Remember the days when a phone was actually used for phone calls? Well, those days are way behind us now thanks to social media. Most young people communicate through Snapchat, Instagram, and other platforms instead of traditional communication like calls or emails. This can be a challenge for adults who are trying to reach youth, but it is not impossible.
Social media is a term that freaks out some people because of the ambiguity around it. It is an ever changing communication platform that has transformed the way we connect with each other and share information, and it isn’t a trend that’s going to disappear. This is good because it empowers anyone to be able to create amazing content that impacts an audience without needing to spend major bucks like traditional media campaigns. Yes, even you can create an amazing social media campaign that can clearly and skillfully deliver your message.
Is this post the secret sauce on how to design amazing campaigns on each platform? No. Each platform is unique in its delivery and engagement – but, there are some general strategies to keep in mind when working on any social media based campaign.
Yes, we’ve all seen the funny memes of Kermit being a wise ass while drinking his tea – but using the same old joke to make your message heard isn’t the best approach. You need to find ways to creatively engage your audience so that your message is spread in a way that people pay attention to because it stands out in a way that is new. Does this mean everything needs to be a new idea? No. Be sure to find your balance between new original content and tried and true methods as well.
A positive message is a more attractive message. Avoid any kind of messaging that can be perceived as negative in nature and be sure to elevate the caliber of the conversation. If people begin to bash each other on a post you’ve shared, be the bigger person and explain to the others that debate is good, but name calling isn’t going to advance the conversation. In today’s political climate, debate can quickly escalated to petty fights – be sure to maintain a level of positivity so the free exchange of ideas can take place in a safe environment.
Social media is not a one way street. You can’t expect to gain a following if all you do is make a post sharing your opinion, but not engaging in civil conversations with those on all sides of the issue who wish to discuss it. You need to see what influencers on your topic are posting and join their conversations. You need to also see what your peers are saying and stay engaged with them too. A great way to engage in more conversation with your message is to utilize hashtags as much as possible, both in your original posts and through searching for them so you can join in on existing conversations.
Relevancy is key in capturing the attention of your audience. This means following specific trends, but not utilizing them excessively. This also means being timely with real world events that are being discussed on social media in real-time – events like the Super Bowl, Grammys, etc. – and crafting your message to fit those events. If you aren’t perceived to be current, then you will gain no traction.
The most important thing to keep in mind when utilizing social media to promote your cause is to remain authentic. People can see right through others they feel aren’t genuine. If you aren’t authentic, you lose any credibility because you are viewed as someone who is doing something just to be part of the crowd, not because it is a passion that you align with. This also means that adults working on youth-led campaigns should probably hand over the social media platforms to the youth leaders instead. No one likes someone trying to be someone they aren’t, so just don’t do it.
Social media can be tricky, but it isn’t anything to be afraid of. If you are looking for more help on your social media strategy for youth engagement and campaigns, feel free to contact me to see how I can help.