There are a variety of social media tools-each with specific uses and each with different groups of clientele users. Social media to many Extension faculty seems overwhelming, time-consuming, and confusing as to how it can fit in the workplace.
At the same time, social media is critical to Extension’s success for the future in remaining relevant to a growing clientele base receiving information from the Web and with access to the Web 24/7 via smartphones and tablets.
The key to social media is that it is not a program. It is a tool to enhance current programming.
Look at what you’re already doing and find a social media tool that can help with your specific programming efforts. Repurpose! For example, if you write a newspaper column, look at sharing that same information via a blog in which you can add pictures and share your information with an online audience who may not read newspapers. If you wrote a news release, created a PowerPoint or put together a paper how can you best share that information via social media to reach another audience?
It all comes down to having goals—just like we do for all programs—you need goals for how you will use social media. Are your goals to send people to your website? Are you trying to achieve a grant outcome? Are you trying to reach a specific audience with information that you haven’t been able to reach with traditional means? Are you looking for a way to engage youth or millennials differently? My goals are to drive people to our websites and engage clientele with our research-based information.
When setting up your social networks, make sure you include the following:
- Add a photo of yourself and the University logo
- Provide links back to University websites
- Provide additional information about you or your organization
How will you incorporate social media tools into your current programming goals? What current tools can you repurpose using social media?