How #charities & #socialenterprises can create great #socialmedia content (30 pages)

top tips • jacqui o’beirne

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How #charities & #socialenterprises can create great #socialmedia content


Top Tips

Jacqui O’Beirne


or our last interview, we thought we’d
turn it over to someone in the thick
of it. Jacqui O’Beirne, Head of Digital

Marketing at the Dogs Trust, develops and
executes the Dogs Trust’s social media
strategy. Founded in 1891, the Dogs Trust
is the largest dog welfare charity in the UK.
Jacqui shares her social media experiences,
learnings, and some top tips.

On which platforms is the Dogs Trust most

We are currently most active on Facebook and Twitter,
though we are dipping our toes into Google+, Tumblr,
Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine. We like to be early
adopters but we are also aware of what our core
activity is and we can’t spend a lot of time creating
content that only a few hundred people are going to
see. We treat each audience as the individuals they are
and try to create content that they will like.

How did you build your social media audience?

At first we spent a lot of time talking to ourselves – as
you do on any new platform – and started to wonder why
we were there. But we then decided to tap into our large
email database by sending them emails about our social
media profiles to make them aware of where we were. We
also decided to automatically email every new person
that joined our database with the info. It took a long time
and was a very slow burn, but watching the numbers go
up (back then it was numbers game!) was amazing. When
we got to 10,000 we were ecstatic; to reach 100,000 was
only ever a dream but now we are pushing 600,000 on
Facebook and over 100,000 on Twitter.

Can you share a real-life result that is directly
attributed to your social media activity?

Rehoming the first dog via Twitter was a day I’ll never
forget. We were in our early days of using Twitter
and were trying everything and anything to get the
conversation going. We found a dog that looked like
Kevin Keegan so we tweeted a picture of him, and one
of our followers saw it and took her mum to visit the

centre where the dog was. They didn’t actually rehome
that dog but they did rehome another one. We kept in
touch with them throughout the whole process.

What kind of original content does the Dogs
Trust create?

We are lucky to have a subject matter that is very easy on
the eye so it’s easy for us to create original content and
to get it shared far and wide. We work hard to make sure
each photo or video conveys the right message. I have
also been lucky over the years to always have great team
that can see an image and be creative with it, whether it’s
finding a celebrity look-alike or putting a great caption to
what otherwise would be just another dog photo.

What content creation advice would you give
organisations whose content is not “as easy
on the eye” as dogs and puppies?

Use your assets. If your subject matter is a little unusual
or difficult, use the people of your organisation, or those
that have benefited from your charity or service; a
happy smiling face can do wonders. One popular post we
have done in the past was a simple ‘thank you’ to all the
mothers out there for Mothers Day: we used an image
of a person rather than a dog, but as it was a message
that was relevant to everyone it was shared quite a lot.

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