Social Media for MLK Day
Social media has become an important part of any outreach or communications plan. It can help accomplish larger, organizational goals to: reach new audiences, find and raise resources, and spread the word out about projects or events. Here are some tips:
There are more than 800 million unique users on Facebook, so it's a great way to share information about your project or event with a large audience. If your organization has a Facebook page, you can use it to share information about:
- The date, time, type, goals, and expected outcome of the project.
- Volunteer requirements, any special skills necessary, and the number of volunteers needed.
- Project sponsors who provide financial or in-kind support to the project.
If your organization doesn't have a Facebook page, consider creating one and asking your network to "like" the page. To create a page, go to any page on www.Facebook.com and click the "Create a Page" button in the top, right corner.
You may also promote your project through the national MLK Day Facebook page located at www.Facebook.com/MLKDay and on http://www.facebook.com/serve
- Add contact information and engaging pictures; this might be the first place a potential volunteer finds your organization online.
- Create a MLK Day of Service event through your page and ask your supporters to invite their friends.
- Stay actively engaged in your page once you've created it (post daily, answer questions on your wall) to show that the MLK Day of Service planning is going strong.
- Promote your Facebook page by placing a link or button on your website, asking your newsletter subscribers to "like" your page, and including your Facebook URL on printed materials.
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Twitter is a micro-blogging platform used to share information and engage people in dialogue, typically about a specific issue. Twitter is searchable by non-users and is a great place to find volunteers, donations, project planning help, and media coverage for your service project.
If your organization has a Twitter account, you should be using it to share information about your MLK Day projects or events.
- Begin tweeting weeks before your event to gain followers and continue to tweet during and after your event.
- Use your account to share information and pictures of what is happening throughout the day.
- Be available and prepared to answer questions and provide resources in this format.
- Make your posts 120 characters or less so @MLKDay and other Twitter accounts can retweet your posts and don't forget to use the #MLKDay hashtag.
- Vary your posts to include related topics, issues, and events that might capture the attention of new followers.
Blogging is a way to share longer messages and additional photos or other multimedia. If you do not have the capacity to start your own blog, try inviting popular bloggers who already write about your issue or locale to cover your MLK Day project. To locate bloggers, visit www.technorati.com.
If you have a great project or story to share, contact MLKday@cns.gov to discuss writing a guest blog post for the National Service blog on Serve.gov, which is also featured on MLKDay.gov.
If you are interested in starting your own blog, check out these easy-to-use blog platforms: WordPress.com, Blogger.com, Tumblr.com, and Typepad.com.
- Post regularly - try weekly - during your planning to share the progress.
- Consider profiling a volunteer or community partner in your blog to show appreciation.
- Include keywords like "MLK Day", "service" and "volunteering" in titles or text to improve search engine results.
- Include high-quality photos in each post.
Regardless of which social networks you use to tell your MLK Day story, you'll want to collect great pictures to help document the event.
- If you know a professional photographer or someone with a professional camera, ask him/her for in-kind services to document your MLK Day events.
- If you don't have a professional photographer, designate a few people as photographers for the day and ask them to take lots of photos as part of their volunteer service.
- Try different angles—get up high above the room, or shoot below the action.
- Get close to your subjects and don't be afraid to shoot details such as spreading mustard on a sandwich or hanging up a coat. Single out one person to feature in your photograph.
- Consider the lighting—outdoor pictures are great so try to catch volunteers as they unload vehicles or complete outdoor tasks. If you are indoors with a lot of windows, turn the flash off and let the natural light illuminate your subject.
- Find additional tips on telling your service story through photos here.
Interested in learning more about how to use social media in your MLK Day plans? Join us for the Creating a Communications Plan webinar on December 14 at 3 p.m. EST.
Don't forget to follow MLK Day on Facebook and Twitter or connect to other service and volunteer related organizations on twitter such as @servedotgov.
Here are some upcoming webinars that will help you plan and execute a successful MLK Day event.