Using Social Media to Engage

In the information age, we are all learning to behave differently in how we source and assess information. Extension professionals can use these changes as an opportunity to better engage their target markets.

Effectively using “Clickbait” in social media channels is one way to engage. Clickbait is internet or social media content, whose main purpose is to attract and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page.

Picture: Steve Lovelace

The value proposition for the target of the extension message, is to click through to timely, credible, peer reviewed information that suits their circumstances and meets their needs.

Identifying and providing such information is known as curation. To curate is to select items from among a large number of possibilities that suit others to consume and enjoy.

For example, if you Google “Extension methods” you will get 2,890,000 hits in 0.53 seconds. If an expert considers Extension Methods as a subject area, reviews the information available and then points you towards information that is relevant to you, that is curation.

Clickbait can be used as part of a targeted campaign. For instance a Tweet can point towards a web post which advertises in more detail an extension opportunity (Webinar, field day, workshop, farm walk, etc). An example is shown below, the tweet about a webinar aims to attract people to click on the link for more details. The link takes them to a website or Facebook post that has the details. In that post they click on another link to a digital form to register for the Webinar.

Online Curation Tools

Two online curation tools ExtensionAUS have been using are Paper.li and Storify. These have been used to find appropriate content and develop stories for web posts and electronic newsletters.

Paper.li gathers content from the Web, which can be edited and curated and displayed as an online newsletter or newspaper. Click on the image below to see a working example from the GRDC Crop Nutrition ExtensionAUS Community.

Storify is a great tool for gathering what people are posting on social media. You can search by key words, hashtags and usernames. Content from your searches can be dragged and dropped into your Storify account for editing and arranging.

Home of Detailed Information

Websites are critical for being the source of and link for detailed information; but it is important they are maintained. YouTube clips are excellent at getting across detailed information in a short period of time. A two to three minute clip can have an expert provide detailed information on a subject area.

Knowing how information is discovered is important (Analytics). Typically users will find your information in one of four ways:

  1. Typing in URL (Which has been promoted to them – so promotion is important)
  2. Organic search (Searching the internet – so search engine optimisation is important)
  3. Social network (Clickbait – having catchy headlines and engaging pieces of information to attract click throughs is important)
  4. Referral (Network – it is important that your site is linked to and referred to by other sites)

So extension professionals, get started and use these approaches to enhance your extension programs.

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