Social Media can be a powerful communication tool to open lines of communication, engage a large number of people quickly, and reach a broader and (likely) younger audience.
Examples. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Blogger, LinkedIn, Google Baraza Agriculture, Ushahidi (a crowd source platform for maps).
Example Uses in Agriculture
Facebook and Twitter are two well known social media sites
Crowdsourcing refers to the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people. It often uses an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.
- Audience Defining your target audience is key to successful implementation of social media. If your target audience is resistant to technology, lacks technology access or is of an older age group – social media may not be the right tool.
- Concrete Goals Identify clear reason(s) to use social media. If you simply want to communicate with a small group of people privately, social media may not be the right tool. It can be very useful if you want an open line of communication with clients, an announcement platform, a space for open dialogue, or a way to share multimedia.
- Commitment Social media requires regular and frequent attention. You will have to look at it at least every other day, and “post” something new or update once a week.
- Interactive Include user interactivity with your social media so that users “buy-in” and support your social media efforts.
- Concise Avoid information overload and keep your updates short and simple.
- Respond If people are contacting you through social media, be sure you respond in a timely manner so that they trust the service you provide.
- Filter Keep bad information and posts off your social media site. Do not let bad-intentioned users destroy your efforts. Community discussion is great until it becomes fraught with bad intent.
- Promote People only use social media if they know about it.
- Don't lose track of your goals and how to achieve them. Taking on too much social media and interactivity may dilute your efforts.
- Don't alienate users with information overload through excessive updates and announcements.
- Don't forget about your social media, or users will forget about you.
- Don't lose control of content. If users with bad intentions hamper your efforts, block their access or report them to the social media’s control bodies.
- Don't get too detailed or academic. Social media thrives on small snippets of information. Lengthy and multifaceted Facebook posts will lose users’ interest.
Social Media Handbook for Agricultural Development Practitioners (USAID/FHI 360 FACET Project) Link