Social media strategy and ad campaigns


I have worked with a number of organisations to develop their social media strategy, and increase reach, engagement and results on their social channels. My approach is to use a combination of paid and organic strategy, focusing on Facebook as the primary channel.

Social media storytelling

Using Facebook and Instagram to share impact stories can deliver excellent results for non-profits. I have implemented a social storytelling methodology at a number of different charities, that uses a combination of techniques:

  • story gathering sessions with staff, volunteers and service users
  • crafting stories for social media using proven storytelling principles
  • creation of ad campaigns to promote these stories to a relevant audience
  • using Facebook’s custom audiences tools to save the engaged audience and retarget them with ads

This method has brought about a dramatic increase in reach, engagement and measurable results (donations, birthday fundraisers, volunteer signups and more) for a range of different causes, including the National Youth Council of Ireland, The Separated Child Foundation and Peace Direct.

If you’re interested in implementing a storytelling approach at your organisation, get in touch today, at

I delivered a detailed training session on this storytelling methodology for the We Act campaign, and the video of this session is available to watch for free online.

Facebook Ad campaigns

Some of the results I’ve achieved with Facebook Ads:

Organisation Campaign objective Results
Barnardos Ireland – multiple campaigns Supporter acquisition Campaigns list built from 5k to over 12k through multiple lead campaigns – including petitions, open letters and surveys
Mental Health Ireland Content marketing 1600 leads acquired, at €0.49 per lead
Merchant’s Quay Ireland Fundraising 2.2k new subscribers, 6% converted to donors
Depaul Ireland Supporter acquisition 6k leads acquired for mailing list, at €0.17 per lead

If you want a Facebook ad campaign, there’s a few things you’ll need to get started:

Time 6 weeks lead in time – to develop strategy, develop creative, get ads through Facebook’s approval process, run testing phase, run campaign
Strategy Clear strategic goals – do you want conversions, leads? What kind of conversions?
(‘Awareness’ is not a strategic goal because it’s too difficult to properly measure.)
Creative Each campaign needs a minimum of 15 ads for split testing, we’ll need to find or create 5 images or videos
Tech The Facebook Pixel must be installed on your website and on any third party services you’re using as part of the user journey
Budget A budget of €100 – €200 for the testing phase, and a max budget based on cost per acquisition and targets. I recommend a minimum budget of €500.

I get asked to do last minute Facebook Ad campaigns a lot; however unless you have a high organic reach and a large engaged audience on your Facebook Page already, a last minute campaign is very unlikely to deliver results.

Facebook is the most powerful and sophisticated advertising channel in the world; Facebook also makes it much too easy to set up pointless and wasteful campaigns that just chase reach and impressions and fail to deliver any real return.  My advice to non-profits is to develop a strong digital and social media strategy, and just run a few strategic, properly tested campaigns each year.  Building your team’s skills in Facebook Ads is one of the most useful things you can do, as it means you can leverage this powerful tool without having to pay agency fees, and constantly learn from your experiments.

Sources for learning about Facebook Ads: