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Top 3 Tips for Social Media Advertising

AVOW Articles Series : Top 3 Tips for Social Media Advertising

AVOW’s core business is helping your charitable group, or charity, grow. AVOW do this through their 4 core pillars.

  • Sustainable Funding: Making sure that your charity has enough funds to do what it needs to do
  • Good Governance : Making sure that your charity has the right kind of governance documents – constitutions, policies, etc- to help your charity secure the funding it needs, and the ability to do it’s work.
  • Volunteering : All Charities rely on volunteer time and energy. AVOW is able to help your charity find volunteers, build good relationships, and offer advice on dealing with volunteers
  • Engaging and Influencing: AVOW knows that your charity and charitable aims are important – but unless other people know about it, how will they be able to access those services? Engaging people, and sharing that information enables your charity to be used and achieve it’s aims.

As part of these core values, AVOW is putting together a series of articles to help people get started.


Marketing an event or a charity, can be a difficult task. It has to be done on a very tight budget, and charities and charitable institutions often struggle getting the word out about what they do. Initial successes often rely on face-to-face communication, and personal referrals, but after that, it can be very difficult to share your important work with a wider audience. The answer is obvious: to market your event. The ‘how’ can be quite a bit more complex.

Social Media is one of the places where the cost to enter is the lowest possible, which is nothing. It doesn’t cost to have a social media presence in terms of money. That said, there is a cost in time. As the cost of entry is nothing, it is important to remember that it means that you, and your charity, are the product. In the case of marketing, this works in your favour. It is in the best interest of the platform for people to interact with it, so it will raise interesting posts so that others can interact with it.

It is this interaction that will give you the best chance of getting your message in front of people. Below are a few tips on just how you go about doing that.

1. Post Regularly

The world is constantly changing, and nowhere is that more true that on Social Media. The way in which it scrolls means that an event you put up on Monday will have vanished by Thursday. The feed of social media changes so fast that it requires that you post regularly.

Experience has shown that regularly doesn’t mean once a day, or even once a week, so long as you have a schedule and stick to it. If you are posting once a week, then ensure that you post once a week. If you are posting like this, tell people when they can expect the next post (time and day). Your audience will then look for that post – especially if it’s interesting. On social media sites that have an ‘algorithm'(see below for an explanation) this regular posting will mean that the site itself will make it visible to your regular followers.

Having a schedule doesn’t mean that you can’t publish more than that, but it does mean that you absolutely can’t post less than that. If your posting to remind people of an event, you will need some pre-posts (about a month or 6 weeks before the event), then you will need some awareness posts (7 days before the event) and then a reminder (the day before) and a call to action (the day of the event/posting from the event).  Posting every day about an event is tempting, but if your not posting anything else, it makes your feed look boring, people will stop interacting, and it will actually lower your visibility. Especially if the posts themselves are identical.

2. Use Images Well

Experience and research shows that posts with images do better than posts with just text, providing the image is a good image. 

When it comes to images, the best shape and size to use on most social media platforms is the ‘Instagram square’ (1080px x 1080px). This allows you to put two images side-by-side, and makes the information in them visible. The smaller space also forces you to make the image straight, and to the point. If you find you have lots of information to put in the image – then it probably shouldn’t be there.

Think of the image as the headline, the eye-catcher, the bit that gets people interested. Keep the information short and to the point. What, When, Where. Any details should go in the text box.

If your thinking to yourself that you don’t know how to make a good image, don’t worry. There are plenty of places out there that offer free templates, and can make putting together these images very easy. The most popular is Canva. If you are a registered charity, you may qualify for their free pro tier, but if you don’t, there’s still plenty there.

Get into the habit of taking photos of your things your charity is doing. You may not have a use for them now, but it’s always better to use a home-made photo than a generic one from the web.

NOTE: AVOW is not associated with Canva, and this is not a paid promotion. Other similar sites are also available. 

Using Media From the Web

Be VERY CAREFUL about downloading photos from the web to use in your advertising. This is a bigger topic than this short introduction, but *only* download ones that are Copyright Free, or that you have a licence to use. A good source of free images is You can get many free and open source photos there. Always check the licence for any photo that you are downloading, and any photo that you buy a licence for, keep the licence and the photo in a folder on your computer, so you know what the licence is.

There is also an Age-Positive library of pictures available from Age Without Limits

Using Photographs of People

Putting pictures of people on the web can be quite tricky, and not everyone wants their face on social media – and even less keen in advertising. In this case it’s a good idea to get consent. There are two common ways of getting consent.

  • General consent : Asking people when they arrive to sign in, and tick the box that says that they are happy with photos.
    • Pros: Quick, easy, and most people who are there for business purposes will be happy to tick the box
    • Con: It can be difficult to match people who disagree with photos taken after the event
  • Specific Consent : Asking people individually if they want to be in a photo, and getting their consent with a form
    • Pros: You can match people to a photo file number, and ensure that consent is specific and accurate
    • Cons: Time consuming, and can reduce the number of photos that you are able to take.

Getting consent is worth it. Pictures that include people are a very good way of raising the profile of your event, as people tend to tag people they know.

3. Social Media is about being Social

Social Media sites are designed to aid interaction. To get people talking about something, and getting involved. This is perhaps the most difficult one when running a page for a charity or a business.

When using your charity profile:

  1. Be Aware. Be aware of what your interacting on, or with, and ask yourself if it’s relevant to your charity, or charitable aims.
  2. Be Social, but not familiar. You need to find the voice of your charity. Be personable and welcoming, but don’t chat about nights out, or gossip about friends, co-workers, or other social media people. Keep the posts you make professional. It’s always a good idea to celebrate successes of other charities. Be positive in your posts, and make the interaction meaningful. n. Aim for at least 6 words – don’t just rely on a like or heart reaction.
  3. Add Value. If you are joining a discussion, remember to add value. Running a charity, you are able to speak of your expertise. Add positive responses, with help and guidance for people.
  4. It’s not just about you. As tempting as it is to always just post about things that are just about what you, and your charity are is doing, social media doesn’t respond well to that kind of feed. Try to find out what you can ‘give away’ on social media. Can you ‘give away’ your advice (like AVOW is doing with it’s tips series). Can you ‘give away’ space on your feed to promote similar charities, or perhaps charities that operate in the same area as you, doing something different – for example, if your charities does wheelchairs then perhaps sharing a charity that does mobility aids for sleeping would also help your audience. It makes your feed more valuable.
  5. Be Aware of What works. Not every type of post is going to work, or be suitable for every type of message. Not every type of media is going to work with every audience. Be mindful of what people are reacting too, and see if there are ways that you can lean into that.
  6. You cannot control what goes viral. What goes viral is near-impossible to discern. Large companies spend large amounts of money trying to make things go viral, and there’s no guarantee that it will work. Your carefully crafted post might only get a few likes, where as quick post about a change in opening times might be a run-away success. There really is no way of telling.
  7. Mix Up Your Media. About 70% of what you post will be text with images – but it shouldn’t be everything. Every phone can take a short film, or record some audio. Find time to experiment. Editing software for film doesn’t need to be expensive, open source alternatives like kdenlive are often as, if not more, powerful than their well-known competitors.
  8. Stay on message. Social media feeds can really quickly get cluttered with information. If you find your feed is being filled with lots of different types of information, consider starting another feed. AVOW, for example, have Funding With AVOW to share all information that we have about funding (eg. available grants), we have AVOW Voluntary and Community Team for all things volunteering. We still share the occasional post to our main AVOW feed, but those people who are looking for specific information on, say, grants, can find what they need and are more likely to come back.

Bonus Tip : Social Media is Valuable Work

A lot of organisations are (rightly) focused on the primary task of the organisation. The helping of end-users, of people attending. It’s all fantastic work.

However, it’s also not going to grow if no-one knows about it. You can only rely on word-of-mouth for so long before you need to think about doing some sort of advertising. Do not just add social media onto someone’s (already) busy work-load, but carve out dedicated time to do it. An afternoon a week can make a real big difference.

It’s also not just about sharing what you do, and telling people about it. It is also a really important part of grant applications – being able to show funders what it is you do, and how you do it. The interactions with your social media can be used to show local interest in your project. This kind of energy is also a really good way to recruit regular volunteers, or volunteers for a single project.

Make it part of what you do, and you will see the benefits.


Social Media, whatever your views on it, is going to be a major part of your marketing campaign. Especially for charities, where the budget is squeezed on everything. You don’t need to be an expert to get the most out of it. These simple tips should get your social media feed into a good shape, and be something that works as a shop window for your organisation.

If you have read all these tips, and still find yourself confused, don’t worry! It’s what AVOW is here for. Why not get in touch with us (info AT, and ask for help and support from our Media Team? We are available to all our members for conversation, help, support and guidance.

Thank you for reading.

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