For those of a certain vintage, say ‘Threads’ and it might conjure apocalyptic images and Cold War fears of nuclear Armageddon, but as of this past week it’s the latest social media platform, offering an alternative to Twitter. Coming from Meta, the company behind Facebook and Instagram, Threads apparently saw over 100m sign-ups in its first week.
How do charities and community organisations use social media? Does an organisation or project need to be on every available platform? Should you get a Threads account?
If you run, manage, or are involved with a local community activity there’s a good chance that your project has a Facebook account. You might also have a Twitter account, but there are more – Instagram, TikTok, even LinkedIn and YouTube. Which is best to use? Should you have them all? How will you even manage them if you do?
The watchword when it comes to social media engagement is consistency. If you only post once a week, or even less frequently, you will struggle to build a following. Posting regularly is one way to ensure that you gain followers and get your messages across. But that means having a plan, and knowing just what you will post, when you will post it, why, and for whom. You’ll also need someone to do the posting! Don’t underestimate the amount of time all this can take.
Understanding who your audience is is another key consideration. You can find plenty of guides and tips for not-for-profit groups online, but I took some information from a Just Giving article on how best to use social media. They point out for example that 71% of Facebook users are over 25, so if your project needs to get the attention of adults you might be best to use Facebook. Instagram on the other hand is the platform of choice for teenagers, so if your project is engaging young people try there. LinkedIn is where you can build corporate partnerships. So, who are you trying to reach? Your platform might be dictated by your needs.
Threads is still too new to know who is using it and why, so for now you might want to wait a little while and spend your time and effort on the established platforms. Get to know them even better and remember to use any inbuilt tools there to help you understand your reach and impact.