Most of us in this profession now use social media to some extent, but are we using it to its greatest effect? In the IAP2 December Webinar, independent consultant Karen Zyphcyn (IAP2 Wild Rose) and Robyn Austin, communications lead with Kittelson Associates in Boise, Idaho and a member of the IAP2 USA Communications Committee, led the discussion. It included a look at the various tools available, as well as the limitations of so-med.
Karen pointed out that nearly 60% of Canadian adults and 72% of adults in the USA are on Facebook. But what’s more important is the frequency of usage: Canadians average nine visits in a week and in the US, 70% of Facebook users visit at least once a day. That sort of information can give you an idea how effective so-med can be in reaching people. Only about a quarter of Canadian and American adults use Twitter.
But YouTube and good ol’ email are well worth considering: nearly two-thirds of people in North America stream video now, so using video to convey your message and live-streaming your events (which is becoming easier all the time, thanks to apps such as Periscope) is another way of reaching people who can’t make the trip to be there in person.
Robyn pointed out that a fear of transparency is one reason why many institutions – corporations, government agencies, etc. – are reluctant to invest in a social media strategy. There’s also a tendency to want to cram so-med into an existing communications strategy, rather than include it in the overall plan.
Facebook is a good place to post information, and it’s worth the time to create a separate page or “community” for each project, so people don’t waste time (and get aggravated) searching through information on other projects to find what they’re looking for.
Twitter allows you to interact quickly with people in real time and to “live-Tweet” your events – assigning someone (a “designated Twit”, as one wag put it) to send Tweets about events, comments, insights as they happen.
And good ol’ email is still the most effective way of reaching people with the information you want them to have: creating an email list is a must, no matter what tools you use.
The thing to remember, Robyn Austin says, is that social media is a conversation, and people who take part expect to be part of the discussion and if their comments are ignored, that can have a very negative effect on your entire P2 project. In other words, BE RESPONSIVE.
IAP2 Canada members can view the video of the webinar at www.iap2canada.ca/webinars.