Online social networking also allows you to promote your fundraising efforts to potentially millions of people – maximise your chances with our 5 tips.

Social media has provided a new way to spread your message to friends and family, your local residents and even worldwide.

And the thrill is that among the audience may be big-hearted supporters that could turn out be your next generous donor. If your message is not getting heard widely enough – here are some tips to grow your audience:

1. Join networks

There are many networking sites out there that allow you to accumulate a large number of followers and fans. Facebook is one of the largest with over 400 million users, 50 per cent of which log in every single day of the week, and Twitter has over 10 million users every single month.

Publicising your fundraising event or donations page can quickly multiply as more people add friends to the cause or retweet (RT) – make good use of keywords and hashtags to send your message even further.

Whether you’re an individual fundraiser or a group, engaging with potential donors is the best way to get feedback. Most social media sites allow users to post on pages. And reading comments and feedback will give you a clear idea of what you're doing right and wrong, in the long run this can help you to effectively and efficiently raise more cash.

Also, why not post a video on YouTube with a link to your charity. YouTube is the second biggest search engine, so it pays to have some free content available there to pull people in. Make sure your video title contains a keyword your audience is searching for and a link to your chosen charity. If you have a website, make sure that is linked to your Facebook and Twitter, or any of your other social media profiles, so people can easily learn more about your charity cause.

2. Lively content

Take a close look at your content. If you are sharing a fundraising page or website that doesn’t grab attention, then people will quickly lose interest in your posts. An online fundraising page should be lively, entertaining and ever-changing. If it’s been months since you last updated then visitors will be unimpressed – and they will leave and not return.

Also, ensure that there’s a good mix of content in your social media posts. Post stories and pictures with the latest cash target figure, that way casual visitors are more likely to convert to regular fans. Having the best content helps showcase your passion and your charity aim, and ultimately provide more interest and bring in more sponsorship.

3. Make a good impression

Keep your social media pages personal. Tell your story in your own way and don’t forget to sincerely thank all your supporters for sharing your content and more importantly raising the money to make a difference to your charity. This means interacting on your social media accounts often. Very often!

Let people know you are reading what they are posting and that you are listening.

Respond to posts from your audience and interact when they show interest. Reply promptly to questions, comments and chat to them. Show them who you are and your audience will feel more connected to you – and they will return to read more and keep them posting on your pages.

4. Share with everyone

Don’t hesitate to share your social media accounts with everyone you know. By doing this, they will know you have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and they can share your posts with everyone they know. This is a simple way to get the word out. The more links to your fundraising page are shared, the more your audience will widen.

Send an email to family and friends. Get them to share your story and appeal on their own networks. And when you think about how many emails you send each day – why not add your social media icons to your message template. People will eventually get curious and start to check out your pages.

5. Target influencers

There's strength in numbers. At work, social club, church or school, identify those who have strong social followings themselves and encourage them to share and link with your social media. Provide them with talking points. The more acquaintances you have spreading the word, the quicker you'll grow your audience.

Tagging others is also a good way to pique curiosity, attract new followers, and trigger interest in your fundraising page. You could also target social media ‘influencers’ who have large followings. If they have similar interests, you can get in touch and ask them to post about your fundraising, or share one of your posts.

And don’t forget that people won't even know you exist on social media unless you point them in the right direction. Why not have some posters drawn up and wherever possible - on the wall, in the lobby, on the counter - use signage offline to drive viewers online.

Feeling inspired? Why not view our list of  Partner Charities  and pick a great cause to support.

Picture credit: 10 FACE /