About Social Media
Just as email, the Internet and cell phones have become intricate to our work, social media is here to stay. Advantages of using social media include:
- Get your message out quickly.
- It’s cheap, can be integrated into your “regular” work and can actually save time.
- Reach new/different audiences who may not otherwise hear from your statewide afterschool network.
- Create more mechanisms for two-way communication that enable you to receive feedback and increase engagement of audiences in your work.
- Centralize communications—platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have ways to update your website and your followers simultaneously.
- Develop new partners by connecting with groups or topics of interest.
If you cannot commit to regularly update your blog, Twitter or Facebook page, you are not ready to launch social media. Rather than give up, it may be time to assess how you are using your communications time and resources and see how you can adjust operations to integrate social media into existing efforts.
- Facebook reached 687 million monthly active users in June 2011.
- 81.5 percent of afterschool professionals who use social media find it useful for networking with professional colleagues and promoting their programs or organizations.
- Every 24 hours, 250 million users login to Facebook. Users accessing Facebook through mobile devices increased 200 percent in roughly one year.
- LinkedIn has over 100 million professionals who use the platform worldwide.
Strategies to Utilize Social Media
- Don’t recreate the wheel. Check out the Facebook pages of other statewide afterschool networks and similar organizations. Get a feel for how they are using the sites and copy and adapt what works for you.
- Sign up to follow a couple statewide afterschool networks, key elected officials, funders and stakeholder groups. Check these social media outlets periodically to get a sense of what is being posted, how you might use it and if it fits in your outreach strategy.
- If you are leery of social media, talk to technological or media-savvy friends and staff. Tap the skills of older youth in your programs.