Before this week I viewed myself as someone who knew “just enough” about social media. However, this quickly changed once I started listening to Megan Canon from the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. My “just enough” suddenly seemed inadequate. As she sat discussing her social networking strategies for health, I quickly realized how little I knew. I was just barely scratching the surface of what is possible with the social media tools that I had available to me. How could this be that I knew so little? Isn’t it enough that I have a Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts? –Ah no!
As Megan Canon explained her strategy for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, it was honestly like learning about these media outlets for the first time. What do you mean I could use Instagram to energize events? I was not even sure what that meant! Not to mention that I had no idea I could use Facebook to collect baseline information on my messaging to determine whether it was effective or if people were even paying attention. Understanding this function is an effective means to evaluate and make real-time modifications to my messaging if needed.
Also, when reading the book Social Media for Social Good by Heather Mansfield I became quite interested in the “Eleven Facebook Pages Best Practices for Nonprofits.” This is where I was introduced to the key components of a successful social media campaign and how the organization I currently work for is not using any of these resources. The Human Rights Watch Facebook page provided me with an excellent example of how my organization could possibly use this media outlet.
It also dawned on me that living in a rural community poses many challenges for a social media campaign. I live and work in an area that is not only rural but is also considered frontier. This means that we have less than six individuals living per square mile! Individuals living in these areas often do not have electricity let alone access to the internet. Even my own father has no idea what Google is or how to effectively navigate the internet. How can I build a successful media campaign surrounding health if my target audience can’t even access it? And, how might my social networking strategies for health change because of the area in which I live?
By exploring new media outlets this week I not only got a chance to learn about new media tools like Foursquare, but I also got to learn and go more in-depth with media tools that I thought I knew “enough” about. This week has been a week of discovery! Like many others, I have only been scratching the surface of what these media outlets are capable of. So I ask you all, how well do you know your social media outlets? Taking a quick look at the tutorials at Lynda.com would be my first recommendation for you. There you will find an extensive list of tutorials that will guide you along as you brush up on your social media skills.