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How to Use Social Media to Save Places


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To educate and inspire people about our work, preservationists must focus on social media more than ever. Ask these nine questions to help build a strong strategy.

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How to Use Social Media to Save Places

  1. 1. Nine Questions to Ask When USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO SAVE PLACES
  2. 2. What kind of strategy are you creating? The same questions are worthy of consideration for both long-term and project-specific strategies, but the answers—especially regarding goals, timeline, and content—may be very different.
  3. 3. What is your preservation goal? Knowing what you want to accomplish will help you decide which social sites to use—for example, Facebook posts can be great for awareness, while is better for creating petitions to influence policymakers.
  4. 4. What does success look like? Having a clear, measurable goal from the outset will guide the choices you make and let you know when your social outreach is working— and when it isn’t.
  5. 5. Where is your audience? Knowing the demographics of different websites can steer you towards the right social channels to meet your goals.
  6. 6. What’s your budget? There’s a common misconception that social media is free; it’s not. While Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other sites can be used without charge, advertising—which is increasingly important for being seen—does have a cost.
  7. 7. What will you be sharing? Social media requires content, so know what you have at your disposal before you start. This will help you select what sites to use as well as help you plan a posting schedule.
  8. 8. How much staff time do you have? It’s important to factor in time not just for posting content, but also for answering questions and participating in conversations. Social media should be a two-way conversation.
  9. 9. Is there someone on your team with social media-friendly skills? Concise writing, an analytical mindset, and familiarity with the subject matter, along with understanding how various sites work, are key—and photography, video production, and graphic design are also helpful.
  10. 10. Do you need a social media policy? If you’re working on your own to save a place, probably not, but if you’re part of an organization—even a casual or ad hoc one— agreeing to some ground rules can be helpful.
  11. 11. The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America’s historic places. Preservation Tips & Tools helps others do the same in their own communities. For more information, visit Photo credits: National Trust for Historic Preservation (slides 1, 4, 8); Sarah Heffern (slides 2-3, 5-7, 9-10).