Social media tips for tiny teams

Blog 01

When I worked in-house, the biggest comms team I managed was five-strong including me. Comms leaders who manage tiny teams are used to taking on big challenges with small budgets. With 82% of all charities in the UK being classed as small or micro, this is most of the sector.

Whilst I’m a big believer in not ‘doing’ social media for the sake of it, most organisations could benefit from using social media platforms to reach their goals. But, when resource is scarce, producing and implementing a comprehensive social media strategy can feel out of reach. That’s why I’ve put together these five tips to help tiny teams make the most of social media.

  1. Write a mini-plan that sets out at least your aims, objectives and target audience. If you’ve been put off social media by the task of writing a time-consuming strategy, just start with the basics. If you at least know who you want to reach and what you want to achieve, you can decide what channel(s) to use and make sure you’re posting with purpose. For me, strategies should be living documents that are used and adapted as activities and new information unfolds. Approaching it like this and taking it in small steps can be a lot less daunting.
  2. Choose one platform and do it well. Ever been told by non-comms colleagues, perhaps in senior management, that we ‘need’ to be on ‘x, y and z’ social media platforms? I’m betting yes. When you only have a small amount of resource to get going with social media, do your research and pick a platform that fits best with your aims, objectives and target audience. This tool from YouGov provides data on social media network use by popularity, fame and audience, which is a great start.
  3. Use a scheduling tool to make the most out of everyday learning. Scheduling tools aren’t just good for organising and sharing planned content, they are great for scheduling information you take in as part of your daily job. Whether you’re doing a daily scan of the news for relevant stories, or reading a new report related to your cause, keep a social media platform like Hootsuite open and schedule pieces you think your audience would find interesting or useful. If you’ve got time, include a short commentary on why they should read it or how it fits with your organisational goals.
  4. Decide how much time you can spend on social media each week and work back from there. Building an engaged community takes time, but don’t let the idea that you have to go big quickly put you off. For me, the main aim is consistency, and there is evidence that social media platform algorithms like that too. When I’m quoting for a project, I normally use half an hour per social media post as a guide. So before you decide how many times you want to post a week, decide how much time you have in reality and work back from there. If you’re realistic about how much time you can spend, you’re more likely to keep going and achieve what you set out to.
  5. Get creative with photos! Photos can be difficult to source for small charities, with issues around consent often holding up the process. Real photos of beneficiaries, events and staff are great if you can get them, but thinking more creatively about the kinds of photos you can use to highlight your cause will make sure social media activities aren’t held up. Think about taking photos of hands and feet, wildlife and pets, landscapes and gardens, flowers and vegetables, buildings and vehicles, notepads and pens – whatever fits with your messages and can be easily obtained when you’re out and about. This is particularly important for Instagram, where you don’t have the luxury of using a photo pulled through from a link.

What are your top tips for managing social media with little resource? Please share them in the comments below.

Claire, Director, Colvine Communications.

PS I am in the process of developing a new service to support tiny teams with social media. If you have five minutes, please fill it in and help me get it right.

Love ALL your metrics

Vanity metrics

It’s always interesting (and often funny) to see the trends and terminology that fall in and out of favour in comms over the years.

One of those is the notion of ‘vanity metrics’ – the assertion that likes and follows (for example) aren’t worth the pixels that they’re programmed on and that engagement is king. But I am inclined (in essence) to disagree.

I believe that you should love ALL your metrics and that the key to a successful social media strategy is understanding the value of each of them and aligning them with your organisational aims and objectives. In practice, this may mean that…

  • Every Facebook page like will not lead to a donation but building a sizeable Facebook community of people interested in your cause might be integral to your fundraising strategy.
  • Every Tweet like will not lead to taking action on a campaign you are running, but will help indicate whether your message is resonating with people, which is critical at the testing stage.
  • Even if size doesn’t equal absolute success for you, far-reaching social media communities can be attractive to corporate partners, which may be key to your business development plans.

Do you love all your metrics? I’d love to hear from you.


Director, Colvine Communications