How Age UK uses Facebook


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How Age UK uses Facebook to engage with its target audience

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  • Thanks to Ben for inviting me. Before I came here today, I asked someone in the office whether it was horizontal or vertical stripes that makes you look fat... to which the response was ‘pies’... I’m going to explain exactly how Age UK uses Facebook, what our aims are, what works and what doesn’t, how we measure success and a few other little bits and pieces. I don’t claim to be the oracle of Facebook use within charities, because everyone does different things, but we’ve done a fair bit of testing over the last couple of years and we’ve found this works for us...
  • Formed from the merger of Age Concern and Help the Aged in 2009 – became the full-fledged Age UK in April 2010
  • We are a big organisation, as you can see. All our partners, whether national or local, are independent and are part of the overall Age UK Group
  • They’re all out there – shouting their opinion. We know that Age UK still hasn’t reach mass penetration. We’re currently at 72% awareness, but we have a way to go to reach the awareness that the likes of Cancer Research, RSPCA and Oxfam currently enjoy. I’ll talk about specific figures later – but we’re always looking to drive people to our main site It’s a necessary evil, but we are also partly a social enterprise and that means we need to try and find a way of introducing products into the mix. Not always very easy. These objectives aren’t necessarily set in stone. We’re always testing and, hopefully, learning. You’re allowed to change your objectives if they prove impossible.
  • 1. People are out there talking about you – you can’t stop that. Whether you choose to engage with them or not is your choice. You can’t necessarily intrude on their conversation, but you can put your own messages out there and hope they talk to you, rather than listen to potentially ill-informed opinions elsewhere. 2. We don’t expect everyone to come to our website – social media (and Facebook, specifically) is just one of a number of external channels that we have to use. 3. Social media has given people a voice and our audience skews towards the ‘Critic’ level, as defined by Forrester’s levels of Social technology participation (as against Inactives, Collectors, creators, joiners, spectators). This is a good thing! 4. People often have nowhere else to turn. Our Facebook page is somewhere for people (often relatives of loved older people) to come and ask for help 5. News, campaigns, what we’re doing. Doesn’t always hit the mainstream media 6. Even though we post and reply as Facebook, we present a caring, human side of the charity – which, after all, is what we want to do.
  • Spread the Warmth - Donate a Coat Facebook Tab Explain Spread the Warmth – annual winter campaign to encourage people to support and donate to help vulnerable older people who die every year Live date: 2 Dec Implement a Facebook ‘like’ campaign to Raise awareness Grow our audience Increase conversions. Results: Projected – 1,406 new fans (+10%) Actual (to-date) – 3,881 new fans (approx +28%) +1381 visits DAC postcode search page
  • Care in crisis – current campaign to raise awareness of the terribly inadequate social care system. Current system is deeply flawed and Govt will be publishing proposals in a White Paper at end of March – raising awareness, getting people to sign a petition. What we’re doing always resonates – it’s an easy, yet effective way of letting people know what we do as an organisation.
  • We run our own Age UK news, but also – through a partnership with Press Association – publish 2 topical news items every day. Sometimes these are high-profile stories, sometimes less widely disseminated. They give us a chance of driving traffic to the site and also getting conversations going, as well as enabling us to find out what people think about certain topics.
  • Also, include the Doris Day example, when she released a new album. Not all stories are Age UK related. We’re not overly precious about driving traffic to other outlets, if the story is relevant.
  • Not everything does well... Our international work is less well known and often dismissed as not focussing on our core audiences. Obviously, that’s not the case, and we still want to share this with people. It’s a battle often to balance the needs of internal stakeholders, with what we know will turn our supporters off. Sometimes it’s like tumbleweed when you post something you know won’t get any response (or get negative).
  • 2. Jan 11 – Jan 12, increase of 8.4k in Likes (currently stands at around 18.1K 3. Boost awareness of our campaigns 4. Very difficult to quantify specifically (and we’re still not yet really driving mass product engagement) 5. Click-thrus: In 2010, 2% of our visits came from Facebook. During 2011, it increased to 3.2% (of a far greater number). 6. We organise running events (currently 10k series), ask for Marathon runners, organise public conferences – another way to get our message out there. 7. Measurable via surveys
  • I’ve mentioned Engagement before, but, it’s one of the best ways of measuring success on Facebook. No matter how many ‘likes’ you get, it’s penetration that’s important. How many of your fans actually engage with your brand once they’ve liked you. I see a lot of brands coming up in my News Feed (Arsenal, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Wired), but rarely click or comment. Huge numbers don’t necessarily mean huge active engagement with your brand. Even though we’re relatively low on the ‘total fans’ scale, we know that our engagement rate is high, in comparison.
  • We’re likely to change these – you can too. Sometimes, if you can’t achieve objectives, it’s because they’re the wrong ones, not because you haven’t worked hard enough. You can’t ‘do social media’, if you don’t want to talk to people. Sometimes, they’ll complain, but in the main all people want is to be heard and feel that you care and... That you’re listening to them. If their comments go into the ether and are never answered, they’ll become just as disillusioned. Use them for research. Facebook polls are some of the easiest and lightest of touch engagements you can do. We’ve asked ours what sort of exercise they like doing, for example. Not groundbreaking, but it helps to paint a picture of your audience. If people don’t respond, then you might not be talking to them in the right language or about the right things. It’s a bit like asking your kids how their day at school was – most of the time they’ll ignore you, until you ask them the question in a different way [random anecdote about flannel friend] Low percentage engagement is a fact of life on Facebook - don’t be put off. Get some data on competitors, if you’re worried.
  • That’s your lot – ask away, or get in touch afterwards Thank you.
  • How Age UK uses Facebook

    1. 1. How Age UK uses Facebook to engage with its target audience Rob Mansfield - Senior Digital Editor, Age UK
    2. 2. How Age UK uses Facebook… <ul><li>Age UK – an overview </li></ul><ul><li>Our Facebook objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Why we use Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>The content that works and doesn’t </li></ul><ul><li>Success criteria </li></ul>
    3. 3. Age UK: an overview <ul><li>} </li></ul>2009
    4. 4. Age UK: an overview <ul><li>3 National Partners: Age Cymru, Age NI, Age Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>175 Local partners </li></ul><ul><li>2 financial services companies </li></ul><ul><li>470+ Age UK shops </li></ul><ul><li>500+ local friendship centres and older people’s forums </li></ul><ul><li>1 Biomedical research charity </li></ul><ul><li>1 International sister charity for overseas relief </li></ul>
    5. 5. What are our objectives? <ul><li>To build an ongoing relationship with our supporters </li></ul><ul><li>Reach new supporters </li></ul><ul><li>Drive traffic to the main site </li></ul><ul><li>Sell our products and services </li></ul>Photo: iko via Flickr (Creative Commons use)
    6. 6. Why do we use Facebook? <ul><li>You have to be part of the conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Go to your audience: not necessarily bring them to you (5m+ over-50s on Facebook, Mar 2011) </li></ul><ul><li>Instant feedback: our audience is far more at ease with speaking their mind and lets us know what they think </li></ul><ul><li>CRM: another way to help people in need </li></ul><ul><li>Good way to spread a message </li></ul><ul><li>To show that we’re human </li></ul>“ Facebook is the Wal-Mart of the digital space for us. There we find a deep meaningful and easy way to learn from our consumers, co-create with them, market to them and create meaningful experiences with them for the long term” Shiv Singh, HoD @ PepsiCo
    7. 7. What works well? Donate a Coat Projected increase in fans: 10% Actual increase: 30% (14.5k ---> 18k)
    8. 8. What works well? (cont) <ul><li>Campaigns </li></ul><ul><li>The tangible campaigning work we carry out always resonates with our audience and Facebook is an ideal way to spread our message, with our audience as the advocates. </li></ul><ul><li>This example: >5% engagement </li></ul>
    9. 9. What works well? (cont) <ul><li>Topical news stories </li></ul><ul><li>Our audience may have heard the stories already as part of the regular news outlets, but our Facebook page offers a place to talk about the issue with their peers. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: 3% engagement </li></ul>
    10. 10. What works well? (cont) <ul><li>Fun, lighthearted updates </li></ul><ul><li>We don’t only focus on the doom and gloom – we love to celebrate the achievements of older people, be it a 75th anniversary, 70-year-olds swimming the Channel or Doris Day’s new album. Eg: >4.5% engagement </li></ul>
    11. 11. What doesn’t work <ul><li>Our international work </li></ul><ul><li>Poor engagement and negative comments, almost every time. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: 0.5% engagement rate </li></ul>
    12. 12. Success criteria This falls into two areas – quantitative and qualitative <ul><li>Increase in ‘likes’ </li></ul><ul><li>Campaign specific uplift </li></ul><ul><li>Monetary conversions </li></ul><ul><li>Click throughs to main Age UK site </li></ul><ul><li>Event registrations </li></ul><ul><li>Raise brand awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Be able to connect with real people at Age UK </li></ul><ul><li>Enable peer-to-peer connections/conversations </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback </li></ul>
    13. 13. Success... <ul><li>In July & August 2011, we were ranked in Top 10 of most engaged Facebook pages in UK, according to social media monitors, Socialbakers. </li></ul><ul><li>The numbers look low for all brands, but this is the sort of overall engagement you can expect. </li></ul>
    14. 14. Summary <ul><li>Have objectives, but don’t be afraid to change them </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to people – accept the bad and the good </li></ul><ul><li>Listen to your audience </li></ul><ul><li>Find out what they like </li></ul><ul><li>Silence is as telling as noise </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be put off by low percentage returns </li></ul>
    15. 15. <ul><li>Any questions? </li></ul><ul><li>Rob Mansfield </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter: @robram </li></ul><ul><li>LinkedIn: </li></ul>