

Don’t be reliant on any one channel

It’s not just about the content, but the platforms you choose as well. Rather than spreading your resources across several channels and adding a brand presence to every new social network that comes along (have you signed up your charity to Vero yet?), you should think strategically about which platforms are the best for your charity.

Ask yourself:

  • Does this channel fit with our overall strategy?
  • If you have a Facebook Page with only a small number of fans, would it be better to start a Facebook Group to drive more interaction, as these are favoured in the Newsfeed at the moment?
  • If Facebook isn’t working for you, should your charity even be on there at all?
  • Perhaps Twitter should be your main focus?

Overall, don’t be so reliant on any one channel and you’ll be more resilient to digital changes.

Focus on engagement

Facebook are looking for “meaningful engagement” as an indicator of content that is performing well.

Instead of focussing on creating and posting more content, try speaking to your community more.

Answer all comments, even if it’s with a simple acknowledgement. Ask more questions to your community, answer the questions your community has for you and play those answers back out to your audience.

The main social media platforms are focussing on engagement for a reason, and doing so in turn will increase the quality of your charity’s digital communities.

Dig into the data

Digital channels come with a whole host of analytics tools that allow you to see exactly what types of content is performing well – and which aren't.

Once you find what the good content is, use that type of content again and again. Reuse the content that is working across different channels, repurposes different types of content to fit the format that you know is working.

If your audience is telling you they like a particular type of content, make more of it!

The numbers don’t lie, so spend time getting to know your channel analytics and testing out different types of content to see what works best.

Focus

Once you’ve looked at the data, know which platforms are working best for you, and know what type of content your audiences like, you have all you need to make a success of your digital comms activity.

Instead of being distracted by the new shiny platforms that come along, or being panicked by the changes that any one platform makes, you should now have the confidence to only focus on those that matter and can deal with digital changes with relative ease.