You already know that social media has become a powerful tool for influencing a community or advocating a message. Brands are now learning how to maximize their social media efforts by recruiting and targeting social media influencers. In a think tank somewhere right now brand decision makers and marketers are pinpointing a list of artists, musicians, bloggers, and heavily followed personalities on the web. The purpose of targeting them is based on the reality that their tweets, updates, and posts carry heavy weight. As social media linchpins, brands know that if those personalities move individually or collectively towards their message, cause, or product a sea of followers will take notice.
What does this mean for youth work?
Without sounding greasy or too slick the same energy can and should be used when it comes to advocating your youth work efforts. Years ago youth leaders joked about their efforts by lamenting the fact that as an event drew near, their students would make their decision to attend based on “the phone call.” Either the night before or the week of, students may have been talking to each other finding out who was going to camp or the activity. Some students would or would not participate based on who was going or not going in their research. Like it or not, youth leaders realized that targeting the kids who seemed to create attendance energy began to be a part of the strategy.
Develop a Social Media Energy Plan
Most of you canvas a series, event, or camp effort by creating online media in your promotion. You may offer a short clip, leading graphic, hashtag, or facebook event for the work. You rally the leaders around that push by asking them to post, link, use, and tweet. This is a good practice and as such there is room for more thought.
1. Use linchpins in your content push. Instead of a talking head video where you are the messenger, use students.
2. Get kids to create the event graphics, hashtags, or planned components.
3. Create a press packet of suggested tweets, and status updates that convey the most critical information and message your leaders and student leaders with this packet and clear instructions.
4. Strategize the promotion layers by thinking through the increased media at 6 months out, 3 months out, three weeks out, and week of.
5. Release content gradually at first increasing in intensity as the moment approaches.
6. Grease sign-ups and point of entry recruitment by making the where, when, how, and why easily accessible.
7. Make it fun by incentivizing early adoption. Event perks and swag at early registration.
8. Establish a cut off time or number that conveys a spirit of action at risk of being left out.
9. Find out who uses social media among your students and what they use.
10. Integrate a cause with the event that is accomplished through participation. Example: The event itself has a cause or a portion of the camp registration funds a World Vision child sponsorship. This is just good doing good more than anything else.
Mashable: How to Target Social Media Influencers