Social Media identifies those applications (currently, still mainly web-based) which allow users to create their own content, share it, mash it with existing content, and access peers’ content. Traditional media base their reach on distribution channels, social media on the network which relays them; the network may be based on the permanent personal contacts of the content producer, or be dynamically created based on mutual interest of the users.
Social media participants are both producers and consumers of the media, we can call them prosumers.
We have been spreading the message of the AmAre Way on social media, and we would like to share with you and your readers an approach which we found effective and efficient. We believe change starts from within, so we use social media for social change:
1) Being aware of our goals and the media: everything, on or offline, starts with defining goals and analyzing possibilities. There are medium and long term goals which can be accomplished social media. Medium term: share a message and vision, both with like-minded people and users who may be interested if explained the vision in an appealing way.
The short-term goals are often related to a specific action: do we want peers to share our story with friends? To register for a newsletter? To make a donation? Etc. If one doesn’t have already an experience in using social media for personal purposes, then it is advisable to spend some time seeing what like-minded people are doing.
2) Putting everything in prospective: to ensure we are not overwhelmed by enthusiasm, we can take a break and then come back, because it is already time for action.
3) Being active: this is the most interesting part, where the real interaction on social media happens. On a practical level, is advisable to properly build one social media channel, and then move to the next. In our experience, a good way to go is:
a) Start twittering: build your profile, making clear what your non-profit goals are, linking to your website/blog, etc. Search for people supporting your cause, just remember that once you add 2,000 people, then you need to also have a good number of users following you, otherwise Twitter will no longer allow you to follow new people.
Many people reciprocate your add, but if you see that the Twits of some of the people you added are not really relevant, you may decide to unfollow them. Users on Twitters may follow thousands of people, so do not expect much for the first weeks in terms of interaction, and if the main stories highlighted on Twitter home-page are relevant to you, try to write about them
b) Go on Facebook: first, with a personal profile centered around your mission, adding as friends people who share your vision. Once you reach around 4,000 friends, create a Fan Page and invite current contacts to add you there as well, and refer all new contacts there. You still have a wide margin you can use to add friends to your personal profile, if you so desire. Post regularly on your profile and fan-page, at least once per day.
c) Digg: your way out of anonymity. Seed your blog into social bookmarks tools, add a bookmarking bar to your site and blog posts, so readers can bookmark you in one click.
d) Slides and videos: create short presentations and videos. Our approach is 8 8 8: 8 slides for 8.8 seconds each. To the point and effective!
4) Being respectful: by knowing our audience, and respect their time. Stick to necessary words, post only content which is in line with your mission and their vision.
5) Feed your knowledge: read, read, and interact! Monitor developments in social media, especially in relation to your mission. What are similar organization doing? No need to reinvent the wheel here, but remember the wheel can be improved or substituted by wings, so time to make your organization fly!
And the method we explained above, it is our mission: being Aware, putting things in prospective (Meditate), being Active, being Respectful, ensure your brain is Eating properly.