More than Likes and Followers: Leveraging Social Media for HIV Prevention and Community Engagement

By November 30, 2013 Learning

“More than Likes and Followers” is a communication skill-building workshop that was run on the 22nd of November and was facilitated by Tony Tang (Digital Campaign and Engagement Planner, ACON) and Matthew Vaughan (Advocacy and Communications Officer, APCOM) in ICAAP11. The aim of the session was to train the HIV service campaigners tp gain more engagement with their target audience within an online sphere. The participants came from various countries including Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, the USA, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.

In the first segment of the workshop, the participants were asked why a social media strategy was important. The answers provided by Tony were that social media defines what the organisation aims to accomplish, keeps the organisation on track and focused, assists in selecting the right tools and allows more than one person to be involved in the process.

A social media development framework consists of goals, audiences, insights, platforms, content and processes. Goals are defined as the direction in which an NGO, CBO or organisation works towards. In this, it is important to answer the question “what do you want to achieve on this platform or network”?

A platform’s gold could be to raise awareness, start dialogues, increase website traffic, encourage subscriptions, raise funds for programmes, promote events or provide support and advice. Audiences are defined as those who the organisation is talking to (e.g. demographics, current online behaviour, their likes and trends). Some audiences can be more challenging to reach, e.g. members of the transgender community and sex workers.

Group exercise within the workshop

Insights are defined as research processes for gathering information by assessing current online environments, e.g. SWOT analysis. Platforms may be chosen by an organisation, NGO or CBO to reach their audience and achieve their goal. When choosing a platform, use the one that will allow the widest coverage with limited time and resources and the one that is most effectively managed. Platforms may be chosen based on the most popular and fastest growing channels, platforms that best cater best for content, and offer the most adequate environment to reach audiences.

Content is “King”, and good quality content is the key to the success of social media. It has to be relevant to the audience, encourage dialogue, be short and impactful, have contextual currency, presents in a mix of formats and is shareable and has viral potential. Processes are defined as activities and tasks, roles and responsibilities and processes and procedures. They include listening and finding interesting content (searching for content that is interesting to your audience), content development and generation (planning ahead and developing an editorial calendar), content management and publishing (When to post i.e. scheduling), and monitoring and evaluation (tracking interactions and monitoring evaluations of content and ensuring that people are engaged). Likes+comments+shares are not good engagement indicators. Daily engagement rates can be calculated by likes+comments+shares divided by total number of fans on a given day and then multiplied by 100.

Content is “King”, and good quality content is the key to the success of social media. It has to be relevant to the audience, encourage dialogue, be short and impactful, have contextual currency, presents in a mix of formats and is shareable and has viral potential.

The key Principles for Social Media in 2013 are defined by the axiom “defining who we are and listening to your audience, encouraging dialogue and being human (personalised conversation). These principles should be used for content development and interaction with audience”.

Key issues raised included the use of online applications for phones. Would they be considered social media? The answer is yes. Traffic can be measured based on percentages and indexes. Data monitoring and analysis enables content to be tailored for both male and female audiences. The “competition” (work of other NGOs, CBOs and organisations) should also be monitored for insights and for developing a strategy framework to avoid replication. Both quantitative and qualitative analysis can be done for social media. Safe spaces can also be created within by using closed environments. Social media groups are also good as they allow mass invitations to events. This, however, must be based on the goals of the organisation.