It is always interesting to me to watch the ebb and flow of major events on social media. It is natural to see themes on our Facebook feeds as the news of the days becomes relevant in our daily lives. We’ve all seen news stories take over our feeds. It can be done well and it can be done in poor taste. The organizations who do it best make sure their shared or original content is relevant to the larger topic and is consistent with their overall mission.
Tracking news events in Facebook feeds
When there is a winter weather event (yeah I'm talking about you Stella), many see their Facebook feed become one long snow storm update. Family members post picture after picture of snow-covered cars or kids playing on a snow day. If you have a business or work at a nonprofit or public agency how can you still stay involved without seeming like you are jumping on the snow storm bandwagon or news jacking the event? It really has to do with your organization's connection and mission.
For some public sector agencies, this is a time to get in the game and consistently post updates for the safety and health of the public. Since the March blizzard was a state-wide event, it is natural for Vermont’s government agencies to take part. State agencies should use social media to inform and help prepare the public by sharing content consistent with their agencies' mission.
Public Sector agencies on Facebook
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture shared articles helping farmers prepare for the big storm.
Vermont Department of Health kept everyone informed by sharing both pre-storm preparedness tips and post-storm health recommendations to protect yourself while shoveling.
While this was a blizzard that effectively shut down many communities and local businesses, it was a boon to the ski resorts and state tourism for the coming weekend.
Businesses on Facebook
Many local businesses used Facebook to get the word out about closing for the day. There were a few that offered posts that added a little extra that could resonate with their customers.
Nonprofits on Facebook
I like how Rock Point School in Burlington, Vermont chose to break out of the constant visual feed of snow and weather posting and use the opportunity to share an article about a recent trip their students took to the Bahamas.
With many schools and businesses closed for the day, Champlain Valley Head Start knew parents would be home with their children so they shared snow day activities to keep the young ones busy at home.
Local news media using social
Media's role is to keep everyone informed by posting weather and news updates on a very regular basis when a large news event occurs. The Burlington Free Press even brought down their pay wall for a period of time.
How can mission-driven businesses, state agencies and nonprofits make sure their timely event-focused posts are in line with their mission and messaging?
- Make sure the event or news content is relevant to your organization in some way.
- Share information that is helpful to your community.
- Do not try to actively “news jack” a story unless you have something to say and your social media content can reflect that.