How does this sound?
The course will be a series of MEETs (Google’s version of Zoom) meetings, once a week over seven weeks. The purpose will be to understand where people are currently with social media and general ‘digital literacy’, to learn about creating content and putting it online, and then looking for a way forward to do this collectively.
Going online and using social media is no different to old school PR and advertising: you have to have something to say, and either do it often, or do it with creative flair. Most mortals go for ‘doing it often’.
From a person, this is easy: any of us during the day, hear, do or share something that is related to our practices and beliefs. Indeed, simply having ‘us’ regularly posting ‘stuff’ that can be curated by a website or blog – social media feeds is a significant part of creating and maintaining ‘presence’.
Presence is the key, and with digital that means posting regularly. Each of the following have their worth: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, as well as YouTube and Podcasts. (and more).
Content for these social media platforms does not have to come from a website or blog – but it helps to have such a hub. The website/blog becomes the common place from which others can pick content and repurpose it for each of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. It is can be where new followers start or are re-directed.
A YouTube Channel or Podcast serves the same purpose and can run independently and/or be embedded on the website.
All this content, images, text, video and audio can be ‘reimagined’ for different uses, so the same ‘story’ can have life on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn in different ways.
Success requires time and effort. As the Digital Editor and Social Media Manager I oversee online content and social media for an educational charity whose focus is British history and the First World War: working with volunteers we try to keep volunteer contributions to 2 hours or less a week. Often people want to do much more – a retired volunteer may ‘work’ for 12 hours a week or more, but those in regular employment or with other commitments (they have a young family or have a caring role) need to be able to fit things in around other priorities.
It isn’t simply about creating original content: often I am repurposing articles, reviews, podcasts or videos done by others. What is more you have to be ‘eyes and ears’ 24/7 – responding to comments and messages. dipping in to share and like, follow and sometimes unfollow those who are providing the right kind of focus for that audience.
Social media has a voracious appetite. But it can be a lot of little things: relating to the issues that matter to us in a local context it can be as simple as something you grew from seed, a plant spotted on a walk, a new litter bin, a policy success you have heard of indeed anything from regional, national or international news that has a local baring, a book, magazine article, TV programme or film.
Your future readers and followers are at your shoulder during the day asking ‘a penny for your thoughts’ So take a photo – an image is like gold dust. Get used to taking screenshots. If you can doodle a chart or sketch something take a picture of it and put it up. Let the audience decide.
What I’m proposing would be to do a series of short Zoom meetings where each week, we discuss a different platform or medium:
Week 1. Introduction
Week 2. Website / Blog (WordPress)
Week 3. YouTube / Podcasts + Screencastify
Week 4. Facebook
Week 5. Twitter / Instagram
Week 6. LinkedIn
Week 7. Finale
Then in week 7 we end on a finale, with an attempt to pull them all together and allocate each platform to someone, to spend around 2 hours a week creating, sharing and reposting interesting content.