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Between the Lines: The hidden potential of social media graphics

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Between the Lines:
The hidden potential of social media graphics

by Ciara Shalome
Social Media Executive, 8original

A recent conversation I had with my boss, Joel Macadar, further educated me on the vast potential of Instagram graphics and their ability to convey important, yet subtle messages. It is truly no secret that social media has now become a hub for aspiring activists and educators who feel that it is their profound duty to insert their opinion into social and political issues worldwide. However, the information that often spreads like wildfire across platforms such as Instagram isn’t always the most accurate and can, in its quest to educate, further drive a wedge between users.

One such example of this would be the recent war between Israel and Palestine in March of this year, and the effect this flare up of violence had on media platforms across the world. Not only was the damaging misinformation surrounding the clashes a cause for concern, but also the many attempts from creators online to produce a blanket statement summarising the entire conflict for the sake of a graphic. As uncomfortable as it may seem, there is no one sentence that could ever possibly turn such a complex situation into a black and white concept.

 

Upon seeing this graphic for the first time, I focused on the words written and nothing more. I felt that the messaging was surface level and staring me in the face. Peace doesn’t fit inside a graphic, correct. How could I possibly be missing something?

What I failed to understand until speaking to Joel was the greater context and subliminal messaging that was intended whilst creating this image. During a time of heightened societal tension, a graphic such as this one is easily able to cut through the tedium of the Instagram algorithm and inspire brief thought to whoever sees it. The words are merely a vehicle for the underlying reality that definitive statements, no matter how positive, are unable to bring about peace.

From a visual perspective, an array of fonts have been used in order to guide the attention of the reader to the overall conclusion that text, just like peace, does not fit inside a graphic. This has been further demonstrated by the oversized lettering. The choice of font aims to create a general sense of irony before focusing on the main point. My eye is particularly drawn to the two words ‘peace doesn’t’ for the simple reason that the colour red and a bold font are tactics typically used to command attention. Aside from the more surface-level observation, I notice that the negative use of the word ‘doesn’t’ sparks intrigue and forces me to see that the message here is neither positive, nor negative but rather factual. If I were to imagine my Instagram feed back in March, this graphic would have been a welcome, neutral interruption in a sea of bias.

Initially, something else I missed was the line underneath ‘peace’ and the ‘fill in the blank’ template that had been used. Joel cleverly demonstrated here that there is a multitude of concepts that cannot be blatantly summarised in five words. The existence of this line seeks to show that this image is easily recyclable, which unfortunately proves just how prevalent the idea is that complex issues can easily be condensed to fit inside of a square space.

For many, this post would likely be overlooked and its overall symbolism ignored. However, I have further understood just how effective the use of graphics can be in relation to educationally illustrating important points in a non-threatening, subtle way. Ironically, ‘peace doesn’t fit inside a graphic’ is a blanket statement in itself. However, it is a blanket statement which seeks to remind and empower, instead of divide. This graphic illustrates that social media is not only a way to disseminate an opinion and gain followers, but that it can also teach people the importance of using their platform to spread a message of coexistence and create a positive impact.

Being Me: Communicating Authentically

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Being Me:
Communicating Authentically

by Josh Gaventa
Social Media Strategist, 8original

The most important aspect of any social media campaign is authenticity. The audience must believe that you have credibility. It must be clear that you know what you’re talking about, and people should listen to you specifically. 

Our job is to understand what our clients want to say, and then we need to work out how we can communicate their message on social media authentically. 

For Norwood it’s often about empowerment. We don’t want to talk for the people Norwood supports, we want to create a world where the people Norwood support are empowered and enabled to communicate on behalf of themselves. 

Learning Disability Week is a huge week for Norwood and all other organisations working in the field of learning disabilities and special needs. It’s a week where organisations can elevate the voices that need to be heard, show gratitude to the staff who make it all happen as well as advocate for the cause of the people they support. 

When I looked at my blank whiteboard to plan content for Learning Disability Week, or ‘LDW’ as it became known internally, I knew two things: 

  1. Whatever we did had to be authentic. 
  2. It wasn’t going to be easy to go in and get footage of the people Norwood supports due to Covid-19 restrictions and safety measures. 

So how do you make something authentic when you don’t have much access to the people you need to hear from? 

Well personally my favourite trick when a task has multiple challenges and obstacles is to set a goal with the assumption that those challenges and obstacles can be overcome. 

So, we came up with ‘Being Me’. A campaign that has an inherent need for authentic voices. A campaign that was not going to be easy to execute, but a campaign that matched perfectly with Norwood’s mission. 

Being Me’ is about creating content where the people Norwood supports can express themselves directly to Norwood’s audience of friends, family & supporters. 

As an agency, we rely on working with our client’s marketing team to achieve our goals, and Norwood’s team came through. With a little bit of creativity, we were able to put together a social media campaign that was and felt real to the everyday experiences of the people Norwood supports. 

Throughout the week the campaign generated just over 25,000 organic impressions across Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter with an overall engagement rate of 5%. There were increases of 40%, 20% and 50% engagements on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram respectively. Though the purpose of the campaign was to express Norwood’s values, it’s important to measure the success of any campaign using effective analytics. 

At 8original we lean into the principle of ‘Nothing about us without us.’ That’s the idea that a charity should include its beneficiaries in the decision-making process, but it could be equally applied to the charity’s marketing. We shouldn’t be talking about our client’s beneficiaries without ensuring that we’re speaking with an authentic voice. 

That’s not always so simple as often our client’s beneficiaries are anonymous and there are safeguarding issues at play which we shouldn’t interfere with. So, we lean on the charity’s outstanding staff to represent the voices of the people they support to us when we set strategy and create content for campaigns.  

That’s how non-profit social media works. It’s a vibrant cocktail of people working together to communicate an authentic message to an audience that cares. It’s often a chaotic process, it’s often fraught with challenges and obstacles but it’s always rewarding. 

So, if you’re part of a team of people in a charity that is struggling to figure out what your message should be on social media, ask the people you support to answer the following question: What is it like being me? 

Then you take their answer and go from there. 

Content Is King

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Content is King:
Social Media Content explained.

There are 4.2b social media users worldwide, out of which 4.1b will mainly access social media content via their mobile. Let’s learn about it, shall we?

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  1. The 4 different areas of Social Media Content
  2. Why leaving one out could be crippling to you business
  3. A final nugget…

The 4 areas of Social Media Content

1️⃣ Content Strategy: Your content strategy will determine how you’re approaching your social media and what content is going to back your approach. If you are struggling to relay a certain message to your ideal target customer through social media, you need to figure out a game plan as to how you will be able to better communicate with your customer. Instead of putting stuff out and seeing what sticks, come up with a detailed strategy with an objective, a timeline, and some tangible content ideas which will fulfil your company’s objective. Ideally, your social media content strategy should be at least 8 weeks long in order to be able to see some results from what you’re doing. Once your audience catches on to your change in strategy, they will start reacting accordingly. One piece of content won’t do it, consistency is key.

Oh, and read all of this blog before you start. 😃

Our strategy with GIFT was impact, impact, impact. Read more about how it worked here.

2️⃣ Content Creation: The individual content pieces that you’ve thought about above will have to be created, designed and/or produced. Coming up with a strategy is all well and good, but until you action it with physical content, it’s just words on a piece of paper. As you come up with your social media strategy, make sure you understand how to create the content you’re aiming for. Find realistic examples of other content you have seen that resembles what you want to create and make sure you have the proper team around you which can make it happen. There’s nothing worse than thinking too far ahead and realising that you have no budget to realise your strategy. Be realistic and know your limitations. But don’t worry, as long as you have a smart phone you can create great content just like everybody else!

For the Jewish News, we still focus on content… And the best content wins. Click here to read all about this one.

“Nobody cares if you do 100 pieces of content if all of them are terrible. Use your social media to impact people, not only to impress them.”

3️⃣ Content Management: Let’s pretend that you have all your content created. What do you do now? Who will post? What software will you use? Can one person handle it all? Are you sure every aspect of the pieces of content are approved and ready to go? Working out a proper system of how to deliver your content to your audience makes all the difference in the world.

Don’t underestimate it. Your content can be great, but if you don’t execute properly, even great content can get lost. Control your process, post at the right times, caption properly and make sure you credit your collaborators and partners.

4️⃣ Content Analysis: After content goes up, you need to see whether your objective has been reached. Learn the metrics, understand how to measure your content and be really honest with yourself after reviewing your content insights.

Why you shouldn’t leave any of them out…

If any of the above are implemented incorrectly, your whole marketing department runs the risk of spending a lot of time on work which is not compatible with your objectives. Save yourself the work and the disappointment. Put in the graft, write things down, tick all the boxes and make sure you prioritise quality. Nobody cares if you do 100 pieces of content if all of them are terrible. Use your social media to impact people, not only to impress them.

We look after every single one of these stages. If you’d like to work with us, feel free to let us know!

Final Thoughts

The above could be applied to almost any type of marketing strategy you need to come up with. Think, execute, control the process and analyse your results.

Content is King, but without the strategy, your content won’t rule over anybody.

Impact & Media

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Impact & Media

overview //

The Jewish News is the UK’s biggest Jewish newspaper, and we are proud to be working with them to increase their social media presence. 

Our role is to improve engagement on their social media channels, boost readership and online traffic as well as to create engaging graphics for their feed. An additional element of our role is to leverage their community relationships into social media collaborations to compliment the news stories. 

We are sharing our strategy behind our work with Jewish News and how impactful social content can help drive engagement for media organisations. 

We worked to increase their following and engagement on each platform.

// content

Within 6 months of working with 8original, the Jewish News Instagram page saw a 3x+ increase in followers compared with the previous 5 months. 

While the follower increase is impressive, it is only worthwhile if the engagement rose with it. Spoiler alert: it did. 

More people than ever saw and engaged with The Jewish News’ content on Instagram. Impressions rose 3x+, average likes per post more than tripled and the engagement rate doubled. 

All of the engagement led to an almost triple increase in profile views and subsequently an increase in website clicks.

// impact

Our strategy for Instagram was to select the most engaging stories for the audience from the Jewish News website, present them in the most impactful way and post consistent high quality content. 

For Twitter, engagement improved across the board with retweets seeing a nice increase while impressions per tweet went up by almost a third. We increased Jewish News’s Twitter following with improved engagement bringing in just under 5m impressions.

Their LinkedIn profile improved overall more than double the amount of impressions and a significant increase in clicks. This helped helped to drive engagement figures. 

// conclusions

Our social media strategy helped our client improve the average listeners for ‘The Jewish News Podcast’. Over 6 months, the average listens per episode almost tripled. 

By targeting specific content for each platform’s audience, we were able to drive up Jewish News’ engagement across the board to drive traffic to their website and improve their readership numbers. 

For media outlets to stand out amongst the crowd on social media, it’s all about creating impactful content that produces a reaction from the audience.

Digital Age for Mitzvahs

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Digital Age for Mitzvahs

overview //

Mitzvah Day is an annual event focused on individuals giving up their time to make a difference in their community. It is the largest faith-led day for social action in the UK, with over 40,000 people coming together to make a difference in their local communities. 

Mitzvah Day took place this year during a global pandemic which meant restrictions on movement and gatherings. Additionally, there has been a huge increase in need for the services that Mitzvah Day and their community and charity partners provide. As a result, Mitzvah Day became a Month of Mitzvahs. November 2020 was the first Month of Mitzvahs and what a month it was! 

Our strategy for Mitzvah Day 2020 focused on highlighting their charity partners, sharing their projects throughout November and posting organic content, including from VIPs. 

// content

Despite the pandemic, Mitzvah Day’s social media content reach 4 times as many people as the previous year. 

Facebook impressions saw a 46.5% increase, while the average reach bumped up 46.7%.

We saw the most impressive improvement on Mitzvah Day’s Twitter. During Mitzvah Day, there was a 377% increase in impressions compared to in 2019. Their Twitter profile visits also doubled.

Part of our work with Mitzvah Day included launching their Instagram page, which went live on 26th October 2020 ahead of Mitzvah Day on November 15th. During this short window, the Instagram profile gained almost 300 followers with over 11,200 impressions on posts. 

// impact

The average engagement rate for charities on social media usually has an average of 2-5%. Throughout our time working on the Mizvah Day Instagram account, their average engagement rate per post was 16.4%. This exceptional level of engagement allowed us to increase awareness of Mitzvah Day within a brief window of time.

// conclusions

In 2019, Mitzvah Day was only using Twitter and Facebook, with total impressions of just under 20k on the event day. While working with 8original for Mitzvah Day 2020, this number of impressions rose to over triple that amount.

Our strategy shows that improving the quality of social media content within a short time frame can improve engagement, raise brand awareness and drive traffic to a charity project. It also showcases the potential of Instagram to make a real difference for charities, who can achieve exceptionally high engagement above the industry average.

The Making of a £1m Charity

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The Making of a £1m Charity

overview //

GIFT is a charity that focuses on the culture of giving in the UK Jewish community. They co-ordinate a range of services for those in need and encourage volunteering through community partnerships and informal educational activities.

Our task was to create an emotional connection between GIFT and its audience to help raise vital donations to help them continue to expand their work. We are proud to have played a role in helping to get their message out into the world.

Our social media strategy helped to turn GIFT into a £1m charity within 12 months. 

// content

The content we created and curated focused on spotlighting real-life stories to show the difference that donations can make. We focused on showing the work that GIFT was doing in all the parts of the community the operate in.

While increasing any client’s following on social media is important, we wanted to focus on driving up engagement. We treated engagement as a way of staying connected with those who are interested in the charity’s work. 

Our first target was to drive Facebook & Instagram engagement up to just above charity average. Within twelve months, both Facebook & Instagram had triple the engagement rate that they previously had. 

Our second achievement was to increase the reactions/likes per post on Facebook & Instagram. We were successfully able to double Facebook reactions per post, while on Instagram we increased likes 3x+. 

An engaged, but small, audience can often be more effective for fundraising than a larger but unengaged audience.

// impact

By increasing engagement on GIFT’s social media posts, we were able to show that their community was continuously interested in their activities. There were two main ways we were able to do this. First was by making sure that we posted on a consistent schedule and second was that we made sure that the content was of a high quality. A high quality post for GIFT isn’t only about resolution and aspect ratio, it’s about showing the community as an engaged partner in GIFT’s vision. Images and videos of volunteers and young people in the community is the best content for GIFT. 

Our final goal was to increase the follower count on GIFT’s Instagram. Using all the techniques and strategies outlined above we have been able to almost triple their following.

// conclusions

8original’s work with GIFT culminated with the annual ‘Giving Together’ fundraiser, with a focus on their work during COVID-19. 

GIFT raised the original £500k target to £750k before they smashed the £1m mark. 

By making sure that the social media strategy was aligned with the charity’s values & ambitions, we were able to be part of the process of GIFT becoming a £1m charity. 

We are very excited to see what 2021 can bring for GIFT!

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