I want to start off being really clear about the purpose of this webinar. As you could guess from the title, I’m going to outline a process for developing a social media strategy. However, I want to emphasize that, though I have confidence in the process I’m going to walk you through, I know that it won’t fit lock, stock and barrel in every situation for every organization. More than anything, what I want to encourage all of us to do today with our time together is to start thinking strategically about being on social media with intention. I’m going to walk you through a strategy development process that I love, but your job is not to just take this process and apply it your organization or community without question. Your job is to look critically and analytically at what I’m going to present and think through how and if it applies to your specific situation. Everyone on this webinar is operating under different constraints and has different goals in using social media and you – not me – are the expert in understanding your situation. From my perspective, the strategy I’m going to present today is flexible and applicable to most organizations, but I want you to think critically about what I present and ask questions during the Q & A that bring to light how this strategy might not work for your organization, and then we can problem solve together. What I want for all of you to take away from this webinar are some tools for how to start thinking strategically about using social media so that you can have more success. With that, let’s move on to a clear definition of what social media is.
Social media is any online platform or channel for publishing and disseminating user-generated content. It’s this ability for anyone to create and disseminate content that makes social media so powerful and so social. Social media is a powerful tool from on organizational perspective because it allows us to have transparency and accountability in a way we’ve never had before, in particular with large organizations and government agencies that previously have been inaccessible. Every individual can now publicly state their opinion, whether positive or negative, and because of the public nature of the space, that opinion is often listened to and taken seriously. Social media allows us as individuals to take our environment and engage with it and shape it in a way that I find empowering and exciting. At the organizational level we can take this accountability and transparency and empower people to engage with us and make the services we provide that much more useful and impactful. The other aspect of social media that I love is that access to information that we now have at our fingertips. For us in children's mental health, some of the information that matters the most is information about our health, so that we can make better decisions and get help and support when we need it.
Now I want to talk a little bit about why people use social media. There are a lot reasons people join social networking sites including to connect with family and friends, to meet new people, and to connect with others that have shared interests and hobbies. What research from the Pew Internet and American Life Projects show us however, is that the predominant reason people use social media is to further their close offline relationships. Adult internet users that also use social media say that connections with family members and friends (both new and old) are a primary consideration in their adoption of social media tools. Roughly two thirds of social media users say that staying in touch with current friends and family members is a major reason they use these sites, while half say that connecting with old friends they’ve lost touch with is a major reason behind their use of these technologies. In addition, adults generally have positive experiences online. When social networking users were asked for one word to describe their experiences using social networking sites, “good” was the most common response (as seen in this word cloud).So people join to stay connected and continue to use social media because of the positive experiences they have. On the next slide we’ll go over some of those positive benefits.
The average user of a social networking site has more close ties and is half as likely to be socially isolated as the average American.Facebook users have more social support, and they are much more politically engaged compared with Americans of a similar age and education. Young adults who spend more time on Facebook than their peers are also better at showing "virtual empathy" to their online friends and such online empathy predicts real-world empathy. In addition, in a study of 63 Cornell University undergraduates, researchers found that people reported higher self-esteem after spending time on their Facebook profile than after time spent looking into a mirror (Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 2011). "Unlike a mirror, which reminds us of who we really are and may have a negative effect on self-esteem if that image does not match with our ideal, Facebook can show a positive version of ourselves," says Cornell communications professor Jeffrey Hancock, PhD, one of the study's co-authors. "We're not saying that it's a deceptive version of self, but it's a positive one.” From my perspective these positive benefits are astounding. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, this list goes on and on and you can see more of these benefits in the resource. However, I’m not trying to underplay some of the negative things that can and do happen on social media sites, in particular for young people.
Question: How do you currently reach out to youth? Website, email, snail mail… How many of you currently use social media? Which platforms?
Do you currently have a strategy in place for your use of social media?
Do you have a Page or a Profile?
An important aspect of your strategy that most organizations overlook is the development of user guidelines and internal social media policies. User guidelines are outward facing guidelines. By that I mean, they’re guidelines for your target audience encouraging them to use social media in a certain way. For an advocacy organization like mine this isn’t as important, but if you’re a direct service organization it becomes increasingly important. User guidelines help people to frame their experience engaging with your organization on social media, they help to develop expectations about what your audience will be getting from your organization on social media, and they help to ensure that everyone remains respectful and kind. This is also important from a legal perspective because you’re able to build in a disclaimer and be very clear about your intentions in utilizing social media. The other important thing to establish is an organizational social media policy. This is an inward facing policy designed to support employees in using social media to support the vision and mission of the organization. Of course you’re going to have your point person who’s managing your social media presence, but it’s also important to encourage and empower all staff – those that are interested at least – to use social media to develop professional relationships, provide better customer service, and raise awareness about the important work your organization is doing. However, in order to empower your employees you need to be crystal clear about your expectations are and support them in using social media appropriately and successfully. This can be accomplished through staff trainings, and the development of a clear policy that encourages certain types of behaviors and interactions on social media sites. Once again, this is also important from a legal perspective so that you can take action if a crisis occurs, or if an employee is struggling to use social media appropriately. To develop a policy check out… as well as Mashable’s article: 10 must haves for your social media policy
Be Connected to Stay Connected
BE CONNECTEDTO STAYCONNECTEDBrittany Smith, Director of CommunityManagement
What is Social Media? Any online platform or channel for publishing and disseminating user-generated content.1 Social media allows us to engage with and empower our communities. Connection Access to information1. http://heidicohen.com/social-media-definition/
It’s About Relationships Connections with family and friends is the primary reason. 2/3 say staying in touch is a major reason they use these sites.1 Most online adults describe their experiences using social media in positive terms.21. http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Why-Americans-Use-Social-Media2. http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Social-Networking-Sites
Positive Benefits The average user has Young adults who more close ties and is spend more time on ½ as likely to be Facebook are better at socially isolated.1 showing “virtual 65% of teens have empathy.”2 had an experience that Youth who use made them feel good blogs, websites and about themselves. email to discuss politics 58% have felt closer to and current events another person.3 become more socially engaged over time.41. http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Technology-and-social-networks2. http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/10/facebook3. http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Teens-and-social-media/Summary/Majority-of-teens4. http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/02/friends.aspx
Panic “Moral panic is a common reaction to new forms of communication.”11. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2009.01474.x/full
Barriers Liability Lack of knowledge and skills State social media policies and regulations Lack of time and staff support
Where Do You Start? Develop a strategy that thinks about the big picture. Think P.O.S.T. Social media is not about technology, it’s about relationships. People first!
Facebook There are 901 million 93% of teen social active users on media users (12-17 Facebook.1 years old) have a Facebook reaches Facebook account.4 almost 57% of the U.S. population.2 95% of all teens are online and 80% of those teens are users of social media sites.31. http://newsroom.fb.com/content/default.aspx?NewsAreaId=222. http://socialmediatoday.com/paulkiser/199133/social-media-3q-update-who-uses-facebook-twitter-linkedin- myspace3. http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Teens-and-social-media/Summary/Findings.aspx4. http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Teens-and-social-media/Part-1/Facebook.aspx
Guidelines & Policies Develop user guidelines and policies for your organization. Develop a crisis plan to respond to negative or harmful posts. Provide training for all staff on effective ways to use social media. http://socialmediagovernance.com/poli cies
Tools HootSuite, Tweetdeck, Buffer Educate yourself! Bring in youth to help Make a business case Pew Internet and American Life Project