The past two days, I spent my time in Our Nation’s Capitol, between the annual Share Our Strength Conference of Leaders (the tenth one I’ve attended), and the PRSA International Conference (where I was privilged to present on Cause Branding and Community Building with Social Networking Tools). The Share Our Strength Conference (always inspiring!) featured a very good panel on Social Media for Social Good, moderated by Clay Dunn, the organization’s Online Community Director, and featuring a great group of Share Our Strength advocates* who have successfully used social channels.
Lots of great best practices. Lots of very important discussion about engagement.
During the Q&A period, Clay asked a compelling question: How do you determine what information to share on your social channels?
Again, great responses from the panelists. In fact, as often happens, just not enough time to finish the very robust discussion.
So let me weigh in here:
It’s important to talk about the what and the how of our activities. It’s important to uplift the Share Our Strength (Taste of the Nation/Cooking Matters/DineOut) community. But it’s also very important that we help educate our audiences on the why of what we’re doing. This is about hunger. Let’s talk about it. It’s a widely-misunderstood issue. Many people–sometimes our own friends and families–don’t understand the scope and severity of hunger in our own communities. There’s a very large and passionate community–many already online–involved in the hunger discussion. They’re tweeting and posting news and information on the issue every day. Share it with your network. Remember, you’re a subject matter expert on hunger. A connector. A promotor. An evangelist. And no, you probably won’t overshare, even when it feels like you’re doing it.
I loved Johnny Auer’s suggestion that Taste of the Nation Twitter accounts be active year ’round. Great advice. You can use the “off season” to be a connector and informer. Spread some good karma. Then when it’s time for your event, you’ll have some new friends to help you promote it.
Also take the initiative to connect with those involved in hunger outside your own network; outside your own community (geographic or online). If you’re a Share Our Strength advocate, connect with Meals on Wheels and Feeding America advocates (and vice versa!!!). And even though it might seem counterintuitive, promote what they’re doing.
A rising tide lifts all boats. We have a long way to go before the issue of hunger is given the gravity and urgency it deserves.
Johnny Auer, Founder and President, jamco new media, inc
Michele Gorham, Owner, Cookie Central
Ty Sullivan, Director of Marketing,
Stephanie K. Childs, Director of Communication & External Relations, ConAgra Foods & ConAgra Foods Foundation
Liza Ruzer, Fresh Approach
Photo by William Klos–Creative Commons