+41 76 667 3174 veera.juvonen@gmail.com

These five, frequently surfacing issues seem to hinder the social media success of many NGOs:

  1. You’re scaring and depressing me
  2. Your visuals are done with the left hand
  3. You are posting in languages your followers don’t speak
  4. Your staff doesn’t share your content
  5. You’re not being social on social media

3. Julkaiset päivityksiä eri kielillä, kuin mitä yleisösi ymmärtää.  

You probably didn’t understand that headline – and nor should you, since it is written in my mother-tongue, not yours. But it might as well be a tweet written by Your NGO, which is tweeting in English, German, Swiss-German (when feeling playful), French and Italian. This is like a plague in Swiss Twitter, as NGOs tweet from the one and the only Twitter account handle in all the official languages. Why would you speak all those languages to me, just because you can, if I only understand one or some?

It’s likely that your follower will unfollow your account or hide your communication the very moment you send an irrelevant message their way.

If you are not very impressed by your Twitter achievements or have even doomed the channel dysfunctional, have another go at Twitter by setting up different account handles for each language you want communicate in – or choose only one main language and stick to it. Have a look at your Twitter follower-count and engagement rate (how many people does your message reach divided by how many react to it), and watch your numbers improve. 
Check https://analytics.twitter.com/user/YOUR_ACCOUNT_HANDLE_HERE

The language issue is ruining some Swiss NGO Facebook pages as well. While the channel description might be consistently in German, the content is published in several languages without targeting. Posting everything to everyone in Facebook has a progressively harmful impact on the reach of your posts, since less people engage with irrelevant content, and your content is likely to shown on the newsfeed of unengaged followers even less often.

Some NGOs have opted to manage several Facebook Pages, one for each communication language. It’s a straightforward way to have the page descriptions and posts consistently in the same language, which requires some manpower to keep each page alive and well.

My preferred solution is to concentrate all effort into managing only one Facebook Page, targeting the posts according to the recipients preferred language (which they’ve set up themselves when choosing the language they use Facebook with.) I’d write the “About” texts in the main language of the organization: in English when going for global audiences, German or French for local markets. I’d have the single posts translated into different languages in advance, and post them using language targeting. The targeting option for choosing recipients country is excellent for posting more often about national campaigns, and the scheduling option enables posting for example in English in the right times to reach the followers in the US markets.

Sticking to the chosen communications language doesn’t mean that you’d have to stop sharing links to for example English news from your German channel. Just write the accompanying tweet or description in German.