The hope (that we want to turn to reality) is that more followers on social media leads to more on-the-ground volunteers. The key is consistency and relationships!
- Post content regularly,
- Cultivate your network by cross-referencing your pages.
- Respond to those who "like" and engage, and
- Be ready for discussions, even if they feel hard.
Yesterday evening, ATC hosted an online workshop for clubs on best practices for using social media, and those above were the top takeaways. Presenters included:
Natrieifia Miller, Broader Relevancy & Engaged Partners Intern
Juliet Stephenson, Tidewater Appalachian Trail Club President
Jeremiah Roy, 2016 ATC Conservation Leadership Corps Member
Adrian Rodas, 2016 ATC Conservation Leadership Corps Member
and Jordan Bowman, ATC Public Relations & Social Media Specialist.
You can check out their recommendations for making the best of your club's online presence, such as making every Facebook "like" a mile on the A.T., then updating followers every so often on how far they have come! There are also tips on encouraging Instagram followers to use your club's hashtag in order to enter their photos in club photo contests! (If you just said, "Wait! What's a hasthtag?," we've answered that in the webinar, too.)
If you don't have an hour to spare now to watch it now, check out a few more highlights below.
Get a better look at the Social Media Presentation Slides and help us out by completing our webinar evaluation form so we can work to continually improve.
Tell your Story with Pictures
Make it easy: Canva is one tool for creating banners and info graphics with your pictures! Even with the free version you can use their templates to create collages of before and after pictures, highlight volunteers, or capture the spirit of the day. After all, pictures are worth a thousand words.
Check yourself: Make sure photos and videos show volunteers in Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) -- hardhats, gloves, and safety glasses. Not only can ATC share it with our networks, other A.T. Clubs may share it, too!
Supplement: Some platforms, like Twitter, even have text limits! Using pictures rounds out your interesting, snappy posts that will keep people coming back for more. (Practice makes perfect on this 140-character limit platform!)
Instagram: This is the perfect platform for sharing photos and videos! If you're already posting to other sites, why not add Instagram to the mix? Post a picture and encourage followers to “Caption This!" It helps foster a deeper, personal connection with the club.
Content is King
Mix it Up: Diversify the type of content you post. Here are a few suggestions in addition to pictures of your awesome club at work and at play: article links, motivational quotes, funny images/videos, related research, recipes for invasive plants, hiking tips, gear lists, hiker rescues, weather, trail closures/real time trail conditions, plant ID games, or upcoming events. (Share more ideas with us in the comments section...)
Short But Sweet: Need we say more?
Know the Algorithm
Facebook: Facebook boosts pages that it perceives as more active. So remind members at meetings to not only "like" the post but to but to share it with their friends. Be consistent not just with your posts, but with your responses. It puts you higher on the algorithm equation so that you'll be seen more often by new people. Juliet offered a number of other ideas in the webinar, from utilizing the event tool to a recommended number of posts per day (3-4).
Make it genuine: These platforms are the place where connections are made. Invitations are extended. They are where familiar members convene, and they offer a a place where people who have moved away can always return.
Engagement Arch: When organizations want to help followers make the jump from “liking” to “volunteering” they start by engaging with followers through what is posted. Some of that is informational, some is funny. Some of it takes the forms of questions or games, while other posts demonstrate who they are - as a group. The aim with the latter is to make sure they show the fun alongside showing work accomplished.Organizations want followers to desire be apart of the group and to invite them to join the next activity, so don't forget to ask them to come along.
Conversations: As in the face-to-face realm, it's not always sunshine and roses. Sometimes, comments to what's posted turns negative. Avoid deleting comments and arguing with others. Responding is great, but be sure to be cordial and factual. Remember that all negative comments aren’t bad! Use them to address public concerns and perhaps change public opinion about your organization through the way you handle those concerns.
The Next Big Thing
Snapchat: Relatively new on the social media scene, Snapchat provides an authentic insight into an organization or an experience since picture/video editing is limited. "Snaps"/photos and "Stories"/videos are only available for one view or up to 24 hours, so this platform gives followers a special insider's glance into activities. While it's not terribly user-friendly now, it is gaining popularity among more users. If more users leads to improved function, we may see more A.T. clubs snapping their happenings.
Blogger: Natrieifia Miller
Title: Broader Relevancy and Engaged Partners Intern
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Based out of Asheville, NC
Affiliation: Biology Student, University of North Carolina Asheville, in Asheville NC