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Retweet, like, comment, reply: Boosting online engagement

Voice4Change England explains how it reinvogorated social media channels to give its online engagement a lift.

Background

This case study was produced as part of NCVO’s BIG Assist programme.

As the newbie at Voice4Change England, the national membership organisation for the black and minority ethnic (BME) voluntary sector, I was tasked with continuing the management of the organisation’s social media platforms. When I got here there was a social media presence but the engagement and activity was fairly low.

One of the first things I noticed at Voice4Change was how refreshing it was to see a team that was active on its own personal social media and that it had an understanding of how key it is to any organisation.

The issues we faced

The main issue we faced was that the organisation had two separate Facebook profile pages. The challenge was how to merge the two Facebook pages into one page for the organisation - this meant losing a lot of content but the bonus would be that we kept all of our followers/likes.

The other issue was building engagement. I could see the potential for all the social media networks so I essentially just wanted to get on with re-establishing some of those networks.

The actions we took

The organisation has a blog and it was already on Facebook and Twitter so it was a matter of just looking at how we were updating the blog, engaging on social media networks and basically improving on what we had.

  • We changed our Facebook banner to look more inviting and to give a visual representation of what the organisation was all about. I used more large visuals on the Facebook timeline to draw in followers. Through this we were able to highlight even more of the work we do just by using visuals. 
  • Retweet, mention and reply. This was something I could see as an opportunity to engage more with our members and external stakeholders. In the run up to our events we work with partner organisations to share and exchange tweets and retweets, including mentioning the Twitter names of the speakers at our events. 
  • We looked at how to grow the blog. We had a monthly membership spotlight, and staff contributions. I wanted to bring back contributions from membership organisations.We now have a steady stream of weekly blog posts from external stake holders and most recently our new project development intern.

In addition we have expanded our blog readership just through promoting blog posts via Facebook and Twitter.

Positive outcomes

  • Our Facebook page has seen a dramatic improvement. First off we now have the one page. From looking at our Facebook statistics we found that our supporters enjoy big visual images and therefore we have ensured that we continue this. People love big appealing pictures!
  • The contributions to the blog have gone extremely well. We make active use of our blog and sharing it via Twitter and Facebook has enabled our audience to grow. The sharing of different voices through the blog shows the strength of partnership working in the sector.
  • We found that when referring to partners and key speakers for upcoming events in tweets, they are more likely to retweet thus expanding our reach. We have also made good use of the hashtags #FF and #CT (also known as #FollowFriday - used to suggest other Twitter users to follow, and #CharityTuesday - used to show support for another charity).

Negative outcomes

We have done really well so far. The only thing that we’d like to do better is that during our last voluntary sector arts event we didn’t use a dedicated hashtag. This is something we intend to do in the future. 

We will also consider using platforms like audioBoom to make the coverage of our events more interactive to offer an alternative to written case studies. Audio and visual images of case studies seem to work well as evidence.

Lessons learnt

We now have just over 1,040 followers on Twitter. Our mentions and retweets have doubled.

Our online engagement with members and external stakeholders has increased considerably through likes, replies, follows, retweets and mentions. 

We have established strong social media partnerships with member organisations such as Voluntary Arts, Olmec and others such as The Big Venture Challenge.

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Page last edited Oct 02, 2015

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