SMK Associate India Thorogood explains what participants can expect in her new Social media to win campaigns: rapid content generation workshop.
Want to quickly create popular social media to help you win campaigns? I am running a content creation session for the Sheila McKechnie Foundation where I will be sharing some of my experience from creating with the likes of Greenpeace, Labour, and Shelter. This blog gives you a sneak peek into some of the things we will talk about.
Ten years ago, when I began working as a campaigner social media looked very different and it’s kept changing ever since: new platforms, content styles and formats. Five years ago TikTok wasn’t something we needed to get to grips with as campaigners, but in 2023 38% of people in the UK are using it at least once a month. And while 70% of people in the UK are still using Facebook once a month, successful content styles and engagement levels have changed drastically.
Luckily for us though, some of the key qualities of good content have stayed the same. So, here is a simple recipe with the key ingredients for creating content in short, a TAACO! I will explain the TAACO approach below.
Every minute there is something shocking in the news and whichever platform you’re on, the conversation is constantly changing. Too often non-profits plan too far in advance and spend far too long on content, meaning it’s irrelevant by the time anyone sees it. To stay relevant, we need to respond to that day or weeks’ news and trends – and the good news is some of the biggest trends are often easy to copy without any money spent. The key though is having speedy processes and techniques in your toolkit. Do you need to get a clearer sign off procedure, ready to go video templates, easy to use content creation tools, a style guide, or Tiktok presenters on speed dial?
You only have to look at huge influencers like Zoella who made a fortune from just being themselves to know that authenticity is king. One of the highest performing videos of the last few years was seemingly filmed on a phone – 20-Year-Old Female Airman Surprises Mom at Work. Real people have been creating ‘real content’ that reaches millions since Charlie Bit My Finger hit YouTube. Right winger Bolsonaro used simple videos of his everyday life to win the election in Brazil and progressive politicians like the United States Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez do it too. People want organic, relatable, and real – of course big budget videos can work too, but they are a bigger risk.
I used to train people to only create videos in 30 seconds or 1 minute maximum – now the algorithms have changed – even shorter on TikTok and sometimes longer form content works on Twitter or Facebook. But the first few seconds remain the most important in deciding whether they watch the rest – and take any meaningful action with your organisation. TikTok says that “80% of the awareness impact happens in the first 8 seconds.” So, try to use people looking straight to the camera and cut to the action quickly. The same goes for images – make sure they are emotive, interesting, and not over complicated. Like a tabloid writer, use a clear “hook” if you are using text that tells people what they’re about to see and why they should continue looking. Sixty-five percent of people are looking at your video or image on a phone – so keep it simple and exciting and make sure to preview your content on a phone too.
When you have spent a long time working on an issue close to your heart, many find it hard to imagine they know nothing about it. But even if you think you are a clear writer, you are probably guilty of overcomplicating things. Always re-read what you have written and think if it can be said simpler, especially if it’s going on an image or is the headline on a video. How would you explain it to your friends in the pub or your parents? When you set out to create your piece of content hopefully, you will think about your objectives and your target audience – so remember to think about what language is most persuasive to them.
Many people forget or do not have the time to keep their finger on the pulse – with many charities still not making the simple switch from video to reel content, for example. Watch every day influencers, young campaigners like Mikaela Loach and brands and meme pages (Shadeborough, Unilad, Ladbible and Hatezine). And remember that if you are not the best person to re-create current trends, you can pay those who can like some of the amazing content creators who already exist. This works particularly well on TikTok for brands that do not have in-house presenters. Subscribe to Social Media Today emails and look at Buffer blog or newsletter.
Remember a TAACO next time you are creating social media – it’s timely, authentic, attention grabbing, clear and on-trend.
Join my content creation sessions to learn how to quickly produce content ideas that will help you build your movement and win your campaigns. We will look at the best performing content right now and work together to come up with ideas that can help us change the world.