When it comes to engaging charity audiences there are so many different things to think about. And if you work on the social media side of things it can be especially tricky as there are also so many platforms and nuances to consider when using them to reach people too.
What’s true of all audience-focused comms though is that it’s about getting attention with a message that reflects your charity and its values, resonates with your audience while empowering them to get involved, and reaches people where they are.
One platform that has (and continues to) capture the imagination of audiences worldwide on all these fronts is TikTok. So, here’s some tips shared by our network for making TikTok work for you:
Commit to intensive research
To understand where the opportunities of the channel lie for your charity you need to really get to know it first. When Citizens Advice first launched their TikTok Channel hours of research went into it first. As communications officer Eleanor Sutherland explains in What to know when starting a TikTok channel it was important that they “looked at what other charities were doing and thought about the type of content we could make.”
By spending the time to really get to know the platform and how it could be used to support their aims Citizens Advice were able to hone in on what their niche was. Their video breaking down what the energy bill cap means showcases what their TikTok is all about – offering clear, practical advice on the issues that affect people most.
Find your voice
As with any charity communications, authenticity is vital. TikTok is particularly popular with Gen Z and they are only likely to warm to you if your charity is being true to itself in terms of the content it puts out. NSPCC – Childline knew that as a charity supporting young people the platform was one for them to be on, but one thing that quickly became clear was that not everything was appropriate for getting involved with. That is why finding their voice was so important.
As the charity’s social media officer Ellana Salt explains: “if you feel like you’re forcing an idea into a trend, it’s probably not one for you to use. Trends that you can easily and seamlessly use to link to your organisation or message will usually generate the best performance, as these will feel the most authentic to your audience.” It’s about knowing how and when to share your messages in a way that adds value to your audience and doesn’t look shoehorned in to fit. Their video addressing the importance of self-care and feeling like it is ok to cancel plans if you need to, set to a trending Ariana Grande audio clip, is a great example of finding a trend that genuinely lends itself to raising awareness of an issue that is important to the NSPCC – Childline audience.
Given it’s a video led platform TikTok certainly lends itself to getting creative. Shelter has embraced this and consistently uses their videos to create visual explainers of big issues that help make sense of everything from stats to governmental speak.
As a team Shelter have been working hard to consistently “create short, educational videos that are also entertaining” that “helps keep people focused on the important issue: the housing emergency”. This has included everything from breaking down the stats like the fact that 401 became homeless every day between June 2020-2021 by showing how many houses that would be if you went a walk around your neighbourhood as talked about in Things we learned from using TikTok in our fight to tackle the housing emergency to one of their most recent videos showing the comic reality of government suggestions like ‘put on another jumper’(when you already have several on) to cope with the energy crisis.
Always keep learning
As one of the charities with the biggest presence on TikTok British Red Cross clearly know what they are doing when it comes to engaging their audience on this platform. Social media manager Nana Crawford recently highlighted the importance of viewing things as a continual learning process as a part of their success.
In her 5 things I’ve learnt in the past year about TikTok blog for IBT Nana wrote about taking time to pause and look back at past ideas and thinking about how to refresh those that were successful and turning to your audience for inspiration. Putting time into constantly learning and trying new things helps keep things fresh and enables you to move forward with a platform that is continually evolving. Nana also spoke at the Video for Charities Conference about emerging trends in video for those keen to delve into this idea more.
If you’re interested in finding out more about TikTok look out for the ‘How TikTok can work for your charity – learnings from the RNLI’ talk and the ‘How WaterAid’s new social strategy helped them stand out and stay relevant’ session at the CharityComms 2022 Digital Conference: 16 – 17 Nov.
Also, check out this further reading:
- Turning TikToks into insights: how can charities harness the power of TikTok?
- TikTok for charities | The ultimate guide | Reason Digital
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