As IIE West Coast Center’s first social media officer, I have the exciting opportunity of using innovative social media tools to introduce our work to a greater audience. Social media is used primarily to expose our training and scholarship opportunities to a wider audience, encourage followers to become involved with our programs, and to provide participants with a platform for continued connection through our extensive networks. IIE West Coast Center is relatively new to social media and we are currently in a stage of experimentation. By utilizing social media tools that allow us to effectively covey our mission, we hope to shape our outreach strategy and move in Beth Kanter’s words “from crawling to walking” and eventually flying.
After considering various options, I decided to work on designing and implementing a social media experiment for the IIE West Coast Center’s Twitter handle. My goal was to expand the reach of our organization and deliver focused content to our audience. To begin with, I have launched a “focus on hashtag” experiment for the duration of one month. This experiment outlines a Twitter schedule, consisting of a designated topic for each day of the week:
- Mondays, using #education, focuses on IIE’s scholarship opportunities, resources for studying abroad, and reports on higher education throughout the world.
- Tuesdays, using #technology, focuses on our technology programs, such as E-Mediat and TechWomen, upcoming conferences, and resources for women in STEM fields.
- Wednesday, using #women, highlights the Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives by featuring our expertise in women’s empowerment throughout the world.
- Thursdays are dedicated to #socialgood, promoting volunteer openings, upcoming events, and opportunities with other like-minded organizations.
- The week concludes with Fun Fridays, using #FF. The tweets are held in a light atmosphere, displaying photos of staff around the office and announcing new team members.
Since the experiment’s launch on February, 6th 2012, we’ve seen an increase of 50 new followers and an increase in the overall Klout score from the 30’s to the 40’s. The raw Klout scores show that there was a significant increase in our re-tweets which went from 63 to 106; our mentions increased from 76 to 99; and our true reach went from 183 to 297. With regards to our Klout style, we’ve moved from the socializer to the networker: focused and consistent.
The results above show that the experiment had a positive effect on our social media strategy, resulting in an increase in focused communications and engagement with the IIE West Coast Center audience. Designating topics to each day of the week established a sense of credibility with the audience and allowed for unique followers to identify with our organization. This experiment will need to be built upon, adding components of further engagement to expand the overall reach of the IIE West Coast Center. I am excited to continue learning about social media and work with new tools that complement our outreach efforts. I welcome all feedback and look forward to the next chapter in our social media adventure!
*In February, I was asked by the E-Mediat: Tools, Technology, and Training program to write for their blog on my recent experiment with social media for an international nonprofit, originally featured here.