Laying the Foundation for a Robust Social Media Presence

Hillary  Farrow, YI Advisors

During the second quarter of implementing the NLM grant to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS prevention among youth in the District of Columbia, YI Advisors created a new social media strategy plan to assist The Grassroot Project (TGP) with improving their digital footprint. As we discussed in our first blog, TGP uses college student-athletes to deliver key prevention messages to middle school youth in the DC area. TGP’s unique education model makes digital methods, particularly social media platforms, and the perfect mechanism to amplify these prevention messages. By increasing TGP’s social media presence, educational efforts can be dramatically increased with both the youth target audience, and the college athletes and their peers. Why is social media so important?

  • More than 1 billion users are on Facebook daily, including 82% of adults 18-29 years old. Facebook is a social media staple for businesses, organizations, and nonprofits alike. One of the main reasons is that the platform continues to evolve and allows marketers to accomplish different goals from driving online sales, increasing brand awareness, promoting an app, finding leads and providing social customer service.
  • Twitter is a great channel to share news and great channel to increase brand awareness and establish yourself as a thought leader. If offers a peek into the minds of industry leaders, allowing you to see what they are reading, sharing, and thinking about any topic, at any given time.
  • YouTube is the web’s go-to site for video, and almost one-third of all people on the internet are YouTube users with 4 billion daily views and an average viewing session on mobile at 40 minutes. It is also heavily used as a resource for how-to content.

Knowing how important a robust social media presence is, YI Advisors devised a strategy plan to boost TGP’s digital outreach. This strategy plan included many steps that could be replicated by another organization looking to ramp up their social media work. First, we ran an audit of TGP’s current social media platforms. We gathered information on what activities TGP ran, the platforms they used, their intended audience and actual audience, and finally a measure of their reach and current success rates. Based on this audit, we devised a list of recommendations to improve TGP’s overall reach and successful interactions. Below lists the key implementation steps to ramp up TGP’s programs that we came up with:

  • Establish the rules: Make sure it is clear within your organization who is making content, who is approving content, and what the process is to run smoothly and timely on your social media channels. Some organizations will have multiple people running their accounts, and therefore it’s important to establish guidelines on tone, content, and style so that you do not appear disjointed. You may even give your social media channels a name and personality so that staff can easily decide if the content they want to push-out fits with your overall brand.
  • Create the Content: It’s important to consider the intended audience to find the right content. If you’re looking to engage other business professionals, news articles or findings from a new study may work best to engage your audience. However, when working with a younger audience or an audience that lacks an in-depth policy background of the issue, shorter posts with more direct messages, photos, or videos are more likely to draw their attention. Be sure to be informative to get across the information you intend to deliver, but do not be overly wonky, or make asks too big for your target audience.
  • Create a Calendar: Once you’ve got the plan and the right message, you need a strategy to push it out. Creating a calendar of timed posts around external events like an HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, or Black History Month can be great ways to push out content in a timely way. Additionally, it’s important to make digital partners, just as you would partner with others for an on the ground event. Engaging coalition partners for digital events like weekly Twitter chats can be an effective way to grow your audience, build partnerships, and spread critical information.
  • Evaluate the Results: Finally, you must constantly evaluate what’s working and what’s not working. It can be easy to get in the habit of pushing out content without really analyzing if you’re reaching your audience, or if the content is working to reach your goals. There are different ways to create metrics of social media campaigns, depending on what your goals are and the resources at your disposal. For beginners, try keeping track of growth in followers each week, and track the number of engagements (likes, shares, comments) on each post. After a few weeks, see which content performed better; did humor work best? Maybe infographics? Tailor future content to mirror that.

YI Advisors will begin implementing our new social media strategy plan for TGP in February. We look forward to sharing the results! In the meantime, follow TGP on Facebook, Twitter, and  Instagram to see what we’ve come up with.



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