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Growing your channels and engagement on a budget

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Shirin Zaid, digital communications manager, Young Minds
Visit the CharityComms website to view slides from past events, see what events we have coming up and to check out what else we do: www.charitycomms.org.uk

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Growing your channels and engagement on a budget

  1. 1. Name of Presenter Growing Instagram on a budget Shirin Zaid, YoungMinds
  2. 2. This session covers • How @YoungMindsUK developed a content strategy and grew its following over a short period of time • Lessons we’ve learnt from running low budget ad campaigns • A bit about working with influencers There are some slides we’ll skip over due to timing but these will be circulated so you won’t miss out!
  3. 3. Icebreaker
  4. 4. Content strategy
  5. 5. What do you want from Instagram? • Drive traffic to website? • Community engagement? • Deliver awareness / advice / information? • Create engaged following of campaigners? • Encourage fundraising? • Reach new audience? Anything else?
  6. 6. Quick exercise • Take a couple of minutes to note down what you think your biggest challenges are to growing or engaging your audience on Instagram.
  7. 7. Our Instagram story… • Jan 2017 – 1.6k followers • June 2017 – 2.5k followers • June 2018 – 10.1k followers • Dec 2018 – 20k followers • June 2019 – 45k followers • Nov 2019 – 68.7k followers
  8. 8. How did we go from 2k to 10k in 12 months? • We committed to Instagram as a channel worth investing in, and added it to our digital strategy. • We honed in on a specific audience: young people aged 14-25 • We tested all kinds of content and spent more time curating 3rd party content to save us having to create it ourselves. • We started posting fairly regularly – but this was hard to do!!
  9. 9. How did we go from 2k to 10k in 12 months? • We developed something that was totally different from our other social media channels and from other similar charities. • We built links with influencers who promoted us during key campaign moments when we had specific ways young people could get involved. • We did a tiny bit of Instagram advertising (under £200)
  10. 10. We tested… In 2017 we posted: • Pics sent in by our fundraisers • Posts about stuff going on in the office • Pretty pictures • Third party content • Super ‘branded’ posts • Illustrated quotes from our activists
  11. 11. What worked / what didn’t work? • Insert fundraising post
  12. 12. What worked / what didn’t work? • Insert office post
  13. 13. What worked / what didn’t work? • Insert pretty pictures post
  14. 14. What worked / what didn’t work? • Insert third party content
  15. 15. What worked / what didn’t work?
  16. 16. What worked / what didn’t work? • Insert branded posts
  17. 17. 5min exercise: what works for you? • With the person/people next to you think about what you’ve tried already? Have you had any standout posts or epic fails (on Insta or more generally)? Why do you think that is? • If you don’t want to do this – instead you could take a moment to scroll through @youngmindsuk – what do you like? What don’t you like? Can you see how the posts have evolved over time?
  18. 18. Our digital content is always… • Reassuring • Empowering • Credible • Relatable and jargon-free If we wouldn’t say it to a teenage boy whose feeling low and struggling with depression, we don’t post it.
  19. 19. Relatable content
  20. 20. Empowering content
  21. 21. User generated content
  22. 22. Reassuring content
  23. 23. Practical tips
  24. 24. Tone of voice We take nearly all of our quotes from our blog which is written by young people with lived experience of mental ill health. This helps us stay authentic – our posts are essentially by young people, for young people. When we edit captions we try to ask if a young person would roll their eyes at us or think we sound like a well meaning aunty rather than a cool older sibling. Sounds like a teacher: We found this really relatable, did you? Sounds like YM: Can you relate?
  25. 25. Going from 20k to 68k followers in under a year • Figure out what keeping on brand really means to you – what vision or feeling are you ‘selling’? Hope? Love? Joy? Excitement? • Almost every single one of our posts is designed to communicate the idea that ‘you are not alone, and you can get through it.’ • Authenticity is key. Each post is from one human to another. We’re convinced that the emotional truth of your post will always win over generic but pretty pictures. • We like keeping a fairly consistent aesthetic, but we don’t let it get in the way or stop us from testing new things. (We simply try to make sure 1 in 6 posts contains yellow).
  26. 26. Going from 20k to 68k followers in under a year • We try to offer the user more than we ask from them in return, this makes asks more powerful and more likely to be accepted. • We use stories when we want our audience to take an immediate action – (when you have enough followers you can use the swipe up feature!) • We have increasingly experimented with ad/campaigns • We use stories and ads for anything really interactive where we want to drive traffic off platform. • We take the caption as seriously as the image.
  27. 27. Quickfire tips
  28. 28. Quick tip: get a blue tick To get a blue verification tick on Insta, your account needs to be: 1. Authentic – you will need to provide a registered charity number etc to verify you are who you say you are 2. Unique – you shouldn’t struggle with this – there is a reason your organisation exists 3. Complete – complete your bio, but don’t include stuff that says ‘add us on this account’ 4. Notable – your organisation needs to be something people search for
  29. 29. Quick tip: tone • Troll yourself!! What’s the worst thing someone could say about your post, and do you care? • Think about who you would NOT like to sound like. • We would not like our posts to sound like they’ve been written by a teacher, or a great-aunt. • Always ask: WHO CARES?
  30. 30. Quick tip: read your caption out loud • Does your post sound authentic, boring, insincere, snappy, longwinded, cheesy, try-hard, on-message? • I personally find the easiest way to figure out if a social media post hits the mark or not, is to read it out loud. If I wouldn’t say it to a real person, then I know I need to re-write it!
  31. 31. Quick tip: Use photos (and edit them on platform) • Instagram is a photo-sharing platform! • We’ve found the Instagram algorithm appears to be biased towards photos over computer generated images/graphics. If we want to use a computer generated image, we’ll print it and take a photo of it. • Try it out! Try posting both types of images (photo and non-photo) at the same time each week, then take a look at your reach. • Instagram has a tonne of editing features – it knows when you’ve used these, or if you’ve used photoshop instead.
  32. 32. Quick tip: use hashtags • Remember that the hashtags you use will help this content appear in more people’s explore pages, based on similar posts they have liked. • A variety of relevant hashtags will improve the post’s performance. What type of content would you like to see your post appear alongside? #BeCreative #HaveFun #BeInspired. • You can use hashtags to get across key messages – think of them as part of your post (e.g. #YouCanDoIt #YoureAwesome #BelieveInYourself) • What hashtags are people using organically? How are you keeping on top of emerging trends? Try to find tags which are popular but not oversaturated.
  33. 33. Quick tip: try a hashtag app • Search ‘hashtag’ in your app store and you’ll find a load of apps which generate hashtags for your post. It could save you time, or get you started if you’re not sure what you’re doing. • According to internet wisdom, statistically posts with 11 or more hashtags perform the best.
  34. 34. Quick tip: follow and like similar accounts • If you follow accounts in your particular subject area, and like posts which relate to your organisation’s work or message, Instagram’s algorithm will start drawing a link between you and those accounts, and it will start suggesting you/your content to people who have interacted with similar accounts to you. • (Same thing applies to YouTube! Turn your sound off, log into your organisation’s YT account and let a load of videos related to your field play in the background while you’re working and YouTube will start to suggest you to users who also watched those videos)
  35. 35. Quick tip: use analytics • This will help you figure out the best time to post – it can make or break your post! • Know who you are reaching – and whether it’s who you want to be reaching • For me, post saves is the most satisfying metric. It means your post has been saved for someone to revisit time and again, which hopefully means that it has not only resonated with them but they’ve found it to be of particular value!
  36. 36. Quick tip: format your captions • There are a couple of different tricks you can use to make your captions look clean and visually pleasing. • Some people like to add all the hashtags as the first comment on the post. Read more: • https://shanebarker.com/blog/spaces-in-instagram/ • https://www.jennstrends.com/how-to-optimize-your-new-cut- off-instagram-bio/
  37. 37. Quick tip: archive don’t delete • You might want to delete unsuccessful posts (or old posts which no longer suit your brand or content strategy), but you can archive them instead. That way you still have a record of how the post performed and you can take a look over archived posts to see what they had in common. • It also means that if someone has saved your post, it wont disappear from their saved posts.
  38. 38. Quick tip: turn webpages into stories • We have information pages on different mental health conditions, symptoms and feelings. • We’d like to create a story about each condition and use the pinned highlights feature so that young people can access mental health information through our Instagram account. • How would you use the pinned highlights feature?
  39. 39. Quick tip: community engagement • Tone of voice and organisational/brand values must follow through into community engagement. • Validate your users for choosing to spend their time engaging with you!!
  40. 40. Consider: diversity • Do the people in your photos reflect the diversity of your supporters and beneficiaries? Is this important to you, and why/why not? • Do you use skin tone emojis in your posts? Which skin tone do you choose and why? • Do you need to create guidelines for your channel for all the people creating content for your account? • Do you have diverse opinions inputting in your content creation/selection process? Do you go to different third parties or the same ones?
  41. 41. Consider: accessibility • Do you add alt text to your images so that visually impaired users can engage with your posts? • Capitalising the first letter of each word in a hashtag makes them easier to read and is better for screenreaders • What other accessibility needs might your users have? • https://www.jennstrends.com/add-alt-text-to-instagram-posts/
  42. 42. This unexpectedly got over 20k likes – sometimes good things just happen ☺
  43. 43. 5min exercise: discuss your challenges • Refer to the challenges you wrote at the beginning of the session. Chat to the person/people next to you about these challenges. • Can you help each other explore solutions?
  44. 44. Low budget ad campaigns
  45. 45. Boosting posts If you have a relatively small following it’s hard to know if your content is working, because you’re reaching so few people. This can make posting feel altogether pointless. But you can boost your posts relatively cheaply and get some really impressive results. The best tip I can give is experiment with small amounts. This will help you build a case for why you should have a bigger ad budget!
  46. 46. What can £15 and 15mins buy you?
  47. 47. How could we have stretched £15 further?
  48. 48. Targeting your audience If you target ads or boosted posts towards a general audience (e.g. 13-65, male and female, UK) you will see results. This is something big organisations can afford to do. If you’re on a tight budget then minimising your cost per click with targeting is a no brainer! At YM, we want to reach more young people than ever before so we’ll target people with no ‘interest’ in mental health. We are prepared for our cost per engagement to be higher!
  49. 49. Case study: #ListenToAnger • We were chosen by Facebook to work with them to run an Instagram campaign • We worked with a creative agency to come up with a campaign to help young people understand the links between anger and mental health – because this is a big topic for young people, but something we hadn’t seen a campaign on before. • This campaign was a HUGE learning curve - but here I’ll stick to what we learnt specifically about running ads
  50. 50. Case study: #ListenToAnger • We created 3 IGTV episodes • We created 3 sets of story ads with a swipe up to an Instant Experience. (an instant experience, sometimes known as a canvas is like a microsite which lives in-platform) • 3 in-feed ads with a click through to our instant experience
  51. 51. Beware Facebook/Insta ads policy We worked with Facebook on this campaign. Originally the concept was called #OwnYourAnger… until at the last minute Facebook’s policy team let us know that the ad campaign would fall foul of their ads policy. You cannot target people by protected characteristics, or imply to the user that you know they have one of these protected characteristics! Eg Race, age, religion, gender… so an ad saying ‘if you’re under 25 you can apply to our summer school’ would breach this policy, or an ad saying ‘if you’re in the UK sign our petition’ https://www.falcon.io/insights-hub/topics/social-media-strategy/facebook- ad-policies-for-2018-why-your-ads-arent-getting-approved/
  52. 52. #ListenToAnger: what we learnt • 13 x more young people who saw our ads clicked on our handle to visit our profile than swiped up to view the Instant Experience. [NB the call to action on the ads was was swipe up to learn more] • The FB team had never seen this behaviour pattern before! • The audience weren’t intrigued by the ads, but they were very keen to know who was targeting them! The campaign ended up being great for brand awareness – which was not our specific objective!
  53. 53. #ListenToAnger: what we learnt • Unfortunately we had to disable commenting on our videos and ads after one of the young people in the videos started to get a lot of nasty trolling. We didn’t use actors. We knew it was a risk, but we’ve never experienced it in the last few years. • On certain types of ads you are unable to turn off comments – so we had to pull these ads altogether. So we put a lot of work into creating ads which couldn’t run as ads.
  54. 54. #ListenToAnger: what we learnt • We spent about £8k on advertising. It bought us a reach of over 4m people, with more than double the number of impressions. • It led to a decent growth in following – but if we think about how many followers we got for £15, we didn’t see nearly as many followers £ for £ • Even though the reach was phenomenal, the responses to the CTA were disappointing. Money helps, but it is simply not a substitute for good content. BUT…
  55. 55. #ListenToAnger: what we learnt Before we pulled our ads we were advised to do general targeting of young people aged 14-24 in the UK. We stuck to this advice until we got concerned that our ads usually do a lot better. Were we just not reaching young people who struggled with anger? Before we pulled the ads we had a small window where we tweaked the ad targeting to stuff that we thought angry teens might be into (cage fighting, MMA, death metal, slipknot, Grand Theft Auto) and the engagement suddenly SPIKED.
  56. 56. Influencers
  57. 57. Influencers • We have really good links with about 15 influencers including Daniel Howell (Ambassador), Jada Sezer (Ambassador), Mikey Pearce, Jamie Shawyer, and Joshua Pieters to name a few. Nearly all of them approached us.
  58. 58. The Daniel Howell effect • Dan’s following is DEDICATED. • Once Dan tweeted a link to our website and our website crashed from the traffic. • When Dan gets involved in a campaign we gain 2-4k new followers in a day. • We ran a competition to win tickets to his stage show but it didn’t have the same effect on growth because the content didn’t come from him directly.
  59. 59. Approaching influencers – tips • Look out for accounts with blue ticks that engage with your posts across social media. They might not be known to you but could have a big influence! Keep a spreadsheet if you can, so you know if someone is repeatedly engaging with your social media content. • If they follow you DM them and thank them for their like, comment or share! • Build a genuine connection. Research why they might be interested in what you do. Have they spoken publicly about your cause – if so let them know you know about that. • If you don’t know why they’ve interacted with you – ask! The worst thing that can happen is that they don’t reply.
  60. 60. Influencers are only human • We saw that in influencer who liked a couple of posts in the past reached a milestone number of followers. • We sent a DM to say congrats! She was really pleased, said she loved out work and to let her know if we needed help. • The conversation continued and we’re soon going to announce her as our latest Ambassador!
  61. 61. Case study: #ListenToAnger • We had an influencer pull out of filming for this campaign the day before filming because they were offered paid work elsewhere. • These IGTV videos were not strictly about the influencer’s experiences, and they were shared to our audience, who didn’t necessarily follow or care about these particular influencers. • We put the influencers in the position of TV host/interviewer which didn’t necessarily come naturally to them, and in parts might have felt a bit staged.
  62. 62. World Record Egg – case study • In January @world_record_egg, who broke the record the most liked photo on Instagram (an egg), said they’re donating 10% of their t-shirt profits to us. They tagged us in their story and sent a lot of traffic to our page. • Our interactions (the amount of actions people take when they engage with our account) increased from 167 on Monday, to 118,000 on Tuesday. And we gained 10K followers overnight. • This is because we capitalised on incoming traffic to our page with this post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BsqlU_AgaXP/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_lin k and we reacted quickly in our story. People visiting our profile were could see a direct link between where they came from and where they landed and they liked the rest of our posts. • The Egg did the same for a number of other charities who did not see the same sudden growth in following. This is probably in part due to the fact that we reacted quickly (and also that our content is designed for younger audiences)
  63. 63. Viral campaign: #5YearOldSelfie • Ever social media campaign dreams of going viral! Influencers are a really helpful way to get there. Find out more about how we did it in this CharityComms article: https://www.charitycomms.org.uk/a-message-to-your- 5yearoldselfie Overnight we gained: • 4k new Instagram followers • 2K new Twitter followers • Nearly 2k new Facebook followers • Trended at #2 in the UK and USA on Twitter
  64. 64. Lessons we’ve learnt • Influencer content works best when they create it for their channels • They know their audience and what will perform well, and their audience knows what feels authentic and what doesn’t • We always send influencers new content when we create it without any expectation that they’ll share it – they’ll share it if it feels right. • Sometimes you have to chase… a lot. It can feel like you’re being pushy, but if they really believe in your charity, they wont mind.
  65. 65. Lessons we’ve learnt • Just because an influencer shares your content or tags you in something doesn’t automatically translate to new followers or engagement with your channel. • Direct contact is often easier than going through people’s management team – if you can, do. • Let influencers know what you’re planning, then follow up two weeks in advance, then a few days before or on the day. Influencers tend to have hectic schedules and get hundreds of messages and requests every day – advance warning often isn’t enough. They often prefer getting content and instructions on the day as well as in advance.
  66. 66. Lessons we’ve learnt • The key thing to focus on with any influencer is how engaged their audience is… not how big their following is! • An influencer with 10k SUPERFANS will bring you much more value that an influencer with 1m followers who just aren’t that invested. • 10 ‘micro’ influencers’ might be just as helpful as one big name!
  67. 67. Lessons we’ve learnt • We never pay influencers. Most of our influencers reached out to support us after seeing something they liked about us on social media. • If we are commissioning content … this is how influencers make a living. You should expect to pay if you’re asking them to make you something specific for their channel.
  68. 68. Lessons we’ve learnt • Do your due diligence – often PR teams reach out to charities after the influencer/celeb in question has done something they’ve had bad PR for, or they’re trying to rebrand their image. • Make sure influencers know how to refer to your relationship. What can they say, what should they never say – and be upfront.
  69. 69. Challenges • Getting analytics from influencers about their reach an engagement • The more influencers you work with the more resource intensive it becomes to manage all the relationships, keep them up to date and make them feel special!
  70. 70. Key takeaways
  71. 71. My top takeaways 1. There’s no substitute for good content. Be brutally honest – who wants to watch a video of you interviewing your CEO? 2. Decide what you want your audience to feel and make them feel it consistently, with every post. 3. Target your audience – a small highly engaged audience is likely to be more beneficial than large and disengaged. 4. Influencers and money help! But be reactive. If either of these is driving traffic to you, meet that audience with something relevant!! 5. Test, test, test! Even tiny ad budgets can make a big impact. 6. Believe that you can do it. We had lots of good luck, it happens! 7. Influencers are only people. You can make genuine connections if they have experience with the issue your charity is working towards.
  72. 72. Thank you! And remember to follow us @youngmindsuk
  73. 73. The charity digital conference 20 November 2019 London #charitydigital Sponsored by
  74. 74. Visit the CharityComms website to view slides from past events, see what events we have coming up and to check out what else we do: www.charitycomms.org.uk

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