Three essential social media tips for the VCSE sector during COVID-19

Facebook app on mobile

Social media was already an important marketing tool before the coronavirus pandemic, but it became vital when we were asked to stay at home and follow social distancing rules.  

You cannot afford to ignore social media; at Voscur, we advise you use at least one social platform (you don’t have to be on all of them), but the one you pick should be the one your target audience uses the most. Typically this will be Facebook or Twitter.  

Use scheduling software for social media 

Did you know you can schedule social media posts to be published at any time of day, and very far in advance? This is really useful in the VCSE sector, because many of us work part-time and cannot update social media at all hours.  

Your organisation might not even have someone whose role is entirely focused on social media – maybe it’s spread between a few people, including volunteers, in which case they could all benefit from using scheduling tools under a single login to avoid clashing their posts. Whilst most scheduling software is free or has a free option available, you are unlikely to need the paid versions, so don’t pay up.  

If you have a Facebook page, you’ll find built-in scheduling options under the ‘Publishing Tools’ option from the left-hand menu (this is easier to find on a PC than on your mobile phone). For Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels, try Buffer or Hootsuite

Pick your hashtags wisely 

There are lots of COVID-19 era hashtags doing the rounds, but these are the ones you should pay attention to: 

#NeverMoreNeeded – this describes the importance of the VCSE sector to society. It’s being used on social media posts by charities across the UK, and it’s a way of demonstrating to the government that our organisations need more financial support.  

#COVID19Support – use this to describe the support your organisation is giving to those affected by coronavirus in the community, whether you’re working to reduce loneliness through telephone befriending, checking up on service users, or expanding the work you do.  

#StillYouthWork – used by the youth sector to describe the sometimes unconventional work they do, particularly in lockdown, such as virtual mentoring, online quizzes and forming social media groups.  

#CharityTuesday – it was trending long before we’d even heard of coronavirus, but Tuesday continues to be the day for charities and other voluntary and community groups to shout about their cause.  

Focus on what matters most – key messages and USP 

There’s a lot of noise at the moment, with brands and organisations fighting for everyone’s attention, so you need to add something constructive and not just create content for the sake of it. Talk to management, staff and trustees about the key messages you should promote, and keep checking in on service users through your channels. Then remember it’s about quality, not quantity. If you’re working on a marketing campaign, book your place now for our Marketing and Campaigns course [LINK] in March.  

Even when you’re working at a severely reduced capacity – for example, face-to-face activities like workshops, day centres or support groups have been suspended – you can still use your marketing channels for good, and highlight your purpose. Bristol Libraries is a great example of this, sharing book-related content, running online story time and an online Lego club, and creating a World Cup of books.  

Reflecting on your past successes helps to remind people why you exist, so dig out some old photos or videos to post on social media or include in a blog post (just make it clear they aren’t new; the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday has made Thursday the best day to share these posts). Work out when your anniversaries are – maybe it’s a year since your big fundraiser, or six months since you won an award. Celebrate those achievements again. 

If you want a different kind of marketing course for your organisation, talk to us today [LINK] about bespoke training sessions – for example, an introduction to social media.