Social media can help organizations bring challenging content – like studies and reports – to life by providing the tools needed to break information down into easily digestible pieces. For example, sharing the link to a 30-page report on Facebook or Twitter is not likely to get much attention. However, if you pull the important information from that same report and convert it into pithy Tweets or infographics, that same information has the potential to gain traction and stakeholder attention. This ability in and of itself makes social media a relevant and important tool especially for organizations who specialize in producing in-depth or highly technical content.
Let me give you an example from my own work experience.
I work for a health foundation in Montana that occasionally releases analyses on policy topics that relate to health in the state. The tricky thing is that while these reports house important information for our stakeholders, the information is oftentimes hidden in pages of in-depth technical information making them difficult to access for everyday people.
Last year my organization released a report that took an in-depth look at how a policy that was then being debated by Congress would practically effect people in Montana. We decided that in order to reach the people who needed this information the most, we would need to make it more accessible.
Rather than merely posting the report on our website and sharing it with the press, we created a series of infographics that highlighted the reports key findings. We shared these infographics on our social media pages and boosted each post to reach our target demographics. We also partnered with several grassroots organizations who were happy to share our content on their own sites.
While many people read the full report, many many more people saw, shared, and commented on the infographics. This strategy was successful in that it took a technical issue and made it accessible so that everyday people could understand the key points and join in the conversation.
Through this experience, we learned that social media is an important tool for providing our stakeholders with important information in a format in which they can easily digest. I would even go so far as to say that social media is especially important to organizations who are in the business of producing dense and sometimes dry materials.
If you don’t believe me, let’s do a little test. Would you rather read this report on how a provision in the Affordable Care Act could affect the people of Montana?
Or, would you rather get essentially the same information this way: