A masterclass in creating great social content for your charity

Cat wearing glasses

Social media content is short, snappy and fast – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to create. So what is great social content, and how can you make it work for you?

This was the theme of the guest talk at the latest meeting of the CharityComms Midlands Networking Group, presented by Anthony Tattum, MD of Birmingham-based marketing communications agency Big Cat.

Having worked with some of the UK’s top cultural, leisure and food brands, as well as for charities including YMCA, Children’s Liver Disease Foundation and John Taylor Hospice, Anthony knows what’s what when it comes to great social content.

Based on his excellent presentation (the full slides of which can be found on the CharityComms website), here are some ways that you can make great social content that works for your charity:

MAKE It visual

Cat wearing glasses

A picture tells a thousand words – and you can pretty much guarantee that any successfully-engaging social media post will have a strong visual component.

You can make life easier for yourself by creating an offline bank of images that you can use across your communications channels, so that you don’t have to go hunting for a new image every time you post. There are plenty of free image banks out there, which are full of copyright-free images (Pixabay, Pexels, Wikimedia Commons, to name just a few), or if your budget will stretch, you can buy a job lot of images from a commercial image bank (Shutterstock or similar).

MAKE IT timely

'Brad is Single' ad

The phenomenal success of the reactive ad campaign by Norwegian, which cashed in on Brangelina’s infamous split, wouldn’t have worked if it had come a week or two later.

Social media is fast-paced, so you have to get your content ready fast if you want to piggyback on current events.

But you don’t always have to be prepared to create a national campaign at the drop of a hat – not all news hooks are as unexpected as this one.  There are plenty of awareness days, national holidays and big cultural events that you can link your content to.

Having a ‘content calendar’ with key dates included can help you to plan ahead, giving you timely hooks in the form of everything from World Mental Health Day to British Pie Week.

MAKE IT shareable


There’s no point making great content if no one is going to see it. The joy of social media is that your audience can do the legwork for you – all you have to do is to give them an incentive by making your content shareable.

Generally, shareable content is either educational, entertaining, or just plain funny. This means that ‘top tips’, ‘life hacks’ and ‘how-to’ posts work well, and it’s also the reason that funny cat videos have become so infamous on the internet.

Make it relevant

relevance cartoon

Why should your audience care about what you’re saying, and why are you saying it? These are the questions you need to keep in mind to make sure that your content is relevant.

Relevance to your audience is largely about channels – different audiences will use different social media platforms, so you’ll need to tailor your content accordingly.

There’s no point trying to raise awareness of a disability on Twitter if all of your followers are people who have the disability (so are probably already aware of it). Similarly, there’s little point in promoting an event aimed at over-50s on Instagram if your followers are all under 30.

The relevance of your content to your brand is just as important as its relevance to your audience. Those funny cat videos we talked about earlier may be great for shareability, but unless you can find a way to link them back to your charity in a positive way, they probably won’t work for your brand.

And finally…

The take-home message from Anthony’s talk was that social media content doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does need to exist! You’ll never learn what works best for your charity without some trial and error, so get out there and start doing.

The more you do, the more you can analyse, and eventually the more you can refine – until you have a solid understanding of what works, why, and how to make it even better in future.

Thanks again to Anthony for a great presentation, and to everyone who came along to the event for the lively discussions that followed!

To find out more about the CharityComms Midlands Networking Group, including upcoming meeting dates, visit the CharityComms website or join our Facebook group.


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