Founded in 1896 by George Ryerson, the Canadian Red Cross is a charitable organization with its national headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario. The mission of the organization is “to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.” (https://www.redcross.ca/about-us/about-the-canadian-red-cross) In addition to providing emergency relief for domestic and international disaster recovery, the Canadian Red Cross offers a variety of programs to aid in health and safety across Canada.
What the Canadian Red Cross is trying to accomplish on social media
The Canadian Red Cross has an educational approach on social media. The organization aims to inform the public on news related to the Canadian Red Cross, such as disaster relief, health and safety updates, and humanitarian efforts around the globe.
In addition to the organization’s website, the Canadian Red Cross has a presence on five major social media platforms:
- Facebook (128K followers)
- Instagram (17.5k followers)
- LinkedIn (24.3K followers)
- Twitter (154K followers)
- YouTube (1.3K subscribers)
The social media audience of the Canadian Red Cross is most engaged on the organization’s Facebook profile and Twitter profile, with followers regularly sharing and retweeting posts on those two platforms. Considering that the organization is over 120 years old and rooted in furnishing the public with emergency prevention and disaster recovery services, their approach makes sense for continuing to educate their audience on 21st century media platforms.
What the Canadian Red Cross is doing well on Social Media
The organization has consistent, visually appealing posts on each of their five social media profiles, often sharing at least one new post per day per profile. Additionally, their message remains consistent across platforms. For example, on December 06, 2018, the Canadian Red Cross shared a “Brr! It‘s cold out there.” message on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter about winter safety for Canadians, as shown below:
What the Canadian Red Cross could do better on Social Media
To engage their audience on social media, the Canadian Red Cross needs to encourage conversations with their followers. Many of the organization’s posts, if they have a call to action at all, ask followers to “Read More” or “Learn More” or “Get tips here”. There are few, if any, posts asking the audience to answer a question or share their experiences with the Canadian Red Cross. Additionally, when there are comments on the posts, many of those comments go unacknowledged and unanswered.
Furthermore, though the organization is a charitable one, the Canadian Red Cross rarely asks for donations on social media or even lets their audience how followers could donate if they were so inclined. The organization did launch an Answer the Call donation campaign for Giving Tuesday, on November 27, 2018, which they promoted on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as seen below.
However, once they reached their goal of 500 donations in the form of survival kit gifts, they did not continue their success into the rest of the season. The Canadian Red Cross ended the 24-hour campaign and resumed their regular programming of informative posts, even though followers can still make donations through the live Answer the Call microsite.
What’s their Competition doing?
In addition to the Canadian Red Cross, benevolent Canadians who want to donate their money and time have many charities to choose from. WE Charity, founded in 1995 by Marc and Craig Kielburger, is one of those charities, who have harnessed the power of social media for their benefit. In addition to their website, WE Charity is active on four social media platforms:
- Facebook (2.9 Million followers)
- Instagram (271K followers)
- Twitter (346K followers)
- YouTube (44K subscribers)
Besides exceeding the Canadian Red Cross in terms of followers on social media, WE Charity also directly asks for donations on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter on a regular basis. These calls to action are presented in a fun, colorful manner, that encourages engagement from the WE Charity audience:
What the Canadian Red Cross should do next on Social Media
Here are three recommendations to improve audience engagement for the Canadian Red Cross:
1. USE CALLS TO ACTION ON EACH POST.
Though their posts are informative and visually engaging, the Canadian Red Cross often fails to tell their fans what to do next. The organization should make it easier for followers to Share, Volunteer, or Donate.
2. ASK OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS.
The Canadian Red Cross has the opportunity to learn more about who their audience is. Asking questions related to disaster relief, emergency preparedness, and health and safety issues will help the organizations provide more targeted information that their followers can relate to.
3. RESPOND TO EVERY COMMENT.
Commenters are some of the most engaged fans on the organization’s social media profiles. By responding to every comment, the Canadian Red Cross can display that they are interested in continuing the conversations with their audience.