September 17, 2018
According to the Pew Research Center’s “Teens, Social Media & Technology Report 2018,” 97 percent of teens and 69 percent of adults use some form of social media. How can your program effectively harness the power of social media?
Before you start planning, do this:
- Check to see what social media policies and procedures your organization or district requires you to follow. There may be guidelines on which platforms are allowed or what process to use for getting platforms or content approved.
- Be clear about your purpose for using social media and how it will help you reach your goals.
Social Media Platforms
Let’s look at the most popular social media platforms and their possible uses.
Facebook is used by 68 percent of adults and 51 percent of teens ages 13 to 17. Teens from low-income families are more likely to use Facebook than those from higher-income families. It can help you connect with stakeholders and share photos, videos and messages, and engage in online discussions. You can create a public page or a private group, depending on your purpose and needs. Facebook Live videos have increased in popularity, and may be useful for broadcasting events or activities live (recordings can be posted to the program page). Take time to read the various account and privacy settings, such as the option to approve comments before they post to your page.
YouTube is used by 85 percent of teens. Posting and discussing videos can be a great way to market your program and to highlight activities and events all year. When uploading videos, consider YouTube’s three privacy options. Public means anyone can view the video, and it will appear in general search results. Private means only those you invite (up to 50 people) can view the video, and all viewers must have a YouTube account. Unlisted means only those with the video link can view it, and there are no account requirements or viewer limits. Think about what privacy level is right for your program.
Snapchat has grown exponentially, with 69 percent of teens using the app. A picture or video snap or message sent to a friend or group will disappear once viewed, while stories, pictures or videos available to all your friends will disappear after 24 hours. Some 21st CCLC programs have used the app for marketing or communicating with teens. It’s important to monitor the account closely.
Instagram allows users to post pictures or videos with captions, and viewers can comment. There is also the option to broadcast live. You can set an account to be private (must approve friends) or public. Currently, 72 percent of teens and 35 percent of adults use Instagram, which makes it a viable option for marketing and communication. Individuals must have an Instagram account to view material on this visually focused platform.
Twitter remains consistently popular with adults and teens. Tweets can consist of photos, videos or text, but text is limited to 280 characters. Hashtags (words preceded by a # sign) can be used to categorize tweets.
Many platforms work well together, so you can cross-post items to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or share links to YouTube videos. Several free online services will automatically cross-post for you.
Don’t forget these three important safety measures:
- Post from the program or organization account — never from your personal account.
- Make sure you have a signed, current media release on file for anyone mentioned by name or pictured in a photo or video.
- Monitor your posts as well as user posts and comments to make sure your messaging is consistent and user posts and responses are appropriate.
“See” you online!